Remote dog training collar pros and cons

Also called ‘remote shock collars’, ‘electronic collars’ or ‘e-collars’, a remote dog training collar is a device commonly used for distance training. The collar is linked to a hand held remote control that allows the trainer to send an electronic signal to the collar whenever the dog misbehaves or refuses to follow a training command.

Because the collar administers painful, traumatizing electronic shocks to your dog, most dog owners consider it a cruel punishment tool instead of an effective training tool. Others however do consider it a useful training device.

We’ve assembled the different pros and cons of remote dog training collars, so you can evaluate the opposing arguments and make an informed decision for yourself.


With a remote dog training collar, you can correct behavior at a distance with ease. The dog quickly learns commands off the leash and away from the trainer’s direct control, which is especially useful for dogs who are unresponsive to voice or sound commands. The collar can be used to correct a range of behaviors, including jumping, barking, and digging, and can be used in basic obedience training.

Remote collars provide the dog with an instant notification that the behavior is undesired by the trainer. They can be a safer way to control aggressive dogs and reduce the chance of weakening the bond between a dog and her owner provided the dog often does not relate the feeling of discomfort to human influence.

Some electronic dog collars have an optional vibration or tone feature that warns the dog that an electronic impulse will follow if she does not correct her behavior. The vibration can also be used for dogs with hearing difficulties. In such cases, it is not always necessary to use the shock feature of the collar at all.


When the remote dog training collar is used with aggressive dogs, it can fuel the unwanted behavior or increase anxiety, which is a common cause of aggression. If the dog associates the pain with another source, she may become fearful. For this reason, remote collars should not be used on puppies under the age of six months — which is also the age when dogs are most in the need of training — nor on dogs who are already very nervous, as the device will only accentuate their anxiety.

Barking collars are even more problematic as they are not always completely accurate. Sometimes, they may not pick up on barking. On other occasions, they may confuse the dog by punishing her for an unrelated sound.

A trainer who uses a remote dog training collar must know how to adjust the collar in order to avoid causing physical discomfort to the dog. When the collar is used for too many hours or is badly fitted, it can lead to irritation. For this reason, it is dangerous for untrained owners to use these collars.

Similarly, while many of those in favor argue that the shocks do not hurt the dog, electrical impulses not strong enough to cause pain are just ineffective. Although you can make a prediction based on the fur and the size of the dog, some dogs are naturally more sensitive to pain than others and it is impossible to know how a dog feels. Shocks which are too heavy can cause stress or fear in a dog, while a shock that is too light will be ignored.

The remote dog training shock collar is not designed to be a replacement for obedience commands. It should only be used to eliminate particular behaviors as overuse will cause fear, anxiety, and a weaker bond between you and your pet.

If you decide to buy an electronic dog collar, we strongly recommend to choose one which has a vibration or tone feature that warns the dog that an electronic impulse will follow if she does not correct her behavior. This type of remote barking collar can even disable the shock feature of the collar, so that the harmful shocks are eliminated.