BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

Best Dog Shock Collar: How to Choose the Suitable Training Tool for Your Dog

John Walton
Written by John Walton

Having a good recall with your dog is extremely important. It takes a lot of time and training to get your dog to that point. It can be a reward in and of itself to have your dog return to you every time you call. However, there are going to be those moments when your recall just isn’t going to work, whether your dog’s been spooked by fireworks or he finds something he can’t resist chasing.

That’s why having the best dog shock collar on your side can make all the difference in the world. There are many options available in the marketplace that can make your choice difficult, but they all serve the same function: to keep your dog contained in your yard.

Dog Shock Collar

So even with a good recall, you can ensure your dog won’t venture off too far to get into trouble. In order to make your decision making a lot easier, we’re going to detail the important features for you to consider when shopping around. Plus, we’ve reviewed some of the top products in the market which you can treat as our recommendation.

Our top picks

ProductLevels of StimulationRangePrice
Dogtra Remote Training System1271/2 mileCheck price on Amazon
SportDOG FieldTrainer 4257500 yardsCheck price on Amazon
PetSafe Training Collar8400 yardsCheck price on Amazon
Dogtra IQ Remote Trainer100400 yardsCheck price on Amazon
PetSafe Elite Dog Trainer151000 yardsCheck price on Amazon
PetTech Dog Training Collar100400 yardsCheck price on Amazon
Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar101312 yardsCheck price on Amazon
Educator E-Collar1001/2 mileCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

When shock collars were first introduced, they were much simpler: press the button and your dog will receive a shock. Nowadays, these collars are much more sophisticated to give the owner even more control over their dogs without making them fearful.

So what exactly do you need to look for when you’re getting your first shock collar? There are some key features you should definitely keep in mind, as if you overlook any of these, you may end up having to return your product for a new one.

Dog Shock Collar

Range

The range of a shock collar is important, as once your dog is beyond the limit, the transmitter will no longer work, rendering it useless. No one wants to spend over a hundred bucks on a device that ends up being nothing more than another collar on your dog’s neck.

If you’re only focusing on backyard training, you may not need a collar that has a range more than a mile. However, if you own hunting dogs or breeds with a high prey drive, it may be a good idea to get a collar with a longer range. Keep in mind that the range of shock collars extends across flat ground; buildings, hills and trees will affect this range significantly.

Dog Collar Range

Levels of Stimulation

Having more levels of stimulation will ensure that you find the right comfort level for your dog without causing him too much pain. The most basic shock collars don’t have very many — usually in the single digits — so it wouldn’t hurt to look at collars that are a bit more pricey but have more increments of stimulation to find exactly what your dog needs to capture his attention.

There are misguided beliefs that static stimulation can cause electrical burns which are completely untrue. The shock applied is not powerful or long enough to cause any damage.

Levels of Stimulation

Momentary vs. Continuous

The kind of stimulation offered by a shock collar is also important. There are usually two to three kinds that are offered: momentary, continuous, and signaling (which will be discussed later). If you’re unaware of what these modes mean, here’s a quick rundown of them:

  • Momentary: when you press or hold down the button on the transmitter, the stimulation is only for a fraction of a second.
  • Continuous: for as long as you’re holding down the button on the transmitter, your dog will continue to receive stimulation.

Knowing which mode to use greatly depends on how stubborn your dog is and what kind of training you’re engaging in. Just remember not to be too liberal with your application of stimulation, or else your dog will either become numb to it and ignore it or start to fear it altogether, and that’s the last thing you want.

Dog Collar Mode

Waterproof

Having a collar and transmitter that are waterproof are essential, as dogs tend to want to roll around in ponds and mud to cool off after a long run, or they could get caught in the rain. Water and electronics don’t mix well, and can even cause serious harm to your dog if you’re not there to remove a wet collar in time.

Durability

Remember that you get what you pay for, so if you go for the cheapest system you can find, it’s unlikely that the collars themselves will last for very long. Collars in this kind of system are usually made out of plastic or some kind of silicone, which can degrade over time or are very easy to cut through.

Dog Collar Durability

Pricier systems use nylon or regular collar material so that they last a lot longer and will need fewer replacements, if any.

Signaling Options

This feature is important for training your dog to come when they’re called without always relying on the stimulation option. But emitting a warning tone or a painless vibration, your dog can learn to associate these signals with what is expected of him and act accordingly.

Dog Collar Signaling Options

Many owners use this as a warning signal before applying stimulation during the training process so that dogs learn what’s going to happen next if they don’t comply with a recall.

Best Products on Today’s Market

With the features that we’ve discussed, you’re on a much better route to finding the collar that is best for you and your dog. As you’ll see below, there are many differences between even the best shock collars, so it pays to know exactly what you’ll be getting with your purchase. Without further delay, here are the top shock collars that you can find online or at your local pet store.

Dogtra Remote Training System

Range: 880 yardsDogtra Brand Remote Training Systems

Specific features: 3 modes (nick, constant and non-stimulating), rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, LCD display screen, battery indicator, waterproof collar and transmitter.

Best use: Pet training, K-9 training, sports dog training

If you want a training system that’s innovative and simple to use, then the Dogtra Remote Training System may be the perfect one for you. The wide range of stimulation levels allows you to train your dog effectively without causing him distress.

You can gradually turn the dial until you get to the right level that grabs your dog’s attention, especially those stubborn breeds.

And if you have more than one dog, there is the option to expand the kit you’re getting so that you’re not having to purchase a new system all over again. That makes it easier for you to maintain control over all your dogs with just one remote. That’s definitely a lot less hassle on your part.

Lastly, the short range makes it the perfect choice for the majority of dog owners who want to train their dog within the confines of their yard, as well as sports dog training that requires a dog’s complete attention while out in the field.

PROS:

  • Reliable contact points
  • Wide range of stimulation levels
  • Battery indicator is present on both transmitter and collar
 CONS:
  • Not suitable for breeds less than 20 pounds
  • 1/2-mile range not great for longer distances of training

Check the price on Amazon

SportDOG FieldTrainer 425

Range: 500 yardsSportDOG Brand FieldTrainer 425

Specific features: Waterproof up to 25 feet, rechargeable batteries last 50-70 hours, training mode with vibration and tone, momentary or continuous stimulation.

Best use: Obedience training and close range hunting for dogs larger than 8 pounds.

The SportDOG FieldTrainer 425 is small enough that you won’t have any problems keeping this on hand. The transmitter weights at only 1.6 ounces that it can be easily hung from a lanyard around your neck without getting in the way and allows the trainer to keep his hands free.

Clunky, heavy transmitters can be difficult to use and make the effort of training your dog more of a hassle than an enjoyable experience.

The collar itself is quite durable and very discreet, so your dog is not dragging around a heavy clunky thing around their neck. What makes the collar even better is that you can make the adjustments right on them so that you can varying levels of stimulation for each of your dogs if you have several.

This saves you a lot of time, hassle, and memory on having your collars at the right level for different temperaments. The system can be expanded up to 3 dogs with the purchase of additional collars.

PROS:

  • Charges in 2 hours
  • Separate buttons for each dog
  • Affordable
  • Versatile
 CONS:
  • Range could be larger
  • Could use more levels of stimulation

Related: Need a way to grab your dog’s attention without making yourself deaf or straining your voice? The SportDOG Mega Whistle comes in three different colours and is extremely easy to use: just blow. It directs all of the sound forward towards your dog so that you can spare your hearing while still attracting your dog’s attention when he’s very far away.

Check the price on Amazon

PetSafe Training Collar

Range: 400 yardsPet Safe

Specific features: Waterproof collar and transmitter, rechargeable batteries, can be used on 3 dogs at once, tone-only training mode.

Best use: Good for yard training of dogs over 8 pounds

When it comes to finding a shock collar that’s small and easy to use, the PetSafe Training Collar can even be taken with you to the park. Training in your backyard can get a bit boring for your dog, so why not consider expanding his horizons and test his recall in a new environment?

Both the collar and the transmitter are easy to take with you, and the short range allows you to maintain control over your pooch. Just be sure that you still keep your dog on a leash first when you’re training him in a new area.

Another great thing about this product is that you only need to purchase an additional collar if you have more than one dog. No need to buy an entirely new package and having to deal with more than one transmitter. Just sync up each collar to a different button, and you have all the control you need in the palm of your hand.

PROS:

  • Can add multiple dogs to same transmitter
  • Training beeps can be used to eliminate the need to shock
 CONS:
  • Range could be larger
  • Battery life isn’t very long

Related: After a hard day of training with your dog, it’s always a good idea to give him a great reward for his efforts. Even if he hasn’t gotten things quite right, you want him to be excited for the next session and to do better, so what better way than with some Angus Bully Sticks?

Check the price on Amazon

Dogtra IQ Remote Trainer

Range: 400 yardsDogtra iQ Dog Training Collar

Specific features: Charges in 2 hours, battery indicator, water-resistant collar and transmitter, 3 vibration modes (momentary, constant, and non-stimulating).

Best use: Yard training for dogs smaller than 10 pounds.

Although the majority of the training collars on the market are for big dogs, there are just some small breeds that are too stubborn to follow their masters’ calls. The Dogtra IQ Remote Trainer is perfect for smaller dogs who just need a little reminder of what their boundaries are.

Even small breeds are used for hunting, such as the terrier class, and can have somewhat high prey drives when they’re ready.

This collar also take the guess work out of recharging, as the battery indicator lets you know when it’s about to go dead. Why risk taking your dog out for a training routine with a dead collar? It takes as little as 2 hours to recharge the batteries, and when they are no longer able to hold a charge, you can simply replaced them altogether.

PROS:

  • Very easy to use
  • Affordable
 CONS:
  • Range could be larger
  • Can only be used with one dog

Related: If your dog has sensitive skin or you want a gentler way to use your shock collar, then the Comfort Adapter will do the job for you. Instead of the usual contact points, a multi-point «pad» design is used that «smooths» out the stimulation your dog receives, instead of it being concentrated only on the contact points.

Check the price on Amazon

PetSafe Elite Dog Trainer

Range: 1000 yardsPetSafe Elite

Specific features: Waterproof up to 5 feet, rechargeable batteries (charges in 3-4 hours), tone-mode to alert your dog, wrist strap on transmitter

Best use: Yard, training, sports training, and hiking for dogs over 40 pounds

Have a large yard but don’t want a shock collar that extends up to a mile? The PetSafe Elite Dog Trainer could be exactly the product you’re looking for. There are just some times when you want to provide your dog with some freedom while still maintaining control over him.

The easy to use transmitter allows you to provide stimulation that’s adjustable to your dog’s temperament so that you’re grabbing his attention without hurting him.

The tone feature can also be used to correct your dog without applying stimulation, giving him the choice to obey your recall or have an annoying sensation delivered to his neck. With this kind of training, even the most stubborn dogs would want to choose you over the collar’s response any day.

PROS:

  • Can train up to two dogs at once
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Long range
  • Durable
  • Affordable
 CONS:
  • Collar can be a bit small
  • Some customers state even the highest setting is too low for stubborn dogs
  • Rechargeable battery is not replaceable

Related: Did the parts for your collar stop working, but you don’t want to purchase a whole new system? Consider the PetSafe Replacement Accessories to provide you with everything you need to get your collar working again. The product comes with 2 sets of washers, 4 screws, 2 correction level covers, and a set each of short and long contact points.

Check the price on Amazon

PetTech Dog Training Collar

Range: 400 yardsPetTech Remote Controlled Dog

Specific features: LCD-lit remote, 4 modes (momentary and continuous stimulation, vibration, and tone), long-lasting battery, lifetime replacement guarantee on any part, waterproof, battery indicator

Best use: Yard training for dogs between 10 and 100 pounds

The PetTech Dog Training Collar is one of the most affordable shock collars on this list, and you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth. The collar is full adjustable to fit just about any dog breed, so there’s no need to look into another system if you get a different dog. Just slip it on and adjust until it snugly fits their neck.

The shock collar system is so versatile that it’s not only used for recall. Many owners have used this product to control aggression, obedience training, and to correct unnecessary barking. With the gentle vibration and tone modes, your dog will come to understand what these stimuli mean and will adjust their behavior accordingly to produce the desired results.

PROS:

  • Very affordable
  • Transmitter can be used to train two dogs
  • Backlit screen allows for use at night
  • Fast recharge
 CONS:
  • Number of options and settings on the transmitter can be confusing

Related: In addition to using a shock collar, especially one that doesn’t have a tone mode, you can add this ArRord Dog Clicker to your arsenal to ensure that your dog is paying attention. Pairing it with a shock collar can produce amazing results, especially if your dog learns to associate one with the other.

Check the price on Amazon

Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar

Range: 1320 yardsPet Resolve Dog Training Collar

Specific features: Waterproof, 4 modes (continuous, momentary, vibration and tone), rechargeable battery, setting storage, comes with free clicker

Best use: Yard and sports training for dogs of any size

For the number of dogs you can train with one handy device, as well as what you get in the entire package, the Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar is definitely a product to consider.

It even comes with an e-book filled with instructions and a free clicker to make your training sessions with your dog as easy and painless as possible, so no more guesswork on how to improve your relationship with your dog.

The collar is completely adjustable so that it can be fit to any size breed, so no need to purchase specially-sized collars for your different dogs. Simply place it on, attach the transmitter, and you’re ready to go. That’s definitely a bonus for those who have several dogs and want to keep them under control without having to shell out money to fit each one with a workable collar.

No need to worry about battery life either; this Li-ion battery lasts a very long time, and only takes 2 hours to fully charge through USB and adaptor. That means you could even charge it on your laptop or in your car if you’re away from home. That’s definitely convenient.

PROS:

  • Can be used to train up to 3 dogs at once
  • Lot of value for the price
  • Long battery life
  • Saves precious settings so there’s no need to adjust after each recharge
  • Durable collars
 CONS:
  • Collar can be too big for small breeds
  • Doesn’t hold a charge for very long

Related: Nothing gets your dog paying attention to you more than positive reinforcement, and you can do with this Large Dog Treat Pouch full of the best goodies your dog is always begging for. It’s a high-quality pouch that’s made to be durable, and is machine washable so you can get rid of that treat residue to eliminate bacteria growth.

Check the price on Amazon

Educator E-Collar

Range: 880 yardsEducator E-Collar

Specific features: Choice of colors for both transmitter and collars, light and portable transmitter, rechargeable batteries (charges in 2 hours), 4 contact points, waterproof, shock-resistant.

Best use: Yard and sports training for dogs over 5 pounds

The Educator E-Collar system may seem a bit more expensive than the rest, but it already comes with a second collar, so the value is definitely worth it. This is also considered one of the most «blunt» shock collar systems in the market, as the desire is to improve behavior, not punish your dog.

By using lower levels of stimulation, you reduce the stress being placed on your dog and will make him pay attention more to what you want him to do.

There’s also a boost stimulation that can be used on more stubborn dogs, and has stimulation levels from 0-60, allowing you to still gently curb your dog’s unwanted behavior without instilling any fear. If we are to find a fault in this product, it could certainly use an improvement to its battery life. Otherwise, this is a solid shock collar that delivers.

PROS:

  • Can be used to train two dogs
  • Durable
  • Perfect for dogs with sensitive skin or dispositions
 CONS:
  • Batteries don’t last long

Related: Looking for a convenient way to keep your transmitter on hand while keeping your hands free? The Educator Transmitter Holder can be attached to any belt, purse or saddle so that it’s always on hand while still being out of the way. Even with how small the transmitter already is, sometimes you just need both hands but still maintain control over your dog.

Check the price on Amazon

Overview

We hope we’ve done our best in showing you the features you should be looking for with shock collars and given you a good idea on the best ones out there to consider. This list isn’t exhaustive, so please feel free to look outside of our recommendations to find a collar that not only provides you with all of the important features, but also fits within your budget.

With that said, are there any products you feel we’ve left off this list? Have you had a great experience with a collar that we should know about? Leave a comment in the section down below, as we would love to hear from you.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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