Dog Training Collar Buying Guide
What is a Dog Training Collar?
A dog training collar is a special collar that is used to train dogs for obedience, correct bad behaviors and other training purposes. There are many different styles and types on the market so choosing one from all the available choices may be overwhelming for the average pet owner.
With over 100 different kinds out there by 7 different companies, you may not have any idea what makes one dog training collar better than another.
With the right dog training collar you can train your dog to be obedient whether they are in the house or off leash in a park. Continue reading to discover more about dog training collars so you can choose a great one for training your own dog or dogs.
Define Your Training Goals
The goals that you want to accomplish while training your dog determine what kind of training collar is best for you. You need to know what these goals are before you start shopping. There are two basic reasons that dog owners seek out training collars, to teach their dogs basic obedience and to correct behavioral problems.
Most of the dog training collars on the market today will help with both of these goals. Some of the more common behavioral problems that dog owners want to correct include:
- Jumping up on people
- Chasing cars
- Chasing animals
- Jumping on the furniture
- Getting into trash
- Destructive chewing
- Eating things they are not supposed to eat
- Being in rooms they are not allowed in (such as the kitchen)
- Not coming when called
- Excessive barking
These are all problems that can make having a dog very frustrating, so if you have a dog exhibiting these behaviors, a training collar will definitely be able to help you correct them when it is used properly.
Basic obedience commands include:
These are very beneficial commands for every dog to know and make them much more enjoyable and safe to take out in public around other people and dogs. Part of the process for training your dog in the basic commands involve being able to find the right amount of stimulation that gets their attention but doesn’t cause them to become afraid or yelp.
You will find the perfect level of stimulation by starting off at a certain level and then in very small incremental amounts, increasing the stim level until they are paying attention. Dog training collars are never meant to punish a dog and you can do a lot of mental damage by misusing it this way.
Choose a Budget
Dog training collars can run in all price ranges. As a general rule we do not recommend cheap dog training collars as the old adage you get what you pay for is definitely true. This does not mean that you have to buy the most expensive one out there. Dog training collars can run anywhere from $100 all the way up to $1500. If you are a dog owner simply wanting to teach your dog some obedience and manners, spending $1500 on a dog training collar is a waste of your money.
If you are a professional dog trainer, you will definitely want to spend more for a higher grade collar because you will be using it all the time and need a lot of variety for the different dogs you’d be working with.
Pick a price you want to stay close to and only look at the collars in this price range. There are a lot of great dog training collars for under $200. A sturdier feeling collar will more than likely last longer, but pay attention to the other features and factors we list below to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
How Much Range is Enough Range?
You are better off having too much range than not enough. You can find dog training collars with ranges anywhere from 100 yards up to 2 miles. Maximum range is calculated by line of sight. To get the full range capacity that a dog training collar offers, there needs to be nothing that comes between the transmitter of the signal and the receiver which the dog is wearing around his neck. It also helps if the terrain is flat but the likelihood of this being the conditions you have your dog in is unlikely.
What this means is that regardless of what the maximum range states, you can expect less range than is listed unless conditions are flat and uninterrupted. That includes being interrupted by trees, weather, uneven terrain and other factors as well.
A short range dog training collar or 300 yards or less is fine for working with your dog in the backyard to learn some basic obedience and to work on the behavioral issues he or she may have. If you want to do long range training such as off leash, you want a much longer range ability of ½ a mile to 1 mile.
For those training hounds to not chase game, they will be happier with a 4 mile range. Again your personal training goals will determine the range level that will be the best for your needs.
What Kind of Training is Needed to Use a Dog Training Collar?
There are no special certifications or degrees needed to learn how to use a dog training collar. With that being said, if you do not know how to use them you need to watch some instructional videos or read some manuals. It is very important that the one doing the training knows what they are doing, especially when it comes to raising stimulation levels and so on.
There are several books on the subject and many of the dog training collars on the market may have instructional material included. To train your dog properly this is not the kind of thing you want to “wing”. Take the time to learn how to use the dog training collars to the best of their ability and that way you won’t inadvertently scare your dog or make their issues worse.
Types of Stimulation
There are two types of stimulation that most dog training collars will use:
- Continuous stimulation – allows the user to control the length of time the dog feels the correction. You can press the button and release it and the stimulation will coincide with the pressing and releasing of that button. Hold the button down longer and the stimulation will be felt longer. Most collars have a safety feature that will automatically stop the stimulation if the button is pressed and held for longer than 8 or 10 seconds.
- Momentary stimulation – Used most often as an attention getter, the momentary stimulation is a quick burst that immediately cuts off.
The most common stimulation type used is the continuous stimulation which is better for training purposes. Most of the training methods on the market are also continuous stimulation. Momentary stimulation is a good choice for a dog that is already trained but needs reminding or refresher courses.
Battery Types Available
When you start shopping for dog training collars you will find collars that are rechargeable (the transmitter and the receiver) or they have replaceable batteries. With the cost of batteries being what they are today, the fully rechargeable ones tend to be more popular. The things you want to learn about the rechargeable dog training collars include:
- Length of time to be charged
- Amount of run time off a charge
- Low battery indicator
- Full charge indicator
- How easy is it to replace the batteries when they finally give out?
The answers to all of these will play a part in finding a great, long lasting dog training collar. Some collars can run for as long as 50-60 hours on a single, full charge. This is great when it comes to being able to train for several days without having to bother with charging. Many models now have a feature called the rapid charging system that allows for the transmitter and receiver to be charged in a short amount of time, usually 2 hours or so.
When it comes to choosing the right dog training collar for your needs, looking at the things we have discussed in this buyer’s guide will ensure that you choose one that will be perfect for what you need it for. Battery life, range, types of stimulation modes and your budget are all important factors that help you decide which model to get.
Other considerations can be levels of correction that they offer, sturdiness and don’t forget that warranty. Most dog training collars come with at least a 1 year limited warranty so be sure the one you choose does as well. When your dog training collar comes with a lot of levels of correction, you can be confident that you will be able to adjust the level of correction to exactly what your dog responds to and not more.
Once you have worked with a dog training collar, you will enjoy how responsive your dog becomes and how much easier training and behavioral correction is.