Three best shock collars
Behavioral training is an essential part of dog ownership, but different techniques work on different dogs. One popular but controversial form of obedience training involves the use of a corrective shock collar. A special collar with two small electrodes delivers a short, sharp snap of electricity when the dog exhibits negative or unwanted behavior. The dog soon learns to associate the bad act with immediate negative reinforcement. A loud electronic tone or a vibration can also accomplish the same goal. For everything to look for in a safe and effective shock collar for your dog, we've created this quick guide. We've also selected the three best shock collars on the market, which are all highly recommended by professional trainers and experienced pet owners alike.
Considerations when choosing shock collars
Breed size and temperament
The shock collar that works best for a large Doberman with territorial issues probably won't be a good fit for a toy poodle that scratches furniture. Some dogs do perfectly well with less invasive corrections, such as electronic tones or vibrations. Others may not respond well to anything less than a full corrective shock. Fit is also important. A loose-fitting shock collar won't make the proper contact for correction, and a smaller dog might not appreciate the weight and feel of a large collar.
Some shock collars only deliver varying degrees of static shock. These models work best with larger dogs with serious behavioral issues. However, most owners will want to use shock collars with other forms of correction, such as electronic tones and vibration. For some collars, you will need to change out the metal electrodes for non-conductive rubber nodes in order to use sound and vibration correction.
Most shock collar systems offer the convenience of a remote control, but range can vary. Larger outdoor dogs require more range than smaller indoor dogs.
There are a number of differences between an entry-level indoor shock collar for a single pet and a heavy-duty system designed for training multiple outdoor dogs. But no matter what dog will be wearing the device, there are some common features to look for when shopping for a shock collar.
Having a reliable remote control is essential because it gives owners the option of delivering different levels of correction from a distance.
Adjustable shock levels
A quality shock collar should provide a range of intensities. Many dogs respond well to a corrective tone or vibration, but a more powerful static shock should still be available to the trainer if necessary. Many trainers start with corrective tones, then escalate to vibrations if the unwanted behavior does not stop. A snap of static electricity should be considered a last resort.
The receiver on a shock collar should be waterproof for outdoor behavioral training.
An entry-level shock collar training system will usually include one shock collar and a basic remote control with a limited range. These training systems are best for owners of small indoor breeds with easily correctable behavioral issues, such as excessive jumping or scratching.
$50 to $150
In this price range, you'll find shock collar systems that include tone and vibration correction along with static electric shocks. The units should be fully waterproof, and the remote control range should be hundreds of yards. Some mid-range models offer multiple collars and transmitters for training more than one dog at a time.
High-end shock collar systems are generally used by professional trainers and owners of multiple outdoor or hunting dogs. With these systems, the owner can be over a quarter of a mile away and still control the shock collar remotely. The collars are completely waterproof and rugged enough to stand up to the outdoor elements.
Q. How can a painful electric shock correct my dog's behavior? Won't he just get angry or confused?
A. During correctional training, the shock collar should only be used to discourage bad behavior, not punish the dog. If the shock level is causing severe pain, it is set too high. Dogs have a pack mentality, and they learn to respect the authority of the leader. Consistent correction, whether it be a tone, a vibration, or a quick shock, should establish the trainer as the dominant member of the pack.
Q. What bad behaviors can be corrected through the use of a shock collar?
A. While some dog owners may want to use a shock collar to discourage excessive barking, there are specialized "bark collars" on the market that better address this issue. Behaviors that can be corrected with a shock collar include furniture destruction, aggression toward other pets, unwanted jumping on guests, vehicle chasing, boundary crossing, and compulsive digging.
Shock collars we recommend
Best of the best: SportDOG Brand 425 Family Remote Trainers
Our take: This shock collar system is ideal for outdoor, all-weather training for larger breeds.
What we like: This system offers a 500-yard range, vibrations and tones, and variable degrees of shock.
What we dislike: It's not suitable for smaller dogs. The lowest shock setting may still cause unnecessary discomfort for some dogs.
Best bang for your buck: Petrainer Remote Dog Training Collar
Our take: The Petrainer shock collar system boasts virtually the same performance as higher-end trainers but at a budget-friendly price.
What we like: The collar includes effective vibration and tone options and offers a 330-yard range. The system is suitable for multiple dogs.
What we dislike: The transmitter can fall off during rough play, and the rechargeable battery has a shorter-than-average lifespan per charge.
Our take: Owners of smaller-breed dogs will appreciate this shock collar's gentle approach to correction, starting with vibration and a low-level shock.
What we like: This shock collar offers a fully waterproof design, and the lower shock settings are gentle enough for small breeds.
What we dislike: The remote control is very sensitive and can send out unintentional shocks. Some users may find the 900-foot range too limited.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.