How to Properly Use a Shock Collar in dog training

While there is some controversy over the use of shock collars in dog training, it isn’t the inhumane torture device that people often make them out to be. Instead, when used correctly, a shock collar can be an incredibly handy tool to help teach your pup new tricks or correct undesirable behaviors. 

In this blog we’ll be going over the very basics of how to use a shock collar properly in training and the do’s vs the don’ts. Ideally at the end of the day, we want to help you learn how to train your dog well enough to eventually be able to behave even without the collar on!

While the Shock collars when used correctly won’t harm your dog, it’s still not the most comfortable thing in the world and can put a bit of strain on your relationship should you rely too heavily on it.

Without further ado, let’s get into the basics!

Common misconceptions about Shock Collar Training

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Like mentioned above, shock collars tend to have a reputation as an inhumane training device. However in actuality, they really are quite harmless if you’re using them as intended. In fact, many of the modes on a shock collar don’t involve any shock at all! 

Most shock collars come equipped with a vibration or beeping function that can act well enough as indicators that you expect them to behave a certain way. While the shock function is meant to grab their attention, if you’re using the right setting then there really shouldn’t be any real or lasting pain.

Let’s face it, our dogs can be fairly over dramatic and expressive with how they feel. So while they may whine or look startled with their first experience, it won't actually hurt them if you bought a good quality shock collar.

One last piece of advice for this section is that shock collars are in no way a replacement for traditional training methods. You shouldn’t just use a shock collar to try correcting all behavior without laying any groundwork first. That’s like giving a child a book and telling them to read when you never even taught them the alphabet first! 

So all in all, remember, the shock collar is meant as a reinforcement tool to further their understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable. It won’t hurt them as long as you do your part in learning how to use them properly and investing in a quality product.

Teaching them the basics Sans Collar

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Before you can even entertain the idea of using a shock collar, you have to teach your dog the basics first. By teaching them using traditional methods of positive reinforcement like giving them treats for good behavior and sternly telling them off for bad behavior, they begin to learn what is expected of them.

This also helps develop a bond between you and your dog. During this stage, it’s also best if you start showing them exactly what you expect of them and use repetition while teaching them. Just because they got the correct behavior once doesn’t mean they fully understand it yet; ideally you should aim to get them to perform the same correct behavior at least 5 times over the course of a week to ensure they really do understand it.

Warming them up to the shock collar

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Unlike normal collars, shock collars do feel quite different. It will take time for your dog to get used to this new device, so give them some time to warm up to it first. Don’t use any of it’s correcting features during this warm up period until your dog is completely comfortable wearing it. 

Once you’re reasonably sure they’re comfortable with it, begin to show them what behavior you expect of them. You also may want to start off with the milder forms of correcting functions first, such as the beeper or vibration to get them used to the idea that this collar does something

Start at the lowest shock level

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If your dog doesn’t seem to respond to the beep or vibration modes, you’ll have to take it up a notch. When beginning the shock correction, you should use the lowest setting first. As it’s a new feeling to them, they’ll likely be surprised and most dogs can be trained entirely at the lowest shock level.

Unfortunately, like people, every dog is different and responds differently during training. Some of them may just be a bit more willful or stubborn than others, meaning you’ll have to bump up the shock level just a notch. In these instances, you go up one level at a time until you find the level that grabs their attention.

Most of the time, this shouldn’t be any higher than two levels from your original setting. Remember, the goal is to get their attention and use reinforcements and repetition to train them out of undesirable behaviors. 

Never use the highest level unless in crucial situations

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While different shock collars all have a range of levels, most of them should never be set to the highest level in training. This mode is almost certain to be more than a light kick to them and unless it’s a dire/ life threatening situation for you or the dog, then you shouldn’t be using this setting at all.

If you try training your dog with the max setting, you really are living up to the name of an inhumane trainer and in the end, you’ll only really teach the dog to fear you and the collar. 

Use more than the shock collar in training

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As we said before, ideally, you want to be able to train them to the point where you no longer need them to wear the collar to display correct behaviors. However, if you only ever use the shock collar to get them to behave the way you want, you’ll end up with a dog that only responds to the collar.

One way to avoid this is to teach them through different methods as well as using the shock collar as more of a gentle reminder in more extreme circumstances. By using varying training methods, your dog will learn that this behavior is expected even without the use of the shock collar. Meaning you and your pup are one step closer to being able to say goodbye to the shock collar for good!

Don’t be afraid to consult a professional

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While you might not want to spend the extra money to consult a professional trainer, sometimes, it’s really necessary. If your dog doesn’t seem to respond to any of your training methods and all the shocks aside from the highest setting don’t seem to be working; you’ll need the assistance of a trainer who might be able to help with your specific situation.

Dog training changes from pup to pup, methods that work well on some dogs may not work at all with others! It’s all about finding the right one that works without causing too much pain on either party involved. So don’t skimp out on the well being of your dog, ask for help when you need it!

Feeling ready to try training your dog now? Then Click Here to Check out our collar and see whether it seems like the right fit for you.