Dog Training

Dog training collars, also known as e-collars or shock collars, are commonly used tools for a variety of training purposes. Whether you want to train your dog not to bark when guests come to your home, teach him field recall, to obey commands, or more sophisticated training for hunting purposes, an e-collar can be a useful training tool. Dog training collars are versatile for pet owners who want to ensure that their training tactics are gentle – many have several settings so you can adjust the intensity of the shock/vibration and also utilize beeps and other sounds to elicit the response you’re looking for from your dog without the shock.

Further improve your dog’s training program with dog training treats.

We reviewed dozens of dog training collars to identify the best of the best. We found the most sophisticated training collars for every need. From IPX7-rated waterproof models that can survive the harshest outdoor conditions to multi-setting, smart collars with built-in bark training features, you’re sure to find the perfect training collar for your pet’s needs.

Our Top Pick
Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar
For a collar that will help you teach your dog appropriate behaviors, the Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar is our top recommendation.

From the get-go, we knew that the Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar was the obvious choice for our top pick spot. The convenience of the ability to personalize it to your individual dog just can’t be overstated.

The 5 Top-Rated Dog Training (Shock) Collars

Editor PicksBrandRating
Best OverallDOG CARE Dog Training Collar4.3
Runner UpPetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs4.4
Best Budget BuyPatpet Remote Dog Training Collar4.4
Best Waterproof Dog Training CollarSportDOG WetlandHunter 425X Remote Training Dog Collar4.5
Best Bark CollarSportDOG NoBark SBC-R Dog Bark Collar4.1

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.

Our Top Pick: Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar

The Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar is our top pick because it’s highly effective,  easy to use, and has a ton of rave customer reviews. It also comes in 1- or 2-dog options for training more than one dog at a time. Plus, for team-training purposes, you can opt for either the 1 dog/2 transmitter option or the 2 dogs/2 transmitters option to keep your training in complete sync. This particular system has a 1/2-mile range and is suitable for dogs of any size weighing at least 5 pounds, although a 3/4-mile range system is also available.

The shock deterrent is a more blunt and less sharp stimulant that comes with adjustable stimulation levels from 1 to 100 so you can customize it based on the weight and size of your dog (or his sensitivity). The additional boost stimuli are from 1 to 60. This purchase also includes two sets of contact points (5/8″ and 3/4″) to personalize it to your individual dog.

This collar has over 2700 reviews and an overall rating of 4.6 stars, making it a pretty smart investment right off the bat. After all, the chances are good that you’ll land on the side with the vast majority (90%) of its happy customers who rated it 4 or 5 stars.

Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar Key Features:

  • Mini ergonomic “stopwatch” transmitter
  • Li-ion rechargeable batteries
  • Charges fully in just 2 hours

Best 100% Waterproof Dog Training Collar: PetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs

Best 100% Waterproof Dog Training Collar
PetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs
This collar makes training your dog an easy and efficient process.

The PetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs is designed to be easy to use by new dog owners and professional trainers alike. Case in point: its intuitive, blind operation design. This design empowers you to easily use the remote control without ever needing to look down at it. The PetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs offers 3 training modes, with 16 adjustable levels. What’s more, it’s suitable for dos of all breeds and sizes (from 10 to 140 lbs), 100% waterproof, and offers a 650-yard range.

If you have any questions about your collar or problems with it, you can take comfort in the fact that PetSpy’s customer service is second to none. They offer 24/7 customer support, as well as a lifetime replacement policy. This collar has nearly 2,000 customer reviews that have earned it a sound overall rating of 4.4 stars.

PetSpy P620 Dog Training Shock Collar for Dogs Key Features:

  • Blind operation
  • 3 training modes
  • 100% waterproof

Best Budget Pick: Patpet Remote Dog Training Collar

Best for Budget
Patpet Remote Dog Training Collar
For a training collar for your dog that won’t be shocking to your wallet, try the Patpet Remote Dog Training Collar.

The Patpet Remote Dog Training Collar has three humane correction modes – beep, eight levels of vibration, and sixteen levels of shock. This makes it easy to select the best one for your dog’s training needs. With a 1000-foot range, you’ll easily be able to keep tabs on your dog even when they’re out of reach. This training collar is adjustable and it comes with an easy-to-use remote control.

Dog owners have been pleased with the performance of this top budget pick, with over 500 customers giving it a solid average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. So if you choose to give it a go, rest assured you’ll be in good company.

Patpet Remote Dog Training Collar Features:

  • 100% waterproof
  • 1000-foot range
  • 3 correction modes with adjustable levels

Best Waterproof Dog Training Collar: SportDOG WetlandHunter 425X Remote Training Dog Collar

Best Waterproof
SportDOG WetlandHunter 425X Remote Training Dog Collar
If your dog loves going for a swim, then you won’t want to overlook the waterproof SportDOG WetlandHunter 425X Remote Training Dog Collar.

SportDOG is a well-recognized and highly-sought brand among dog training collars. The SportDOG WetlandHunter 425X Remote Training Dog Collar is designed for hunters and other sporting purposes, offering a 500-yard range and the ability to pair a single remote with up to 3 collars (additional collars sold separately).

This collar has momentary and continuous static stimulation options so you can choose to emit the deterrent quickly to remind him of your rules or continuously until he corrects the behavior; whichever works best for your pup. It’s also waterproof and we don’t just mean for slobber and rain – you can submerse this collar in water up to 25 feet. That means your happily swimming dog can still go on his adventures. It has Li-ion batteries that will charge fully in 2 hours and each charge lasts 50 to 70 hours. It has a low battery indicator on both receiver and transmitter, too, so you won’t need to wonder when to change.

SportDOG Brand FieldTrainer 425 Key Features:

  • 7 levels of static stimulation in low or medium ranges
  • Receiver fits dogs 8 pounds and larger
  • Collar fits neck sizes from 5 to 22 inches

Best Bark Collar: SportDOG NoBark SBC-R Dog Bark Collar

Best Bark Collar
SportDOG NoBark SBC-R Dog Bark Collar
Finally get a handle on your dog’s excessive barking with this impressive bark collar.

Need a helping hand controlling your dog’s excessive barking? The SportDOG NoBark SBC-R Dog Bark Collar should do the trick. This bark collar is designed to help dog owners to curb their dog’s excessive barking in a safe and humane way.

It comes with 3 training modes: Temperament Learning, Progressive Correction, and User-Selected Correction mode, as well as 10 levels of stimulation. The collar promises to provide “firm, fair and consistent bark control”. As a testament to this, it even features an automatic safety shut-off to prevent overcorrections.

SportDOG NoBark SBC-R Dog Bark Collar Key Features:

  • 10 levels of stimulation
  • Waterproof
  • Long-life rechargeable battery

Who Should Buy a Dog Training Collar

If you’re struggling with training your dog on any particular behavior, then a training collar can help you accomplish the training with a bit less headache. A training collar can be a very useful tool if you’ve been trying and failing to do it on your own. These collars are the kind of back-up from which you may really benefit. It isn’t necessarily an “easy button,” but it is a trick of the trade that will take a bit of the pressure off of you. And when you’re less stressed about the training you’re trying to accomplish, the more likely you are to maintain, or dare we say even build a bond with your fur baby. After all, training – if not done right – can put a pretty heavy strain on your relationship with your dog. Not only will he get frustrated with being scolded, you’ll get frustrated with having to scold. A training collar can help that aspect of training by taking more stress off you both.

Even if you’re not struggling and if you just want to have a little bit of help, there’s certainly no shame in that! A training collar is a good preemptive purchase that can allow you to go into your training without any stress. That stress may still come later, depending on your dog’s stubborn nature, but going in comfortably rather than scared is definitely the best way to start. You can even start out with a less expensive collar (say, our budget pick) so you don’t invest too much, initially. If you find your dog and you are doing well but want more features or range, you can always upgrade later. Even having the collar as a just-in-case for if you need the help isn’t a bad idea. If you unexpectedly struggle, taking something off your list ahead of time can help you maintain your calm in a sometimes difficult point in your dog’s and your relationship.

Our Top Pick
Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar
For a collar that will help you teach your dog appropriate behaviors, the Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar is our top recommendation.

Important Features to Consider

A training collar for dogs should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a dog training collar:

  • Sound. One universally known fact about dogs is that they have much more sensitive hearing than we do. Because of that, sounds have been used in dog training for generations. Rather than a dog whistle, though, training collars can now be used to guide your dog to appropriate behavior. A well-placed beep can be just enough motivation to teach your dog not to do something and that will give you enough influence that you can train your dog with ease. Because no two dogs are alike, you may find this isn’t as effective as other methods; particularly if your dog is hard of hearing. (Or if your dog is a pro at ignoring loud noises.) But if it does work for your pup, nothing could be simpler. Bonus points for the beep not requiring excessive amounts of battery power, either.
  • Ranges. The range of your collar is important if you have a big yard, are training hunting or you are of the “free range dog parent” camp. If your dog has free range of a large area, then you’ll need a larger range for your remote, obviously. You may not be able to see all he does, should your line of sight be obstructed by trees or structures, though, so keep that in mind if you plan on still having a hands-on approach for his behavior training while he runs. If you want to use the remote in direct response to his behaviors, you’ll need to make sure you can see him to do so, and that may mean a longer range remote isn’t necessary. However, he won’t know the range, so keeping that collar on, even if he leaves the range, may keep him on his best behavior. You’ll want to make sure the collar doesn’t respond in any way when he goes out of range for this tactic. But if it does go off (beeping, static shock, or vibration) when he leaves his range, then you may be able to use it as a perimeter.
  • “Shock” collars. Shock collars can get a bad rap for being cruel. Fortunately, there’s been plenty of changes in “shock” collars in the last dozen or so years that make this less of a concern. Dog collars can’t be set at a voltage that will damage your dog. They will just give them enough of a negative connotation that he’ll associate whatever action he’s being dissuaded from with a bad experience. Not a painful one, just one that’s not pleasant for him. If you really want to make sure that it won’t hurt your pup, try it on the lowest setting to start; it isn’t a taser and it won’t knock him out. And should you decide you’re still not comfortable with that method, there are plenty of other methods. Another thing to keep in mind is that often the “shock” term is put aside for the kinder “static” but they do mean the same thing. Static shock just conveys a more accurate picture of how intense the shock will feel for your dog. Sometimes they’ll even go the extra step to market that static shock as “stimulant” or “stimulus” rather than “shock.” Make no mistake, though: they’re the same.
  • Remotes. Having a remote for your dog’s training collar will allow you to have a much more hands-on experience with your dog’s training. You’ll need to monitor him more closely, and you’ll be able to adjust his deterrent method. Although training your dog shouldn’t include a punishment per se, when training him, there is some common ground with the phrase, “The punishment should fit the crime.” That is, he won’t get a shock for sniffing into an area he shouldn’t be messing about in, but maybe a small jolt of vibration or bad smell to give him the clue that that’s not for him can help you train him away from his interest in your new flower bed.
  • Multiple modes. If you have no idea what your dog will respond well to, then having more than one option is probably a good idea. After all, unless you’ve tried it, you really have no idea what he’ll respond well to and what may cause a panic in him. You’ll need to work with him using baby steps to make sure you’re not overusing the beeps, shocks or vibrations and that the intensity isn’t too strong. And start on the lowest settings to make sure you’re not hurting him or it may do more damage to your training than good. In fact, you may trigger an aggressive response where he associates you – and not the bad behavior – with discomfort or pain.
  • “Fence” zones. If you don’t want to bother with constantly monitoring your dog’s roaming with the remote for your dog’s collar, then a zone can be just the answer; particularly if your primary motivation is keeping your pup close to home. You can find collars that sync with an invisible fence zone. You can create a zone by burying a wire that will create the boundary as an invisible fence or, more simply, purchase a hub that will send out the signal to create an area with a range that he must stay within to avoid setting off his collar. With the former, you can create any kind of barrier you want, but it is a lot of work. With a hub, it’s easy-peasy – but you can’t create boundaries, he just has a, for example, 300-yard bubble that he can’t leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are dog training collars and how do they work?

A dog training collar is a term widely used for a variety of different types of collars for your dog. They could mean an Elizabethan collar that is a cone to keep your dog from licking, a bark collar that responds to your dogs barks to activate a deterrent, or even a collar that pinches while on a leash to prevent pulling. But when referring to an all-encompassing collar that will allow you hands-on control to train your pup on everything, generally that means an electronic collar of some kind. There are three primary types of these training collars and they typically all have remotes for you to activate the deterrent: Static shock, vibration, and sound. The static shock will emit a shock closely comparable to that of a static shock and relies on discomfort to show your dog that bad behavior means negative feelings. The vibration will primarily rely on surprise and some discomfort to associate unpleasantness with the bad behavior. Sound will utilize your dog’s more sensitive hearing to teach him that his bad behavior will put off a disagreeable noise (usually a beep). Each of these three deterrents will often have a range of intensity that you can control based on your dog’s size and temperament. A training collar is ideal for those who want to use an aid, but still have full control of their dog’s training themselves.

Do e-collars hurt dogs?

E-collars are not what they used to be. The answer to this used to be an unequivocal, ‘yes, electric collars hurt dogs.’ But that’s changed considerably in recent years. The controversial nature of any training collar is that you have to teach your dog not to do something and because dogs don’t speak your language, that usually means making them associate bad behavior with some sort of negative consequence. Static shock electric collars will give your dog roughly the same intensity in the jolt that you get when you scoot your feet across a carpet and touch something else with static built up. More than pain, the intent for an e-collar is to cause some discomfort and to get your dog’s attention. You can find collars that will allow you to crank up the intensity of the shock to be unpleasant enough to hurt some breeds and sizes of dogs, but that should never be the intent as will you not get the best result this way. If you set the collar to physically hurt him, your dog may respond aggressively and his behavior can worsen. Training shouldn’t be you torturing him into good behavior; that just won’t work. The collar is purely to make sure he understands what he isn’t supposed to do.

Because there is potential to hurt your pup, though, you will absolutely need to follow the instructions on the collar. That may mean securing the shocking prongs to the back of his neck instead of his throat, or sometimes visa versa; always check the instructions.

Do vibrating dog collars work?

For some dogs, vibrating collars are incredibly effective. For others, the vibration, even at max settings, will provide little in the way of a deterrent. The truth is, every dog is best trained just slightly different. There are commonly efficient tools for training, and vibration is one of those; but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for training. Your little dog may be too stubborn to care, and your big dog may not feel it strongly enough for it to bother him. The truth of vibration, as well as beeping, is that some dogs just won’t care as much as others. But the truth is also that there’s just as good a chance that the vibration will work as a deterrent to bad behavior as any other type of training collar.

How long can you leave a bark collar on a dog?

You do not want to leave the bark collar on at all times. Dogs do need the opportunity to bark from time to time and the bark collar should only be used to train your dog, not control him. You won’t use it to prevent him from ever barking, you’ll use it to train him on when it’s not appropriate to bark. If he barks nonstop, you can use the bark collar to supplement your hands-on training when you are teaching him not to do so, but there are no short cuts to training your dog not to bark; you still have to put in the work. In conjunction with your training, you can use the bark collar for 1-2 hours, at most, during your training sessions. Some owners have had success with leaving the collar on but having it turned “off” but you have to be sure your dog never tests that theory or he’ll know when you have it on and off, and will bark accordingly – completely wasting all the progress you’ve made training him.

Jenny Jarvis
Dr. Chyrle Bonk