It is important to start any training program off on the right paw. Get to know the essentials of e-collars, also called remote trainers or dog training collar‚ when to use them, when not to use them and how to introduce them to your dog. Start any training program with a solid foundation of basic manners. Once a dog learns the basics‚ like sit, down, stay, and come‚ advanced training should be much easier.

When to Use E-Collars

All e-collars or remote trainers are intended for two basic purposes:

  • To reinforce behaviors that have already been taught‚ obedience commands like sitstayand come. E-collar corrections help your dog refocus his attention on you and your command.

  • To correct unwanted behaviors, like leash pulling, nuisance barking and bolting through doors. Your dog learns to avoid the correction by avoiding the unwanted behavior.

A dog training collar is helpful when using a leash isn’t practical. Serving as a virtual leash, the collar allows you to give a dog an immediate correction from a longer distance. It helps him focus or refocus on the task at hand.

When Not to Use E-Collars

There are times when using a dog training collar may not be appropriate. They are not typically recommended in these cases:

  • Dogs under six months of age

  • Dogs that are pregnant or nursing

  • Dogs with health problems, especially heart disease

  • Dogs unable to respond appropriately due to injury, illness, age or senility

  • Dogs that display aggressive tendencies

  • Dogs with anxiety disorders

As with any training tool, it is a good idea to consult a veterinarian or training professional if you have questions.

Introducing or Conditioning Your Dog to an E-Collar

When introducing a dog training collar, you need to condition, or teach, the dog how to respond. This initial conditioning should be done on a leash or a rope so you can guide the dog to the appropriate response.

Start your e-collar conditioning in an area with few or no distractions. This allows you to use the lowest possible e-collar setting to get your dog’s attention and teach him how to respond properly to the commands and stimulation. When he consistently understands the commands and the e-collar stimulation process, you can begin training in environments with greater distractions.

  • First, make sure your dog has a basic understanding of a command (like sit or stay) that you’ve taught him while on a leash. Introduce the e-collar only after he understands the command.

  • Once the command is established, turn on the collar and fit it snugly, high up on the dog’s neck near where it meets the jaw. Any other identification collar should be worn below the e-collar. The dog should be able to breathe freely, but you should be able to feel that the contact points are touching his skin.

  • Then set your transmitter to its lowest level and push a button while your dog is sitting calmly next to you. You’ll know that you’ve found the proper stimulation level (or recognition level) when the dog makes a slight response‚ like cocking his ears or becoming more alert. If you don’t see any response, gradually increase stimulation until you do. At no time should the dog vocalize.

  • Once you’ve found the dog’s optimal training level, continue training with both the leash and the e-collar, pushing a transmitter button as you pull on the leash. Over time, dogs equate the stimulation from the e-collar with a pull on the leash.

  • Finally, when the dog consistently obeys commands using the leash and collar, you can remove the leash to train with only the e-collar. Eventually you can begin giving the dog commands without any stimulation.

Read more about static correction.