Training Collars for Your Dog

You either love them or hate them for your dog, but training collars when used correctly can be a wonderful training to tool to help you and your dog with their bad habits. Yelling at your dog doesn’t work!

When our chocolate lab was just over 6 months we introduced a training collar or shock collar to his training regimen. Harley was having some training problems with digging. And we tried all the tricks – poop in the hole, hot spices, rocks and of course reprimanding him for digging to China. Nothing worked. As soon as he was out of sight he was digging. We were staying at a rental property in Florida and really didn’t want our dog to destroy our oasis, plus pay the penalty for damaged property. Now Harley wasn’t left to his own devices, we would be right there when he would dig. And nothing would deter him from his mission of ripping the yard apart.

After some on-line research for our dog’s digging behavior, we kept reading about training collars that gave a mild shock to get their attention. Like anyone who loves their dog, I thought this was a cruel way to discipline and train my best friend. But constantly yelling (which doesn’t work, he can hear me just fine) and punishing just seemed worse. What the heck, others were using with great success and as a last resort we researched which collar would suit our needs with Harley.

Using a remote training collar takes training on your part before you make your dog wear it. I can’t stress enough about reading the instructions, watching the recommended videos and learning how to properly use your dog’s training collar without causing injury to your dog. Don’t kid yourself that this collar can’t hurt your dog. You try it on and shock yourself and tell me it doesn’t hurt. It hurts, trust me. Turn it down!

A good remote training collar will have various settings.  And I wouldn’t recommend buying one that doesn’t.  Spend the extra money and get yourself and your dog a good one.

After you have learned to correctly use your training collar it is time to introduce to your dog. Start out small. Your dog should already know and understand the basic commands – sit, stay, down – to have any success with your training collar. Remember you have purchased your remote training collar for those times when your dog just isn’t listening to you. And you are going to start with the lowest setting on your remote. Practice your sit command and stay signals. Command your dog to sit, if he doesn’t respond use your remote to reprimand his behavior. When he sits, give him praise. Try again. You will be impressed how quickly your dog will master his already learned commands and teach him that his bad habits are really bad.

When using the remote, you will always start with the lowest setting, all you need from your dog for a response is even a slight shake of the head, so you notice that he notices. Never make your dog cry out in pain! Harley is a 78 pound dog and his perfect setting is a 4 out of 12. When I press the remote he looks at me – enough to say “oh yah, sorry I forgot”.

Tips for Success:

  • Use conventional training methods to teach your dog basic commands. Wait until he completely understands your commands before introducing the collar as a reinforcement tool.
  • Introduce the collar to your dog gradually. Have him wear the collar for a few hours each day for a week or two before you start using it for training.
  • Ultimately, your dog needs to respond to your verbal commands regardless of whether he is wearing a training collar. Therefore, put the collar on your dog at least 30 minutes before beginning a training session. This can help prevent him from becoming collar-wise (obeying commands only when wearing the training collar).
  • Always make sure the collar is functioning properly BEFORE putting it on your dog.
  • Remove all other metal collars from your dog’s neck when using the training collar.
  • Always use the lowest stimulation level when beginning training. Proceed to higher stimulation levels only if necessary.
  • Keep training sessions brief, about 10 minutes. After a 30-minute rest period, repeat the training process. Dogs acquire habits through repetition, not duration.
  • Never continue a session after your dog has lost interest. Take a break to rest or play
  • Once you have started a program with your remote trainer, never start a training session without it.
  • Plan on using the collar for at least four months. A good rule is never take your dog out without the collar on. This will ensure that he is imprinted only with the correct response to your commands, and that you always have complete control.
  • End each session on a positive note. Have your dog repeat a mastered task. This will boost your dog’s confidence and keep his interest for the next training session.
  • Always praise your dog for good behavior!

With Harley, we very rarely have to use his collar, he still wears it if we are out of our yard but I never have to actually use the remote, I can just show it to him and he is aware. I use our training collar when we are out on walks to assist with Harley’s bad walking habits. Harley walks wonderfully off-leash, but put a leash on him and his hearing goes out the window and he will pull me down the street. If he is wearing his training collar with a leash on a separate collar he is a dream walker. And again this is without actually having to use the remote, it is only visible.

We call Harley’s training collar his bad boy collar and it is so funny, he will go and get his bad boy collar in-order to sit out on the front porch with us. Harley doesn’t dig holes thanks to his training collar and he will let you know when our neighbors dog has dug a hole along the fence. I think that is pretty smart of him and maybe he is worried it will be him that is in trouble for the hole.

I wouldn’t recommend using a remote training collar on an untrained dog, you will be over using and that is cruel. Your dog has to have basic command recognition to use correctly.