Does Training a Dog with an E-Collar Make them More Aggressive?

By Jason Trainer  •  February 27, 2023  •  

Training a new puppy or an older dog can seem like a daunting task to both new and experienced dog owners. It doesn't matter whether you have the goal to socialize your pet with other dogs or have little kids in your home; you'll want to ensure you train your dog effectively to behave in any situation.

This is why it's important to utilize proper training tactics and tools when working with your dog so that they can learn their commands and you can reinforce positive behaviour. One of the most effective tools to use while working with your pet is an e-collar.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few myths and misconceptions about e-collars. Two of the most popular are that it makes a dog more aggressive and that it is cruel and will hurt your dog. These two thoughts are not true. If used properly and with positive intentions, an e-collar can be one of the most beneficial tools for your pet's training, socialization and safety.

What is an E-collar?

Before we dive into how an e-collar should be properly used, it is important to understand what they are and how they work. An e-collar, also known as an electronic collar, is a collar that emits an electronic pulse similar to e TENS machine used in physiotherapy to the dog when activated by a remote control. The intensity of the stimulation can be adjusted based on a number of factors. These include; the size of your pet, their age, and the level of training or training that is needed. If you have a dog less than 6 months old, you should not use an e-collar to work with them.

To ensure the e-collar is used correctly, the following steps should be considered when introducing your pet to their e-collar.

  1. Select the Right E-collar for your Pet: You may find that there are many different types of e-collars on the market. When selecting an e-collar, it's important that you choose the right one for your dog. Make sure that you check that the e-collar fits comfortably around your dog's neck and is not too tight or too loose. You'll also want to ensure that the shock's intensity is adjustable and that the Collar has a range suitable for the size of your property or the space you'll be working with your pet in. At iTK9, our team of experienced professionals use and recommend the Mini Educator 300 from e-collar technologies.
  2. Introduce the E-collar Gradually: You don't want to just throw the Collar on your dog and start using it. For your dog to understand that this is a positive tool, you'll want to introduce them to it gradually. Start by placing the Collar around your dog's neck and allowing them to wear it for short periods of time each day. This will help your dog become comfortable with the Collar before you begin using it for training.
  3. Use Positive Reinforcement with the E-Collar: The e-collar is to be used as a tool only. Do not punish your pet by using the e-collar. Instead, make sure you use positive reinforcement when working with your dog and the e-collar. This will help them learn their commands and appropriate behaviours and help them have a healthy and happy bond with you, their Collar, and your family.

Common Misuses of the E-Collar

Unfortunately, some people misuse the e-collar, causing harm or inflicting fear on their pets. This is where the myths or misconceptions about e-collars making dogs aggressive or harming dogs come from, as improper use of the Collar will lead to serious consequences and effects on your pet, as can all other tools.

To ensure that your pet has a positive experience with the e-collar and that you are using it in its intended form, it's important that you don't misuse this tool. Here are some of the common misuses that occur with the e-collar that should be avoided at all costs.

  1. Using the E-Collar Without Any Skill: The e-collar should not be used without any training or knowledge. Like any training tool, e-collars should only be used by experienced trainers or those who understand how to use them safely and effectively. Before using an e-collar on your dog, make sure you do your research and understand how to use it properly.
  2. Using the Wrong Collar: As we've mentioned before, there are quite a few collars available. Don't just select any collar that you find. Do some research and make sure that you find and use a reliable brand. You will also want to try the Collar on your pet to ensure it fits them appropriately before purchasing.
  3. Using it for No Intended Purpose: This is a point that needs to be stressed. E-collars are effective training tools and are to be used to discourage bad behaviour and reinforce good behaviour. An e-collar should never be used with no intended purpose in mind.
  4. Not rotating the collar throughout the day: The Collar should be worn throughout the day, especially when you are working with or training your pet, rotating every 3-4 hours. This will help prevent irritation, ensuring that the stim points are on your pet’s scalp. 

By avoiding these misuses, you'll be able to instill a positive association between your pet and their new e-collar. Not only will it help with their training, but you will avoid hurting them or inflicting fear, keeping a strong and positive relationship between you and your dog.

How to Use an E-Collar Effectively and for Training

When used correctly, the e-collar is a great tool that can help adjust or correct behavioural issues with your pet, teach them new commands, and enjoy off-leash freedom and control, among a number of other benefits.

To ensure you are using the e-collar effectively for training purposes, here are some of the guidelines that should be followed. If you have any questions or issues with the Collar, it's best that you consult a trainer or experienced individuals before putting the Collar on your dog. This will help to ensure that the Collar is used properly from the beginning, avoiding any mishaps or accidents.

Use the lowest possible level to start: Begin with the lowest level of stimulation and gradually increase the intensity until you find the level that gets your dog's attention. Remember, the purpose of the e-collar is to provide a mild electronic pulse for attention, not to cause pain or discomfort.

Use the e-collar in conjunction with voice commands: When using an e-collar, it is important to use voice commands along with the electronic pulse. Give your dog a command, such as "sit" or "come," and then activate the e-collar. The combination of the command and the electronic pulse will help your dog learn to associate the command with the desired behaviour.

Be consistent in your use of the e-collar: You want to be consistent when using an e-collar to train your dog. Make sure you use the e-collar for the same commands and behaviours each time and be consistent in the level that you use. This will help your dog learn what is expected of them and will make the training process more effective.

Use the e-collar only when necessary: E-collars should be used only when necessary and not as a substitute for proper training. Use the e-collar for specific commands and behaviours, and avoid using it as a substitute for proper training techniques. Though the e-collar will help, it is not the only tactic you should use to train your pet.

Benefits of Using an E-Collar

In addition to being a useful tool to help train your pet, there are many other benefits to the e-collar, such as helping your dog enjoy some freedom while being off-leash, as well as their safety and reliability. 

Some of these other benefits include:

  1. Helping dogs with anxiety or aggression; by using a low level on the e-collar, our trained professionals have helped the lives of many dogs who were either aggressive or fearful towards other dogs or people. 
  2. Preventing or stopping bad behaviour: once your pet has a good understanding of the intended use of the e-collar, and you, as the owner, know how to use it, the e-collar can be an effective tool to prevent unwanted behaviour such as constant barking or jumping.
  3. Giving your dog off-leash freedom and control: with the e-collar, you can still have control over your pet, even if they wander up to one mile away. This allows them to have time to be off leash and roam, exploring the grounds when it is appropriate to do so.
  4. Safety: Once your dog has been properly trained with their e-collar, you can rest assured knowing that it will come when he or she is called. This will help prevent any incidents, such as your dog interacting with a skunk, squirrel or other dogs.

The iTK9 Way: Using an E-Collar to Train your Dog

When used properly and with its intended purpose, the e-collar can be an effective tool to work with and help train your dog, building a strong relationship with them. However, it is important that you don't misuse the tool, accidentally harming or scaring your pet when working with them.

If you need assistance with your dog and its training or training with an e-collar, our trainers can help. They are fully committed to working with them through behaviour, obedience training, and continued learning safely and effectively.
For more information on our programs, including Board & Train, contact us today.

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