Last Updated/Info Checked on July 13, 2023 by Linda Michaels
German Shepherd is arguably America’s most famous breed and for all the right reasons. They are versatile, strong, energetic, and with a protective instinct for their families.
One of the most common ways to train a GS dog is to use a shock collar. Although the use of a shock collar is very simple, oftentimes it may stop working and there can be several reasons for it.
Today, I am going to list the main reasons why a shock collar may have stopped functioning and how you can fix it in a step-by-step guide.
Major Reasons Why Your Shock Collar Is Not Working And How To Fix It
Here are some reasons.
1. Low Battery
What basic things do all electronic devices need to work effectively? You guessed it right! It’s an electric current. Shock collars rely on their batteries to provide them the power to work and the batteries need to be charged before they can do that.
Almost all collar batteries are devoid of charge when they are sold in the market and new users often forget to charge them. This gives the false impression that something is inherently wrong with the remote or the collar.
Thus, whenever you encounter such a situation where your collar is not responding then your first troubleshooting step should be to charge the device.
Try charging them fully and then check if the collar starts working. It’s always a good idea to address the charging aspect before moving on to other troubleshooting steps as it is simple and saves you from the inconvenience of other troubleshooting steps.
Remember that the remote and the collar have separate batteries and need to be charged individually.
2. Improper Fitting
For a shock collar to function properly, it needs to be securely fitted around the dog’s neck. The collar’s prongs should penetrate through the fur, ensuring that the contact points make direct contact with the skin.
This is crucial to ensure that the stimulation reaches the dog’s body and produces the desired effect.
A German Shepherd is a double-coated dog which means it has two layers of fur viz an outer layer of thicker hair and an undercoat of shorter hair. This makes the fur very thick and increases the distance which the collar prongs have to penetrate through.
One common mistake made by new users of shock collars is simply placing the collar on the dog’s neck without properly adjusting the contact points. This can lead to the collar not functioning as intended.
If you have checked the batteries and the collar is still not working, the next step is to ensure the collar is positioned correctly. It should be positioned high on the dog’s neck, with the strap resting right behind the ears.
Check if the prongs are long enough and ensure that the contact points are making direct contact with the dog’s skin. If the prongs are too short to penetrate the fur, you may need to use longer prongs that can reach through the fur.
These often come with a collar or you may need to buy them separately.
Some people choose to trim the dog’s hair where the collar sits, but I recommend trying longer prongs first. If the collar still doesn’t work properly, then you may consider trimming the hair in that area.
Also, many owners fix a collar too tightly on the dog’s neck which can result in uneasiness or even suffocation. Make sure there is enough room for the dog to breathe properly. Ideally, you should be able to pass two fingers underneath the collar.
3. Not Enough Stimulation Power
If you notice that your dog is not responding to the shock collar despite it seemingly working, it may be necessary to raise the stimulation level.
This is because different breeds have varying levels of sensitivity to correction, and even within a breed, individual dogs may differ in their stubbornness, requiring stronger stimulation.
German Shepherds are very hardy dogs and can often withstand smaller stimulation levels without any difficulty.
However, it’s crucial to exercise caution when increasing the stimulation level. Before doing so, it is advisable to test it on yourself first. Place the collar around your arm and gradually raise the stimulation level.
If you find that you cannot tolerate a specific level of stimulation, it is likely too intense for your dog as well.
Testing the stimulation on yourself ensures that you are using a level that is effective and humane for your dog’s training. Always prioritize your dog’s well-being and adjust the stimulation level accordingly.
Remember, training should never cause undue harm or distress to your furry companion.
4. Electrical Interference
Electrical interference, or electromagnetic interference (EMI) is the phenomenon where electrical signals of one device disrupt the functioning of another device transmitting radio signals. This can often lead to device malfunction.
This electrical interference can sometimes affect shock collars when they’re near a source of electromagnetic radiation like power lines or other electronic devices.
To reduce electrical interference in dog shock collars, manufacturers often employ measures and you should be aware of such sources of interference and avoid them when possible so that your device doesn’t malfunction.
5. Defective Collar
If everything mentioned before fails to work then the chances of your collar being defective are very high.
In such cases, you would need to contact your supplier and lodge a formal complaint regarding the malfunctioning of the device.
At what age can you use a shock collar on a German shepherd?
The recommended age for a shock collar to be used on a German Shepherd is 6 months.
Although some professional trainers may use a collar on their German Shepherds around 14-15 weeks of age, you should wait till 6 months of age for your Pooch’s safety.
Do Shock Collars Work Through Negative Reinforcement?
Negative reinforcement is a type of training technique where an undesirable stimulus is avoided to reinforce a desired behavior.
This is the exact opposite of the Positive Reinforcement technique where a behavior is encouraged through a reward-based system.
As E-collars collars associate an undesired behavior with an unpleasant vibration or a mild shock, they work through negative reinforcement to change a dog’s behavior.
Although negative reinforcement is quite a useful tool it’s important to note that negative reinforcement should be used carefully and responsibly, ensuring that the stimulus is appropriate and does not cause harm or severe distress to the animal.
How Do I Introduce My Dog To A Shock Collar?
Introducing your dog to a shock collar can be tricky but here’s how you can make the process a lot easier for both you and your dog:
- Purchase a collar that is durable yet lightweight. It should be able to withstand your dog’s chewing attempts and also be light so that the dog can roam around easily while wearing it.
- Introduce the dog to the device by letting it observe, sniff or even nibble it. Make sure it doesn’t damage the collar.
- Only use the collar when your dog is old enough and understands basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘jump’ or ‘run’ etc.
- Make the dog wear it in the off position before using it.
- Start with smaller stimulation levels and don’t use higher ones unless extremely necessary.
- Associate the stimulation level with a command so that the dog knows what is expected of it when the correction is delivered. This could be a simple command of sitting, returning right back to you etc
- You may choose to take the help of a professional dog trainer who has some experience with dog collars.
People also ask this.
Should a dog sleep with a shock collar?
When the dog is not actively using the collar or during rest periods, it is important to remove the collar so that the dog can relax properly.
At night, it is advisable to remove the collar altogether. Removing the collar at night allows the dog’s skin to breathe and reduces the risk of accidental injury while the dog is sleeping.
German Shepherds are double-coated dogs and their thick fur can prevent E-collar contact points from touching the skin. Several other reasons can also lead to a malfunctioning shock collar.
These are a low battery, a loose fit, inadequate stimulation, electrical interference, and a defective collar.
Have a good day!