What is the Proper Way to Train Using an E-Collar?

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June 6, 2023
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Proper Way to Train using an e-collar

An e-collar is an electronic collar that is widely used as an effective dog training tool. Hinging on the success of the training program is a handler who is well-versed in e-collar training practices

When a dog owner or professional dog trainer is educated on proper e-collar training methods that include conditioning and positive reinforcement, dogs learn how to behave in desirable ways. Unwanted behaviors go away and they are replaced with good behavior that makes for a happy dog and a happy home!

At Minnesota Canine Consulting, we are here to provide you with e-collar education so that you can be the best dog guardian possible!  Continue reading to learn more about four steps you can take to ensure proper training while using an e-collar.

Step 1: Strong Bond & Basic Obedience  

Before you can think about using an e-collar, you need to make sure that you and your dog have a healthy relationship built on trust and consistency. Understanding your dog’s behavior and body language will help you be successful later on with e-collar training.

To establish trust in your dog and vice versa, it’s helpful to think about why you trust certain people in life. What’s occurred – or not occurred – with people in your life that you have a trusting relationship with?

You’ll likely think about things like follow-through, predictability, consistency, and unconditional love. Sound familiar? Well, it’s the same foundation to build when thinking about your relationship with your dog. 

Dogs need consistency in commands and expectations from their trainer. And this is sometimes hard to adhere to but you have to realize that in the long run, if your training is both positive and continuous, your dog will be happy and healthy. Before using an e-collar, your dog needs to know basic commands like sit, stay, heel, etc.

Be patient along the way! Play with your four-legged friend and have some fun! 

Step 2: E-Collar Conditioning

Once you and your dog have gotten into a rhythm and basic obedience commands have been taught, you are ready to start introducing the e-collar in the conditioning phase. 

Today’s e-collars come with a spectrum of settings and are available in many different sizes – make sure you have the right fit for your dog and that you are using the appropriate settings.  As the owner, you are responsible for knowing how to use the device. Practice with it and educate yourself to develop a solid understanding of how it works. 

After you’ve learned how to operate the e-collar, you’re ready to start the e-collar conditioning phase. Begin this conditioning phase in a low-distraction environment that is familiar to your dog, such as your home.  

Put the e-collar on your dog and let your dog get used to wearing it. At this point, your goal is to help your dog draw positive associations with the e-collar. Don’t activate it yet – this phase is all about acquainting your dog with wearing the e-collar! 

By familiarizing your dog with the collar, you are encouraging the dog to see it as something neutral, as opposed to the dog making any unwanted associations. Now that your dog is familiar with the e-collar, you can finish the conditioning process by making it a bridge to reward.

Step 3: Pair Verbal Commands & E-Collar

After the conditioning process is complete, you are ready to use the e-collar to enforce known commands. Remain consistent – your dog is learning and you are the teacher. 

This routine is how dogs understand what the collar means. Be sure to also include positive reinforcement in your training so your dog associates desirable things like treats, belly rubs, and verbal praise with their response to the e-collar’s activation. 

Timing is key so be as immediate with the positive reinforcement as possible! And give them all the positive reinforcement you can so that they can most efficiently learn to associate correct behavior with something they want. 

In time, your dog should begin to understand how the e-collar works in regard to how their behavior correlates to the e-collar’s activation.

Throughout this phase, make sure to keep a balance with how much you are using the e-collar. Don’t exhaust your dog! Watch for signs of disengagement while using the training tool. It’s not meant to be worn 24/7!

Step 4: Consistency 

The end goal of e-collar training is that dogs are given more opportunities to love their lives because their owners trust their behavior. This means more social time for the dog as well as the dog being able to experience more outdoor fun!

A commitment to consistency will deliver the results you are looking for: you will feel more confident that your dog knows how to appropriately behave in an array of situations. Every dog learns at different rates. As we say at Minnesota Canine Consulting, consistent training leads to consistent performance. 

Listen to your dog and pay attention to his or her behavior while training. And through it all, remain consistent! 

Conclusion - What is the proper way to train using an e-collar?

After you and your dog trust one another you can begin to think about using an e-collar. Pick one that best suits your dog’s needs and remain consistent in your training! Keep things fun and positive along the way and know that your efforts are worth it!

In the meantime, reach out to Minnesota Canine Consulting today to work with our passionate and highly educated dog training professionals!


How do I know what kind of e-collar to use?

To pick the best e-collar, you need to keep a couple of things in mind like the size of your dog, your training goals, your desired stimulator type (tone, vibration, or pulse), and your connection range needs. Rest assured that e-collars come in many varieties so you will be able to find the right fit for your dog!

Do e-collars hurt my dog?

If you’ve ever been exposed to a stimulator treatment at your chiropractor, you can compare that experience to what dogs with an e-collar experience. A shock collar is a thing of the past and we are not fans of the harsh settings. An e-collar is not the same thing as a shock collar. 

How do e-collars work?

E-collars are electronic dog training aids. E-collars have a small electronic receiver attached to them. The collar must be properly fitted to your dog’s neck. The owner then uses a remote that speaks to the receiver attached to the collar. Upon the owner pressing the remote, the collar’s response system is activated and a tone, vibration, or pulsating physical signal will be given to your dog. When used consistently, dogs will learn the difference between good and bad behavior.

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