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E-Collars: Why Do We Use Them

Have you heard of an e-collar but are still apprehensive about using or even discussing them?

You're not alone. In some circles e-collars are as common practice as treats and leashes, but in other circles they are taboo, frowned upon or even outright rejected.

I personally have been given crap in public from strangers just because my dogs were wearing them!

If you're confused, curious, or any of the above, I'm going to break down what e-collars are, what they are for, and what they are definitely NOT for.

What are e-collars?

Despite being labelled e-collars, they're not actually electric. They are a TENS machine, meaning they stimulate nerves which in turn contract muscles. Exactly the same stimulations as Dr Ho's 10-minute ab product.... (I don't think your dogs e-collar will give you abs but you're welcome to try) ...

How do they work?

E-collars work by delivering stimulation to a collar that is adjustable by a handheld transmitter. As dog trainers, we teach the dogs how to respond to leash pressure when we teach Loose Leash Walking, Place Training, etc. We also teach them how to respond to e-collar pressure when training the recall or any other basic command.

So what are e-collars for?

E-collars are for reinforcing commands or rules that the dogs already know. That's so important I'm going to say it again...

E-collars are for reinforcing commands or rules that the dogs already know

For example, after teaching Fluffy to come when called using a long leash and treats, we simply replace the long leash tugs with e-collar pulses. This teaches Fluffy that the stimulation from the e-collar means COME... we then reward him lavishly :) This is very easy and is day 1 of our off-leash program.

We then give Fluffy lots of practice recalling, using low-level stimulation from our e-collar, until he is trustworthy enough to no longer need the long leash. And... voila! Fluffy is off-leash trained for recalls! His recalls aren't perfect yet, but he knows them. He basically has a G2 in recalls, and needs practice time to get his full G Recall License.

What are e-collars NOT for?

This is a great question.

E-collars are not for 'getting even', dealing with aggression or anything that your dog doesn't already know

Classic example: Fluffy is digging up the garden so his owners strap a collar to him and 'get revenge' by blasting him with high stimulation the next time they catch him digging... Fluffy doesn't know what this sensation on his neck is... OR who it's from... OR why he's getting it, so he panics and hides under the deck for 24 hours. What a disaster. E-collars also aren't a great option for dealing with aggression.

These are just a couple of examples of how to use (or not use) an e-collar, although the list is endless. The one area where the e-collar is by far the best option is off-leash training

If the leash training is like snail mail, the e-collar is an email: same communication, but a lot faster!

Having trained hundreds (if not thousands) of dogs with an e-collar I can say that it is an invaluable tool in your dog training toolbox, and essential for off leash training.

We understand that you are cautious about using them as you don't want to hurt your dog or damage your relationship with your beloved pet. That's why we have our boarding and training programs. Our expert trainers have the experience to introduce the e-collar in a way that your dog is begging to do another training session! In our Board & Train programs, we do the hard work for you, and it's as simple as this:

1) Drop your dog off for their stay

2) Stay tuned for updates

3) Pick up your 'new' dog and enjoy off leash adventures together

Give us a call today to discuss training programs and what we can do for you, and your dog.

Happy training,


P.S. quote 'HAPPYTRAINING10' to receive 10% (up to $300) off your next program! Call us today!


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