How to select the right e-collar for your dog
When you’re looking to purchase a remote training collar there are many makes and models to choose from. Trying to decide between all of them may be a bit overwhelming, particularly if it is your first e-collar purchase.
Before you spend hours researching all the options available, here are a few considerations to help you narrow the choices and select the obedience equipment best suited to your dog’s needs as well as your own.
Start out by considering the situations and environments you will be taking your dog into.
Be sure to consider not only the most pressing reason guiding this purchase but also contemplate what you would do or where you would go with your dog IF you had better obedience and improved control. For instance, if you’re buying an e-collar because your dog tends to bolt and run off, ask yourself what opportunities you’ll take advantage of once a solid recall is achieved. Will you be more likely to take your dog off leash hiking or to the beach? Do you currently hunt with your dog or hope to?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it is important to know that wooded or undulating terrain will affect the actual range capability of a remote collar. When manufacturers state the distance an e-collar will reach, they are referring to a straight, flat, line-of-sight terrain. Any obstruction, like trees or a hilly landscape, will diminish the range to some extent. This includes walls and windows, so if you want the ability to interrupt barking while your dog is outside or in another part of the house, consider the range of your collar. Plus, it doesn’t take a fast dog very long to get out of sight and more than 100 yards away when hot on the trail of a critter!
It is also wise to consider if waterproof components will be important to your lifestyle. Most receivers (the collar or part the dog wears) are waterproof now-a-days, but not all transmitters (the remote or part that you hold in your hand) are. Even if you don’t intend to take your dog swimming, consider if you’ll be in any rainy or wet conditions together. For the minimal amount of cost difference, it is nice to have all waterproof components.
The next step is to evaluate the dog’s sensitivity to physical stimuli.
This needs to be done unemotionally which can be challenging if you are struggling to solve a behavior problem. Too often frustration causes us to label a dog as “stubborn,” attributing some conscious act of willfulness to the dog’s behavior. The vast majority of the time this isn’t the case and the dog’s perceived stubbornness is actually just a lack of good training. Instead of assuming you have a stubborn dog and drawing a conclusion that equates to needing a high powered remote collar, ask yourself how physically sensitive your dog is?
Sensitivity to physical stimuli will help you determine if you need a low-to-medium vs. low-to-high powered collar. Consider whether or not your dog is affected by physical sensation when he is in a high state of excitement. For instance, if your dog was chasing a rabbit, would he charge without much hesitation into a thicket of thorny bushes? Or would he stop short? If your dog is in hot pursuit of a tennis ball does he crash over things or jump head first into the frigid water to retrieve it? These sort of behaviors provide an indication of how easily Fido may (or may not) notice physical sensation when he’s aroused. It is during those times of high arousal that you have the right collar for your dog. There is nothing wrong with simply purchasing a low-to-high powered collar to ensure you have enough, but if you have a pretty sensitive dog, then there isn’t a reason to add the additional expense.
Once you have chosen a collar suited to your dog and the options best suited for your purpose and lifestyle, look at warranties and reputation of the manufacturer.
A remote collar isn’t a one and done type of tool. You’ll be using it not only for training, but also as an invisible leash that your dog wears when you’re out and about. A good e-collar can last you many years and be worn by generations of dogs. It pays off to invest in a high quality piece of equipment so spend what your budget can afford to ensure a long term gain from your purchase.
Finally, if you are new to using a remote collar, purchasing the right equipment is only the first step in your homework.
Once you’ve selected your collar, take time to familiarize yourself with the equipment and research training techniques and best practices before you begin using it on your dog.
Remote collars are tools that can bring great finesse and wonderful results to your training but they aren’t necessarily intuitive if you haven’t used one before. Here is some helpful training information to get you on your way to a fun and improved relationship with your canine friend.