Remote Dog Training E-Collar Reviews
At Adams K-9 Dog Training and Kennel, we specialize in E Collar (AKA Remote Collar) training and thought it would be a good time to review and comment on some of the collars we have seen, and what we recommend. Many novices refer to these as Shock Collars, which really has a negative connotation. Many in the competitive world of dog sports, and also trainers, use remote collars for training. Used correctly, they can really have a positive effect on your dog training. The first question some people have is, why use a remote collar?
Think of a remote collar as a tool for communication. We use tactile ways of communicating all of the time. If I am focused on something my son, Jaycen will tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. Some people are touchers when they communicate, you know the ones. They gently touch your arm when making a point or comforting you. After family gatherings, we all give each other hugs when everyone leaves for home. Humans use touch all the time when communicating. The remote collar is used the same way.
When shopping for a remote collar there are three things you need to look for –
- Ease of use
- Ergonomics (How it fits in your hand)
- Level Variations
I bought my first collar, an Innotek, back in 1992. With this collar, you needed to change the chips in the collar to change levels. Ease of use and variable levels were not practical. technology and improved dramatically over the past 25 years. The Collars we typically see that owners own today are Petsafe, SportDog, Garmin, E-Collar Technologies, and Dogtra. I will talk about each individually.
This blog is not based on any scientific tests, just my opinion of collars that have seen come into our training facility.
Petsafe is a cheaper collar and with E-Collars you really get what you pay for. They are easy to use and fit in your hand well, but the level jumps are too extreme. Number 1 is too low for the dog, level 2 is a little high, and level 3 is way too high. The more options you have on level selection the better you are.
They typically come with tones; good tone and bad tone. I often ask people how the dog knows from one tone to the other and they can’t answer that. Either they never read the owner’s manual or there is no reason for either tone. The way we teach is that the tone should come from your mouth, not an electronic device. Isn’t the goal for your dog that it listens to you better? I do not recommend this collar.
SportDog is a collar I used for a few years but ended up changing brands because of the levels. The SportDog is easy to use and fits fine in your hand, but again, it’s the levels. There are not enough level variations for dog training. The dog may not feel a 1, 2 works but 3 makes the dog cry. Making a dog cry or yip using an e collar is punishment and is not fair to the dog. Since the collar doesn’t have enough level variations I do not recommend SportDog collars.
We recommend people inexperienced with e-collars to seek out professional help with the correct training methods. If your dog is scared of the collar, then you probably introduced it wrong.
Garmin has gotten into the e-collar market and I believe a lot of hunters like them for the variety of functions they come with; GPS, no bark function, and an e-collar. You definitely need to read the instructions thoroughly with these collars because they are difficult to use. There are several buttons and variations, and you don’t want to hit the wrong button when training.
These collars also have the ability to work several dogs on one remote which is also complicated. People have one dog, purchase a hunting dog Garmin with the intentions of hunting with them and never hunt their dog. Unless you are an avid hunter and want to take the time to use these collars I do not recommend them. They may have simpler more basic models, but this is that I have seen come into our lobby and the owner want us to train their dog with it. The ergonomics are great and they have a variety of levels, but I would never buy one for my dogs. They are also too complicated for this 50-year-old man to learn to use. Not recommended.
E-Collar Technologies, founded in 2010, is the new collar on the market. They seem to be pretty popular since they come into our training facility rather regularly. They have levels 1-60, vibration, and a boost mode from 1-100. I don’t like how they feel in my hand since they are round, and I just cannot get used to that. If it’s the only thing I ever used maybe I would get used to it, but I am really not a fan of the round remote.
I also think they are not user-friendly. I worked with a woman who more than once pushed the wrong button. She wanted to hit Vibrate and she hit the “Stim” button instead. They just seem complicated to me and again, we do not recommend. If someone comes in with an E-Collar Technologies collar we train the dog with our e-collar and then transition when we work with the owner. The owner is advised to know how to use the collar before we start the transition. Not recommended.
Dogtra is our collar of choice and is included with all our training programs. We use the 200C, which is the low to mid-range collar. It’s more than enough for most dogs. We do carry the 1900S for dogs that have a high tolerance, but that is a rarity. I like the 200C because it fits nicely in your hand, has a rheostat dial, and is easy to use.
The button on the front is vibration. The two buttons on the side are nick and continuous, and that’s it. Basic, easy to use collar for pet training. The stimulation levels go from 1-100 and with the rheostat dial there are a lot of variations on the intensity. There is no clicking from level to level. The dial moves gradually, and you can really finesse the levels that are just right with your dog.
Dogtra has been in business for over 30 years. I used Dogtra when I was in Police Canine Services and continue to use in our pet training business. Recommended!
Please contact us at Adams K-9 if you would like more information on our West Michigan dog training programs, and be sure to ask how we can help your dog to be obedient and well mannered.
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