Unfortunately, man’s best friend is not always aware of the dangers that surround him. Being hit by a car, running away from home or fighting with another dog are all real risks. Thanks to the training collar, you can teach your dog to pay attention and listen to you.
On this website, you’ll find a complete guide to buying training collars with tips on understanding, choosing and using them.
There are collars for all sizes, all dog training methods and all budgets.
I took care to test some models and to ask friends for their opinions on others. I have also summarized all the common questions about training collars to answer them as best as possible.
What is a dog training collar?
A training collar is similar to an educational dog collar. The owner holds a remote control in his hand with several buttons. When he touches one of them, it activates a stimulation on the collar placed around the dog’s neck. The stimulation can be an electric shock, a vibration, a noise, a spray.
The collar is referred to as a training collar because it must allow the dog to be trained through these stimulations to obtain a desired reaction.
Each stimulation is designed to provoke a reaction such as stopping barking, returning to the feet, reducing aggressiveness, etc. To achieve this objective, such an obedience collar for dogs must be accompanied by vocal commands at the beginning of its use and by a real training method.
How much does a training collar cost?
The price of a training collar varies from 30 to $400. Many criteria will influence the price such as the manufacturer, the range, the variety of stimuli, the autonomy, the sturdiness… More details are given later in this buying guide to understand the differences.
Top 3 of our favorite training collars
Petsafe Sportdog SportTrainer collar
This dog collar is a must. No unnecessary features, guaranteed efficiency and absolute safety guarantee pleasant walks with your pet.
This dog collar has an excellent quality/price ratio and distinguishes itself from the entry-level collars that often end up out of order after one month of use. Designed by SportDog, a brand specializing in dog training, especially for hunting dogs, it meets all the criteria that we look for in a training collar.
The collar offers 7 different levels of stimulation, either momentary or continuous and works with a battery. Note that the product is waterproof up to 7 meters, so you can decide to take your dog to the lake or to the sea for fun.
In addition, it will be a good idea to see if the dog, in great excitement, listens to your commands or not. The training system works up to 500 yards. You have the possibility to let your dog run a little before you give him the recall.
My opinion on the Petsafe Sportdog SportTrainer
The collar was used with a Springer Spaniel who had the bad habit of sprinting as soon as he sniffed a game or smelled a fellow dog. As much as it is practical during a hunting party, as much for a family outing, it posed problems, especially when I ended up taking two hours to find him!
What I appreciate most about the Petsafe training collar is its effectiveness. In the past, I had bought a small model at $25 which was totally ineffective and quickly broke.
Moreover, the dog training was very difficult because the level of intensity was badly calculated. In only a few outings, my Springer understood the meaning of the sound warnings or vibrations without me going beyond the third level. If this is your first training collar, I recommend that you read the instructions carefully to get some useful tips.
The battery has a remarkable autonomy. The charging time, a little too high for my taste, of two hours lasts more than a week with a very frequent use (between 5 and 10 hours per day). I can imagine that you don’t need to wear it that often, so the battery of the Petsafe 450 meters collar can last several weeks.
Not to mention that the weight of the remote control is quite light. I can therefore hold it without any problem when I go for a bike ride with the dog. This SportDog collar has been the top of the training collars for several years and I understand why.
Trust a safe bet for training your pet! Moreover, the characteristics of the collar make it suitable for both large and small dogs.
Educator EZ-900 training collar
A high quality training collar with a long reach. Ideal for taking out dogs who like to run far.
The Educator brand is a major player in the dog training market. Its EZ-900 Easy model has a very long operating distance. You have 500 yards to warn your dog. That may sound like a lot, but for hunting dogs or great runners, it’s a regular trip.
In fact, for many owners, this is the minimum range to use it as a recall collar.
As with most dog collars, the model is waterproof. It runs on batteries, which are included in the box.
This training collar offers 256 levels of stimulation. That’s a lot! In fact, you’ll probably never reach levels above 200 unless your dog is the most stubborn and unresponsive person on the planet. Always start with the lowest stimulation levels to find the one that works best, between following the dog trainer’s commands and not hurting the animal.
As for the grips, you should know that the LCD screen is backlit. This feature is very practical for fall outings or at the end of the day. You will not have to take out the lamp to see the screen and make sure that the intensity setting or the battery level of the EZ-900 collar are correct.
My opinion on the Educator EZ-900 collar
The product was used with a husky, particularly stubborn and known to be a runaway dog, who would not even listen to the trainer during dog training lessons.
Not particularly fond of keeping my pets on a leash when they are in a hurry to exercise, I had to release him each time only in places with an anti-runaway fence despite several training courses. And even in these cases, I was never safe from a jump over the fence for a little runaway.
Thanks to the collar, he now listens to me perfectly and I can remove his harness without fear. He can now run free in the fields near my house. He responds very well to sound and I have only used the stimuli a few times to get him to obey me when used as an anti-runaway collar.
Most of the time it was to stop a run after a rabbit or deer, other times it’s more of a tracking to call the dog back out of my sight. The fifteen levels are a luxury, rather to stand out. Indeed, the first few modes are more than enough to get the desired message across to your pet.
As the collar is quite large, I recommend it only for medium to large dogs such as a German Shepherd, Labrador, Golden Retriever or a large terrier dog. If you have a Jack Russel or a beagle, I advise you to choose another model that will allow him to have it around his neck without feeling any discomfort.
We regret the absence of other modes than the vibrator such as a citronella or odorless jet, very effective for some breeds of dogs such as the French bulldog or the Chihuahua, ultrasound or electric shock. When you order the collar in your online pet store, remember to buy batteries to recharge the remote control.
Patpet dog training collar
This dog collar is a great value and well worth a look. Unfortunately, its limited range is incompatible with some breeds. Find out before you buy the collar.
This dog training collar has 3 different signals: the beep tone, the light signal, the button for short vibrations and the button for extended vibrations up to 8 seconds. However, unless your dog is in imminent danger, the first three solutions are sufficient for proper training.
Training your dog with prolonged electric shocks is not a good idea since it inflicts real pain and can shock him. Keep them on only if he approaches the road or is aggressive to a person. The signal range of this battery operated collar is 3000 feets and its waterproofness allows water outings with your dog.
The collar is adjustable between 20 and 50 centimeters. As for the LED buttons, they allow for use at night or with inclement weather.
My opinion on this training collar for dogs
The test was conducted with a young Malinois shepherd who had the annoying tendency to pull on the leash every time he went out and to bark constantly at home. The beeps took a long time to be assimilated so the owner used short vibrations, either for recall or for an anti-bark effect.
Under the impulse of the noise, the doggie was very receptive and now the owner can walk him without a leash without fear of him running wild on the road. Even better, he started practicing a dog sport by combining it with positive reinforcement (dog treats are given when he obeys).
When training your puppy, we recommend that you always start with the sound signal (painless ultra sound) of this adjustable collar, rather than the electric shock or vibration.
However, the distance of the 3000 feets signal is limiting for outdoor activities. Therefore, it may be useful to purchase a collar with a longer range like the first collar on this page if you have a dog of such a breed or for use as a dog runaway.
The light signal is a very useful feature for locating the dog during outings to ensure that it is not too far away and without the need for vibration.
300 yards Petsafe Remote Trainer
As the name suggests, this dog training collar has a decent range of 300 yards. There are 15 static stimuli, which are ergonomic and the change between levels allows for a real boost in power. There are also two “boost” buttons for emergency situations.
The training collar is rechargeable. Count on 3 to 4 hours of charge for a use of several days. Fully waterproof, the product is not very heavy and does not bother the animal at all.
For the owner, the LCD screen ensures a quick visibility of the chosen mode. It is really an excellent training collar.
It is made for dogs with a neck size between 6 and 23 inches. If you have a large dog, consider the SportDog at the top of this page.
The first quality cheap training collar!
A relatively low price for a good collar. Not the best for training your dog, but still useful.
On the dog market, there are many suppliers offering poor quality products. The training collar also suffers from this plague. With all the tests done for this site, nearly thirty models have been tried by different owners. And all are unanimous: quality has a price.
So this cheap training collar is not perfect, but it is of acceptable quality compared to the competition and the budget. If unfortunately you have obedience problems with your pet and don’t have the budget for a high quality training collar, Patpet is still a useful aid in training your dog.
Main features of this Patpet collar
The model is suitable for all animals. The collar is adjustable from 0 to 27 inches, which is ideal for all sizes of dogs. The collar has 3 types of stimulation.
Obviously, they are to be adapted to the morphology and character of your dog. However, it is highly likely that you will not go for high intensities among the stimulations. It should be noted that for a collar of this price, the differences between levels are well managed, certainly less than a Dogtra training collar, which is convenient for consistent dog training without the help of a behaviorist.
The system can be used with two collars. If you have several dogs, this will save you from juggling various remotes to activate a stimulation and avoid the inherent mistakes when you send a vibration to a dog that has not done anything forbidden.
This model is recharged via an electrical outlet, not with batteries. It has an energy saving function, which means that as soon as you do not use it for several minutes, it goes into standby. However, even in this mode, the training collar is activated by any movement. It can be worn in wet weather, but it is not water resistant.
Therefore, remove it if it’s raining or you’re taking your dog swimming. In some rainy areas, a waterproof dog training collar is recommended.
The manufacturer’s stated range is 1000 feets. But, for a distance greater than 600 feets, we recommend that you opt for a slightly higher quality model. Indeed, we had the impression that the electrostatic stimulations did not always work at long distances. For a dog that barks at your side, this is enough.
My opinion on this dog collar
The test was carried out with a basset hound of about 25 lbs during outings in the countryside. Following a significant weight gain, the veterinarian had advised outings to avoid problems related to his spine. But, never having been used to being released from his leash, he never responded to the recall.
The vibrations were unfortunately not effective enough, unlike other products. Afterwards, as this is a stubborn breed, it is quite possible that they would have worked to train a more docile dog. On the other hand, the static shock mode works wonderfully. The shock of the electric collar being quite hard, a low level is largely sufficient for a dog with his character.
The big problem with this dog collar is the remote control. After a few minutes of non-use, it disconnects. Thanks to this, the battery lasts a long time, but imagine if a vibration is required immediately. Out of habit, I quickly pressed the light regularly to wake up the remote control and anticipate possible signals.
With experience, you will notice anyway quickly enough the situations at risk for your dog or the behavioral problems to be corrected.
Not recommended: Petrainer dog training collar
The collar is sold at a mid-range price and advertises a huge range of 330 yards. In reality, it has never worked with a distance greater than 100 yards. So I quickly learned not to trust the manufacturer and to call the dog back after a long run. To avoid escapes, it’s better to use another model or an anti-fugue fence.
Other problems. The instructions are not delivered in French. This is understandable for products bought by mail order from abroad, but for this price, I find it very unfortunate.
Even worse, the recall collar went off in the middle of an outing with my Springer Spaniel. Fortunately, my screams were enough this time to make him stop. While consulting various forums, I realized that this problem had been experienced by several other owners during training sessions.
So in summary, a product with a lot of flaws. Move on to another model. Even if you want to use it as an electric anti-bark collar to calm untimely howls, we prefer another model.
For hunting, it’s not even worth thinking about this collar and even for just trying to control your dog’s feeding. In this case, choose a kibble dispenser, it will be more effective.
How to choose your training collar?
Not sure which training collar to choose? Let’s take a look at the criteria that really matter when choosing the right training collar.
The type of dog
When you click on one of the links above and come across the training collar’s data sheet, you’ll see that manufacturers often make distinctions between small, medium and large dogs.
This makes perfect sense. You can easily guess that the barking of a 80 lbs dog is not stopped with the same intensity as that of a small 8 lbs poodle!
Therefore, when choosing a training collar, always check that it is for a similar size to your dog.
The type of intensity
There are a variety of different stimuli and intensities on a training collar.
The most common types of stimulation are :
Shocks are very effective, but can be painful, while spray collars are painless but do not work with all characters.
You should consider your pet’s personality and strength when deciding which method is best for you. If you check out our reviews of different training collars, you’ll see that the best models on the market, the ones we recommend, often have multiple modes available.
It’s a great idea to start with these products. Indeed, many owners like to use shocks or vibrations to punish or warn the dog when acquiring the training collar. Then, once the dog understands how it works, it starts to react positively to the beeps, making physical punishment unnecessary.
The range of a training collar is the maximum distance a remote control held by the owner can send a signal to the collar worn around the dog’s neck.
On our website, you will find many different ranges. Cheap training collars or collars for smaller dogs may have a range of 100 yards or less. This is a small number compared to the other ranges shown, but if you think about it, there are many dogs that never get further away from their owner.
Nevertheless, we often recommend a range around at least 300 and 400 yards. This allows you to let your dog run free and see him run. If he does something he shouldn’t or doesn’t listen to you, you can still use the training collar despite the distance.
Larger ranges are often used for hunting dogs that go out into the wild independently, or for dogs that go off-leash and visit the area without their owner.
The brand of collar
The training collar is a fashionable dog accessory. You can find it under many different names: training collar, anti-stray collar and some people also think it is an anti-bark collar.
In reality, the training collar, unlike the last two names, is not an accessory that works alone. It is the owner who decides whether or not to send the stimulation through the remote control.
But not all tools are equal. Among the brands, Sportdog and Petsafe are the two leaders in the mid-range training collar market. If you’re on a budget, look to these three manufacturers and you’ll be fully satisfied with the equipment.
If you have a larger budget, Dogtra, a brand beloved by hunters, offers exemplary performance. Finally, some owners like Garmin. Garmin collars always have an effective GPS option. This can be useful to find a dog…
On the other hand, once you leave these training collar manufacturers, the quality is in full decline. We strongly advise against using unknown brands. You risk receiving an object with poorly measured intensities and ranges far from those advertised.
A training collar has no wire and runs on a battery. It is therefore important to choose a training collar for your dog that is consistent with your needs.
If you use the collar once a week for a one-hour walk, the question does not arise because any training accessory will have sufficient autonomy. But, if you want a collar for 40 hours of use during a weekend camping trip, the choice is reduced.
Don’t hesitate to consider buying a second battery for your training collar.
The ergonomics of the remote control
A point too often ignored by owners: the practicality of the remote control. To find out, take a close-up look at the remote controls on the training collar descriptions.
The idea is to have a light remote with a few buttons in key areas. We like to have two for setting intensities and a third to choose the stimulation mode.
Also, a few add-ons like a wrist strap for a better grip on the remote or a battery indicator to show the training collar’s charge level are never too much.
What do veterinarians think of training collars?
Many people judge training collars without knowing what they are or get confused. To find out, we asked several veterinarians.
Veterinarians are not against training collars. Some even recognize that these canine accessories can be beneficial. They can prevent runaways, aggressive reactions from dogs and many other everyday concerns.
For the training collar to be good for the dog, everyone agrees on three things:
- The training collar does not train the dog alone;
- The effectiveness and recommendation depend strongly on the quality of the collar chosen;
- Electrostatic shocks are a bad idea and the vibrations sent must be consistent with the size of the animal.
In addition, we would like to add that many dogs have had their behavioral problems quickly resolved with the intelligent and moderate use of a training collar. In this case, this tool can save you hassle and hours at the dog trainer.
But that’s only possible with proper use of the training collar, and it complements conventional training.
What is the best training collar for a hunting dog?
The best training collars for hunting dogs are those of the Dogtra brand. They are the reference for hunters. If their price is too high for you or the collars are unavailable, remember that you need to find a training collar with a very long range (at least 1000 yards).
If you have more than one pet, get a training collar that works with 2 or more hounds via the use of a single remote control. It’s easier and more ergonomic. In this case, you can buy collars alone (without the remote control), set them up and they will respond to commands from the same remote control.
How to put on a training collar?
When you put on a dog recall collar or training collar, the fit around the neck is important. Don’t overtighten, but don’t leave too much room or the dog won’t feel the vibrations. Ideally, leave room for your little finger between the collar and the dog’s neck.
Avoid overloading your dog with another collar (identification or leash). It’s best to use a harness if you need to keep your dog on a short leash.
At what age should I start wearing a training collar?
You can’t put a training collar on a puppy. Your dog must be an adult. It is therefore recommended that you wait until at least 6 months of age to put on a vibrating and sound or electric training collar.
A training collar does not have to be worn for life. A dog that has learned your commands well will often end up following them by habit without you having to punish him.
Where to buy a training collar?
The training collar is a very popular dog training accessory. So you can find them on online websites like Amazon, online pet stores or actual stores dedicated to pets.
Our advice is to always watch out for very low prices despite impressive features and unknown manufacturers. Unfortunately, there are many low quality collars… For this reason, stick to the best training collar brands like Petsafe, Garmin, Dogtra and others recommended on our website.
When to use a training collar?
A training collar can be used whenever you have difficulty getting your dog to understand commands. Most commonly, a training collar is used to calm a dog’s aggressiveness, stop his barking, make him respect the recall, prevent him from running away…
It is used more outdoors, but a training collar for large dogs can also be effective at home if education is difficult.
Can I use a training collar in the rain?
The training collar can be used in the rain. If you don’t get a low-end model, your collar will at least be waterproof. There are even some that are waterproof, which can come in handy when your dog goes in the water.
How do I use a training collar?
Using a training collar is not complicated. All the owner has to do is read the instructions in the collar’s manual. With this information, he’ll understand how to set up and activate the stimuli.
Make a few tests before your first outing to check that the stimulations work well. Then, find the intensity to which your dog responds best without suffering. Then, learn to visually read the maximum range of your collar so that you never exceed it on your walks.
Remember, a professional dog training collar does not exempt you from more comprehensive training. If you just press the vibration button when the dog does something you don’t like, he won’t understand.
Your training collar in action must therefore be complemented with voice commands and, above all, consistency between punishments. So, don’t accept a behavior on Thursday only to make it punishable on Friday.What are the benefits of the training collar?
The main benefits of the training collar are its effectiveness and ease of use.
If you choose a good training collar, you also get a long range, a high autonomy, an ergonomic remote control, a wide variety of stimulations, a solid and durable accessory…
What are the disadvantages of the training collar?
The main disadvantage of a training collar is that it inflicts physical punishment on the pet. Some owners only want positive education without violence.
However, this disadvantage must be tempered because there is a difference between physical pain and discomfort, such as that felt by a large dog from a small shock or vibration on a smaller dog. If you manage your stimulations well, your dog will benefit from an education that is little, if any, painful.
Then, if you choose a bad training collar, you may find that the stimulations are not well balanced, the range is too short, the collar is not very strong…