Tips on Successfully Training Dogs Using a Training Collar

When it comes to training a dog there are no hard and fast rules. Every dog has its own unique personality which means it will need its own unique approach to training. Versatility is very much the key to a successful training program, which is why top dog trainers such as Cesar Milan and Michael Ellis often make electronic collars an integral part of the training process.


The electronic collar (e-collar, training collar) is one of the most effective training tools available to dog owners. A training collar is so versatile it can be used with young or older dogs, small and large breeds, attentive dogs willing to learn and also those less inclined to do so.

Positive reinforcement training and treats are one way to teach your dog
Deciding upon the Best Way to use a Training Collar
The best way in which to use a training collar depends upon the individual dog and the trainer/owner's skill sets and preferences.

Positive reinforcement training: The method by which the dog receives a treat for obeying a command. This might appeal to the more sensitive side of our nature, however it is usually a longer training process and often requires considerable skill and experience from the trainer.

Negative reinforcement training: The method by which the dog receives a correctional stimulation for disobeying a command. At face value this seems to be less kind, however it often leads to a shorter training process and is generally easier for the trainer to master.

Think about it; most behavioral learning is done through the negative reinforcement method. As a child you are chastised in some way for behaving badly and you quickly learn how to behave. The same is true of a dog, which is why negative reinforcement training is much more widely used when training pets.

Sounds, Sprays and Stimulations: How do I Want the E-Collar to Work?

PetSafe's Yard and Park Trainer combines tone and multi-level static corrections
There are four ways in which training collars work: sound, spray, vibration and static correction. Of these the most popular training collars are static correction (they usually feature tone as well) and this type of e-collar is the most widely used. Experts reckon that the vibration method is the ranks second in effectiveness with spray and sonic followed thereafter.

Of course different dogs will respond better to different types of collar, so take into account your dog's temperament when selecting a collar and also the kind of collar you'll be most comfortable using


Range: Where Will I Use the Training Collar? Most household pets will be trained in the backyard with the e-collar, so a long range device isn't necessary. Outdoors and hunting dogs will be trained over longer distances so a unit with considerable range might be preferable. Remember, there's no need to spend extra on features that won't be used, so determine in what environment the e-collar will be used.

Levels of Sensitivity: Finding an E-Collar's Sweet Spot A training collar's sensitivity is also important. While most collars' lowest and highest static correction settings are pretty much equal in intensity, the levels of sensitivity between the two can vary considerably. Some units will only have 10 correction levels, others will have 100. This means the sensitivity jump between each setting will be greater or smaller respectively. A more sensitive dog might need a more sensitive scale, a headstrong dog maybe less so.

Planning a Successful E-Collar Training Session

You, your dog, your backyard and no distractions - a perfect pet training scenario
Have initial training sessions in low distraction environments, such as at home or in the backyard. Open spaces and public parks present a dog with too many distractions (smells, sounds, other dogs and people) to keep its attention focused on training.

Be patient. If you allow yourself to get frustrated when training doesn't go as quickly as you'd hoped, the dog will become frustrated too and the whole process will fall apart. Keep calm and enjoy the time you spend with your dog.

Consider using your dog's daily food instead of treats for the rewards during training sessions. You'll be required to praise and treat your dog often, so to prevent it getting fat use part of its mealtime food as the incentive.

A Learning Process for You and Your Dog Of course training a dog will differ slightly from pet to pet, but there is a plethora of information available online in the form of video tutorials, forums, owners' hints and tips, and information from the training collar manufacturers themselves. The more you research, the more success you'll enjoy when training your dog.

By John Bone
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