Using Electric Dog Training Collars
for Remote Training

When it comes to electric dog training collars for remote training, the world appears to be split in half: those who swear by them and those who would never put them on their dogs' necks.

In case you don't know what it is, an electronic dog training collar is a device that gives you a safe way to control your dog off leash.

But whether you hate them or you love them, there is no shadow of doubt that electric dog training collars are effective and can really make a difference if you have exhausted other training methods.

How Are Electric Dog Training Collars Used?

If you are considering investing in an electronic dog training collar, you need to learn how to use such tool effectively. The best option would be have a reputable dog trainer demonstrate how to use the electric dog training collar correctly.

There are two ways electric dog training collars may be used: to correct unwanted behaviors through positive punishment or to reward wanted behaviors through negative reinforcement. In both cases, impeccable timing, careful observation of the dog's body language and some understanding of learning theory come very handy.

Electronic Dog Training Collars

How to Get Started in Remote Collar Training

The first step in training your dog with a remote training collar is to get him used to wearing it.

Before you begin using it, you may want to keep the collar on your dog during such pleasant activities as walking or playing in the yard. After a short period of time, your dog will associate the collar with fun activities and will be prepared for the next step.


The collar should not be worn for more than 6 to 8 hours at a time; indeed, the collar's probes may cause skin irritations from constantly rubbing against the skin.

Your next step would be to decide if you want to use remote dog trainers to correct unwanted behaviors or reinforce wanted behaviors.

The choice of one or the other is important because they require a different approach and a different use of the collar. If you desire to correct unwanted behaviors, you may want to use a "nick", a brief static correction. If, on the other hand, you want to reinforce wanted behaviors, then you want to use continuous stimulation.

Using the Electronic Collar to Correct Unwanted Behaviors

In order to correct unwanted behaviors, you need to find the correct setting. Most electric dog training collars offer various levels of intensity so you can customize them to your dog.

The art of training dogs with electric dog training collars requires you to be very observant so to recognize the ideal setting. The best way to accomplish this is by starting from the lowest level and working your way up. Look for the "recognition level" where your dog signals an acknowledgement of the static sensation. Most dogs will look around, appear slightly startled or may flick their ears to signal they are "feeling something".

Because every dog is different, this level of recognition will vary from one dog to another. Once you find the most appropriate "recognition level", you should then use it for your training sessions.

If your dog has developed a problem behavior, you need to put him in a situation where he is likely to exhibit such behavior. You can, therefore, use the collar to stop your dog from engaging in problematic behaviors such as digging, chewing and biting, nuisance barking, and several other unwanted behaviors.


Always check the batteries and make sure the transmitter works before you begin the training session.

Following is a step by step guide on reducing unwanted chewing behaviors using the short static correction known as a "nick":

  1. Place your dog in an area where he has a history of engaging in the problematic behavior. If your dog tends to raid your trash can in the kitchen, keep him in that room.
  2. Ideally, stay at a distance from your dog so your dog does not know you are watching him. This will prevent him from associating your presence with the correction.
  3. The moment your dog starts to jump on the trash can or engage in any other unwanted behavior, deliver the static stimulation. If your dog ignores the correction, raise the setting to the next level.
  4. Continue correcting the behavior until your dog stops attempting to raid the trash. It is important to pay very close attention to your dog during this time as failure to correct the behavior will cause your dog to return to the behavior of raiding the trash. All it takes is just one mishap to cause a very big setback in training.

Because your dog will no longer associate the trash bin with eating goodies but rather with shock, the behavior of raiding the trash can will gradually reduce and eventually extinguish. Because the addition of shock has made a behavior reduce in frequency and eventually extinguish, in learning theory this is referred to as "positive punishment".

Using Remote Dog Training Collars to Reinforce Learned Behavior

In this type of training, you will use the continuous stimulation option instead of the "nick" feature. This option is safe to use because many electronic dog collars come equipped with a shut-off feature. What this means is that the stimulation will stop automatically after being pressed for more than a handful of seconds.

In order to start reinforcing a wanted behavior, you must ensure your dog is already familiar with the behavior you want to reinforce. Good behaviors to teach your dog include coming when called, an emergency sit or a down. These behaviors must be taught using traditional training methods.

These learned behaviors will be used to teach the dog how to "shut off" the static stimulation. Because these behaviors are reinforced through negative reinforcement, they will increase in frequency, while the unwanted behaviors will gradually extinguish.

The following steps will guide you through the process:

  1. Train your dog a command you want him to use to "shut off" the static stimulation. Make sure your dog understands this command well and responds to it with reliability. In this example, we are using the "come" command.
  2. Deliver static stimulation using the continuous correction option.
  3. Immediately call your dog to you. The moment he moves towards your direction, let off of the button.
  4. If your dog decides to abruptly stop coming your way, deliver the correction again and try to call him to you again. The moment he moves towards you release the button.
  5. Pet and praise your dog for coming to you.

With some trial and error, your dog will quickly learn that coming towards you feels good because the shock stops the moment he makes the slightest movement towards you.

You can then gradually apply this training in more and more distracting environments and ultimately use it when your dog engages in an unwanted behavior that can turn out dangerous. For instance, if your dog tends to want to chase squirrels and possibly cross a busy road to achieve that, you can apply continuous stimulation and then call your dog to you. Your dog should make a good choice by running towards you. The great part of this type of training is that your dog does not associate you with the correction.

Many electric dog training collars also offer vibration or tone modes as well. You can use these features to your advantage if you do not want to rely on shock most of the time. The vibration or tone can be used as a "warning" that a static shock will soon follow if the unwanted behavior is not stopped. Many dogs, with time, learn to attend to the vibration and tone options of their electric dog training collars without needing the shock.

Here is a brief video that provides excellent information on how to train a dog using a remote training collar...

Final Thoughts...

While the terms "electronic dog training collar" and "shock collar" have assumed negative connotations, many people find their use very helpful. In some cases, electric dog training collars have saved a dog's life. Yet, as with most training tools, they should be used correctly and should not be used as a substitute for training.

Make sure your ultimate goal is to train your dog to obey regardless if he is wearing a remote training collar or not, however, consider that electronic dog training collars work best when used for at least four months.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

If you are a new dog owner and want to learn more about dog behavior and obedience training, I highly recommend you read and follow this Secrets to Dog Training guide. It's written by a professional dog trainer and is full of techniques you can use to modify your dog's behavior.


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