There are two types of electronic dog collars today, those that are used to contain the animal, and those used in canine training. The containment collars are used in conjunction with multiple sensors, either free standing and movable, which can be used in any part of the home, or permanent fixtures placed underground to contain the animal within a specific perimeter of the yard. Training collars most often have a remote handled by the trainer, to be used at his or her discretion. These collars serve a more specific function, and the animal can be reprimanded as needed.
Both methods use shock in order to procure the desired effect, which is a negative reinforcement. It also distances the negativity from the handler. With no association between dog and handler, the respect level earned by the animal for the master in more traditional training options is not guaranteed here. In regards to the collar designed specifically for training, behavior modification is linked with a seemingly isolated series of shocks, and not by the alpha member of the household. If used in conjunction with voice commands, this effect can be reversed if the dog learns to associate inappropriate behavior with the word “no,” for example, but consistency is paramount. Training collars of this type can be harmful if used incorrectly, so proper instruction on operating such devices is important.
Electronic collars have been found to be easy to use. They provide owners with the comfort that their pet is behaving while they are not at home and are staying where they need to be. Underground electric fencing is a much better alternative to a pet wondering into the road. Training collars can also provide enough stimuli to keep the especially bold dog from getting into the garbage every time the owner turns his back. Dogs are very smart animals that quickly learn that punishment comes from the owner, acting disobediently whenever left alone. Disassociating reprimands from the owner can be seen as an advantage in this situation, since the shocks come independently from the owner.
Alternatives to Electronic Collars
There is an alternative training collar available, and that is the citronella collar. Instead of emitting the electric stimuli, these collars produce a puff of citronella mist which dogs cannot stand. They are usually used in order to control barking in dogs, but can also be purchased in fencing systems that spray citronella whenever the animal approaches its boundary. Many people feel that this is a more humane alternative to electric collars, but the citronella spray can be irritating to the dog. The animal may also get used to the scent, rendering the product ineffective.
Electronic collars can be a safe and effective method of training when more traditional methods are not appropriate or effective. The important thing is to make the best decision for yourself and your dog. Consulting your veterinarian or local dog trainer can be a great asset in ascertaining the best method.