How to Use An Electronic Dog Training Collar? (Like a Pro)

Last Updated on April, 2024

Are you the proud owner of a dog with a penchant for mischief? Or perhaps you’ve just welcomed a new furry friend into your home, and they’re still learning the ropes of good behavior. 

If that’s the case, you’re well aware of the struggles of teaching your dog to be obedient. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this struggle. Many dog owners have been there before and found a reliable ally in dog training collars. 

In this guide, we’ll break down how to introduce dog training collars to your dog and how to teach basic commands. We’ll also give you the lowdown on using these training collars, some tips and advice, and common mistakes to avoid. 

Get ready to unlock the secrets to smoother walks, positive behaviors, and a stronger bond with your dog. Let’s get started! 

How to Use a Training Collar on a Dog in 3 Steps?

Set-Up: Read the manual, familiarize with the remote, and charge both collar and remote.

Fit the Collar: Ensure snug fit on dog’s neck, with electrodes touching the skin.

Training Introduction: Start with low stimulation, gradually increase to find attention level, and combine with commands and rewards.

How to Use a Training Collar for Your Dog?

Dog Wearing Training Collar

Remote training collars also known as e-collars or shock collars are some of the more sophisticated dog training tools available in the market.

These electric dog training collars allow you to teach your dog new behaviors plus reinforce old ones without much effort, thanks to their ease of use.

With that, remote dog training collars are also not very expensive, you can get the best ones for less than $150, which is great. Now that’s out of the way, let’s now go over the steps to use a dog training collar. 

Set-Up 

Before you can begin your e-collar training, be sure to read the instruction manual that comes with the remote training collar. This is where you’ll find all the specifics about your particular training collar, as different brands and models can have unique features and settings.

Familiarize yourself with the handheld remote control. Understand the buttons and functions so you’re ready to give your dog clear signals.

These buttons include:

  • Nick button: It’s a super short burst of stimulation that lasts less than a quarter of a second. 
  • Continuous button: A button that provides stimulation for as long as you press the button. 
  • Safety Shut-Off: If you press the Continuous or Pager buttons for more than 12 seconds, they will automatically shut off.
  • Remote Control Transmitter: Hold it comfortably in either hand, but don’t obstruct the antenna or stash it in your pocket. This could mess with the radio signal and give you inconsistent results. 

Ensure that your remote training collar and the remote control are charged. The last thing you want is a dead battery while you train your dog. Most electronic dog collars come with rechargeable batteries, so plug it in, let it juice up, and you’re good to go.

Finding the Perfect Fit 

Next, attach the remote dog training collar to your dog’s neck. Ensure you fit the collar properly by ensuring it’s snug but not too tight– you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. 

In addition, ensure that the electrodes are in direct contact with the contact points of your dog’s neck. You might want to trim some fur for longer-haired breeds so that your dog’s contact points touch the remote training collar.  

Then, slide the receiver unit into your dog’s collar, and again, make sure it’s snug and secure. The receiver collar shouldn’t dangle or move around too much.

Dog with Collar

Introducing the Different Stimulations of the Dog Training Collar

Begin training by introducing the stimulation levels of the dog training collar in a quiet, distraction-free zone where your dog feels secure. Ensure that both the remote control and the electric collar on your dog are fully charged. 

Follow these steps for a smooth start with your electronic collar:

  • Familiarity: Start by allowing your dog to become familiar with the collar without associating it with any behavior correction. Place the collar near your dog during play or feeding times, allowing them to sniff and investigate it. This helps create a positive association. 

You can even take it a step further by letting your dog wear the collar for short periods without using it for any behavior correction. This allows your dog to become more comfortable with it. 

  • Initiate With The Stimulation Button: Press the stimulation button for a second or two, dedicating 10-15 minutes daily for 2-3 days to help your dog associate the stimulation level with reward and praise. 
  • Reward And Praise: Associate the stimulation level with positive reinforcement, using it as a reward. Release the stimulation button and reward your dog with verbal praise. Allow 2-5 seconds before repeating the process. You can also vary the rewards during this training process. 

Setting the Collar to the Correct Stimulation Level for Your Dog

To do this, you must first identify your dog’s “recognition level,” or the correction level your dog reacts to. 

Start At the Lowest Stimulation Level 

Begin with the lowest stimulation level and observe if it has got your dog’s attention. Signs that your dog is reacting to it will include things such as looking around curiously, scratching at the electronic collar, or flicking ears. 

Increase Gradually 

If there’s no noticeable change, increase to the next stimulation level. Observe your dog’s reaction at each level. 

Identify Your Dog’s Recognition Level 

Take note of the level at which your dog responds to the stimulation. This is your dog’s recognition level or communication level during training. 

Remember, if this becomes tricky for you to figure out by yourself, get the help of a professional dog trainer. 

Stop Unwanted Behaviors

To establish the foundation of communicating with your dog with the e-collar, you must first teach your dog basic commands (more on that in a bit.) 

Let’s look at how to stop undesirable behaviors in your dog in a few scenarios.

Jumping on People

Stopping unwanted behaviors like this in dogs requires strategically using a remote trainer to discourage the bad behavior. Follow these steps: 

  • Set The Ground Rules: Ensure your dog understands it must sit before receiving attention. 
  • Choose An Appropriate Stimulation Level: Select a level slightly higher than your dog’s recognition level. This will get your dog’s attention. 
  • Intervene When They Jump: When your dog starts to jump on someone, press the Stimulation button and simultaneously issue the command “sit.”
  • Release Stimulation Upon Compliance: As soon as your dog sits, immediately release the button. Offer praise and treats to reinforce the desired behavior. 
  • Practice In Various Settings: Repeat the exercise in different locations using different people as distractions. If your dog ignores the stimulation, repeat the “sit” command several times before increasing the stimulation by one level. 

Digging Up Garden Beds

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to curb this unwanted behavior: 

  • Isolate The Training Area: Ensure no other people or pets are in the yard to prevent your dog from associating the stimulation with them. Position yourself where your dog cannot see you to maintain focus on their digging behavior. 
  • Wait For Digging: Press the stimulation button immediately when your dog starts digging your garden bed. 
  • Release Button Upon Compliance: Release the button once your dog stops this unwanted behavior.
  • Observe For Repeat Behavior: Wait for a few moments as your dog may try digging in a different spot. 
  • Adjust Stimulation If Ignored: If your dog ignores the stimulation, increase the level by one until your dog obeys. 

Chasing People and Cars 

Dogs love to chase after stuff. To keep your dog safe during walks, here’s how to do it with your shock collar: 

  • Master The “Come” Command: Ensure your dog is proficient in the “Come” command before stopping unwanted behaviors like this. 
  • Set Up A Chasing Scenario: Create a controlled scenario where your dog is likely to chase, such as a friend riding a bicycle or car, or going for a jog.
  • Secure The Leash: Hold the leash firmly to maintain control during this training exercise.
  • Intervene When Chasing Begins: As soon as your dog moves to chase, issue the “come” command. Press the Continuous button until your dog ceases chasing.
  • Encourage Return: Once your dog begins coming back to you, gently pull at the leash and slowly walk backward while giving the “come” command. 
  • Reward And Praise: Praise your dog and offer treats when it returns to you, reinforcing the positive behavior. 

Excessive Barking

Addressing nuisance barking can be effectively managed using an e-collar. Follow these steps:

  • Respond To Excessive Barking: When your dog starts barking, press the stimulation button and simultaneously issue the command “quiet” to associate the action with the command. 
  • Adjust Stimulation If Needed: Increase the stimulation by one if your dog doesn’t respond. This encourages a stronger association with the command.
  • Praise For Quietness: Once your dog becomes quiet, praise it to reinforce the behavior.  

Worth reading: Why is My Dog Shock Collar Stopped Working?

How to Teach Basic Commands With a Dog Training Collar?

Now, you can’t put the electronic collar on your dog and magically expect it to understand how it works when you train them with it. In fact, this will cause your dog to become anxious and frightened.

This is why it is essential to teach basic obedience commands first, before moving on to full frontal training and correcting those unwanted behaviors. Let’s go over some of them.

Sit 

  • Start with your dog on a leash and the training collar properly fitted.
  • Give the ‘sit’ command while pressing the stimulation button on your remote control.
  • If your dog sits, immediately reward it with praise and a treat. This may take some time, so you have to be patient. 
  • Repeat the process until your dog can reliably sit on command.

Stay 

  • After your dog has mastered sitting, introduce the ‘stay’ command. 
  • With your dog in a sitting position, start moving away from it. 
  • If your dog steps towards you, say “stay” and press the stimulation button on your remote.
  • If your dog stays, return to it quickly and reward your dog. 
  • Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. Ensure that you reward each successful stay. 

Come 

  • Attach a long leash to the training collar and let your dog explore a controlled area. 
  • Call your dog with a cheerful ‘come’, while pressing the button on the remote.
  • When it reaches you, reward and praise enthusiastically. 
  • Gradually increase the distance and practice in different environments. 

Heel 

  • Start by walking, using the leash to keep your dog close to your side.
  • If it starts to pull, give the ‘heel’ command and press down on the button on your handheld remote. 
  • Reward your dog for walking nicely at your side with treats and praise.

Remember that consistency is key here, so practice in various locations to allow your dog to roam off-leash. A remote collar is a training tool for positive punishment, so ensure you remain patient and don’t abuse it. 

If you encounter any difficulties when you teach your dog with the remote collar, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a professional trainer to help you out. 

Does a Remote Training Collar it Hurt My Dog? 

Training With Shock Collar

A common misconception about remote training collars is that they will hurt your dog. However, the stimulation from these shock collars is a static shock, similar to the zing you might get on a dry winter day.

It’s more of an unpleasant sensation than pain, and its main job is to grab your dog’s attention, not inflict pain. 

In other words, it doesn’t zap your dog with actual electric shocks. 

The best part about these remote training collars is that they come with a range of stimulation levels, so you can choose a stimulation level your dog understands. Always start with the lowest setting and gauge your dog’s reaction when opting to increase the level.

When used correctly, electric shock collars will not hurt your dog.

Recommended to read: How to Clean & Wash a Dog Collar?

Wrapping Up

No matter which type of dog collar you opt for, remember that to train your dog, you must be responsible and empathetic. If you’re ever unsure about what you’re doing, get the help of a dog trainer to assist you. 

So, take your time to understand your collar, your dog’s needs, and your training goals. Be patient, consistent, and gentle, and most importantly, celebrate every small victory along the way. 

Happy training! 

FAQs

Six months old is generally recommended, as this is when puppies typically begin their training.

It is better to start training puppies with a harness before switching to a collar to avoid potential harm.

No, the collar should only be worn during training sessions and removed afterwards.

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Thomas Villalpando
Thomas Villalpando is the main author of IPet Guides. He spends his time reading, training, and working with several Dogs' behaviors. He has been featured in MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Sun, Entrepreneur & More. You can find more about him here.

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