Electronic Dog Collar Training Pros and Cons Explained

Do you have a puppy with a penchant for relentless barking? Or maybe you want to train your dog to stay in the yard? Whatever has made you consider an E-collar, this article will outline the pros and cons of electronic dog collar training.

We’re here to help you make the best possible decision for you and your pup. These little devices, also called remote training collars, e-collars, or shock collars, are sources of many emotional arguments. As with most methods of modifying your dog's behavior, there are benefits and disadvantages to using electronic collars.

In the end, it's up to you which method of training you choose to go with. We are going to layout the facts. And remember, points aren't always convenient or balanced between the two sides.

How Does an Electronic Dog Collar Work?

Trainers and dog owners use electronic collars to curb various unwanted behavior in dogs, such as incessant barking and food aggression. They can also be used to train dogs to stay close by whenever they are not on the leash or to keep safely within the property line’s confines.

These devices are not meant to be a punishment, but rather a deterrent to condition stubborn, unsafe, or harmful behavior out of a dog. In theory, your dog will learn to associate the unwanted behaviors with the uncomfortable static shock, and in time the dog will no longer require the reminder.

Are Electronic Dog Collars Safe?

Dog with Ecollar

Approved electronic dog collars are very safe. This means that while the shock delivered is enough to get your pet's attention and help stop unwanted behavior, it's not sufficient to do any permanent physical harm.

Many electronic collars today have several levels of enforcement, allowing you to reprimand your dog accordingly. Some collars may administer a warning in the form of a beep or vibration before the actual shock. Also, this allows you to give a verbal command at the same time to disrupt the unwanted behavior further.

Electronic Dog Collar Training Pros and Cons

We've put together all the electronic dog collar training pros and cons that we think everyone should consider carefully before purchasing and using one of these devices.

The Pros of Electronic Collar Training

Adjustable Levels of Intensity

These days, most electronic collars come with the flexibility of a vibration or beep warning before administering the shock to your pet. They also have settings that you can easily adjust only to deliver a mild shock.

This may provide some sort of comfort to those who are on the fence about using electronic collars. Other collars, like the spray collars, aren't as adjustable.

Quick Results

Often, it only takes a few shocks to alter and improve a dog's stubborn or unwanted behavior. Afterward, the vibration or beep is enough warning. Electronic dog collars are also very effective if you want to keep your pet safe inside the property boundaries while still affording them their freedom to romp around.

Of course, the results may vary depending on the temperament of the dog. The more stubborn ones may take a little longer to train.

Train Your Dog While Away

With electronic dog collars, you can continue training your dog even when you're away from home. For instance, if you have neighbors who complain about your dog's loud barking when you're out, electronic collars for barking can come in handy. The same applies to electronic collars that are used for boundary control.


When considering the alternatives such as dog trainers or putting up fences, electronic dog collars can be much less expensive. The price depends on the features you want, such as adjustable warning/shock intensity, remote control, and distance between 30 and 400 yards.

The Cons of Electronic Collar Training

The Shock

A lot of pet parents just can't imagine hurting their dogs on purpose. Even with the power to control the static shock level delivered to the dog, you are still using averse means of modifying behavior. This type of negative reinforcement is one that many trainers and pet owners are moving away from in favor of positive reinforcement or rewards to modify behavior.

The Constant Fear

You NEVER want to train a dog with fear because the fear in dogs can be hazardous. Shock training may teach some dogs to fear particular objects, people, or situations that they associate with that 'thing' around their neck.


Suppose you're not always around to control when shocks are administered to your dog by electric fences or automatic bark collars. In that case, these electronic devices may shock your dog too often or unintentionally.

For instance, barking collars aren't always accurate, and they may pick up an unrelated sound and punish your dog for it. The unnecessary shocks may confuse your dog and lead them to 'correct' a problem that wasn't even there.

No Positive Reward

Electronic dog collars don't reinforce good behavior, such as your verbal approval or affection does. Any kind of training should reinforce good behavior with a reward such as a tasty treat or playtime.

The collar will stop unwanted behavior such as unnecessary barking, running after the mailman, or jumping up on visitors. Still, it won't reward good behavior such as obeying a command to stay and sitting patiently.

Final Thoughts

Whichever training method you decide to use, remember that the primary purpose is to help your dog, whether you want to help her stay out of harm's way or to train her to stop barking for no reason.

If you should choose to use an electronic collar, just make sure that you've understood all the electronic dog collar training pros and cons outlined in this article.

Not sure what size to get or how to proceed? Check out our detailed guide to help you pick the best electronic dog collar for your needs.

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