Shock collar training for dogs can help your dogs better understand and remember the skills they are supposed to know.
Some pet parents may be unfamiliar with shock collar training, while others may view it as inhumane. Regardless of your current understanding of shock collar training, know that it is a valuable tool that can aid in your pet’s training when used correctly.
To get started with shock collar training, train your pup using basics such as positive reinforcement techniques so your dog can get used to the training. Also, ensure that your puppy understands simple commands, such as "come," "down," and "sit," which will make the shock collar training easier.
Shock collars are harmless and safe to use when used properly, so make sure you use them while prioritizing your pet's well-being.
Based on extensive research, we have put together this shock collar training for dogs’ guide to help you navigate shock collar training, especially if you are using this tool for the first time.
How to Train Your Dog Using A Shock Collar
Before we get started with the details of how to train your dog using a shock collar, it’s always a good idea to invest some time and energy in some basic training for your dog. Many dog parents assume that shock collar training is a substitute for regular training techniques, but that's not always true, especially for younger dogs. Through positive reinforcement and rewards, traditional training helps develop basic obedience, which aids in shock collar training.
Moreover, you need to ensure that your dog has some basic understanding of simple commands such as "come," "down," and "sit," which makes your shock collar training easier.
The other critical consideration is to remember that while some pet parents may consider using a shock collar inappropriate, it is considered an essential training tool by some of the most experienced dog trainers.
Regardless of how others perceive shock collar training, you must understand that it's a safe and effective training tool that can help your pup develop skills and behaviors that they are supposed to know.
Here are the steps that you need to take to properly train your dog using a shock collar as a training tool.
Invest in a Good Quality Product
Perhaps the most critical step in your dog’s shock collar training is to invest in a good quality product. A good quality shock collar will make you and your pup’s life easier and much more enjoyable.
You can find several amazing products on the market that are available in a variety of features and price ranges, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with this abundance of choice, but you can make the process simpler by doing your research. You don't need any whistles and bells, and you also don't have to spend a lot of money on shock collars with endless features because all you need to train your dog is a simple model that includes a remote and a shock collar.
Start with the Basics
If you have recently adopted a puppy, you need to go back to the basics. Using a shock collar to train your new pet for basic skills will not work for both you and your puppy, and it will end up as a frustrating experience.
Hence, it is best to rely on basic, traditional dog training techniques that focus on teaching your pup the basic commands using positive reinforcement and treats.
Starting with the basics sets the simple and easy-to-understand way to establish a relationship of trust and care between you and your dog and will also help your pooch figure out how to learn from you as their trainer.
Let Your Dog Get Used to the Collar
Next, you need to let your dog get used to the collar. At this stage, do not aim for corrections and simply let your dog get used to the idea of wearing this collar as a shock collar typically feels different from other types of collars. Hence, it is important to give your pup a chance to wear this tool.
Determine the Stimulation Level
When it comes to shock collar training, the most critical aspect is to select the stimulation level using the remote control. Every shock collar available on the market will have varying levels of stimulation ranging from the stimulation that's barely perceptible to the human hand, going up all the way to noticeable shocks. So you need to determine the stimulation level that will clearly get your puppy's attention.
To figure out the right stimulation level for your dog, you need to start by fitting the collar properly around your dog's neck and setting the stimulation level to zero. When you do so, allow your dog to explore the training area, such as your yard, or if you are training your dog at a local park, that would be your dog's training area.
Once your dog is engaged in exploring the surroundings and is not focused on you, you can begin by tapping the stimulation level and gradually increasing it to figure out when the stimulation gets your dog’s attention.
While increasing the stimulation level, at some point, you will notice that your dog will tilt its head, or the ears of your pet will prick up. These are signs that the stimulation is strong enough to get your dog's attention, and that's the right sensation that you can use to train your puppy.
If your dog starts yelling or jumping in response to your increase of stimulation level, know that the signals are too strong, and you need to lower the stimulation level.
Remember, each dog is different, so the stimulation level that might work for one dog may be too high or too low for another one, and that's why you need to determine the strength of the signal by closely observing your dog while adjusting the stimulation level.
Demonstrate Your Dog the Behavior You Want
If you expect certain behavior from your dog, telling them what you want and then correcting them using a shock collar is often not a good idea.
Your dog won't be able to understand your instructions right away. A better approach would be to demonstrate to your dog the behavior you are looking for. Indeed, it will be a tiring, repetitive process that may take a few weeks, but once your dog learns a certain behavior through demonstration, treats, and positive reinforcement, you can now use the shock collar to reinforce the behavior you want.
Soon you can simply use a cue on the shock collar to ask your dog to show a particular skill or behavior.
Start with the Real Training
Depending upon the type of training you want, you may have to take different approaches. If you aim to stop undesirable behavior such as eating garbage, digging in the yard, or scratching furniture, you need to start by taking your dog to the training area.
Let's take the example of digging in the yard as an undesirable behavior that you want to correct. Take your dog to the yard and if possible, let your dog get engaged with the environment on its own while you maintain a discreet distance from your pet.
Since dogs have the instinct to dig whether they are in the yard or a garden, let your pet get engaged in the behavior. But as soon as your dog engages in the target behavior, you can tap the button using the remote control, and your pet will get the signal that's strong enough to get its attention.
If your dog does not respond and continues with the undesirable behavior, you can continue to tap and gradually increase the stimulation until it stops.
Remember when using shock collar training for your dog, timing is crucial, and catching your dog in the target behavior is also equally important. Lastly, never underestimate the timing of the correction, as it will help your dog understand the correlation between the action and the response. While you may still have to repeat this training with your dog several times before they understand the correlation, you can soon expect your dog to refrain from undesirable behavior, which in this case is digging.
Similarly, you can use the shock collar for teaching new skills or reinforcing learned behaviors to your four-legged friend.
However, it is important to remember that shock collar training is not designed for obedience training. Before you use shock collar training, your dog understands basic obedience commands such as down, sit and come.
For example, let's take off-leash walking, which is a skill that you can teach your dog using shock collar training. Use the shock collar to help your dog learn your verbal commands when walking off-leash.
You can take your dog to the training area, which can be a park, and let your dog engage with the environment. However, as soon as your dog tries to go overboard, you can use the verbal command "come" along with the stimulation, so your dog knows when to come back to you. Over time, with practice, your dog will learn to respond to your command without the need for stimulation.
Back-up Shock Collar Training with Positive Reinforcement and Treats
Here’s a piece of advice that can transform your dog training using a shock collar. Always know that if you solely rely on a shock collar to restrict unwanted and inappropriate behaviors or to reinforce newly learned behaviors, you cannot accomplish this goal solely by using a shock collar.
Make sure you rely on a combination of techniques such as positive reinforcement and use of treats along with shock collar training so even when you are out with your four-legged friend with a regular collar or a harness, your dog still knows what to do when you make a request.
Remember, your goal is to have an exceptionally trained pup so you can leave the shock collar behind or use the vibrate setting only.
When done correctly and used with the combination of positive reinforcement and treats, shock collar training can eliminate a wide range of behavior problems and help your dog develop new skills while eventually eliminating the need for the shock collar altogether.
What Can You Teach Your Dog By Using Shock Collar Training?
You can use shock collar training for teaching new skills to your dog, reinforcing previously learned behavior, and, most importantly, for avoiding undesirable behaviors. Here are a few things you can teach your pup using shock collar training.
Improve Mastery of Basic Obedience Skills
Shock collar training is a great tool that can help improve your dog's grip over basic obedience skills.Remember that knowing the basic obedience skills is the first step for training your dog for more complicated skills.
However, it’s best to avoid shock collar training while teaching your dog basic obedience skills and rely on other techniques such as positive reinforcement and treats. Through this approach, you can establish a relationship with your pet that will strengthen over time and won't be negatively impacted as you rely on shock collar training for more advanced skills.
But using shock collar training later can strengthen the skills they already know and make them more confident.
Another great skill that you can teach your dog using shock collar training is off-lease walking.
Using a shock collar allows your dog to learn your verbal commands when walking off-leash, which aids in controlling your dog while giving it some freedom when out in the open.
Correcting Undesirable Behaviors
Sometimes dogs may indulge in undesirable behaviors such as scratching furniture or excessive chewing or digging. And often correcting these behaviors is most challenging. That’s where shock collar training can help.
Over time, with consistent practice using a shock collar, your dog may learn to avoid undesirable behaviors.
Many pet parents also use shock collar training for teaching more advanced skills such as hunting, agility training, and training their pets for specialty jobs.
But regardless of why you use shock collar training, it is important that you do it the right way. As you start training your dog using a shock collar, remember that your dog must have basic obedience skills as this basic know-how will speed up the training process and make it more effective.
Moreover, when you use shock collar training, start by determining the stimulation level. Remember, all dogs are unique so you want to determine the stimulation level that’s most appropriate for your pet as you don’t want your signal to go noticed or be so strong that it shocks your puppy.
Lastly, always combine the shock collar training technique with incentives such as treats and positive reinforcement as they make the training more effective. Moreover, your incentives are also more likely to strengthen your relationship with your pet.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright