How To Use a Dog Shock Collar for Training

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Shock collars are a controversial subject in the dog training world. Many pet owners and trainers consider them to be inhumane when dogs can be trained with other methods. However, sometimes it’s necessary to upgrade your dog to a shock collar. In this blog we’re looking at how to use a dog shock collar for training – without hurting your dog.

When considering shock collar training for dogs, you must understand how to use the shock collar correctly and humanely. It’s easy to use it as a positive reinforcer, as well as a stronger nudge towards proper behavior. With the right training, you can even train your dog away from the collar entirely. 

How to Properly Use a Shock Collar for Dog Training

If you have decided that your dog needs a shock collar, talk to a professional. Whether a veterinarian or a dog trainer, let them know what you’re considering and why. A professional’s advice will be helpful in any situation, especially if you’re trying to train a younger dog.

how to use a dog shock collar for training

Establish a Basic Level of Training

Before getting out the shock collar, ensure that your dog knows some of the most basic commands. Shocks or vibrations without knowing commands will just confuse and hurt your puppy. 

If your dog doesn’t know basic commands, avoid the collar. Once they know orders like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and whatever other basics you want them to know, you can help them adjust to their training collar. It’s also recommended to start the collar after your puppy is six months old. 

Let Them Get Used to the Collar

A dog takes a while to get used to everything new, from a new crate to a new yard. The collar is no exception. Before using it for training, leave the collar on your dog for a few days (during the day). That way, your pet gets used to the feel of the collar itself and won’t avoid putting it on. 

When you first put on the collar, treat your dog. If your dog wears the shock collar for multiple hours, shift it around every hour or so to prevent sores from forming where the shocker rubs the skin. These sores won’t come from the zaps but from the dog moving around in an unfamiliar collar. 

how to use a dog shock collar for training
A basic dog shock collar

Use It With a Combination of Training Methods

If you put the shock collar on and zap your dog every time it does something wrong, you’ll only end up confusing your animal. The shock collar is not a training method but a tool to help you with whatever technique you choose. 

Later in the article, we will discuss using the shock collar with positive and negative reinforcement techniques. These are commonly used with the shock collar. Using the shock collar as punishment is not helpful except in extreme situations. 

Aim to Eventually Take Off the Collar 

Of course, your final goal is to take off the collar and have a completely obedient dog. If you use reinforcement techniques in conjunction with the collar, you can fully train your dog. A well-trained dog will listen without a collar, especially if you use a repeatable technique. 

Positive or Negative Reinforcement Techniques? 

The two main techniques used with the shock collar are positive and negative reinforcement. Reinforcement is different from punishment—where punishment seeks to decrease a behavior, reinforcement increases. Even if your dog has bad behavior, reinforcement can be an effective way of helping them learn good behaviors to increase. 

Positive Reinforcement 

Positive reinforcement uses a positive cue to increase behavior. To do this with a shock collar, set it to vibrate or beep. Treat your dog every time you vibrate the collar for the first few days. They will learn to listen to you when you use the collar, even after you stop giving them treats. 

Using a shock collar with positive reinforcement is an excellent way to keep the attention of an easily distracted dog. Once your puppy associates the vibration with a treat, you will be able to get their attention no matter what. This method will make further training easier. 

Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is a little more severe. Move the shock collar to a low frequency if your pet doesn’t respond to positive reinforcement for specific activities (like fence jumping, cat chasing, or digging). Shock your dog until they stop the behavior and then immediately treat them. 

This low level of shock might be uncomfortable but won’t hurt your dog. Instead of associating you with pain, they will associate you with the end of the pain. The dog will learn that the pain ceases when it stops bad behavior. Negative reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to train your dog with a shock collar. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Shock Collars

Many people have further questions about training a dog with a shock collar. Check out these frequently asked questions or talk to a dog training professional for breed-specific advice. 

Is a shock collar good for training dogs? 

Shock collars are excellent for training dogs as long as they are used responsibly and humanely. Many people argue that they are cruel to animals, but the shock settings on most collars are low. The collars will get the dog’s attention more than hurt them. 

how to use a dog shock collar for training

When should you start using a shock collar on a dog? 

Do not use a shock collar on your dog until they’re at least six months old and know a few basic commands. If you start when they are too young or don’t know commands, the collar will only confuse and hurt them. The dog will lose trust in you and be harder to train later. 

How long does it take to train a dog on a shock collar? 

If you train your dog with patience and consistency, you should see excellent results within a year. For more pliable or younger dogs, you’ll start to see increased obedience within a few months. However, this kind of training takes work and consistency on your end. 

Final Thoughts – How To Use A Dog Shock Collar For Training

Shock collar training can be incredibly beneficial for your dog, especially if prone to distractions or disobedience. If used well and intentionally, the shock collar is an excellent tool to train your dog to complete obedience in under a year. With some work from both you and your pet, you’ll be able to live a long and happy life together! 

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.