Picture: Courtesy of Petrainer
Dog training collars are available in a variety of types and each comes in handy in separate situations. Today, dog shock collars are our article’s center of attention, especially how to introduce them to your pooch and train him with them.
Shock collars, also known as e-collars, are a vital tool for dog owners whose canine buddies are stubborn to train or reinforce basic commands and correct unwanted dog behaviors. It is handy in grabbing the dog’s attention and is only used as the last result after all other methods of training have failed.
If you are reading this, you already purchased a dog shock collar and are asking yourself ‘what now?’ This question is common, especially among beginner dog owners. Do you want to know how to introduce a shock collar to a dog? Then you are in the right place as this article was written with you in mind.
How Dog Shock Collars Work
Most individuals have a mistaken belief concerning shock collars and how they work. At times, this fallacy is fortified by social media, especially TV shows and movies where they use blown up the amount of electricity on their pooches. Those are works of fiction meant to be fun, but it is not funny, is it?
E-collars are equipped with two small prongs on the collar that produce an electric pulse to your canine pal’s neck to get his attention. Since the dog shock collars are made differently, this static shock can be initiated automatically or via a remote control unit.
Shock collars are designed with different levels of stimulation that allow you to pick the best spot for your dog, based on his sensitivity level and temperament. The electrical pulse delivered is safe for your dog. Modern dog shock collars are devised to grab your dog’s attention without causing pain or any permanent physical harm to his neck.
TIP: Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions before you start using the shock collar.
When You Should Introduce a Shock Collar on Dog
When it comes to using a shock collar, the most common question dog owners ask is at which age it should be introduced. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to that query. And while some puppies are ready when they are 14 or 15 weeks old, others have to attain the standard age of 6 months.
If you have an unruly and friendly puppy with a neck that is large enough to fit a collar, adding the shock collar in its training tools kit is a great idea. Introvert pups can be easy to train even without a shock collar or should be introduced later on.
In my opinion, there is more to it than just the dog’s age or temperament when it comes to introducing a shock collar to a dog. What you should consider most is your familiarity with the shock collar and devotion to training your pup (time). And this points out one question – how is your relationship between you and your canine buddy?
Regardless of the age, you introduce the shock collar to your dog, the only thing that matters is your willingness and dedication towards transforming him into what you want. Just ensure you do not extend the training exercise periods, maintain a schedule, and use rewards and all the things will fall into line.
How to Introduce a Shock Collar to a Dog using 4 Steps
Rob Dunn, an expert dog trainer at Triple Crown Academy in Hutto, TX, expresses that the introduction phase of a shock collar to a dog plays a vital role in its development. When properly introduced, the dog shock collar training improves your dog’s response to training. As such, you will have a well-disciplined pooch that makes a perfect family pet.
While reinforcing trained commands is what a dog shock collar is mainly used for, the majority of dog owners buy them to help stop undesirable dog behaviors. From jumping up on the furniture to barking needlessly and chasing cars and small pets, shock collars correct many things.
Step 1: User Acquaintance with the Shock Collar
Acquaint yourself with the shock collar after purchase and make sure that you test the collar’s functionality. To do this, you can harness the collar on your neck and press the lowest level of static stimulation on yourself. Any felt effect should tell the shock collar works.
Even best, some modern collars include a test mode button which allows you to test whether it is functional and the safety of the stimulation level on your dog’s neck.
Step 2: Shock Collar Fitness
Picture: Courtesy of dogtips.com
Fit the shock collar on your canine buddy’s neck. Make sure that the collar you purchase matches your dog’s neck size correctly before spending a dime. To be certain, measure your dog’s neck or carry him during the shopping day.
NOTE: The dog’s shock collar should fit high on his neck close to his ears and be comfy to make sure that the prongs with your dog’s skin. Do not allow the collar to slither on your pooch’s neck by ensuring that two of your fingers can fit under the collar.
From there, you can now introduce the shock collar used to your pooch.
Step 3: Dog Acquaintance with the Shock Collar
As we all know, dogs are intelligent creatures which mean that you must outwit them if you wish to use the collar effectively. What do I mean? Your dog mustn’t know that the collar is being used to correct or train him. Instead, he should acquaint with the order. If not, he will be cunny and behave when the collar is on the neck then change after you remove it.
To prevent this, he needs to be acquainted with the collar. So, before you switch the device on, make sure that he wears it at least 8 hours per day for a week. Is it not that long? Patience my friend, patience! In the end, he will get used to the shock collar like it is a tag or any other collar.
Step 4: Stimulation Levels Setting
Most dog shock collars come with 3 modes of training, including the beep, vibration, and static shock. With the static shock, there are several levels of intensity (up to 100 levels) which starts from zero on the remote control. As the rule of the thumb, you should begin with the lowest and observe your dog’s response to each level when training him.
If that level engages him but does not get his attention, increase the levels slowly until you see him tilt his head, ears stand straight, or he reacts in any way. That is the stimulation level at which you should begin training him.
CAUTION: If your canine buddy yaps or jumps up, it is an indication that the level of intensity is too high. Remember that though dogs are smart, the level also varies which means some will pick up the commands fast while others will drag themselves.
Do not be fooled by the size of your dog and think that those with a small size can only act to a specific level. No! Some pooches are sensitive than others. Most small dogs tend to be stubborn. So, find the sweet spot in the stimulation levels for your dog.
2 Reasons Why You Should Introduce a Shock Collar to a Dog
When introducing a shock collar to a dog, we mentioned earlier that it can be for two reasons: either correcting undesirable behaviors or fortifying taught commands. So, how do you use it in each case?
Fortifying taught commands
A dog shock collar comes in handy when reinforcing the commands that you have taught him but he tends to ignore you, responds slowly, or incompatibly. In other terms, it helps hone your canine pal’s skills. When using a shock collar to fortify taught commands, you decrease the stimulation level each time they act accordingly.
For instance, when your pooch barks, command him to ‘Quiet’ and allow the momentous shock to continue and release the button when he shuts up. The quicker he responds to your order, the quicker the awful shock feeling stops. Once he realizes that obedience makes the static shock stop, he will learn things fast.
You should repeat this 3-4 times (using short sessions and breaks) and remember to praise and reward him for everything he does right. I know dogs can be stubborn, so do not give up on your companion friend. Also, make sure you only issue the commands you can reinforce.
Correcting undesirable behaviors
Typically, this is the main reason why most dog owners buy and opt to use a shock collar on their pooches. This kind of training requires you to set the shock collar on the momentary shock mode at your dog’s sweet spot.
In which way does your dog like misbehaving? Eating from the trash despite feeding him high-quality nutritious food, I guess. If so, for instance, allow him to wander to where the trash can is, and when he starts to search for eatables, tap the button from a hiding place. Make sure you catch him in the act. When he ignores that level, increase it gradually until he feels it.
Your dog will immediately associate the irritating feeling with bad behavior and learn eating trash is wrong. Make sure you do this regularly so it can stick in his thick head.
Things You Should Know Before Using a Dog Shock Collar
As we have seen, a shock collar for dogs is a handy tool. But before you purchase and use them, there are things that you should know and we shall categorize them into pros and cons.
Pros of Shock Collars
- They are known to be effective training tools
- The static shock comes with adjustable levels of intensity
- Ability to curb barking from a distance via remote & bypassing distance barriers
- Affordable pricing compared to pro dog trainer fees or fencing
Cons of Shock Collars
- Shock is viewed as aversive behavior modification
- Creates fear in dogs
- Unintentional or faulty triggering especially with auto shock collars
- Must include rewards
All you have to do is weigh what carries more weight depending on your dog’s needs.
Can I train my dog with a shock collar?
Yes, you can train your dog with a shock collar. However, it should be the last resort after you have tried all the other training options. You should also try a pro dog trainer’s help before deciding on using a shock collar.
Can a shock collar hurt my dog’s throat?
Although it is rare, a shock collar can hurt your dog’s throat, especially due to malfunctions. You should be aware that one of the risks of using a shock collar is that it may break down leading to electrical burns and holes on your dog’s neck. This causes both physical and emotional pain to your dog.
Are shock collars harmful to dogs?
No, shock collars are not harmful to dogs as long as the shock collar being used is approved. The amount of shock administered helps get your dog’s attention, reinforce commands, and correct bad behaviors without causing any lasting physical harm.
For the best results when introducing a shock collar to a dog, you need to make sure that your pooch establishes a mental link between good behavior and ending the feeling. It might take some time but remember that patience pays. So, do not give up on your canine friend.
While there is no specific age for introducing a shock collar to a dog, make sure that he is at least 14 weeks old. Also, ensure that his neck is large enough to hold the collar. Before everything else, understand how the collar works and the best level of intensity based on their needs.
Finally, NEVER use a shock collar on your dog to teach commands. Doing this only hardens his stubbornness and he will not obey you willingly but because he is being coerced using a nasty shock. Therefore, instead of reinforcing good behaviors, your dog will be collar-wise.
Hope the article was helpful. Adios!
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at email@example.com