Dog Care Tips Dog Training Guide

How to Train a Puppy with a Shock Collar? (Complete Guide)

Anytime you talk about talk training a puppy, the term shock collar is often tossed around. And while many also associate shock collar use with animal cruelty, they are not wrong.

Many first-time dog owners use them without any prior knowledge about the tool and, more often than not, end up hurting their pets physically and psychologically.

However, you can avoid that from happening, even if you don’t have any prior experience handling a shock collar by following in the footsteps of professional trainers. And before you ask, yes, many professional dog trainers use shock collars.

To train a puppy with a shock collar, introduce the device properly first, then activate the receiver and find the right intensity for the dog.

Start with the beep function and move forward to vibration followed by shock, depending on your puppy’s trainability. Use positive reinforcement along the way for better results.

Can You Use A Shock Collar On A Puppy?

Using a shock collar on a puppy may seem cruel, but as I said at the start, it boils down to which collar you choose and how you use it.

Fortunately, shock collar companies have produced ones for puppies that suit their requirements. For one, they are not too intensive, and second, they mostly rely on beeps and vibrations.

So, to answer your question, you can use a shock collar on a puppy if it’s resisting training or if it’s hard for you to get help from a professional. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do recommend a fair share of professional help but sometimes that’s a far shot. You may have to take things into your hands and that’s where using training collars come. 

Training a Puppy with a Shock Collar

Do All Puppies Need Shock Collars, Though?

You can’t treat every puppy as one. It’s one of the industries where one size doesn’t fit all. Not all puppies or dogs need shock collars because not all puppies behave the same.

Some are receptive to your commands, while others are single-minded. You have to understand the predispositions for a shock collar in your puppy’s personality.

When you find there’s a room, using it does not seem bad at all. After all, training puppies the right way creates a strong foundation for a well-behaved adult dog.

Also, using these collars becomes indispensable when you have adopted the pup from a previously abusive owner. With love and care, you have to make sure the dog’s personality doesn’t steer into wild territories. 

When Can A Shock Collar Kill A Pup?

Shock collars are thought of as killing machines by many people. It is an entirely wrong concept based on stories where the blame purely rests on the owner, not on the tech.

I haven’t heard any such story where a shock collar kills a pup, but I agree using them for punishment or beyond a pup’s bearing capacity surely harms it. That’s where making yourself adept at using the collars makes sense. 

Bark Collar Vs. Shock Collar – What’s The Difference?

Before I share the tips on training a puppy with a shock collar like a pro, let’s first understand the difference between a bark collar and a shock collar. Knowing that will help ensure that you buy or have bought the right product.

Bark Collar

A bark collar, as its name suggests, is used for only one purpose: to train a dog to control its compulsive barking. Bark collars usually have a sound sensor that automatically activates it when the dog starts barking.

As soon as it detects the sound, it delivers a static shock to the dog. But that’s largely dependent on the mode the bark collar is set to.

Shock Collar

Contrary to the bark collar, a shock collar is not automatic. It is, instead, remote-controlled. The use of a shock collar is also not just restricted to training the dog to control barking.

A shock collar can be used to train any and every attribute and activity of the dog since the shock can be administered manually anytime using the remote control.

So, when buying an e-collar to fully train your K9, make sure you choose the right type. Another thing to keep in mind, regardless of the type of e-collar you are buying, ensure that it isn’t limited to just shocking.

A majority of high-quality e-collars offer three different modes: beep, vibrate, and shock, with each having adjustable intensity levels. Having these modes will enable you to use alternative methods to shock your dog.

If you are on the hunt for high-quality shock collars for your furry friend, here’s a list of the best shock collars that I recently crafted. Hopefully, you’ll find what you are looking for.

Introducing A Puppy To A Shock Collar

Before you start using the collar for training, your K9 friend has to accept it as a part of itself. Think of it as psychological training.

So as long as your dog feels irritated by the collar, it will not serve its purpose. But once he accepts it, things get easier from there.

1. Keep The Collar In Your Hand

Since you’re trying to familiarize the pup with the collar, keeping it in your hand whenever you’re around it will bear fruit. This way, it will accept it as something unharmful and a part of you.

2. Let It Play With It

A dog interacts with its surroundings in many ways – playing is one of them. Let the puppy consider the collar as a toy for a brief time.

However, make sure that it doesn’t bite or chew it. Discouraging that behavior here will bear fruit for the latter because dogs have a knack for chewing things, as you know.

3. Bathe It In The Dog’s Scent

You could either use the pups’ own scent to let them accept the collar or use one of the scents that a study in MDPI deems favorable for the canines.

According to the author of the study, A. Kokocinska, dogs interact with blackberry, mint, blueberry, lavender, rose, and linalool more than other scents.

Now you know what to do.

4. Leave The Collar For A Brief Time

Further, leaving the collar on for some time on the puppy will help it understand its purpose on its body. Increase the time each day by a minute or less until your pet’s okay with it staying for hours.

As you’ll read ahead, collars are supposed to be on a dog for a few hours. I keep them for no more than 4 hours because of obvious reasons. Therefore, refrain from conditioning the puppy for more hours than it could take.

5. Do Not Tie The Collar Too Tightly

A shock collar’s tightness makes or breaks its function because its prongs are supposed to touch the pup’s skin. Too much tightness will bring harm, while too loose fitting will render the product useless.

The collar, therefore, should be tight enough not to slip off the neck. You should be able to insert two fingers between the strap and the dog’s neck.

How to Train a Puppy with a Manual Shock Collar?

Now that you have found the right shock collar, let’s understand the right way of using it to train your pup.

Bear in mind that for shock collars to work effectively your pup must have basic level obedience and understanding of commands like sit, stop, etc. then you can proceed further:

1. Activate the Receiver on the Collar

Now that your furry best friend is acquainted with the collar, it’s time to turn the receiver on. Make sure to charge the receiver if it’s chargeable or installs batteries if that’s what it requires to work. With the receiver on, move to the next step.

2. Find the Right Intensity Setting

This is the trickiest part, but it is something that needs to be done. On your remote, turn down the intensity levels of vibrate and shock to their lowest.

Then, push the shock or vibrate button and increase the intensity one level at a time until your dog starts to show a response.

The response usually comes as a twitch of the ear, an annoyed neck twist, or outright jumping. Keep a lookout for these signs and you’ll know when you hit the sweet spot (or in this case, the sour spot).

You will have to do this intensity test separately for vibrate and shock modes. Just make sure to give a few hours between testing each mode or you may hurt your pup.

3. Use Beep as a Warning

If you’ve bought the type of collar that I suggested then it probably has an additional mode called beep.

Beep usually makes a sound that K9s can hear. Some collars also have different intensity level settings for beep as well, which can go up to ear-hurting decibel levels.

Test it the same way as vibrate and shock and adjust it at the right level. You must start by training your dog to understand the beep as a warning sign for the vibration or shock that follows.

Make a habit of using a beep before disciplining your dog, so it knows when to quit misbehaving.

4. Start Training Your Pup

Before training the pup, remember that this method induces negative reinforcement. Therefore, use it for situations where you want the dog to stop doing something.

Shock collars work great in those situations, whereas to encourage a dog to do something, positive reinforcement is the way to go. It involves using treats to complement the dog’s desirable behavior. For example, if you tell it to sit and it does, you feed it treats.

However, if it has developed a habit of nipping or chewing everything in your house, you use the shock collar.

I have used them to teach the likes of Pitbull, Rottweilers, and GSD puppies not to bite their owners.

Whenever they’d go for the biting, I’d press the button to let them associate the uncomfortable sensation with the undesirable activity. Heck, I’ve used the same methods with large adult dogs such as Huskies to stop biting strangers.

Another use case of the shock collar was when I was training an aggressive dog to control its territory aggression toward other dogs and even humans.

There were also instances where a dog’s jumping on its owner was causing a stir around the house. The guests and neighbors couldn’t help but complain about its jumping and sometimes ruining their clothes with its dirty paws.

Training a puppy or a dog in all those situations had the same line of action:

1. I waited for the dog to show undesirable behavior with the collar on.

2. Then, right at the cue, I pressed the stimulation button and waited for the dog’s response. Normally, it will stop in its tracks for a brief time, confused about the whole situation. Other times, it will start searching for what’s causing the sensation.

3. The training sessions were many because it’s in the dog’s nature to learn things after repeatedly receiving them. So, I waited patiently and after a few tries saw the results.

4. Dogs such as Huskies get collar smarts. I was careful not to let them see the remote because when they get collar smart, they stop doing things until you leave the remote alone.

5. Incorporating positive reinforcement with negative one was paramount. I used plenty of treats and toys to encourage the dog to do what was asked of him after being negatively reinforced against the undesirable act. Associating a vocal cue with all of this was also necessary.

6. When the dog learned enough about the repercussions of his actions, I only used vocal cues. Afterward, I didn’t need the collar to elicit the same effect.

How To Train Your Pup With An Anti-Bark Collar?

Anti-bark collars work differently than manual collars. For one, they are automatic, and second, they rely on vocal signals from your dog. 

You have the choice to select the number of barks after which the collar fires up. However, the only drawback of a bark collar is the tech reliability that works behind it.

That’s one of the main reasons you should get a high-quality anti-bark collar because I’ve seen cheap ones trigger even when a distant dog barks.

Here’s how to train the puppy with it once you’ve got it.

1.  Familiarize the pup with the collar by following the tips I shared in the article. 

2. Read the manual and become familiar with how the product works.

2. Choose a suitable level of stimulation that will not harm the animal, as well as the bark levels at which the collar will fire. You could test it on your arm or let the dog decide based on its discomfort cues.

3. Tie the collar such that you can insert two fingers between the strap and the dog’s neck.

4. Turn on the receiver and let the magic work.

5. After the number of barks you specify, the dog will be stimulated. If the collar does not have that option, it will surely have a certain limit. Check out the instruction manual for that.

6. Initially, your pet will show signs of discomfort but that’s part of its training. It will learn to associate the sensation with its bark and stay quiet when the collar is on its neck.

7. Refrain from using the collar for more than 4 hours or less because of obvious reasons. You want to train your dog, not hurt it.

8. As previously stated, reward the dog with its favorite treats when it stops barking. That’s how you incorporate positive reinforcement with negative.

How To Train Your Puppy With Gps Dog Fences?

As the name suggests, GPS dog fences contain your dog in safe premises without your intervention after the initial set-up. All you have to do is set up the GPS receiver and transmitter.

Many such products have two buttons labeled M and P. By using them, you can select the extent of the boundary and the level of stimulation that the dogs will receive when they try to breach the GPS boundary.

As you can see, the operation of these fences differs, as does the training mode. Here’s how to do it.

1. Set up the GPS boundary and the stimulation levels. Read the manual to be able to do that without hiccups. GPS dog fences are only effective when set up the right way. 

2. Check the collar on your arm just to be sure that the stimulation level you’ve selected won’t hurt the dog.

3. Check if the collar works when you breach the boundary created.

4. Set up flags available with the product to mark the boundary. You could use anything to do that. The marking flags come in handy in introducing the limits of movement to the dog.

5. Tie the collar on the dog and turn it on. Guide it towards the boundary and let it experience the first stimulation and then bring it back. At this point, you should feed him treats for encouragement.

6. Do that for a few times until the dog learns that going out of the marked circle or area will cause that discomfort.

7. Make the time your dog spends in the circle fun and entertaining so he looks forward to it in the future.

Tips From My Experience To Make Yours Count

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about shock collars, how to use them, and the consequences of improper use, I’d like to share some tips from my own experience to help you get the most out of yours.

Tip 1: When it’s time to go to bed, make sure the collar on your dog is removed. Read about the dangers of leaving collars around your pet’s neck all night

Tip 2: Examine your pet’s skin at the end of each training session or duration of use of the collar. Overusing it may cause wounds requiring your immediate attention.

Tip 3: Be aware of the potential side effects of shock collars and try to avoid them at all costs.

Tip 4: If you’re concerned that using a shock collar will cause more harm than good, there are some shock collar alternatives to consider.

Tip 5: Finally, pay close attention to the dog. Despite following all safety protocols, it may not fare well with it. Nothing is more important than the dog’s well-being, so refrain from using it if the dog’s mental health is at risk.

What I Recommend – Wrapping Up

Using a shock collar to train your dog isn’t rocket science as the mentioned steps show. However, make a note of a few things before proceeding with shock collar training.

  1. Start with the vibrate mode instead of the shock mode.
  2. Don’t use the vibrate or shock mode for more than a few seconds.
  3. Before you start training, show your dog the action you expect in response to each command.
  4. Only raise intensity levels when the dog becomes unresponsive to your commands with the previously set levels.
  5. Understand the difference between training your pet and torturing it.

There isn’t much left to share with you guys on the subject. I hope you find this guide useful and stay humane to the use of shock collars. Until next time.

About the author

Linda Michaels

Linda Michaels is a proud owner of a Labradoodle named Mylo. She is a trainer who posts about dog training and behavior.
🎓: University of California, Davis
📍: PetWell Animal Hospital