The Best Dog Shock Collars: Are they Safe & How to use Them
Shock collars can be an addition to any dog trainer’s toolbox, and no, they are not a torture device.
They work by allowing a dog owner to deliver a shock to a canine when it is misbehaving and I’m sure you’re asking already “which one should I buy for my dog?”.
Top 6 Best Dog Shock Collars
- SportDOG FieldTrainer (Top Rated)
- Petronics Training Collar
- PetSafe Remote Training Collar
- Bark Solution No Bark
- Petrainer PET998DBB
- PetPal PA-300
You can find detailed reviews of all six below.
Shock or bark collars are commonly used for establishing invisible fences, correcting bad behavior, and discouraging excessive barking.
- History Lesson on the Use of Shock Collars
- How to Use One
- Are Dog Shock Collars Safe?
- Dog Shock Collar Myths
- Features to Consider
- Best Dog Shock Collar Reviews
The shock is delivered as a punishment or as a negative reinforcement and henceforth dissuades a canine from repeating an unwanted behavior.
This is a straightforward description in terms of shock collar training though. They are not meant to be used as punishment, instead should be used to train your dog into behavior in an obedient manner.
By using a shock collar your dog will begin to associate the unwanted shock with behavior such as excessive barking or wandering too far from your property, this uncomfortable reminder will hopefully stop your pet from carrying out this type of behavior until a dog training collar is no longer needed.
There are deeper layers and tricks to make it more effective but they should also be used with caution and although this article reviews the best dog shock collars currently available we always recommend positive training methods be used first.
Shock collars can be rather inexpensive for a run of the mill brand or rather expensive for high quality, generally falling in the price range from $20-$200.
A Quick History Lesson On the Use of Dog Shock Collars
Here is a little bit of history about the use of shock collars.
These were first used in the 1970s to train hunting dogs.
Early versions of shock collars delivered a very high voltage shock to the dogs. Since then, studies have shown that the level of shock does not need to be this high to warrant a response from a canine.
Because of this, dog shock collars now come with a wide range of voltage levels, and dog owners are encouraged to find a “working level” where the voltage is just high enough for the dog in training to realize it is there.
In fact, many training collars now come with ‘beep’ and vibration settings which have been found to be just as effective when training a dog.
Many organizations, such hunters, military, police, competition trainers, and search and rescue trainers are still avid users of shock collars.
What Are Dog Shock Collars & How to Use Them
There are many people that believe that the use of shock collars can damage or even destroy an owner’s relationship with their dog.
This is simply not true. The use of shock collars must be justified and proper. Think about it like spanking a child, many parents are against it but it is still a method of disciple to demonstrate to a child that what they did was wrong.
If a parent spanks a child for no reason or too often, then it is child abuse. The same is true for a bark collar. They can be a highly effective dog training tool when used properly, but when used incorrectly, the result can be devastating for the dog and the relationship between the owner and their pet.
That is why the first and most important thing to realize about using shock collars is that training collars have adjustable shock settings and this should be used by dog owners.
By this, it is meant that higher voltage settings do not equal a higher chance of learning or quicker, fast-tracked education.
It is simply animal abuse to continually shock a pet that doesn’t know why it’s getting shocked.
If for any reason it seems like upping the voltage will help the pet understand more, try a different method of training first before resorting to this.
It is silly just to keep shocking the dog and expecting them just to get it. Also, be conscious of when to lower the shock levels.
If the dog is wet, the shock will be much stronger than if the dog was dry. Yes, there are times when upping the voltage may be necessary, but this is when the environment is highly distracting for the dog.
Shock collars are great for bad behaviors that happen when an owner is not there to correct them, like an invisible fence.
A bad example of the use of a shock collar training is to curb jumping during greeting. If dog owners can discipline a dog without the use of a shock collar then that method should be taken first. This is because it will help the dog learn what is wrong before applying shocks so that hopefully shocks are never needed.
But in the example of an invisible fence, the owner will not always be next to the dog while it is outside and so a dog training collar makes more sense to reinforce to the pup that there is a boundary on how far it can go.
Are Dog Shock Collars Safe?
The shock given by an approved training collar is safe, which is why we only review those sold on Amazon below.
The shock is enough to deter certain types of behavior but will not do any lasting harm. Many bark collars for dogs will also give a beep or some warning before delivering a shock which aims to speed up the process of training your dog while shocking them as little as possible.
Dog Training Collar Myths
Shock collars are not a shortcut to training, and their use does not signal a poor trainer. They are simply another tool in a dog owners tool box to develop good behavior in a dog being trained.
They work alongside positive dog training techniques (like giving a treat to show good behavior) to enable the greatest level of understanding in an animal and knowledge of what is expected of them.
Shock collars should always be used after the introduction of a positive training technique but can offer that extra edge in reinforcing a behavior. When used efficiently, the rewards are outstanding and longstanding.
Features to Consider
There are a couple of features to consider before buying a dog training collar.
The first thing to know is what type of training the shock collar is going to be used for. This will help guide the search and help an owner not spend too much money on features that are not required.
Range is always a good consideration.
Know how far the electronic leash should be. If the extent of the leash is the backyard, try a short-range collar. If the training goes past these distances, like hunting dog training, an extended range collar may be needed.
Another feature that may be useful is a waterproof collar. This featured is advised if there is a stream in the backyard or the dog likes running around in the rain.
If this situation does not seem to apply, save a few extra bucks and skip the waterproofing.
Other features to consider include battery life, whether or not the bark collar has an LCD screen as well as if the collar can be operated via a remote control.
Lastly and most importantly, the amount of levels of stimulation a shock collar has. This one takes a bit more research but is still vitally important.
Read the reviews below to find out if there are big jumps in the levels of stimulation or if the specific bark collar is good for big dogs and small dogs alike.
Some training collars for dogs are only suitable for larger breeds, whereas others do not have large enough jumps in the level of stimulations for bigger breeds. These collars work well for small dogs though so just do a little homework on the collar before you buy and find the right fit for your pet.
Best Shock Collar Reviews
The SportDOG Brand FieldTrainer 425 is a professional grade training collar for sport and hunting dog trainers.
The collar is slightly more expensive than others reviewed in this roundup, but this price is justified by the high-quality nature of the product and the range of the shock collar.
With the SportDOG 425, a trainer has 500 yards to play with while training their dog.
It comes with seven instantly selectable levels of stimulation covering from low to medium professionally ranged. It also comes with a tone warner and vibration warner for maximization of the reinforcement regiment.
There is also an add-a-dog option to control multiple dogs with one remote control going up to 3 dogs at one time. The FieldTrainer 425 has a DryTek waterproofing and is submersible down to 25 feet. It is also equipped with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that last from 50-70 hours on a single charge.
The collar itself fits dogs with neck sizes from 5 inches to 22 inches.
The manual that accompanies it is very informative on how to use the training collar to provide the best training for your dog so read that beforehand.
Many users speak highly of the longevity and life of the shock collar, and that is something we agree with.
Petronics 330 Yards Rechargeable Shock Training Collar with Remote
This inexpensive dog shock collar may be the answer for any dog owners struggling with obedience training.
This is the cheapest collar being reviewed; however, this does not automatically make it the worst.
The collar has a range of 330 yards. This is further than may be needed for the typical family pet, but a larger control zone definitely does not hurt.
The collar has three training modes, including a tone, vibration, and shock mode. This is to optimize the time in which a dog can learn a skill with the least amount of actual shocking.
If the dog becomes accustomed to obeying the tone or the vibration before a shock ever has to be delivered, then the collar and trainer have done their jobs expertly.
The collar fits all sizes of dogs from 10 pounds to 100 pounds and has 100 levels of vibration and static shock.
The collar is also approved for use on puppies greater than 8 pounds.
The remote can also control two different collars meaning you can train multiple dogs at the same time.
The collar and remote both have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and make sure to read the manual to understand how to use the collar for best response to any dog training.
There is also a 5-year replacement and money back warranty with this collar.
The PetSafe Remote Training Collar is great for dogs of all sizes.
It has two options available: one for big dogs and one for small dogs.
The small dog collar is designed for dogs that weigh from 8 to 40 pounds, and the large bark collar is designed for dogs that weigh more than 40 pounds and neck sizes up to 28 inches.
The range on the shock collar is 100 yards, so it is perfect for family dogs and pets with this small range.
The bark collar has 16 adjustable levels to maximize effectiveness in training. There is also a boost button for deviation from the adjusted level, though this should be very rarely used.
There is also a single tone level to give a warning before administering a shock. The PetSafe collar is waterproof, and we found it to be a little light for the big dogs, requiring a higher setting to get a response. However, this is a much better problem than the reverse where the dog would not be able to have a safe training level and is only being hurt by the collar.a
The collar is also relatively inexpensive compared to some other models of shock collars.
This shock collar is specifically designed for bark control.
It is generally recommended for dogs 15-20lb in weight.
This dog training collar works by sensing the vibrations from the dog’s vocal cords when it barks. The collar will alert the dog with a beep following two barks and after the third bark, it will deliver a light shock to reinforce the barking problem.
After this, there are seven levels of stimulation, each gradually increasing the shock as the barking continues.
The shocking stops and returns to the original intensity when the dog stops barking for more than 30 seconds. For the protection of the dog, the collar will also stop shocking the dog after a level 7 shock for a minute.
The goal is to get the dog to realize that after two barks, it will be shocked so that the dog will stop continuously barking.
Be careful though; this dog collar is designed for small dogs, not puppies.
If the dog is less than eight pounds, it is not recommended to use this collar.
This collar takes a 6-volt battery for extended battery life.
The Petrainer Dog electronic collar has many different features and benefits while still being very affordable and high quality.
To start, the Petrainier PET998DBB offers a range of 330 yards, a medium distance range which is more than needed for a typical house trained pet.
For the price though, it will not seem like you are overspending.
This dog training collar comes with three settings to alert a dog to its bad behavior, and it is highly suggested that the first two are used to start with, with the shock only being given later in training.
These are beeping, vibrating, and finally a shock. The Petrainer comes with a five-year replacement or refund warranty.
It has 100 levels of stimulation that can also be programmed to work in conjunction with the vibrations to fully maximize training abilities.
The wide range of levels makes this collar great for small dogs too. The collar is also 100% fully waterproof.
D.T. Systems PetPal PA-300 Remote Dog Trainer
The D.T. Systems PetPal PA-300 Remote Dog Trainer is another relatively expensive shock collar, but it is well worth the cost.
The collar is small and light weight and comes with 16 user-programmable levels of continuous stimulation. This means that as long as the button is held down, the shock will continue to be delivered.
There is also a tone option in the collar as well.
The collar fits all dogs ranging from 5 pounds to 120 pounds and for neck sizes 7 inches to 27 inches.
The collar has a range of 300 yards and is waterproof. The remote control is also weatherproof too meaning the transmitter can be used in all weather conditions.
Designed by D.T. Systems with home and yard obedience training in mind and is a part of their Pet Pal line of collars.
The collar is relatively easy to use and the manual offers training tricks for use with the collar.
This high-quality collar is worth the price paid for it and comes with an excellent battery life.