You’ve heard about electronic training collars, also known as shock collars. Conflicting information is plentiful and very often misunderstood. Do not be intimidated, as these products are very helpful and not harmful to your pets. You don’t have to be a professional dog trainer or an expert on electronic dog collars to use them. With some basic instruction, the trickiest parts of training your dog—i.e., what they are not supposed to do—will become surprisingly easy to manage. An electronic dog collar reinforces your commands in such a way that the dog never knows the correction is actually coming from you. This is imperative, since correction is a negative experience that you don’t want him to associate with you.
Here is a quick guide to get you and your buddy off to a good start:
Four Easy Steps to a Well-Behaved Best Friend
1. Choose Your Electronic Dog Training Collar:
Keep it simple. At Pet Super Store, our two most popular electronic dog collars are affordable and easy to use. Both systems feature lightweight, water-resistant collars and small, easily concealed handheld controllers
The first and most popular is the SportDOG SD-105 Yard Trainer. This is a one-dog system with a 100-yard range, allowing immediate correction from any part of your yard. It has eight levels of stimulation, the lowest of which is tone only, a feature all SportDOG collars share.
The second collar is the SportDOG SD-400 Field Trainer. The SD-400 collar provides a bit more features and functions than the SD-105. The SD-400 has a 400-yard range, great for dog owners who require obedience off-leash in the field. This system is expandable; you can add collars (available separately) to control up to three dogs. The SD-400 has 16 levels of stimulation, which provides the finer tuning desirable in a multi-dog system. It also comes in a snazzy camouflage version.
2. Introduce Your Dog to the Collar:
The training collar is worn in addition to your dog’s everyday collar. The best way to introduce your dog to the collar is to put the collar on him, and stop there. Let him wear his collar—during the day, just like he will for training—for at least a week. This will give him time to become accustomed to the collar and prevent him from becoming collar-smart, only behaving with the collar on.
3. Find Your Dog’s Correction Level:
To find the correction level suitable for your dog, be sure your dog doesn’t see the handheld device. Set it to the lowest level of stimulation and activate the collar. If he doesn’t react at all, increase the stimulation one notch at a time. You are looking for his first visible reaction, which may be as minor as a twitch of his ear or a slight shake of his head. A good rule of thumb here is to find your dog’s correction level, that is, the lowest level at which he has a visible reaction to the stimulus, and then back off a notch. You always want to be working with the lowest effective charge. The object is to correct your dog, not punish or frighten him.
4. Use the Collar to Reinforce Your Commands:
Let’s imagine you have the most common problem, excessive barking. You are in the yard with your dog, perhaps relaxing in a lawn chair. When your dog barks, command him: “Quiet!” If he doesn’t obey, repeat the command, simultaneously pressing the correction button on your handheld, only for a second. The moment he hesitates in his barking, call and praise him. In the dog’s mind, something unpleasant (the stimulus) happened when he barked, and something pleasant (praise and petting) happened when he stopped. If he doesn’t respond the first couple of times, turn the level up one notch and try again. Continue in this manner until he stops barking immediately upon your command. Most dogs will need only minimal adjustment. He will soon respond to your command and the tone, and then to your command alone. How long this takes depends on the dog and on your consistency. A general estimate is a few repetitions to a few days. Once you are confident he is trained, let him wear the collar for a week without any stimulation at all before you remove it, so again, he doesn’t connect the collar and the correction.
Repeat the training routine with each behavior you want to change. You will be astonished and delighted by the transformation in your dog!