The Dog Training Collar: Your Options

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Curious Boston TerrierWhether you’re trying to teach obedience, prevent excessive barking or help your dog learn their boundaries, these training collars may be able to help. There are 7 types of dog training collars which can help address an array of training needs. Each collar works differently, which means training will vary.

Article Overview

Should Dog Training Collars Be Used At All?

Many people question why dog training collars must be used at all, suggesting that behavioral training and positive reinforcement can work just as well as training collars do. The problem with using only positive reinforcement training is that dogs, just like people, forget. A dog can be taught to walk well on a leash, to stop barking at the gardeners outside the house and to stop still when they get to the front door of their home.

Training Collars Can Supplement A Positive Training Experience

However, even with this knowledge there are moments when a dog’s innate instinct takes over instead. Faced with a squirrel on the front porch and knowledge that they must stop at the front door out of their master’s desire, the dog cannot always resist the instinct to track and kill that pesky squirrel.

Using training collars does not have to be a negative experience. In fact, when using the appropriate collar choice for your dog appropriately, training collars can supplement a positive training experience.

Types Of Dog Training Collars

There are some rather controversial arguments against using some of the below listed training collars. However, each type of collar has its own uses and when used properly with your individual dog in mind they can all be effective.

Make sure you learn how to use these collars correctly because if used wrong, they could injure your dog.

Pinch | Choke | Martingale | Anti-Bark | Invisible Fence | Remote Dog Training | Gentle Leader & Easy Walk Harness

The Pinch Collar

Coastal Pet Easy-On Dog Prong Training CollarView on Amazon

The first collar that may be suggested or recommended to you when training your dog is the pinch collar, also known as the prong collar. The pinch collar can be used for a wide variety of reasons including teaching your dog to heel, not to pull, not to heed distractions while you are walking and not to pick up “dirty” items from the ground while you are walking together.

Read Our Article On The Pinch Collar For Details

The Choke Collar

Choke CollarView on Amazon

Choke collars are used in many of the same training situations as pinch collars, for the most part in maintaining composure outside the home and with aggressive dogs. Choke collars can be helpful with larger dogs or dogs with aggressive tendencies, but they should not be used on small or fragile necked breeds.

Read Our Article On The Choke Collar For Details

The Martingale Collar

Guardian Gear MartingaleView on Amazon

Martingale collars work much the same way as a choke collar without metal against the dog’s skin and with the soft fabric or nylon creating the pull rather than a metal chain. Dogs are less likely to choke when wearing a martingale collar rather than a choke collar.

Read Our Article On The Martingale Collar For Details

The Anti-Bark Collar

The Best Industries New Bark CollarView on Amazon

As its name suggests an anti-bark collar is intended to stop your dog’s nuisance barking. There are 3 different types of anti-barking dog collars (citronella, shock and sonic), some of which receive more criticism than others.

Read Our Article On The Anti-Bark Collar For Details

The Invisible Fence Collar

PetSafe Wireless FenceView on Amazon

The invisible fence collar is used for the purpose of notifying your dog when they are approaching the invisible boundary around your home set up by your invisible fence collar. This can help when you don’t want to put up a physical fence around your property, or when your dog likes to climb fences (like Kimberly’s dog Sally).

Read Our Article On The Invisible Fence Collar For Details

The Remote Dog Training Collar

PetSafe Yard & Park CollarView on Amazon

Remote dog training collars involve a handheld transmitter and a wireless collar receiver. You then set the transmitter to send a radio signal to your dog’s receiver and they can receive a tone, vibration or static shock to reward or correct behaviors.

Read Our Article On Remote Dog Training Collars For Details

Gentle Leader & Easy Walk Harness

PetSafe Easy WalkView Easy Walk on Amazon | View Gentle Leader on Amazon

PetSafe has created 2 unique training items, The Easy Walk Harness and Gentle Leader Head Collar, they both have their own features. The Easy Walk Harness is more for dogs who need to learn not to pull on a leash, while the Gentle Leader Head Collar is meant to prevent excessive barking, lunging and jumping.

Read Our Article On The Easy Walk Harness & Gentle Leader For Details

Remember To Be Consistent & Patient

With such a wide variety of dog training collars to select from to address behavioral problems and set rules for your dog, training has been made increasingly easier. While these collars can assist you in training your dog, you should always keep in mind that training your dog requires work and patience on your part as well.

Even while using corrective measures you are responsible for judging the safety of your dog and other dogs when you are out with your dog and using dog training collars. Training your dog with an appropriate collar can be effective without the use of treats.

What collar do you think is best for training your dog?

The information contained in this article and website is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional safety advice; it is provided for educational purposes only.

About The Author:

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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May 23, 2020 9:51 pm

This is a long note. My apologies but I want to make sure that I get my objectives/ questions in.
I just got my 4th English Springer Spaniel. I have not had one for 10 years and decided “I want one. I have the time to invest, now”.
She is 9 weeks old, very smart and feisty.
I took a private course in puppy training many years ago. The person trained and showed German Shepherds. She used, and told me to use, a choker chain to train her (my 1st Springer). Consequently, I used a choker for all 3 Springers and they turned out fine.
But now, I am not too sure a choker chain is right for this pup.
I want to train her to heal, walk on my left side, turn with me without verbal command, etc…everything a show dog does. I don’t want to show her. I just want that good behavior.
So, now my question…with all the static out there, do this, don’t do that…blah, blah… what collar or harness should I be using to properly train her?
At what age (the pup, not me) should I start to formally start?
Basic commands like sit snd stand are easy; it’s the other (collar and when) that I am having a dilemma with.

I hope this isn’t too confusing.

Thank you,

Apiffany Gaither Billings
May 25, 2020 9:31 pm
Reply to  Jim

Martingale collars are very popular in our rescue group. Here is an article for more training advice.

December 31, 2018 12:01 am

I’m interested in an electronic collar for my 6 mo yellow lab. She’s a typical lab that’s food driven. We have a senior black that’s she is learning some good behaviour from but she also has some behaviours that I’d like corrected.
One of which is getting up at 3, 4 & 5am demanding breakfast. The other is jumping, we have young children that are not firm enough with her to keep her down and so she often overpowers them.
We also have an issue with her jumping at people when we are out walking in the local trails.
She has good recall but sometimes forgets when she’s excited to see new people.
We have a seasonal summer vacation spot and I’d like her to be on her best behaviour while we are there.

Ronda Hicks
September 2, 2018 8:38 pm

We have two 5 month old Westie littermate brothers. They were doing great and then my daughter and husband returned to school/work. I deal with chronic pain/fatigue and the puppies weren’t getting the same attention with me home alone with them. They started brawling out of boredom and soon that’s all they would do. I had to keep them separated all day and night out of fear that they would hurt each other. They were so vicious with each other and when I tried to separate them, I got chomped in the melee.

These fighting puppies were miserable in their separate play yards and we were miserable with puppies who were turning into dogs from hell and barking to be with us. We couldn’t afford a trainer and we didn’t know what to do. We even considered rehoming one of them.

When I read up on various options, I didn’t want to consider a shock collar until I heard my cousin used one to keep her farm dog from chasing passing cars. She had great luck with the one she used and within days, her dog stopped.

I decided to try them myself and got a pair of remote controlled shock collars off Amazon. I tried one on myself first and determined that out of an intensity range of 1-100, a level 3 was probably a good low starting point.

I didn’t have to wait long to try them out. Once they locked eyes and one went at the other, I activated the collar on the aggressor and he about did a back flip. I reduced the power to a 1. I have only had the collars on a day and they are able to be in the same room again. Peace has been restored and they are now playing with toys, sleeping next to one another, and have been much less aggressive when they have started to wrestle. I can stop this behavior now by shaking a can of pennies. I am hoping to be able to use the can method going forward, but they will wear the shock collars until they are neutered, just in case.

They are scheduled to be neutered in 2 weeks and I hope we won’t need the collars at all after that happens.

December 18, 2018 10:45 am
Reply to  Ronda Hicks

Thank you so much for your feedback. We have this problem and it seems people want to avoid what I think is a common issue among dogs wanting to be alphas. I feel comfortable trying this option rather then the suggestion of getting rid of one of the dogs that seems to be the aggressor

August 26, 2018 1:18 am

My rescue lab mix has a problem when someone he does not know tries to pet him over the fence. He will snap at them. Im am in the process of recovering from Hurricane Harvey so it has been a stressful year for all of us. Do you think a collar would help him feel less threatened. He was left behind by his previous owner when they moved. Ive had him a little over a yr. Great dog just afraid he will bite someone. Hes not aggressive just unsure.

Michelle Schenker
August 27, 2018 10:09 am

You might consider a few options. The best thing to do would be to not leave your dog outside unattended. This would fully alleviate the risk if you pay attention to when people are approaching the fence to warn them against reaching across. If that is not possible, you might reduce your risk by adding a sign on your fence that warns against petting your dog across the fence or simply says “Beware of Dog”, which is a common sign that should be easy to find. There may be some other options as well but leaving a training dog on a dog when they are not being watched by a responsible human is not a good idea as that can introduce new risks for your dog.

March 2, 2019 1:16 pm

Beware of Dog signs actually open you to liability. It means you know your dog is dangerous. So if somebody gets injured it’s your fault. It doesn’t matter if you warned them; it’s still your fault. I suggest a sign that says “Don’t pet the dog”.

August 24, 2018 6:37 pm

Does these actually work?

Michelle Schenker
August 27, 2018 9:38 am
Reply to  Liz

Everyone has different experiences with different collars, but we have found the PetSafe Remote Dog Training Collar to work perfectly for our dog Lily, especially when we are on hikes and want to allow her some freedom to explore but also need to make sure she comes back before she gets too far away.