Is a Shock Collar Right for Your Dog?

American Staffordshire Terrier with an electronic collar

The dog shock collar training method's potential distress and controversial nature recommend using shock collars at a minimal level. But when used with knowledge and additional training methods, the dog shock collar can reduce typical dog behavioral issues.

Many training methods help even the most stubborn dog stop barking up the wrong tree. See which training method works best for your cuddling companion.

While you may frequently use the dog shock collar training method, it is essential to remember this method may not be suitable for all dogs. When used inappropriately or too often, it can cause distress and damage your dog's physical and emotional state. However, when used appropriately, the e-collar training method can have some positive results in terms of behavioral changes.

To see if a dog shock collar is suitable for your dog, view our dog behavioral training tips and look into our dog shock collar options below.

Common Dog Behavior Issues

Dogs of all ages can display behavior issues. These behavioral issues can be minor, like that your dog likes to steal your socks or chew on your shoes. They can also affect other people around your dog. For instance, maybe your dog likes to bark at the person delivering your packages.

No matter what the unwanted behavior is, there are methods to deter your dog from engaging in those behaviors and giving into impulses. Here are some common dog behavior issues that many dog owners face.

Aggressive Behavior

Dogs may exhibit aggressive behavior when in training or after the completion of training. The aggressive behavior may be mild or severe, with different ways of treatment for different aggressions. Growling, snarling, lunging, or snapping is common expressions of aggressive behavior in dogs.

Dogs may exhibit aggressive behavior for several reasons. The most common types of aggressive behavior are territorial aggression, possession aggression, frustration-aggression, and pain aggression caused by pain.

Nuisance Barking

Dogs bark. Shocker (ha, no pun intended), right? There may be occasions when the barking is excessive and becomes a nuisance. It can also be scary, primarily when caused by aggression, for young children, other dogs, and adults.

Many things can cause barking, from being left alone all day and bored to fear and other emotional distresses. The most common reasons for dog barking are fear, separation anxiety, boredom, and seeking attention.

Destructive Chewing

Chewing is also another frequent dog behavior. Dogs may chew on toys or sticks for enjoyment, but there are other, more severe causes of chewing that can be very destructive. Dogs may chew if they’re scared, anxious, or involved in a conflict.

Additional Unwanted Behaviors

Besides expressing aggression, barking excessively, and destructive chewing, there are other behaviors that dogs can exhibit that are milder. Dogs can guard their food, whine, howl, and bite. Biting is usually a symptom seen in puppies, although it can also occur in adult dogs. The biting is usually mild but can be severe sometimes.

dachshund puppy was left at home alone and started tearing up furniture and chewing slippers

Types of Behavioral Training

There are several dog behavioral training methods to prevent unwanted behavior. Different dogs may benefit best from different dog training. Try different methods if you have a stubborn dog or if, perhaps, your dog simply doesn’t learn that way.

To determine what training methods may or may not be helpful to you and your dog, it is vital to analyze your needs and desired outcomes, specific training goals, your dog’s needs and personality, and the resources required for the training method.

This article will dive into two different dog training methods: positive reinforcement and aversive training. Look through our analysis of each, and determine your dog's needs, training goals, and resources to see which training method will help you and your dog the best.

Positive reinforcement and aversive training are parts of an applied animal behavior science called operant conditioning. Before diving into the specific training methods, we’ll introduce the basics of operant conditioning so that you may have a better understanding of how each training fits into the larger model of dog training.

Operant Conditioning Basics

Operant conditioning is a learning method that associates consequences with actions. It associates a specific dog behavior with certain responses or consequences in dog training. These consequences can either be reinforcements or punishments, and the reinforcements or punishments can be positive or negative.

Reinforcements and punishments are responses meant to affect the likelihood of specific behaviors. Reinforcement is a consequence that is imposed to encourage the likelihood of a specific animal behavior occurring again, and punishment deters the likelihood of specific animal behavior.

Reinforcements and punishments, as mentioned above, can be positive or negative responses. We do not use these terms in terms of quality but in terms of the mathematical concept. Positive responses mean we add an individual consequence when an action or behavior occurs. Negative responses mean we remove an individual consequence when an action or behavior occurs.

We split the resulting responses into quadrants. The four categories identified are positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative reinforcement, and negative punishment.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves the addition of a response to encourage the likelihood of a behavior occurring again. For example, a dog trainer giving your dog a treat after your dog appropriately answers a command is an example of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement training is based on the positive reinforcement aspect of operant conditioning. (Are you having flashbacks of Psych 101 yet?)

Positive Punishment

Positive punishment involves adding a response that deters the behavior from happening again. For instance, using an e-collar is typically a positive punishment, as we add something when a behavior occurs to decrease the likelihood of it happening again. Aversive training (mentioned later) is an example of positive punishment.

Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is the elimination of a response to increasing the possibility that this behavior will happen again. An example of negative reinforcement would be if a dog owner continuously pushes a dog’s rear end to aid in the dog’s process of responding to the command “sit” and then ceases the pushing when the dog is in the sitting position. We sometimes use aversive training as negative reinforcement, but it can be dangerous and has been less effective.

Negative Punishment

Negative punishment is the taking away of a response to decrease the dog's possibility of exhibiting this behavior again. If a dog is often jumping and the dog owner or dog trainer does not give the dog attention when jumping, this is an example of negative punishment.

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training is precisely what it sounds like. This training method uses the addition of responses to encourage the behavior to occur again. We may use the other quadrants of operant conditioning combined with positive reinforcement; however, the emphasis is on positive reinforcement.

In positive reinforcement training, we prefer reinforcements over punishments. We use treats or praise after the behavior as positive reinforcements. We use negative reinforcements less, such as guiding while walking or obeying commands.

The most popular positive reinforcements used in this training method are food, treats, playtime, and praise. Some dogs even respond better to praise from the dog owner than food, treats, or playtime!

dog receiving a treat for raising his paw

Aversive Training

Aversive training is positive punishment training. Remember, the positive notion is not about the quality of the punishment but about if something is being added or taken away. Here, the response is added to reduce the likelihood that the behavior will happen again.

In the training of domestic dogs, aversive are responses that dogs avoid. Some common aversive for dogs includes the prong collar, the choke collar, and various electronic dog shock collar forms.

Aversive training for dogs associates a behavior with a particular punishment. It can often cause a reliance on the aversive measure to prevent the punishment unless worked along with other quadrants of operant conditioning. You can use both aversive training methods and positive reinforcement for the same dog. You can reinforce desired behaviors with treats and still use aversive for unwanted behavior. They are not mutually exclusive, and they recommend it to do so.

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E-Collar Training

An e-collar, or a remote training dog shock collar, is a popular type of aversive training for dogs. It is used as a positive punishment or a negative reinforcement and worn around a dog’s neck just like a regular E-collars present dogs with a specific stimulation to deter the behavior. The everyday deterring stimulations are beep stimulation, vibration stimulation, and shock stimulation.

Choosing an E-Collar

Choosing a suitable electronic dog shock collar or an e-collar is extremely important. Several factors are essential when choosing an e-collar for your dog's training.

Safety and Responsibility

The first and most important factor for a dog owner to consider when choosing a dog shock collar is your dog's safety. As a dog owner or dog trainer, you must prioritize safety and responsibility. You want a dog shock collar to deter the dog from exhibiting unwanted behavior without putting them in danger. Try opting for a beep or tone stimulation dog shock collar or one that produces a vibration. You may choose one that delivers a shock, but you will want to choose one with control of stimulation if you do.

Speed and Reliability

Speed and reliability are critical aspects of a dog shock collar. You want a collar that will respond within a short amount of time to reduce the time it takes for the dog to cease the behavior because of the stimulation.

Suppose your dog's shock collar’s response time is slow or unreliable. You could put your dog in danger by accidentally overstimulating the dog if you don’t think the stimulus initially went through. It is safer for your dog if you were to find a remote training collar that is fast and reliable for the best and safest results possible.

Training Goals

It would be best to determine your training goals before choosing a dog shock collar, as with any training method. Different remote training collars work better for different behaviors. An invisible fence collar is better for yard training than others, a bark collar is best for nuisance barking and dog shock collars for hunting dogs will differ from domestic dogs.

Dog Size and Personality

This is also extremely important when choosing a remote training dog shock collar for your dog. It will not work as intended if not sized appropriately. For a small dog, you will want a smaller dog collar. If you have a big dog, you will want a collar made for big dogs. If you have a medium-sized dog, buy an adjustable dog shock collar that will adjust to fit around your dog’s neck.

Range of Effectiveness

It may also depend on the training goals regarding the range of effectiveness. If you plan on using the dog shock collar in vast, open spaces, look for one with a more extensive range of effectiveness. If you are only using it in your yard, finding a dog shock collar with an extensive range of effectiveness may not be as important.

Best Dog Shock Collars

Dog Training Collar Dog Shock Collar with Remote


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PATPET – Dog Training Collar

The PATPET Dog Training Collar has three different modes. This electronic dog shock collar can stimulate the dog with a beep, a vibration, or a shock. It has a 1,000-foot range, great for large open spaces, and has 16 different shock levels. It also has a built-in design to prevent accidental set-off, making it safer than other electric shock collars.

Always check the battery level before securing it to your dog’s neck for additional safety. Check the dog’s skin condition every day, and don’t attach a leash directly to the dog's shock collar. Try to reposition the collar every hour, and do not leave the collar on for over 8 hours.

Dog Training Collar Rechargeable and Rainproof

by Petrainer 

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Petrainer – Dog Training Collar

The Dog Training Collar produced by Petrainer also has three different modes of stimulation: beep, vibration, and static or shock. The range is around the same as the PATPET collar, with a range of 330 yards, or 990 feet. It has 100 different stimulation levels to prevent overstimulating your dog.

This dog shock collar has a power-saving design, is rainproof, has a low light mode if you’re training after dark, and you can use it for obedience, barking, jumping, and other unwanted behavior. Again, constantly adjust every few hours, and do not leave it on your dog for over 8 hours.

Dog Training Collar for Large Medium Dogs


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DOG CARE – Dog Shock Collar

They make the DOG CARE Dog Shock Collar for medium to large-sized dogs and come with three distinct vibrations, beep, and static settings. The receiver can last up to 15 days with a charge, and the remote can last 45 days. There are 100 levels of stimulation for your dog, so that you can find the appropriate level.

You can prevent accidental shocks through a security keypad lock. The dog shock collar is suitable for training from sources of water and sand, as it is waterproof and dustproof. The remote has nine different channels for multiple dogs if you are a multiple-dog owner, and it has a similar range to the above collars of about 1,000 feet. Remember always to adjust it every few hours and do not leave it on your dog for over 8 hours.

Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar

by DogRook 

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DogRook – Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar

This Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar by DogRook is a no-shock electronic collar made to suppress nuisance barking. It has a tone and a vibration setting but will not shock your dog. From 8lb – 110lbs, this adjustable collar is excellent for dogs of all sizes.

For safety, this bark collar has five levels of stimulation. The levels adjust themselves automatically to respond to your dog’s barking. Made of robust and durable material, it is waterproof and great for snow, rain, and water sources. The charge time is about 2-3 hours, and the charge will last approximately two weeks. Remember, you must constantly adjust every few hours and do not leave it on your dog for over 8 hours.

Shock Collar for 2 Dogs

by NVK 

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NVK – Shock Collars for Dogs with Remote

NVK’s Shock Collars for Dogs with Remote can be helpful for dog training when used appropriately. These dog shock collars have three types of stimulation: beep, vibration, and shock. The range is the longest out of our best dog shock collars, with a range totaling 1,600 feet. The collars are waterproof and suitable for rain, snow or bodies of water.

There is a keypad lock to prevent unwanted and unnecessary stimulations. The system has 100 different stimulation levels for safety but does come with a high stimulation warning. Don’t forget to adjust it every few hours and not leave it on your dog for over 8 hours.

Dog Shock Collar for 2 Dogs

by Bousnic 

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Bousnic – Dog Shock Collar for Two Dogs

This Bousnic system is a Dog Shock Collar for Two Dogs. They have a beep, vibration, and shock mode. The shock mode comes with 16 different levels, and the beep and vibration modes are standard modes only. The remote has two channels for two separate dogs and includes two collars in the delivery.

© BreedExpert Testing Lab.

The collars are waterproof and ergonomically designed. However, the remote is not waterproof. The range is about 1,000 feet, similar to other dog shock collars on this list, and the collar is adjustable for small, medium, and large-sized dogs. Please always adjust the dog shock collar every few hours, and do not leave it on your dog for over 8 hours.

P620 Dog Training Shock Collar

by PetSpy 

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PetSpy – P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs

The P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs is a top product produced by PetSpy. This dog shock collar has your dog's traditional beep, vibration, and shock stimulation types. There are 16 available levels for the shock, and the remote is waterproof, besides the collars.

To have an instant correction-level change, you can activate an intuitive level on the remote. For best results, consult the e-book delivered with the dog shock collar. We recommend having proper training on electronic collars. As with the rest of our electronic dog shock collars, adjust it every few hours, and don't leave it on your dog for over 8 hours.

Final Thoughts

Dog shock collars are a standard aversion training method for dogs. We should use them with care to avoid overstimulation if we choose to use them. Electronic dog shock collars are best used with additional training methods, like positive reinforcement with treats or praise. Electronic dog shock collars can help deter unwanted behavior as a positive punishment technique when used safely and with proper education. The preference is a beep and vibration mode, but if you are looking for a mild static effect, these are some of the best dog shock collars. We suggest you speak to a professional trainer regarding your dog's specific needs.

Happy training!

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