You’ve invested a ton of money into a techie solution to keep your dog from barking or digging. All of a sudden, your dog shock collar stops working!
Don’t get too worked up about the situation. In an overwhelming majority of cases, you can fix it yourself easily so the static corrections start working again.
Here’s how to check and fix your dog shock collar in a nutshell. Check that the battery on the receiver collar is fully charged and replace it as needed. Verify that the transmitter has power, is on, and it’s functioning. If you have a handheld transmitter then also check it’s battery and replace it if needed. Next, confirm that the transmitter and collar are properly synced. Then check that you haven’t set the correction level so low that it isn’t responding. Lastly, check the fit of the collar on your dog. It should be snug but not too tight with constant light contact of the probes on your dog’s skin.
Quick Facts – E-collars and shock collars keep getting better and better. Overall the market has grown more than 150% from 2016 through 2021 (source). According to Sgt. Rod Hampton, Canine Unit Supervisor of the Round Rock (Texas) Police Department Canine Unit, the most effective use of e-collars is controlling dogs at a distance (when verbal commands are harder to hear) and preventing accidental bites (source).
Below we’ll go in depth on what to do when your e-collar or shock collar stops working.
Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Table of Contents
- The Top 5 Reasons Your Dog Shock Collar Stopped Working
- How To Connect, Pair, Or Sync Dog Shock Collars To A Transmitter
- How Do You Reset a Dog Shock Collar?
- How To Tell If A Shock Collar is Working?
- Do Shock Collars Hurt a Dog?
- What to Do if Your Shock Collar Won’t Turn On
- What to Do if Your Shock Collar Isn’t Charging
The Top 5 Reasons Your Dog Shock Collar Stopped Working
1. Either the Transmitter or Receiver is Switched Off
It sounds unbelievable, but the most common problem is caused by users not turning both the receiver collar and remote on. Before you do anything else, check that you’ve switched them on and they’re both charged up.
Modern shock collars usually have a lock mode, which keeps you from applying a static correction to your dog by accident. Make sure this isn’t on by mistake.
Double-check with your model’s instructions that the transmitter and receiver collar are synced correctly.
2. Charger Doesn’t Make Good Contact
If your charger isn’t making good contact with the contact points on the unit itself, then it might appear to suddenly stop working. Check to see if the charger port on the receiver collar’s shock module got dirty.
Owners of bigger dogs that like to dig often have this issue. You might also find that the contact points got bent a little.
In that case, you can usually work the unit back together again the right way. Check out this easy way of doing it:
Should none of these steps work, you’ll want to check the charger itself. Sometimes they need to be carefully reinserted into the wall to get them to work.
3. Shock Collar Not Making Contact
All dog fur isn’t created equal. Most shock collars include longer terminals on the underside of the module, which is best for longer haired dogs.
You can usually adjust them a little bit by twisting them to make them go up or down. If they’re not fitted right, then your dog won’t receive any level of correction when you use the receiver collar.
Try adjusting the straps as well. If you still can’t get it to work, then try the fitting method shown in this video:
4. Strap or Clasp Have Broken
When the receiver collar’s clasp breaks, you usually have to replace it. If you’ve ever replaced one on a normal bark collar or shock collar before, then the process is exactly the same.
There’s a small ring that holds the belt in place. You can fish the old strap out and put a new one in without compromising the shock module.
Take a look at how this seemingly complicated fix can actually be pretty easy:
5. Dog Not Responding To Shock Collar
In most cases, you want to set the correction level as low as possible. Owners of bigger dogs might find that their pets can’t feel a small shock, however.
Very gradually raise the shock level until you find something that works. You don’t want to dial it up suddenly.
How To Connect, Pair, Or Sync Dog Shock Collars To A Transmitter
Instructions to pair a receiver collar and a transmitter will vary by brand. Some collars will actually work with transmitters made by other brands. See our full article on which receivers and transmitters will pair up here.
Here are the basic instructions to pair collars and transmitters:
- Turn on the transmitter
- Make sure the receiver collar is off.
- Hold the on button on the receiver collar for 4-5 seconds. A few things can happen depending on your model. Either the light on the collar turns off or starts flashing. Either way, wait for it to change.
- Hold the pairing button on the transmitter for 4-5 seconds. That will trigger a response from the collar. Again, the lights may start flashing, turn off, or it may vibrate. That signals they’ve been paired.
Again, keep in mind the instructions above are highly generic. Check your model’s specific instructions to do this correctly. Many come automatically paired and don’t give an option to pair them manually without special equipment.
How Do You Reset a Dog Shock Collar?
Every model does things just a little differently. If your bark collar or shock collar has a reset button, then you probably need to push and hold it.
Otherwise, try turning the receiver off on your bark collar or receiver collar. Hold the on button until the receiver light burns solid.
Eventually it will turn off, and you can release the button. You may then have to press the continuous stimulation button on the remote to get the unit to work again.
This isn’t necessarily a universal technique, but it works on a large enough number of collars. Don’t forget to check the little pamphlet that came with yours!
How To Tell If A Shock Collar is Working?
Some people suggest testing the collar on your own fingers. If you have any kind of heart condition, then this is most inadvisable!
A better idea is to switch it to audio correction mode. Take the collar off your dog and then apply a static correction.
It should make a beeping tone. You could also try putting it on vibration mode and testing it since people can’t hear the tones made by some collars.
Do Shock Collars Hurt a Dog?
Keep in mind that you need to use the collar in a manner consistent with its labeling. One study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that dogs didn’t show increased stress levels after getting used to the concept of shock controls.
Way back in 1983, scientists published a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that suggested avoidance-learning methods could actually make dogs safer. If they learn not to be aggressive, then they won’t get hurt trying to do something dangerous.
What to Do if Your Shock Collar Won’t Turn On
Try setting the receiver in a sunny place where your pet can’t get to it. Moisture from dog slobber and the ground can sometimes temporarily short these out.
You can also try taking the batteries out and drying the unit with a paper towel. Make sure to clean the outside as well.
Some pet owners have suggested that leaving the batteries out of the unit and putting them back in later can actually get an uncooperative shock collar to turn on again!
What to Do if Your Shock Collar Isn’t Charging
Assuming you’ve also tried the suggestions in the last step, you might want to just wait. Give the collar receiver or bark collar some time to charge.
In some cases, it might take all night to charge a dead battery. Check to make sure the charger’s contact points aren’t bent either.
You might want to replace the charger if you can’t get anything to work. Manufacturers are starting to use standard USB cell phone chargers, so you can try one if you happen to have an extra.
We recommend the multicharger below (click on the image to see the price on Amazon or click here).
When all this fails, you’ll need to check the batteries. Try opening the module with a screwdriver.
The batteries should have a number directly on them, which makes it easy to order a replacement.
My name is Ken and I’m one of the staff writers at Petloverguy.com. I’ve cared for pets most of my life starting with hamsters, turtles, and snakes. Then moving up to parakeets, guinea pigs, and even ducks.
I currently live with two yorkies and a chihuahua mix.