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E-Collar for Dogs: What It Is and How It Works

Young energetic welsh corgi pembroke is playing with half-breed dog

Written by The Halo Team

July 27, 2023

When it comes to dog training, so many methods are available that it can be tricky to decide which one to use for your pet. Dog training collars, such as e-collars, were created to make the process easier. Many people turn to using dog training collars to correct unwanted behavior and encourage desirable habits.

Keep reading to explore how an e-collar for dogs works, the benefits it offers for obedience training and what to consider when choosing a remote training collar for your pup.

What Is an E-Collar?

An e-collar for dogs is an electronic training aid used to alter a dog’s behavior and teach it boundaries. This type of dog training collar comes with a wireless remote control you connect to a wireless receiver worn around your dog’s neck. Dog owners can use the remote to send physical signals through the dog collar, teaching their pets the difference between desirable and undesirable behaviors.

E-collars were first introduced in the 1970s as dog shock collars. These devices emitted a small electrical current to modify behavior in stubborn dogs. However, the technology has changed, and many e-collars simply use powerful vibrations or noises to capture your dog’s attention, causing slight discomfort but no pain.

The purpose of an electric collar for dogs is to send a signal when your pet engages in undesired behavior. Your dog will then start to associate the discomfort caused by that signal with the undesired behavior and, hopefully, cease doing it.
Remote training collars come in various sizes and styles to accommodate both large and small dogs. Many can also be customized so you can choose the training method that works best for your pet.

How Does an E-Collar Work?

Electronic dog collars use mild electric stimulation to get your dog’s attention. The stimulation is more of a pulsing sensation than an electric shock to deter bad behavior. Collar features can vary widely depending on the device. Some e-collars use vibrations, while others emit an audible tone. GPS settings are also available with certain devices, so you can track your pet’s movements and send a signal if your dog crosses a boundary.

Electric training collars also offer customizable features that let you adjust the device depending on where you are and what you’re teaching your dog. For example, electronic hunting dog collars may offer a larger range of movement than devices used to keep your pet in the backyard.

You can also adjust a vibration’s intensity or noise’s volume to better accommodate your dog’s learning style. A medium-to-high stimulation level may be ideal for dogs less sensitive to stimuli, while low stimulation may be enough for sensitive dogs.
These training methods are effective in establishing boundaries and providing clear signals for your dog while giving it the freedom to move around off-leash. They can also help it learn basic and complex commands by providing instantaneous feedback when it displays undesirable behavior. This prevents confusion and can strengthen your bond with your dog.

Benefits of Using an E-Collar

E-collars are effective training tools that offer many benefits, including:

  • Provides better communication: Remote dog collars allow you to communicate with your dog without raising your voice. The electric collar gives instant feedback from you, providing your dog with clear guidance and reducing the training time.
  • Teaches your dog boundaries: E-collar training helps your dog stay in the yard and can be an effective way to transition your pet off-leash. When a physical signal is released, your dog will know it’s strayed too far. After a few weeks of training, your pet will learn its boundaries and, hopefully, stay in the yard without needing the collar at all.
  • Yields quicker results: Dogs’ attention spans aren’t as strong as humans, meaning they learn better at the moment. E-collars provide instantaneous feedback when your dog displays unfavorable behavior. This can help it grasp good vs. bad behavior faster, reducing the training time.
  • Reduces stress and frustration: Since remote training collars produce quicker results, you won’t have to spend long, grueling months teaching your dog commands. This can reduce the stress and frustration that can sometimes accompanies training so that you can engage in fun trips and activities with your dog even sooner.
  • Increases your dog’s success rate: Dogs love to please their owners and receive praise. When they’re given clear commands, they have a better chance of succeeding in pleasing you by repeating good behaviors and ceasing bad ones. E-collar technologies can make this possible, helping you and your dog form a stronger, happier relationship.

Dogs playing at park

The Correct Way to Use an E-Collar

As with any type of change, your dog may need some time to adjust to its new collar. Start by putting the collar on each morning to help your dog get used to wearing it. Make sure it’s on tight enough that it touches your dog’s skin but not so tight that it becomes uncomfortable or causes skin irritation.

Ensuring your pup understands basic voice commands, such as sit, stay, or come, before beginning remote dog training is essential. Once you start using the remote training collar itself, your dog will slowly begin associating the verbal commands it already knows with the e-collar’s stimulation.

Every time you give your dog a command, tap the e-collar until it responds appropriately, and then turn it off. Your dog will realize that responding to its owner takes away the vibration or loud noise and apply that knowledge as you introduce more complex commands. You can also reward your dog with a treat or praise when it behaves better. This sends your dog the message that when it responds correctly, the stimulation goes away, and it receives a reward.

It’s important to note you should only apply stimulation levels to correct your dog’s behavior. Don’t send a signal as soon as you put the collar on. Your dog will instantly know that the collar caused it discomfort and may become anxious anytime you bring the collar out. Incorrect stimulation use may also cause your dog only to be obedient when the collar is on, reducing its effectiveness as a training tool.

What to Consider When Choosing an E-Collar

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best e-collar for your pup. Here are a few tips to help you become an expert dog trainer while meeting your pet’s needs:

  • Determine the desired range: Consider where you’ll take your dog and how much space it needs. The standard range for most collars is half a mile, which may be ideal for backyard training but not so much for hunting dogs.
  • Discover your dog’s sensitivity levels: Take note of how your dog responds to stimuli during heightened situations. For example, dogs with low sensitivity may need higher stimulation levels, while sensitive dogs will respond to low stimulation.
  • Choose a safe and humane collar: E-collars are designed for training, not punishment. Remote training collars that provide alternative stimulation to shock collars, such as vibration or tone, will get your dog’s attention without hurting it. Some collars also have safety features to turn off stimulation if you forget to release the button.
  • Ensure it fits your dog’s breed and size: E-collars are only effective if they fit your dog properly. If the collar is too loose around your dog’s neck, stimulation may be inconsistent and confuse your pup. Check the sizing and adjustable features on a collar before purchasing it.

The Role of E-Collars in Positive Reinforcement Training

E-collars are useful in positive reinforcement training if you associate good behavior with rewards. For instance, one training methodology is to give your dog a treat when it displays a desired behavior. If you use the e-collar to correct your dog’s behavior, reward it after. This may encourage your dog to respond more quickly when a signal is sent because it’ll know a treat is coming.

Halo Collar: A Humane and Effective E-Collar Alternative

E-collars provide safer alternatives to dog shock collars and offer many benefits throughout the training process. They can help your dog learn good behaviors faster and give it more freedom to explore the yard without a leash. However, it’s important to use remote training collars responsibly to prevent confusion and protect your dog’s well-being.

If you’re interested in using an e-collar for your pet, consider Halo Collar’s Wireless Dog Fence and GPS Dog Collar. This device uses advanced GPS tracking to monitor your pet’s activity and offers customizable features to accommodate different learning styles. For more information, contact Halo today to find the right collar for your training needs.

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