Best Dog Shock Collar For Training (With Remote)

Collars & Harnesses


Meg Marrs


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best dog shock collars

Considering a shock collar to better train your pooch or prevent undesirable behavior?

In this guide we’ll be digging into everything you need to know before purchasing a shock collar, including necessary features, pros and cons, efficacy information, our top collar picks, and yes – even the ethics of whether these tools are appropriate or not.

All the units we cover in this guide are shock collars with remote controls, as these are best suited for training needs.

Want to jump straight to our recommended units? See our top picks below!

Best Shock Dog Collars: Quick Picks

  • #1 PICK: mini Educator An ultra-waterproof transmitter and collar with 1/2 mile range plus 1-100 levels of static correction, as well as a beep-only and vibration-only setting. Also comes with a training whistle and clicker. Very popular with professional trainers and one of the most reliable, trusted e-collars on the market.
  • #2 PICK: SportDog FieldTrainer 425 High-quality e-collar designed for hunting and training with levels of static shock plus a beep-only and vibration-only mode. Has a 500-yard range and is waterproof up to 25 feet deep. Has 50-70 hours of battery life per charge.
  • #3 PICK: PetTech Remote Training Collar 1-100 levels of static correction, beep-only and vibration-only mode, with rechargeable batteries and an LCD screen that’s easy to read in day or night.

Continue reading our comprehensive shock collar guide, or jump ahead to a specific section below:

What Exactly Is a Dog Shock Collar?

Dog shock collars, also referred to as electric dog collars or e-collars (we’ll be using all these phrases interchangeably) are collar and transmitter units designed to aid owners in training primarily through punishing undesirable behaviors or – at extremely low levels – breaking a dog’s hyperfocus towards a specific trigger.

The device applies a static shock correction to a dog through the collar when the owner presses a button on the unit’s transmitter (which usually resembles a walkie talkie).

Dog Shock Collars Can Be Very Dangerous

We go into more details below, but dog training shock collars can be dangerous tools when used inappropriately. We recommend exploring all other options — including shock collar alternatives — before resorting to one.

If you do choose to move forward with an e-collar after exploring all other options, be sure you are using it in conjunction with a very experienced trainer who understands the tool well.

There are a good number of “professional” dog trainers who do not use these tools appropriately, so do your research and due diligence to ensure you find a true expert.

Best Dog Shock Collars With Remotes for Training

1. SportDog FieldTrainer 425

About: The SportDog FieldTrainer 425 is a sophisticated training e-collar designed for both hunting breeds as well as family dogs.

The SportDog brand is well-known for their quality and experience with hunting dogs, and their shock collar unit featured here is a great choice for any kind of canine training.

The SportDog FieldTrainer 425 features a dial that can be turned to select various levels of shock correction, or a tone and vibration only mode.​

SportDOG Brand 425 Remote Trainers - 500 Yard Range E-Collar with Static, Vibrate and Tone - Waterproof, Rechargeable - Including New X-Series
1,940 Reviews
SportDOG Brand 425 Remote Trainers - 500 Yard Range E-Collar with Static, Vibrate and Tone - Waterproof, Rechargeable - Including New X-Series
  • E-collar that features 500 yard range and can be used to train 3 dogs with the same Remote...
  • The Remote Transmitter's dial allows you to instantly select one of the 7 levels of static...
  • Both the Remote Transmitter and Collar Receiver feature our DryTek technology making them waterproof...
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries charge in 2 hours and last 50-70 hours per charge; The Remote...
  • 500 Yard Range. This e-collar features a 500 yard range, making it great for hunting training.
  • 7 Static Shock Settings. Allows for seven different levels of correction, including low and medium shocks, as well as the option to only use vibration and tone.
  • Waterproof. SportDog shock collars can be submerged in water up to 25 feet deep.
  • 50 – 70 Hour Battery Life. These collar units are rechargeable, with lithium-ion batteries, and boast an impressive battery life. They also charge fairly quickly, reported to reach a full charge within 2 hours.
  • Option For Additional Dogs. The SportDog unit also allows the purchase of additional collars and is designed to potentially be used for three dogs.
  • For Medium to Large Dogs. Designed for dogs 8 lbs or over and fits neck sizes 5″ – 22″
  • 2 Sizes of Contact Points. Includes standard and long contact points that can be switched out depending on your dog’s neck size and physical structure.
  • Includes Instructional DVD and Training Manual. Included training material ensure that you use the e-collar appropriately and effectively.

Note: The SportDog X is designed for small to medium dogs of medium temperament. Owners of much larger dogs or especially stubborn dogs should consider the FieldTrainer 525S, which has the option for higher levels of static shock and is designed for tougher canines.


Owners reported that their dogs quickly learned how to respond to the tone only setting. They also loved how small and lightweight the receiver is. Even with dogs rolling in the mud, this durable unit has held up. Owners also report that the collar’s charge can last up to 8 days before needing a recharge.


One owner notes that this unit’s shock was not powerful enough to stop their dog, in which case we’d suggest switching to the 525S unit. However, this experience seems relatively rare.

2. PetTech Remote Control Trainer

About: The PetTech Remote Training Collar is an affordable yet well-made e-collar that owners adore.

This unit features a light-up LCD screen and complete correction customization that allows owners to completely tailor the shock level based on their dog’s size and temperament.​

Pet Union PT0Z1 Premium Training Shock Collar for Dogs with Remote - Fully Waterproof, 4 Adjustable Training Modes - Shock, Vibration, Beep - Up to 1200ft Range (Black)
10,748 Reviews
Pet Union PT0Z1 Premium Training Shock Collar for Dogs with Remote - Fully Waterproof, 4 Adjustable Training Modes - Shock, Vibration, Beep - Up to 1200ft Range (Black)
  • The Ultimate Dog Training Collar - Immensely popular, fully waterproof e-collar used by expert...
  • LCD Remote with Adjustable Shock and 4 Modes - 1-100 level of customization for both the static...
  • Long Lasting Battery Life - Rechargeable rapid charging lithium ion battery provides a long lasting...
  • For All Dogs 10 LBS & Up- Fits all dogs from 10 to 100 lbs. Can also be used to train 2 dogs at once...
  • 1-100 Levels of Correction. The PetTech collar is unique in that owners can completely customize the level of static shock their dog receives, ranging anywhere from 1- 100 setting. Includes only vibration and beep setting as well.
  • LCD Screen. Remote unit featured an LCD screen with a blue backlight, making the screen easy to read and adjust for both day and night.
  • Range. Working within a 1200 feet range (aka 400 yards).
  • Rechargeable Batteries. Uses rapid charging lithium ion batteries for long-lasting charge. Also includes a power saving mode to retain charge and not waste battery life.
  • Lifetime Guarantee. The manufacturer includes a full replacement or refund if the unit ever becomes defective or stops working properly.
  • Complimentary Dog Training. This unit also comes with the option for a one-on-one email consultation with a professional dog trainer for owners who want a bit more guidance on how to use the collar.
  • Waterproof. The product is labeled as waterproof, but aren’t any specifics on what depth or level of water it can handle.


Many owners love the ability to completely customize the correction mode, and the fine level of adjustment makes this collar a great option for small to large dogs. Often, the vibration mode alone is enough to train some dogs. Many owners say that using this collar has completely done a 180 on their dog’s naughty behavior.


We were unable to find full details on the average battery life or level of waterproof efficacy for this unit. However, one owner reported the charge lasting for a month when used for a few hours each day.

3. PetTrainer PET998DBB E-Collar

About: The PetTrainer PET998DBB is another great, affordable, entry-level dog training e-collar designed to correct naughty behavior.

This unit also features an LCD screen and complete customization of shock correction levels. The PetTracker actually includes two collar units, which is a great bonus for owners looking to train two dogs at once.

Petrainer Training Collar for Dogs - Waterproof Rechargeable Dog Training E-Collar with 3 Safe Correction Remote Training Modes, Static, Vibration, Beep for Dogs Small, Medium, Large
12,705 Reviews
Petrainer Training Collar for Dogs - Waterproof Rechargeable Dog Training E-Collar with 3 Safe Correction Remote Training Modes, Static, Vibration, Beep for Dogs Small, Medium, Large
  • 3 training modes: Bark collar with remote for static stimulation, vibration and standard tone mode
  • Put an end to bad behaviors: Can be used to correct barking, leash training and behavioral obedience
  • Waterproof receiver: Rechargeable, waterproof dog e collar receiver and transmitter can be charged
  • Remote range: Remote dog training collar is designed with RF434Mhz technology range up to 330 yards
  • 1-100 Levels of Correction. The Petrainer e-collar also allows for customized correction levels, with option for beep, vibration, or static shock at various levels.
  • Includes 2 Collars. This unit comes with two e-collars, allowing for the option to train two dogs at once without any additional purchases.
  • Water Resistant. This unit features a water resistance level of IP3, which means it can withstand 0.7 liters of water per minute. Basically, it can be worn during light drizzles, but cannot be fully submerged in water.
  • Medium Range. Features a 330 yard range, which is suitable for most home environments, although hunters may want a slightly larger range.
  • Rechargeable Batteries. Uses rechargeable lithium batteries. The the unit’s receiver and transmitter can also be charged at the same time.
  • 15 Lbs or Larger. Designed to fit small, medium, and large dogs that are 15 lbs or heavier. Collar can be adjusted between 7″ – 26″.


Owners report the PetTrainer e-collar to be very effective, and most are very happy with it. Owners testify to the water resistance and love the customization of vibration and 1-100 range of shock correction levels, as well as the beep option.


Owners lament that switching between the two collars is not intuitive – you must look at the screen to see which collar you are controlling. Some wish there was a physical switch to easily go back and forth between collars. Correction modes also must be cycled through with one button, which can be annoying. There is also no lock mode, which means owners may accidentally hit buttons when the remote is in a pocket or bag.

4. PatPet Dog Training Collar

About: The PatPet Electric Dog Training Collar is a well-liked unit that features an innovative concave transmitter remote design to prevent accidental button pressing.

It remote’s design also features raised button patterns so that you won’t need to constantly look down to wonder which button you’re pressing.

This unit comes with two collars, allowing for the option to train multiple dogs without purchasing any additional collar units.

PATPET Dog Training Collar Blind Operation Shock Collar for Training 2 Dogs - Rechargeable and Waterproof 660yd Remote E-Collar with Separate Command Buttons,Fit for 15-100 lb
34 Reviews
PATPET Dog Training Collar Blind Operation Shock Collar for Training 2 Dogs - Rechargeable and Waterproof 660yd Remote E-Collar with Separate Command Buttons,Fit for 15-100 lb
  • INNOVATIVE BLIND OPERATION: Send out training commands without looking at the Transmitter. Touch...
  • MOSTLY PROTECTED TRAINING: The uneven surfaces on the Transmitter makes the buttons lower than the...
  • PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE : 100% Waterproof Receiver and Rainproof Transmitter; Range up to 660yards;...
  • HUMANIZATION: Surgical Stainless Steel Contact Points, Comfortable Buttons with Skin-friendly...
  • Long Range. Offers a 660 yard range.
  • 16 Levels of Correction. Offers multiple levels of shock and vibration, as well as a beep mode.
  • Separate Buttons for Different Correction Modes. This unit features separator buttons for tone-only, vibration, and shock modes (some other units force the owner to cycle through various settings by only tapping a single button).
  • Concave Button Design. This e-collar’s remote featured a concave design that can help prevent buttons from being pressed accidentally.
  • Fast-Charging Battery. This unit uses lithium polymer batteries that can be fully charged within 2 hours. Owners report a single charge lasting around 5 days.
  • Designed for 15 lbs dogs and larger. Designed to fit dogs that weight 15 – 88 lbs.
  • Multiple Contact Points. Contains long and short contact points that can be swapped out depending on the fit of your dog.
  • Includes 2 Collar Units. Come with two collars that can be used to train two dogs at once.
  • LCD Display. Uses a backlit LCD display that is easily visible during the day and at night.
  • Waterproof. Reported to be completely waterproof as well as rainproof.
  • 90 Day Guarantee. Includes a 90 day money back guarantee as well as a 24 month warranty and lifetime support.


Some owners report that the quality of materials is much better with PatPet than other cheaper units. One hunting trainer notes that his dogs have worn these collars through rain and -2F weather, and they still hold up!


Some report buttons are liable to become sticky, and there is a few seconds delay. The delay may be an issue when trying to correct bad behavior of a dog that moves quickly! One owner also notes issues getting in touch with manufacturers for a refund. ​

5. mini Educator Bundle

About: The mini Educator is physically quite different from the other e-collars we’ve reviewed so far. Rather than the standard remote control / walkie talkier design, this unit features a round, fairly large transmitter.

While the large, bulky transmitter is a bit cumbersome, the unique thing about this transmitter is that it is waterproof (in addition to the collar). This makes the mini Educator a great choice for owners who are training their dogs to engage in water sports.

This e-collar also comes with some nifty bonus items – a training whistle and a clicker training tool.​

E-Collar - ET-300-1/2 Mile Remote Waterproof Trainer Mini Educator Remote Training Collar - 100 Training Levels Plus Vibration and Sound - Includes PetsTEK Dog Training Clicker
4,954 Reviews
E-Collar - ET-300-1/2 Mile Remote Waterproof Trainer Mini Educator Remote Training Collar - 100 Training Levels Plus Vibration and Sound - Includes PetsTEK Dog Training Clicker
  • This is a bundle of 2 items: Ecollar technologies Mini Educator - ET-300 and PetsTEK Dog Training...
  • This training system has up to a half a mile range and fully waterproof with a remote that will...
  • Use with dogs that are 5 pounds and larger. Featuring 100 training levels plus tone and vibration...
  • With help of the clicker, you can teach your dog new behaviors with positive reinforcement. Training...
  • 1-100 Levels of Correction. Offers option for custom correction levels, allowing for beep-only, vibration, or static shock at various 1-100 levels.
  • Ultra-Waterproof. Both the e-collar as well as the remote itself are waterproof – the remote will even float in the water.
  • 1/2 Mile Range. This shock unit boasts an impressive range of a 1/2 mile (aka 880 yards).
  • Two Sets of Contact Points. Includes two sets of contact points that can be used depending on your dog’s size and build.
  • Lock & Set Option. intuitive with a locking mechanism for your desired settings.
  • 5 lbs and Larger. Designed to be used with dogs that weight 5 lbs or more, with adjustable collar sizes that fit necks between 6″ – 30″.
  • Bonus Items. Includes a clicker training kit and a whistle training kit.


The collar and transmitter are both completely waterproof, and the transmitter can even float on water!


Bulky remote unit that isn’t as easy to hold as other units. Definitely not as small, light, or compact as other units.

5 Ways Dog Shock Collars Are Used in Training

There are really several different uses for a shock collar. For the purpose of this article, we will only be discussing e-collar units that are used for stopping unwanted behavior, training, hunting, or situational bark prevention.

Each of these different uses requires unique features from a shock collar.

1. To Punish an Undesired Behavior

The most common way to use an e-collar is for punishing undesired behavior, such as:

Owners must be vigilant and manually administer a shock with the remote when the dog exhibits an unwanted behavior.

We’ll discuss this in greater detail below, but there are some serious risks associated with using an e-collar to punish some of the behaviors listed above – especially aggressive issues like food aggression.

While owners often imagine they are punishing a dog for barking, lunging, or growling, they can often accidentally reinforce and even escalate a dog’s aggression. We must always consider why a dog is displaying a certain behavior.

Many dogs display aggressive behaviors out of fear. When the painful or unpleasant sensation of a shock collar is used to punish a fearful dog, you’ve actually taught the dog that they were right to be afraid. This is why all training through the use of an e-collar should be done with the help of a trainer experienced with the tool and who can observe your dog’s body language to ensure an appropriate level of correction is being used.

Some trainers will also use an e-collar to startle or snap a dog out of a hyperfocused, overly-aroused state. Again, there is a lot of potential for misuse here, so tread lightly and make sure the correction is so low that it only captures your dog’s attention without startling or scaring them.

2. As a Barking Deterrent for Noisy, Excessive Barker

Electric bark collars designed specifically for barking react in response to your dog’s vocal cords.

Vocal cord bark collars may be helpful to prevent barking. While they theoretically can be used while the owner is away, we wouldn’t recommend leaving your dog unattended with a bark collar, as you’ll always want to supervise and see how your dog is responding to the shocks.

The shock collar units covered in this article can be used as bark deterrents, but require constant attention from the owner, since they use a remote and rely on the owner manually administering a correction when the dog barks at an unwanted time.

The electric shock collars featured in this article can be used for preventing situational barking (ex. when visitors come to the front door) but are not ideal for general bark prevention with an overly excessive barking dog.

To resolve larger, constant barking issues, an electric bark collar that administers a shock based on your dog’s vocal chord vibrations (rather than require a manual shock correction from the owner’s remote) is a better choice. 

Try Capturing Silence

Instead of using punishment to correct a dog for barking, a better option is to decipher why your dog seems to barking constantly and ensure all the dog’s needs are being met.

We’d also recommend rewarding your dog for silence and reinforcing desired calm behaviors, rather than punishing barking.

3. As a Perimeter Tool to Keep Your Dog in the Yard

E-collars can also be used as a perimeter tool to prevent dogs from leaving their yard. However, these units function differently, as they do not feature a remote component. Instead, they correct a dog only when they leave a specific radius. We do not suggest using the units reviewed in this article for perimeter training. 

The most problematic situations with shock collars usually happen when they’re being used for containment. In the case of yard containment, it’s essential that owners train their dogs properly and help them understand the perimeter of the yard and where they are and are not allowed to go.

Training is an essential aspect of utilizing an invisible fence – we go into more depth about this in our invisible fence guide.

For the purpose of this article, we are sticking to discussion of shock collars used for specific situational barking or as a training aid. Containment is a whole different system!

4. As a Hunting Training Tool for Working Dogs

Many hunters use e-collars to train hunting dogs. Since verbal communication is difficult at such great distances, shock collars are often the tool of choice for hunters.

In these situations, e-collars are usually only used at very low levels to request a recall, or signal other commands to the dog, rather than to punish unwanted behaviors.

That being said, if recall is what you want to work on, a dog whistle can be a great shock collar alternative, as it can be heard at great distances and doesn’t cause your dog pain or discomfort!

5. To Communicate With a Deaf Animal

E-collars are also popular tools for training deaf dogs, since traditional verbal commands aren’t useful. However, we’d suggest owners of deaf dogs to explore other options, such as employing hand signals, as deaf dogs can be especially fearful and skittish. Adding shocks to a dead dog’s training regiment may be hard on them, although every dog is an individual.

Do E-Collars Hurt My Dog? Are Shock Collars Painful?

Shock collars are used as behavior deterrents – if your dog performs an undesired behavior, they get a shock correction as a punishment. The goal is to have the dog associate the unwanted behavior with an uncomfortable sensation.

The truth is that yes, shock collars do hurt. If they didn’t hurt your dog, they wouldn’t work and would not deter your dog from performing the unwanted behavior.

Shock collars are aversive dog training tools that use positive punishment to decrease an undesired behavior. Positive punishment refers to adding (+) an unpleasant stimulus to decrease the likelihood of a behavior.


E-collars can be quite painful, but they can also be only mildly uncomfortable.

The discomfort issued through the use of an e-collar can be fairly minor when used at a low level, but it’s uncomfortable nonetheless. A dog’s individual disposition can matter a lot in this context – some dogs can handle the pain or discomfort of an e-collar with no ill effects, but other canines (especially extra sensitive ones) can become ever disturbed or upset even by a minor shock or vibration.

E-Collar Controversy & Debate From Two Perspectives

Shock collars are extremely controversial training tools. Most modern professional trainers prefer positive reinforcement-based training methods rather than administering punishment. However, some trainers still support the use of e-collars.

Let’s discuss the arguments in favor and against shock collars.

In Support of E-Collars

Owner has full control of intensity, so it doesn’t have to be hard.

Trainers who support the use of e-collars will note that the owner has full control over the intensity level of the shock administered, allowing you to start out at an extremely low, gentle level and choose the appropriate shock level that just startles your dog or catches his attention without traumatizing him.

Some feel it offers faster results

Supporters endorse e-collars as the quickest, most effective way of stopping undesired behaviors. Some sport trainers also feel that e-collars are the only way to reliably communicate with their dogs at great distances.

If not used by a knowledgeable trainer, can cause intense fear and trauma

Even the most staunch supporters of shock collars would likely agree that the tool should only be used in partnership with an experienced dog trainer who understands the tool. The use of e-collars requires a certain level of expertise to identify the perfect level of correction for your individual dog that gets their attention without overdoing it and potentially causing serious fallout.

If used incorrectly, an e-collar can easily cause serious harm to a dog. If the correction is too hard, you could end up with a dog who totally shuts down due to fear. If the shock isn’t delivered with exact and appropriate timing, your dog is more likely to not understand why he is being punished and might associate the shock with other activities or people you don’t want him to become afraid of.

Argument Against E-Collars

Dogs can easily make undesired associations

Shock collars only work when the dog understands why he is receiving the shock. If the dog misinterprets why he is being shocked, he may end up fearful and create incorrect associations which will be difficult to backpedal.

From a practical point of view, detractors of e-collars will note how easy it is to use these tools incorrectly. Even when handled appropriately with the right level of correction, you never have full control over what associations your dog is making.

For example, if an owner shocks his dog whenever the dog barks at the Goldendoodle dog across the street, the owner may believe that he is punishing the dog for barking at the Goldendoodle next door. However, you can’t explain this reasoning to your dog and can’t determine if they have made the right association – that the barking specifically is why they are being punished.

Instead, the dog might easily make the association that the mere presence of the Goldendoodle resulted in the shock. This can easily lead the dog to associate all strange dogs with pain and unpleasant sensations, resulting in increasing fear and aggression towards unknown dogs.

As you can see, it’s easy for e-collar use to backfire.

Can negatively impact your relationship with your dog

Ideally, dogs will simply associate the shock with the bad behavior. However, if the dog realizes that you are responsible for dispensing that unpleasant sensation, they may begin to develop negative associations with you and fear you.

scared dog

Additionally, those against shock collars will also say that punishment is simply not an effective or humane way to train a dog. Using fear, intimidation, or pain to train a dog (or a little human, for that matter) damages trust and negatively impacts your relationship with your pet.

Plus, many trainers advocate that positive reinforcement-based training yields just as good (if not better) training results with the added benefit of building your dog’s positive association with you and resulting in a happier, more mentally-healthy dog.

Owners can accidentally reinforce aggression

Another issue with using an e-collar is that, if used without understanding the root cause of your dog’s unwanted behavior, you can easily make many aggression issues worse.

Let’s take resource guarding as an example. Imagine an owner wants to stop his dog from growling when he goes to pick up the dog’s food. The owner decides he’ll get an e-collar and shock his dog when the dog growls at him as he approaches the food.

This is an issue on two levels – for once, we need to consider why the dog is so defensive about his food. Dogs guard resources out of fear that someone will take this precious, essential resource from them. By shocking the dog for trying to guard his food, the owner has actually proved that the dog has a good reason to be afraid of the owner approaching his food bowl. When the owner approaches his food, he gets shocked and the food gets taken away. In that case, he may feel he should double down on his aggressive tendencies and defend his food with more vigor!

Additionally, you never want to punish a dog for growling. Why? Because you’ve taught the dog that he gets punished for communicating. We never want to punish communication. Next time your dog gets frustrated or afraid, he might skip the growling step altogether and go straight in for a bite since he’s learned that growling doesn’t work and in fact causes pain.

What Do Research Studies Say About E-Collars?

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior suggests focusing on positive reinforcement, and only using punishment methods like shock collars as as a last line of defense, after all other options have been attempted.

The research on the negative affects of shock collars and punishment-based training is also mixed. One UK-based study found that dogs who were trained with shock collars exhibited more behaviors commonly associated with stress and and tension (like excessive yawning).

On the other hand, another study found that shock collars were no more or less effective than a training regiment composed solely of positive reinforcement (treats and praise rewarded for desired behavior).

However, there is an added element that can effect the outcome and effectiveness of shock collar training – the owner.

The study mentioned above actually found that some owners were more hesitant and unsure of themselves when using the electric dog collars (76% felt comfortable administering the shock collar training on their own, as opposed to 95% – 100% of owners using positive reinforcement training) – and this absolutely did affect dogs in some regard, as dogs exhibited lower tails and more sudden movements away from trainers.

76% of owners felt confident using a shock collar 95% – 100% of owners felt confident using positive reinforcement.

The interesting thing is that these behavioral changes happened even with a group of dog study subjects who wore shock collars with the shocking device off. This implies that it’s the owner’s lack of confidence and hesitation affecting the dogs, rather than the shock collar itself.

The lesson? Shock collars are a tricky training tool. There is some ability for them to be used safely and effectively, but they can easily be misused.

So Should I Use a Shock Collar to Train My Dog?

In short – probably not. At the very least, we recommend that you explore all other alternatives before considering an e-collar due to the risk of fallout.

We’d recommend starting with positive reinforcement methods before resorting to a shock collar.

The research varies a bit, but to avoid any potential risk, why not start with the option that poses the least amount of danger to your pet?

In the hands of the inexperienced, shock collars do have the potential to upset your dog or hurt him if you crank the shock level up too high.

Still, if you’re struggling with your dog feel you’ve exhausted other options, a shock collar may be worth trying under the guidance of a very experienced trainer who understands these tools well.

Before you move forward with a shock collar, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I tried my hardest to use positive reinforcement methods to no avail?
  • Have I hired a professional, certified dog trainer to help with my dog’s issues?
  • Have I talked to a certified dog behaviorist about any particularly troubling behavior issues?
  • Are there any other training methods or options I can try before resorting to a shock collar?

An e-collar should not be your first line of defense when dealing with a dog who has behavior problems.

My Personal Experience Considering an E-Collar

I do not support the use of aversives in training, as I don’t believe using pain, fear, intimidation is the best way to train a dog.

That being said, I can absolutely sympathize with the desperation many owners feel as they consider employing the use of an e-collar.

While working with my very own problematic rescue dog who made life a living hell for me for several months, I got to a point where I was about a week away from purchasing an e-collar.

Remy has been constantly nipping at me, biting and yanking on my sleeves and pant legs, and leaving bruises and marks all over me on a daily basis.

I had been working diligently used a mixture of force-free practices relying on positive reinforcement and negative punishment. However, I hadn’t been seeing great results.

What made the difference for me was consulting a second trainer. While both trainers were committed to not using aversives like shock collars, the second trainer I consulted with had a different perspective on the behavior issue I was dealing with, and his slight tweak to the regiment my first trainer had already provided ended up making all the difference.

I finally started to see improvements. It wasn’t all at once, but as I began to see progress I decided to put a hold on my e-collar order and see where the new training plan would get me.

It did take some time to get Remy to where I wanted him to be, but I’m happy to say his nipping and biting in the home drastically reduced and eventually became non-existent after a couple of months.

My advice to you is – don’t think LIMA or R+ based training isn’t working for your dog based on the suggestions of a single trainer. Not all trainers will have the expertise related to your specific situation. Consider enlisting the help of another certified trainer or – ideally – a certified behavior consultant who really understands canine behavior.

dog training lesson

Many Owners Find Shock Collars Enormously Helpful

While reading up on reviews of various units, it was interesting to see how many owners found e-collars to be their saving grace. For many owners, they’ve tried everything and are at their wits end when it comes to managing their dog’s crazy behavior.

There are many reports from overjoyed owners who say they are so happy to have their pooch finally well behaved after reaching such levels of desperation (some say they were about to give their dog away before trying to e-collar method).

What shock collars are not is a quick fix to your training problems. Owners are still required to put in the time and effort to understand why a dog is behaving badly – are they chewing up furniture because they are bored? Do they display food possessiveness because they are insecure?

Electric dog training collars can help alleviate symptoms, but it’s still the owner’s responsibility to work towards resolving the root cause of the dog’s issues.

Some owners find that they only need to use a shock collar a few times for their dog to stop the unwanted behavior. After a couple of shocking experiences, many dogs will respond simply to the pre-warning beep or vibration (a feature included in most shock training collars).

This is comforting to some owners who are hesitant about using a shock collar; there is a decent chance you may only need to use the shock setting a handful of times before your dog will settle down and begin responding to the beep sound alone.

Some owners don’t even use the shock setting and simply use the vibration mode, which, in some cases, is enough to startle the dog and stop the unwanted behavior. In fact, if you prefer, there are some dog training collars that only vibrate, erasing any potential for static shock.

Features to Consider When Shopping for a Shock Training Collar

There are a few different features to consider when shopping for a shock collar. Some features are real must-haves, while other features may only be important for owners with particular goals (like hunting training).

1. Adjustable Shock Level

We consider this a high-value feature, as you’ll certainly want to be able to adjust the static shock power depending on your dog’s size, demeanor, and strength.

You won’t want to use the same shock level for a Chihuahua as you would for a Labrador. Similarly, a gentle pooch won’t need the same level of correction as a stubborn Shiba Inu.

Using an inappropriately high level of static shock correction on a dog can cause fear, trauma, and has the potential to damage the bond with your dog, so being able to select and adjust the correction level to match your dog’s needs is basically an essential feature.

2. Transmitter Controls

The transmitter controls of a shock collar can vary a fair bit depending on the unit. Main controls include:

  • Rheostat Dials aka Free Spinning Dials. Rheostat dials are smooth dials that can be turned back and forth to reach desired levels. They work and feel similar to a dimmer switch. There is no click or tension between levels, which can make it difficult to hit exact levels. Most also require two hands, which may be difficult for training or hunting.
  • Click Dials. Clicks dials allow the operator to turn a dial that clicks into various levels as the dial is turned. Most owners prefer these, as it’s easy to find and hit specific levels and is simple to operate.
  • Buttons / LCD Screens. Many shock training collars use a button system to increase or decrease shock levels, and an LCD screen to display the current correction level. While these units are generally popular, they do require the owner to look down at the screen to see what correction level they are on, which may not be ideal for all users.

When looking at the various buttons on all transmitter units, make sure to consider how the buttons will work with your hand size and training use. If you’ll be wearing gloves during training sessions, make sure the buttons are large and appropriately spaced.

3. Transmitter Size and Shape

Transmitters can come in various shapes and sizes depending on the model of dog shock collar you end up going with.

Most owners will prefer the smaller and more compact transmitter units. However, those who wear gloves or have large hands may prefer units with more bulk. It really depends on your personal preference!

4. Warning Beep and/or Vibration

Some shock collars provide dogs with a warning sound or light vibration prior to administering a shock.

As noted earlier, this is a really valuable feature as it gives the dog the option to stop the bad behavior when they hear the sound or feel the vibration. Some dogs catch on immediately and don’t even need to be shocked – they hear the beep sound or vibration and respond to it right away. It basically functions as a reverse clicker training.

For owners that are hesitant about administering shocks, this feature can be very reassuring, as many owners are able to train their dog simply with the beep or vibration after a couple of incidents administering the static shock.

teach dog I love you

It is largerly sugested that owners start with the vibrate mode and move on to low static shock levels if dog does not respond to vibration. After that, dogs will learn to react just to the vibrate or beep.

The Problem With Tone Mode

Some owners choose to use a collar’s tone mode as a “warning.” However, this can be problematic in some cases. Many objects in today’s tech world beep and buzz, and you won’t want your dog misinterpreting phone noises or microwave beeps as corrections. 

Using the tone mode can also confuse another dog if you are working with two dogs simultaneously. Regardless of who is being given the tone correction, both dogs will hear it!​

For these reasons, many owners prefer the vibration over the tone mode for non-shock corrections.​

5. Battery

Shock collars can have varied battery life, and depending on how often you plan on using the shock collar, you may require a more powerful battery.

6. Waterproof

Most shock collars are at least water resitant, which means they can handle a few rain drops or splashes here and there. However, owners training hunting dogs who will trek through water will most certainly want a unit that is very durable and waterproof.

dog hunting training

7. Range

For most at-home trainers, range won’t be a huge issue. However, those training hunting dogs will need a training collar with substantial range.

Collars with larger ranges will likely cost more than standard at-home training units.

Other Common Shock Collar Questions

What Kind of Range Do I Need?

Your idea collar range will depend on what you’re using the correction collar for. Collar range can be anywhere from 150 yards all the way up to 2 miles! 

  • Short Range collars (200 – 880 yards) are suitable for pets and in-home or yard training.
  • Medium Range Collars (880 yards – 1760 yards) are ideal for home and yard training, as well as off-leash situations for working dogs.
  • Long Range Collars (3520 yards and more) are best for training hounds or preventing dogs from chasing off with game with longer-range hunting.

As a friendly math reminder:

  • 1/2 mile = 880 yards
  • 1 mile = 1760 yards
  • 2 miles = 3520 yards

A shock collar unit’s range can differ depending on conditions. Collar range can be affected by weather as well as terrain.

Remember that range will always be stronger when there is a line of sight between transmitter and dog collar. However, with most hunting scenarios, this is uncommon, so it’s always better to opt for more range rather than too little.

How Long Should Collar Probes Be?

Many dog shock collar units come with a few different sized probes.

Dogs with short coats (like Beagles, Hounds, or Cocker Spaniels) will be well-suited for the short probes, while dogs with longer and thicker coats (like Labradors and Golden Retrievers) will likely benefit more from the longer probes.

Other Things to Keep in Mind With Dog Shock Collar Training

  • Make Sure Unit Functions Properly. As touched on briefly with our article on citronella bark collars, some bark collars have the potential be activated even when your dog isn’t barking (for example, yawning or coughing could potentially activate a unit). Be sure to monitor your dog with a bark collar unit the first few days and make sure it isn’t shocking your dog at inappropriate times.
  • For Training Only, Not Walks. E-collars should only be used in the home, yard, or during training sessions. For all other occasions, a regular collar or harness should be used.
  • Never Use With Puppies. A shock collar is never an appropriate tool to use with puppies. Pups are still learning how the world works and should only be trained with gentle methods. Plus, with puppy fear periods involved, using a shock collar could easily frighten your dog enough to cause long-lasting trauma.

Have you ever used a shock e-collar to train your dog? What was your experience like? Share your advice in the comments!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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  1. Angie Avatar

    I wonder what kind of dog trainers you are if you have even considered writing about such devices, let alone dedicating a full article to such inhumane methods!
    I need to reevaluate my subscription to your newsletter.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Angie.
      This is a pretty old article, and our thoughts on shock collars have evolved over time.

      If you scroll down to the bottom portion of the article, you can see Meg’s current thinking, as well as some of the pros and cons of these tools. As she puts it in the “Should I Use a Shock Collar to Train My Dog” section:

      In short – probably not. At the very least, we recommend that you explore all other alternatives before considering an e-collar due to the risk of fallout.

      But we thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Seb Avatar

    Disgusting that you promote these inhumane devices.

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Seb – while I’m personally not a fan of of shock collar, our goal is to provide readers with all their options and let them decide what is best for their needs. We do make sure to explain the many pitfalls of shock collars, and why we generally do not recommend them.

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