Updated June 01, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

The 10 Best Shock Collars

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Teaching Fido not to bark incessantly or pull on a leash is hard work, but that task can be made easier with one of these e-collars. Once you've looked beyond their "shock" value, you'll find they offer a high degree of control over the level of intensity for each type of correction without causing actual harm, making them much more useful as positive conditioning tools than forms of punishment. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best shock collar on Amazon.

10. iPets PET620

9. Petrainer PET998DBU

8. Garmin Delta XC

7. PetSpy P620

6. Easy Educator

5. SportDog Field Trainer

4. Planetico Ultrasonic

3. Dogtra Fieldmaster

2. Pet Resolve

1. Pro Educator PE-903

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Shock Collar?

Conducting research might help you to avoid some early mistakes, while also sparing your dog some unnecessary pain.

The first thing you need to consider before buying a shock collar is the effect that it's going have on your dog. Assuming a shock collar is, in fact, the most viable option for correcting some types of behavior, you'll still want to schedule an appointment with your vet to determine what significant health risks might apply.

In addition, you want to find a shock collar that allows you some flexibility in terms of adjusting the amperes or voltage. Ideally, you want your dog's collar to operate as an occasional deterrent. This means a light and momentary shock might be enough, at least at first.

Next, you'll want to do some research, focusing on dog experts and veteran trainers who have used a shock collar with varying degrees of success. What approach did these trainers take? How did they alter that approach when and if a dog failed to respond?

Conducting research might help you to avoid some early mistakes, while also sparing your dog some unnecessary pain. Keep in mind that the idea of a shock collar - at least from a Pavlovian perspective - is based on instilling fear. As a dog lover, you'd like to make the process as pain and stress-free as possible. This is where learning from the mistakes of others might save you weeks or even months of trial and error.

If you happen to be purchasing a shock collar to teach your dog how to stay within boundaries, make sure to confirm the maximum range on each collar's remote. A shock collar is no good if it cannot reach the boundary marker. And it defeats the purpose if you have to chase after your dog wherever that collar goes.

How Exactly Does A Shock Collar Work?

Shock collars operate by supplying a momentary zap to any dog based on either a predetermined parameter or a remote control. Most of these collars allow for a wide range in terms of the average length or voltage of any shock that is applied.

There are two prevailing schools of thought when it comes to shock collars.

Shock collars are commonly used to assist with toilet training, curbing aggressive behavior, establishing boundaries, and reinforcing rules. Certain collars can be automatically triggered by a certain frequency or a forbidden mode. One example of this would be any collar that administers a shock every time a dog wanders out too far from its home.

There are two prevailing schools of thought when it comes to shock collars. The first school is known as positive punishment, a term which refers to the practice of applying a quick and immediate shock at the exact moment any dog exhibits a form of unacceptable behavior. The guiding principle being that every dog can and will equate the lack of any shock as representing a reward.

The second school of thought is known as negative reinforcement, a term which refers to the practice of providing a continuous, low-voltage shock right up until the moment a dog exhibits some type of desired behavior. Negative reinforcement is used in dire circumstances, when all of the other alternatives have been exhausted.

In the end, this type of behavior therapy can only be effective when a dog's owner - or trainer - remains consistently present, on-hand to police and deter the behavior, while also ensuring the prolonged shock is serving its cause.

A Brief History Of The Shock Collar In America

Shock collars were originally introduced during the 1960s as a way of training dogs to hunt. The idea was to keep these animals on track, and, more precisely, to forbid them from mauling their targets. These early shock collars were problematic in that they delivered a booming shock without any range of frequency or control.

A great deal of research began asserting that shock collars represented an effective way of domesticating dogs for the home.

Over the next twenty years, the shock collar was modified to offer an owner more control. Shocks could be adjusted for both time and voltage. A shock could be very mild or very bold. With standards being heightened, and certain studies confirming positive results, the shock collar went from being a highly specialized item to something everyday pet owners could purchase for their own dogs.

By the 1990s, the shock-collar industry was expanding. A wide selection of pet owners were purchasing boundary fences to keep their dogs from wandering too far, while others were purchasing noise-activated collars to keep their dogs from barking too long. The shock-collar concept, as it was, continued evolving. A great deal of research began asserting that shock collars represented an effective way of domesticating dogs for the home.

At the same time, a number of animal rights group, including PETA began denouncing shock collars, citing physical risks to a dog's health that included the possibility of cardiac fibrillation and burns. Despite these protests, a variety of studies continue to demonstrate that shock collars can and do effectively suppress aggressive behavior, while promoting a social attachment between humans and dogs.

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Jeff Newburgh
Last updated on June 01, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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