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Electronic Dog Training Method: All You Need to Know

At A Glance

E-collars are used by pet owners and trainers who follow electronic dog training methods. These collars are known to work and are not known to cause harm to dogs.

Some commonly used devices are remote trainers, containment systems, and noise-activated systems.

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Last Updated on: Aug 29, 2022

E-collar dog training methods have been the subject of much scrutiny for many years. Deeply misunderstood and misperceived as a harmful way of correcting your dog’s behavior, e-collars are actually a safe and positive alternative to shock collars.

But what exactly is e-collar training? Does it cause aggression in your dogs? And how do you use it correctly?

We’ll answer those questions and more in this article. Keep reading to find out more.

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Dog getting treat

What Is the Electronic Dog Training Method?

Electronic dog training methods use e-collars or remote electronic collars to enforce commands from a distance.

Electronic dog training devices come in many forms—the most popular being e-collars.

Initially designed for working dogs, the first designs were not friendly or comfortable. Thankfully though, a shift in the dog training community’s views led to major changes in the use of training aids.

The electronic training collars used now are much gentler on your dog and are no longer a way to dole out positive punishment.

E-collar training doesn’t follow the same principles as positive reinforcement or scientific dog training methods. However, it’s a proven and effective way to humanely correct your pup’s behavior quickly, even from afar.

Electronic training methods are great for training behavior that needs to be corrected immediately. For example, it could help correct aggressive behavior in dogs.

Let’s say you’re concerned about letting your dogs go off the leash in parks because they often tend to be aggressive toward other dogs. Using a remote e-collar means you’ll be able to quickly deter your dog from barking or growling at other dogs even if you’re a few steps behind them.

Dog in the park

How Do They Work?

Electronic dog training relies on static electric stimulus. In some cases, it may also use auditory, haptic, or vibration signals.

Unlike shock collars, they don’t hurt your pet. Instead, they’re a way to gently remind your dog that certain behavior needs to be stopped.

A common e-collar vs shock collar misconception is that they both deliver high electrical pulses that shock your dogs.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Most e-collars today are designed to only deliver a static pulse that is annoying to anyone who encounters it but not at all painful.

That said, e-collar training is also quite similar to other positive training methods in that you need to keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior to maintain perfect timing.

If you initiate the device too early or too late, the dog may be unable to properly associate their action with the punishment.

Also Read: How To House Train Your Dog


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Dog getting trained

Is E-Collar Dog Training Good?

There are many types of electronic training devices ranging from invisible fences to noise-activated systems.

While electronic dog training isn’t as extreme as using a shock collar, your dog’s experience with it will depend on how you use it and whether you deliver positive or negative reinforcement. 

Let’s break it down so it’s simpler to understand.

For instance, you’d like to curb your dog’s tendency to bark every time someone passes by your house.

In this case, negative reinforcement implies the use of a continuous electronically-charged device. In this case, you would deliver a steady stream of stimuli to your dog that only stops once the desired behavior is achieved (they stop barking).

On the other hand, positive e-collar training relies on a singular and quick stimuli delivery. In this case, making sure you have perfect timing is even more important.

Here, the dog isn’t subjected to a steady stream of static current. Instead, they’re given a sharp “snap”, which should be enough to grab their attention.

two dogs in car with a harness on

Common Electronic Dog Training Devices

Different kinds of electronic dog training devices are used for different methods of e-training. However, all operate on the same principle.

To give you a better idea of your options, we’ll talk about them in more detail.

Remote Trainers

Most frequently used for working dogs, remote trainers make use of remote controls that deliver static pulses from afar.

Distance and coverage may vary depending on the device you’re using, but the idea is to give you control over your dog without the need for a leash.

It’s most ideal in large areas like parks where you want your dog to have freedom yet remain on their best behavior. You won’t have to come running or shout to get their attention each time they’re exhibiting negative behavior.

Containment Systems

Commonly referred to as invisible fences, containment systems are set up to give your dog clear boundaries.

You’ll first need to set a perimeter with the electronic containment system. This system links to a pet collar your dog needs to wear. When they try to journey beyond the perimeter you’ve set, they’ll receive a swift and annoying pulse that will deter them from venturing further.

While some pet owners may be concerned about the long-term effects of such training methods, a recent study on cats suggests that containment systems don’t affect the long-term quality of life of their subjects.

Noise Activated Systems

Most commonly used for frequent barkers, these electronic devices are activated not by the owner but by the dog themselves.

For example, a dog wearing a noise-activated collar will receive a vibration to get them to stop.

Some electronic anti-barking collars systems may use gentler methods such as activating a spray of citronella when the dog vocalizes. You may also find ultrasonic collars sold at your local vet shop that emit a high-pitched tone audible only to dogs.

All of these are highly effective ways to curb noisy dogs without harming them. These bark collars are perfect for communities that don’t encourage noisy dogs―like condominiums and apartments.

Also Read: Leash Training for an Older Dog


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Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the electronic dog training method and answered them for you below.

Are E-Collars Safe?

Due to pet safety regulations, modern electronic collars are fitted with safety mechanisms.

These prevent your dog from prolonged or dangerous shocks. Some even come with audible stimuli settings which you can use as a safer alternative.

Can Electronic Training Systems Cause Your Dog To Become Aggressive?

Punishment-based training methods often lead to aggression in dogs later in life. However, since electronic training systems provide a safer and non-painful way for you to grab your dog’s attention, this fact often does not apply.

Some sources may claim that it does increase aggression in dogs. However, the data is still quite unpredictable and further research may be necessary to arrive at a conclusion.

Are Electronic Dog Training Collars Humane?

E-collars provide pet owners with a more convenient and effective way of training their dogs without using shock collars.

As there is a wide variety of stimuli options when it comes to correcting your dog’s behavior, you don’t have to worry about hurting them.

Further, the use of static stimuli is also not known to have adverse effects on your dog. At most, you may notice them getting annoyed when several vibrations or static shocks are delivered in a steady stream.

It ultimately depends on how you use them. If you use it correctly, it doesn’t necessarily affect your dog negatively.

dog with electronic collar

How Long Does It Take To Train A Dog With An E-Collar?

Robin Macfarlane, a pet training expert, suggests that e-collar training is often completed within 6 to 12 months.

The typical length depends on how experienced your trainer is, the severity of the behavior that needs to be corrected, and how consistent you are with delivering “punishment”.

How Long Should E-Collar Sessions Be?

It’s important to give your dog a break when training them. Ideally, you should only use e-collars when absolutely needed.

In some cases where it’s not possible―for example, if you’re training your dog to bark less, you may want to give your dog at least an uninterrupted 4-hour break from their collar.

This will help them rest and give them the opportunity to practice whether or not they’re ready to continue without their collars. Think of it as giving them a taste of the world without the unwanted behavior you’re trying to curb.

electronic dog collar

To sum it up, the electronic dog training method is both effective and efficient. It’s a good alternative for trainers who believe that shock-collar training works but don’t want to subject dogs to physical pain.

Furthermore, remote e-collar training is a good option for owners who suffer from mobility issues.

It ultimately boils down to individual perception.

Remote training devices give you the ability to grab your dog’s attention without leaving your sofa, which is quite convenient. Plus, it’s probably no more harmful than an owner playfully flicking their dog’s ear.



Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.