An electronic collar, or E-Collar, is a special training collar for dogs. Unlike cloth or leather collars, the e-collar has a charged unit that rests against the dog’s neck. With a remote controller, you can give the collar a few commands. Depending on what collar you’re using, there are three main functions an e-collar can perform (shock, vibration, or noise).
These three functions can be used to help train your dog. For example, the collar can emit a loud noise to warn the dog that their behavior is unacceptable. It can also distract them from other bad behaviors. Noise can also be associated with other negative training like a shock.
When dogs hear the noise, they’ll stop their bad behavior immediately for fear of receiving a shock.
Vibration is the next level of negative reinforcement training. Depending on the collar, there are typically different vibration strengths. The more intense vibrations can ensure your dog feels it and knows that the behavior they’re displaying is unacceptable.
For some dogs, feeling a vibration at their throat is startling. It may be all they need to correct their behavior.
Others, on the other hand, may require a sterner approach. The final setting is shocking. The collar shoots out a spark that briefly electrocutes your dog. Like the vibrational setting, there are different levels of intensity. This allows you to give your dog a small shock or a more intense one. Bigger dogs, for example, may require a stronger shock in order to feel it compared to smaller dogs.
Shocking can be used to turn dogs off from bad behavior. Though it can also lead to other problems. For example, dogs may associate pain with the collar. They may not want to put it on or go outside for fear of being shocked. That’s why it’s better to use the other options on an e-collar before resorting to shocking.
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What Does An E Collar Do?
An e-collar is used to train a dog through negative reinforcement. Though it may be able to used as a tool for positive reinforcement if the noise or vibration setting is used in conjunction with treats. Most often, e-collars are used to associate bad behavior with pain or discomfort.
There are several commands that can be trained through an e-collar. One of the most coveted is being able to teach your dog how to come to you when they’re off a leash. This is useful for when you want to walk your dog on the sidewalk without fear of them running off without you.
Recalling the dog ensures that they come back immediately to your side. You can follow this video to learn how to train your dog to recall with an e-collar safely.
Another important command that you can train your dog with through an e-collar is to heel. This is especially important for those who plan to let their dog wander free in a fenceless yard or to walk off the leash beside them. Teaching your dog to heel will keep them from running after other dogs, people, animals, and cars.
It can save their life and ensure that they’re kept safe. An e-collar can be used to teach your dog to heel by helping reinforce a certain command. When your dog hears the command, they’ll obey it for fear of being shocked or feeling the vibration at their throat.
To safely train your dog how to heel, you should watch this video.
Many owners dislike when their dogs jump on people. It can make them feel as though they’re being attacked, even if the dog is simply greeting them. If you want to train that out of your dog, then it’s possible to do so with an e-collar.
Any time the dog feels an instinctual need to jump up in order to greet someone, the collar can be a reminder that the behavior is bad. They’ll hear the noise or feel the vibration and seek to correct their own behavior.
Dogs jump up to greet someone because they’re not tall enough to greet the person face-to-face. They want to smell the person’s face and get a good look at them.
To keep your dog from jumping up on people, you can watch this video on how to safely train your dog to stay down.
Finally, you can also teach your dog to sit. Whether you want them to wait for you somewhere or just relax, this video can help you teach your dog how to sit down.
Do E Collars Hurt Dogs?
Usually, yes. E-collars are created to hurt dogs. Bigger dogs may not feel as much pain as smaller dogs, however. It also depends on the strength of the shock. One step you should always take to determine if the shock is too strong for a dog is to test on yourself first.
If you believe the pain is too much, then it’s probably too much for your dog as well.
Using the e-collar frequently can even cause their skin to burn or blister. When training with the e-collar, you should only use the shock setting when absolutely necessary. When using the shock setting, you also should only use it sparingly to keep from seriously injuring your dog.
When Should You Start Using An E Collar?
While behavioral training is best done when dogs are young, you don’t want to use an e-collar on a puppy. It may seriously hurt or even kill them. You should wait until they’re at least a year old before using an e-collar on them.
That being said, e-collars can be used to help train young and older dogs. When trained properly, and with positive reinforcement linked to its use, an e-collar can be an effective training tool for a dog, no matter what the age.
If you’ve rescued or bought an older dog, then you’ll want to start using an e-collar right away if you wish to use negative reinforcement to train them. Older dogs may respond better to positive reinforcement, however.