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7 Reasons to Use an E-Collar to Train Your Dog

7 Reasons to Use an E-Collar to Train Your Dog

There are many reasons someone would want to use an e-collar with their dog that has nothing to do with behavioral issues. A lot of dog owners think that e-collars are only for “bad dogs,” but that’s not true at all.

That’s just one of the many myths about e-collar use in dog training.

While e-collars can work wonders for dogs with behavioral problems, what I really love about them is that they create a clear and effective communication line between the dog and the human.

7 Reasons to Use an E-Collar for Dog Training

E-collars are widely misunderstood dog training tools that have a bad rap due to marketing tactics used by adversaries.

The truth is, they are incredibly efficient and effective tools that can help with behavioral problems, develop fluent obedience, and provide a dog with freedom.

Whether you’re looking to tackle reactivity issues or enjoy stress-free off-leash adventures, here are a seven reasons that you might want to consider using an e-collar with your dog.

Off-leash Recall

Reliable recall is one of the most common reasons that owners want to use an e-collar.

Can you get reliable recall without an e-collar? Sure, with some dogs.

But, what if you’re hiking and a deer crosses your path?

A bear? A mountain lion?

What if there are other dogs and people ahead of you on the trail? Can you recall your dog from those distractions?

When trained correctly, the dog will come without the need for a stim from the e-collar, however, my dog always wears one when he is off-leash. I consider it an insurance policy for the same reason I wear a seatbelt.

You don’t want to experience that moment when you need it and don’t have it.

7 Reasons to Use an E-Collar to Train Your Dog Pinterest Image

Provide Clear Communication with your Dog

The e-collar is one of the most effective tools to communicate with your dog, plain and simple. Dogs are tactile animals, which means they communicate first through touch, then sight, then sound. This is the opposite of humans, who rely first on sound, then sight, then touch.

Often, when we communicate with our dogs, we use our primary method of communication first, which leads to confusion in our dogs. Further, we’re also communicating in our own language, so now there are two lines of communication that are not fluent for either party.

The e-collar provides a consistent message that your dog can learn to understand with fluency. It takes a lot of practice and repetitions, but it works far more effectively than positive reinforcement alone.

Correct for Non-Compliance with a Command

Like humans, all dogs are individual beings and require different levels of corrections based on temperament or distraction.

There will be a time when a distraction is of higher value to a dog than the reward offered by the handler. Often, these moments occur when a dog is off-leash and there’s another dog, person, animal, or road with cars and the stakes are high for non-compliance with a known command. 

In these instances, when it’s pertinent that the dog returns to the owner, they have to learn that there are consequences for ignoring a known command.  Repeating commands over and over or ineffective corrections just nag the dog and teach them that they don’t have to pay attention to the handler.

This is where an e-collar correction comes in. The purpose of the correction isn’t to punish a dog for bad behavior, it is to change the dog’s behavior. 

Speeding tickets are a good example for humans. Let’s say a cop pulls you over for speeding and lets you off with a warning because it’s the first instance.

The next day, they catch you again and you apologize profusely and promise that it won’t happen again, so they let you off once more.

The third day, the cop stops you and this time gives you a ticket. Clearly the message isn’t getting across and something needs to happen in order to stop the behavior.

Develop Obedience Commands

The way I train dogs involves first teaching them the basic commands using positive reinforcement and leash pressure using the prong collar, then I layer the e-collar over the commands.

This teaches the dog how to turn the pressure on and off. They learn that through completing the command, the pressure comes off. The longer they take to complete the command, the longer they feel the pressure.

Once the dog is fluent with the commands both with and without pressure, then I can use the e-collar for corrections.

Give Your Dog More Freedom

E-collars allow trained dogs to have more freedom. Combined with structure, leadership, and proper training, an e-collar trained dog will be able to have more access in house, in the yard, and on the trails.

I can take my dog to parks without fencing with little worry that he’ll run into the street because I can simply recall him back with the push of a button if necessary. 

Communicate with Your Dog on or Off Leash

I love that I can silently communicate with my dog with the e-collar, whether he’s on or off leash. If we’re out running and he gets too far ahead of me, I just give him a light tap, tap and he stops in his tracks to return to me. I don’t have to yell to him or say a word, the e-collar does the talking.

I can also do the same when we’re walking on leash and he starts to react to a dog or truck. I just give him a tap to get him out of the fight mindset and remind him that I’ve got everything under control.

Help your Dog Get out of a Potentially Dangerous Mindset

Those with reactive dogs can use the e-collar to get their dog out of a fighting mindset with a tap of the remote. The key to managing reactivity is to catch it before it happens.

Let’s say you’re on a walk with your dog and they spot another dog down the street. You notice their ears perk up and they start to huff, that’s your cue to give a little tap and remind them that their job is to stay in heel, not worry about the other dog.

It works especially well when your dog is off-leash around other dogs and starts to get into that mindset. You can prevent a potential fight with a stim paired with “let’s go” or recall.

What are some reasons that you like using an e-collar with your dog?

How has using an e-collar improved your life with your dog?


Saturday 14th of October 2023

Building a bomb-proof recall with a moose-dog or hare-driving hound is not hard. You just need to train 5 minutes a day with them every single day during spring and summer starting with low-distraction environment to high-distraction environment.

There's no reason to use an ecollar. At all.

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Melody Reese

Tuesday 10th of January 2023

I appreciate this article on e collars as my youngest dog has gotten slow on his recall when we are outside on our big property and he has found something more interesting. I'm going to get the e collar out for a refresher. Couple questions. I know the collar has to be fairly tight to be effective. I worry this is uncomfortable for him when we are outside for a long time? Second, because they are so smart, so you think they learn only to respond quickly when they are wearing the collar? Third, when using it to avoid other dogs, I would think the timing would have to be spot on as to not have your dog associate the correction with the other dogs?

Jen Sotolongo

Saturday 21st of January 2023

The e-collar doesn't have to be tight per se, but rather must have good contact. I use the two finger rule, just like with a flat buckle collar and I make sure to move the collar around every 2-3 hours. With the second question, the answer depends on how many recall reps you've put in with the e-collar. My dog has great recall without it, but it's very rare that I don't use it when we're out (the only reason is that the collar is broken or something similar). Even when the battery is dead, I put it on him as an insurance policy. Yes, timing is everything and I had to learn the body language signals that my dog gave to indicate that there was another dog or person ahead, that's when I used the e-collar to recall him back at his working level or slightly above, depending on his response. Hope this helps!