How To Properly Train A Dog With A Shock Collar
Shock collars—also known as electronic collars or training collars—are a technique that is sometimes used to help dogs better understand and remember the skills/commands that they are supposed to know. When shock collars are properly used, they can be a very effective tool.
Unfortunately, many dog owners use them as a substitute, not a supplement, for traditional training techniques. That may not be the ideal solution, especially for puppies.
Shock collars have either a zap, vibration, or a sound feature. Many people prefer the vibration or sound feature; however, when used properly, the zap feature will not harm your pet.
It’s important to keep in mind that shock collars often are controversial for good reason. Before you begin to use a shock collar as your primary training device, you should have a full understanding of the pros and cons that come with the device, as well as the perceptions some people may have about the device.
Here are a few tips for how to properly use a shock collar to train your dog.
Buy a Quality Product
First, choose a quality product. Don’t grab the first one you see, or the cheapest, or even the most expensive. Take the time to do your research before investing in a collar.
Shock collars come in a wide range of styles and price ranges, so you make sure you choose from among the best products for your dog. It will make the training process easier and you will feel reassured that neither your pet nor its training will be harmed due to a faulty device.
Some features to consider when choosing a shock collar include:
- Range. One of the most important things to consider is how close the collar and transmitter have to be. Generally, it is recommended that you choose something with a range of at least one mile, which means you can administer a shock from a mile away (with a direct line of sight). If the area you need to cover is smaller (say, from the house to the backyard), a shorter range is fine.
- Waterproof. If your dog likes to play in puddles (or drink from them) or like to go for a walk or run in the rain, a waterproof collar and transmitter will help ensure your dog’s (and your) safety.
- Variable shock settings. Shock collars are available with different levels of stimulation, the more the better. When there are too few settings, your dog may not even feel level one, but level two may make it cry out in pain. This is called overstepping. More settings make it easier and safer to find your dog’s most effective level.
- Duration. Some collars deliver a brief shock (a fraction of a second) when the button is pressed and no more. This is called momentary. You only want to get the dog’s attention. Some collars keep shocking as long as the button is held down. This is called continuous. Make sure you know which you have before holding down that button.
- Signaling capabilities. The majority of shock collars can signal as well as shock. This may be either a short-range, high-pitched whine or a vibration. This is a less painful option than shocks and can be a warning that a shock may follow unless.
Properly Training Your Dog With a Shock collar
Even if your dog already wears a non-shock collar, it must get used to the feel of the shock collar—which probably feels very different—before training can begin. After that, training sessions should not last longer than 30 minutes in the beginning and never more than an hour.
The recommended steps for using a shock collar as a training device include:
- Start with the basics. Don’t start training a new puppy with a shock collar. In most situations, it won’t work and both you and your puppy will end up frustrated. First, teach the basic commands that you will need to build a trusting relationship with your dog. It will help their learning process.
- Positive and negative reinforcement. Your dog cannot read your mind and he has its own motivations. If you expect certain behaviors from your dog, reinforce them with treats, specific words, or activities. Likewise, discourage other behaviors with other words and signals of your disapproval, up to and including the shock collar. Be patient. This may take a few weeks, but your dog will learn.
- Combine techniques to back up the shock collar. If you only train your dog with a shock collar, it will only obey when it is wearing the shock collar. Alcohol rehabs don’t use shock collars. So, use other methods, too. Even the most enthusiastic shock collar proponents say it shouldn’t be on your dog for more than 10–12 hours a day.
- Strive to use vibrate or no collar. The goal of using a shock collar is to train your dog to be well-behaved and safe, but it needn’t wear one all of its life. Since most dogs want to please their owners, they should eventually learn to behave as you expect. You should strive to gradually get away from using the collar, or only using the vibrate function instead of the shock. Eventually, you may find you no longer need the collar.
Unless you or your dog is in a life-threatening situation, never use the highest level on the collar. Most dogs will learn behavior through the use of the lowest correction setting; that’s the best option. If you need to increase it, do it incrementally.
Better still, use kinder, alternate methods, such as treats. Shocks should not be the only solution.
Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.