You’ve heard of training collars but aren’t sure how they work or what they’re used for? You’re on the right page. Here are some explanations.
How does a training collar work?
A training collar, as the name suggests, helps you train your dog. In itself, it’s not a magical tool that, once around your dog’s neck, will immediately make him do everything you expect.
It is rather a tool that helps you in the training. In your hand, you have the remote control of the collar. When the dog behaves in an undesired way, you activate a stimulation with the help of buttons on the remote control. This stimulation is expressed by the collar on the dog. He therefore immediately feels the warning.
This stimulation is most commonly a vibration, but it can also be a beep, a spray of citronella or an electrostatic discharge.
The intensity of the stimulation is variable. You can also define it using your remote control. Its strength is to be chosen according to the size of the animal, its character and the danger. Many training collars have an “emergency” mode which sends a stronger stimulation and should only be used in case of imminent danger.
It is important to note that a training collar works up to a maximum range. You can find this information on the product sheet and on the collar box. While the cheapest collars have a range of 50 meters, others for hunting dogs have a range of over one miles.
What behaviors can be corrected with a training collar?
A training collar causes significant discomfort and even pain if the intensity of the stimulation is high. Therefore, it should not be used indiscriminately.
Ideally, it should only be used to correct dangerous behavior, whether it’s towards the dog, another animal or a human. Here are some situations where stimulation can prevent danger:
- The dog runs off toward the road or into the woods without listening to you.
- He starts growling at another dog in a very aggressive manner.
- He pulls so hard on the leash that you can’t hold him back and risk falling.
- You see him eating (potentially dangerous) things on the ground in the distance.
Other behaviors are not dangerous, but can be corrected with stimulation:
- He screams to death outside at the neighbor’s dog.
- He doesn’t come back when you call him and has fun running away as soon as you approach.
Can you see what types of situations are best suited for the training collar? Now let’s look at how to use it to successfully train your dog.
What is the proper way to use a training collar?
The first time you use a collar, you are usually surprised by the dog’s sudden stop or little cry of surprise/pain. This is normal, but above all you must try to understand how this training tool can serve your cause and how to set it up properly.
First of all, the dog must have it on him at all times when you go out. Then, set one of the lower intensity levels to start and do some tests to find the first one the dog responds to. Remember, your goal is to get him to listen, not to hurt him.
When the dog is behaving dangerously, activate a stimulus and say your command (e.g., “No,” “Here,” “Stop”). Make sure you only have a few words and that they are for a specific situation. This helps the dog understand.
The advantage of saying the command is that your dog has information about the reaction you expect from him and he associates pain with not following the command. By multiplying this learning, the final goal is to see him react to your simple verbal command as if he was afraid of a stimulation. Thus, you will obtain a non-violent education and a well-trained dog.
The method is not complicated, especially on paper. However, it requires consistency from the owner, patience and understanding. After each stimulation, analyze its result, make sure the dog has understood your directive and think about how you can anticipate it next time.
Regarding the stimuli to choose, the spray is effective with small dogs, but not at all with large dogs. It is faster to use vibration or sound stimulation anyway.
For example, a beep could be a first warning and the vibration a stronger reminder. Or, the vibration could be used for the first few weeks, then the sound is used to warn the dog…
It’s up to you to observe your dog’s reactions in the first few days to know how to adapt your training with the training collar.