Last Updated: July 20, 2020
Celia Miller Author: Celia Miller

Best Electronic Training Collars

Best Electronic Training Collars

We’re aware of the controversy surrounding the use of shock collars and their effectiveness and do not endorse abuse or improper training methods. We acknowledge there are irresponsible owners who abuse them. Improper use of a collar out may result in behavioral issues, aggression, and other problems.

However, when used to augment positive reinforcement and consistency, a training collar can make the difference for certain dogs who have reached the limits of positive reinforcement training and help address behaviors that threaten the dog’s well-being or safety or might lead to them being surrendered by their owners.

We’ve thoughtfully reviewed the following electronic dog training collars. Our favorites include the Educator E-Collar, the  Garmin Delta Sport XC  and the Garmin Delta Smart On-Collar system. These are highly customizable and all can use vibration or tones/beeps only quite effectively.  

Best Products Best Electronic Training Collars

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Dogtra iQ Mini
Dogtra iQ Mini
$180
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Tiny receiver
  • Better for smaller dogs 7+ lbs
  • Expandable
  • Conductive plastic
  • What we Dislike
  • No audible tone option
  • Stiff collar strap
  • Charging issues
Product Details
Material Plastic
Modes 2
Range 400 yds
Battery 2 Lithium metal batteries
Our Review

The IQ mini collar is meant just for little dogs. With a tiny, curved receiver weighing less than 2 oz, it will not flop around or weigh down your smaller dog as most e-collars do. The contact points are conductive plastic, not metal. The stim option for this collar has both nick (a static spark) and a constant setting as well as a vibration function. We do wish this one had an audible tone option and docked a point for that as well as the somewhat too-stiff collar this unit comes with. However, as far as petite collars go, this one is definitely worth looking at.

PetSpy P620 Dog Collar
PetSpy P620 Dog Collar
$160
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Easily distinguishable buttons on remote
  • Waterproof
  • Unit can control two collars/dogs
  • What we Dislike
  • Isn’t the most durable for long term use - especially the remote
  • Not great for long/thick-haired dogs
  • Quality control issues
Product Details
Material Thermoplastic collar and waterproof plastic receiver
Modes 3 (Beep
Vibration
and Shock)
Range 650 yards
Battery Rechargeable
lasts up to 72 hours
Our Review

The P-620 Petspy is intended for dogs 10 lbs or larger with a remote range of up to 1950 feet. With obstacles and things like cars in the way, the range is going to occasionally be shorter. The collar itself is made of TPU (thermopastic polyurethane) and should not be worn by a dog longer than 4 hours. We’ve seen anti-anxiety collars made of the same material dig deep into our dog’s neck so this material is not ideal.

We are not impressed with the electrical function of this unit. With so few levels offered for the electric shock function, we’re concerned that this is not going to allow you to use the lowest possible electrical impulse. Unsurprisingly, this unit does not administer a continuous impulse for a gentle buzz- when the button is held down it’s just multiple and strong zaps.

This is a short-term solution and we don’t recommend it for advanced or extended training.

 

 

SportDOG Brand SportHunter 825X Remote Trainer
SportDOG Brand SportHunter 825X Remote Trainer
$30
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • 1-year warranty
  • 21 stim levels
  • Expandable to 3 dogs with add-ons
  • What we Dislike
  • High price point
  • Material is a bit stiff
  • No LCD
Product Details
Material Waterproof DryTek and nylon
Modes 3 (Beep
Vibration
and Shock)
Range Up to 1/2 mile
Battery Rechargeable up to 70 hours
Our Review

This is a great option for training in the outdoors with a very simple interface. Designed for hunting and sports, the E-Collar is great for off-leash play. For the sake of this review, we are looking at the new version of this collar as we would not recommend the older versions sold by this manufacturer. The number of levels for electrical stim use has been upgraded from 7 to 21. We’d still like to see more levels but this is better than many cheaper products on the market.

The collar can be used in vibration mode, with an audible tone, or using the electrical stim (shock) mode, is submersible up to 25 feet, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (2-hour quick charge). and has a 2-year warranty, US-based customer service.

The collar material itself (band around the neck) is not very soft. While the manufacturer says it’s for dogs 8 lbs and larger, it might work best for dogs bigger than 10-15 lbs.

 

Pet Union PT0Z1 Dog Training Collar
Pet Union PT0Z1 Dog Training Collar
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • 100% waterproof
  • Comes in 3 colors
  • Collar is designed for positive reinforcement training
  • What we Dislike
  • There are issues with the remote design
  • Shock is weak
Product Details
Material Has both a nylon and thermoplastic collar
Modes 4 (Light
Beep
Vibration
and Shock)
Range 400 yards
Battery Rechargeable
lasts up to 72 hours
Our Review

The PetTech training collar is the answer to a lot of owners looking for a training tool. The #1 reason we love this collar is the fact the emphasize that the shock mode is a last resort – as it should be. Otherwise, this collar is perfect for giving your dog training cues and has a decent battery to boot. Now, for those looking at using the shock regularly, this collar in particular has a weak shock. If you were looking for a shock collar in order to control your dog, this isn’t it. But if you are having control issues, please consider going to a professional dog trainer for help instead of resorting to a high-level/dangerous shock collar.

Best Overall
Educator E-Collar
Educator E-Collar Best Overall
$250
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Remote is small and resembles a stop-watch
  • “Blunt” shock, not sharp
  • For dogs as small as 5 lbs
  • Comes with an owner’s manual and training tips
  • 100 different levels of shock
  • What we Dislike
  • High price point
  • Short short battery life
Product Details
Material Biothane collar (waterproof)
Modes 2 (Beep and Shock)
Range 880 yards
Battery Lithium rechargeable lasts 2 hours
Our Review

The Educator E-Collar comes highly recommended by thousands of dog owners. There are many options, including the type of collar to attach it to, range, size of dog, and color. The collar comes with many options for contact points so you can choose the one that’s right for your dog and best of all- no nickel! Finally, a higher quality collar that can be used on a smaller dog! We really like the remote, it’s easy to use while actively training the dog, and to lock in your settings so you don’t accidentally change them. The unit is waterproof and shock-resistant, and the dog’s collar has a tracking light so you can see where he is in the dark.

This collar communicates with your dog using a “tapping” form of stim. The Pavlovian tone teaches a dog to respond to the tone versus the stim. And if you have an escape artist dog that manages to lose the transmitter, it not only floats and has a beeper that can be activated to help you find it.

This is one of the best products on the market and designed so you will eventually no longer need it- which is the best solution in the long run.

Garmin Delta XC Training Collar
Garmin Delta XC Training Collar
$190
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Very easy to operate
  • Battery life is long lasting
  • Water resistant
  • All modes are extremely responsive and safe to use
  • What we Dislike
  • High price point
  • The range is spotty past 30-50 yds
  • Shock setting is weak
  • Not as durable as it should be for the price
Product Details
Material Nylon and plastic
Modes 3 (Beep
Vibration
Shock)
Range 880 yards
Battery Rechargeable and lasts up to 60 hours
Our Review

The Garmin Delta XC is a very high end collar and comes at a pretty hefty price. It sports three modes that are all very responsive and, paired with proper training, will ensure you see results. However, Garmin claims the range of this collar is ½ miles but it’s been reported numerous times to be spotty at best around 30-50 yards. Also, some owners have expressed some concern with the durability of this collar for the price. Overall, this collar is a great training collar but not for long-term use or long distance. There are better options on the market for range and you shouldn’t be using a training collar over a long period of time. However, you have to balance that with the price tag and this may not be worth it for your needs.

Garmin BarkLimiter 2
Garmin BarkLimiter 2
$60
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Bark Odometer measures for effectiveness
  • Slender profile
  • What we Dislike
  • High price point
  • Only 10 stim levels
  • Not ideal for smaller dogs
Product Details
Material Nylon and plastic
Modes 3 (Stim
Vibrate
Tone)
Range 100 feet outdoor
32 feet indoor
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Our Review

The BarkLimiter2 is a much nicer-looking unit than some of the bulky cheaper units. It utilizes tone, stim, or vibration to communicate with your dog. This collar can be attached to your dog’s existing collar for optimum fit and has adjustable contact points. We love the shape of this unit and how comfortable it is for the dog to wear, but it’s only got 10 stim levels so not as much adjusting. We’d probably use it more on vibration or tone mode for that reason.

BarkLimiter2 is designed to eliminate false corrections by sensing the dog’s throat vibrations vs. just noise alone. The problem is that if a dog panic-barks due to a correction, the collar will continue to correct him and it could escalate, so we don’t recommend leaving this on your dog when he is alone until he is used to it.

The Garmin Canine app that allows remote adjustments and bark history data is not rated highly on the app store.

Best for Small Dogs
GoodBoy Small Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar for Tiny to Medium Dogs
GoodBoy Small Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar for Tiny to Medium Dogs Best for Small Dogs
$46
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
Product Details
Material
Modes
Range
Battery
Our Review
Best for Long Range & Tracking
SportDOG TEK Series 1.5 GPS Dog Tracking and Training System
SportDOG TEK Series 1.5 GPS Dog Tracking and Training System Best for Long Range & Tracking
$0
Review manufacturer chewy
on chewy
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Satellite GPS tracking
  • Weather-resistant
  • What we Dislike
  • Higher price point
  • Large antenna on the collar
Product Details
Material Plastic
Modes 3
Range 7 miles
Battery 20 hours
Our Review

This unit is a high-end tracking and training system ideal for outdoors, long distances, and adverse conditions. It has tone, vibration and stim (99 levels) for the best flexibility. If you are training your dog for search and rescue ops or taking him to the wilderness, this system can track his whereabouts using GPS satellite vs. a cell phone signal that can be unreliable in remote areas. Even if you aren’t using the collar for active training, it can help you find your pup if he wanders off, and this system has geofencing capability.  The collar and the remote can be submerged in water. The SportDogTek 1.5 can be expanded to up to 12 dogs (additional collars) if you are training multiple dogs.

Best Vibration-Only Style
Dogtra iQ Vibe Vibration Only No Bark Collar
Dogtra iQ Vibe Vibration Only No Bark Collar Best Vibration-Only Style
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • Waterproof
  • Strong vibration
  • Distinguishes between bark/environmental noise
  • What we Dislike
  • Stiff collar
Product Details
Material Plastic
Modes 3
Range N/A
Battery 2-Hour Rapid Charge Lithium Polymer
Our Review

The Dogtra IQ is a great choice as a haptic bark deterrent tool to help the owner address the issue. For dogs 10 lbs and up, the Dogtra IQ Vibe will detect a dog’s bark and be able to distinguish it from any environmental or surrounding noise.

For dog owners who don’t want to use stim or shock on their dogs but still need to get their attention and address nuisance barking, this collar offers a vibration (haptic) signal that is four times stronger than a cell phone and about twice as strong as the vibration on other Dogtra collars. It WILL get his attention.

The collar will delay 4 seconds between haptic signals to help the dog understand that it’s his barking that’s the problem.

We wish it were possible to utilize these collars without the extremely stiff plastic collar but unfortunately, they are designed to keep the unit close to the dog’s neck so the signal will reach him.

Dogtra IQ Vibe offers an affordable and higher quality option for training without stim. Just keep in mind that it is meant to be a bark deterrent and does not have a remote, so you cannot signal him on demand.

Educator Pager Only
Educator Pager Only
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • 1/2 mile range
  • Simple interface
  • Dual motor vibe
  • What we Dislike
  • Higher price point
  • Lower battery life
Product Details
Material Plastic
metal
Modes 1
Range 1/2 mile
Battery Lithium-polymer rechargeable
Our Review

The Educator series are already some of the best training collars out there and for the owner seeking a vibration-only option, the Pager Only is a great choice. 100 levels of vibration and a tone button offer the ability to use both auditory and haptic signals to train your dog.

The dual-motor offers a strong haptic signal your dog will find hard to ignore. The tracking light will make it easier to see him in the dark and if the collar falls off for any reason, you can use the alarm to locate it.

The Educator Pager is a solid choice for haptic-based training.

Dogtra 1900S Black Ergonomic 1-Mile IPX9K Waterproof
Dogtra 1900S Black Ergonomic 1-Mile IPX9K Waterproof
$0
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Waterproof
  • Lower profile
  • Matte finish
  • What we Dislike
  • Higher price point
Product Details
Material Plastic
steel
Modes 3
Range 1 mile
Battery 2-Hour Rapid Charge Lithium Polymer
Our Review

The Dogtra 1900S Ergonomic Matte Black collar is a sleeker, ergonomic dog collar with a 1-mile range. The receiver is waterproof and offers both stim and haptic/vibration options. The stim setting allows continuous signal or 1/2 second nick signals. There are 127 levels of stim allowing customization.

The Dogtra Black Edition is good looking, too with blue LED lights, matte finish, and seamless collar design. It’s meant to hold up in the toughest conditions in both heat and rain.

 

Best Products Best Electronic Training Collars
Product Name Best for Rate
Educator E-Collar Best Overall 8
GoodBoy Small Rechargeable Dog Bark Collar for Tiny to Medium Dogs Best for Small Dogs 7
SportDOG TEK Series 1.5 GPS Dog Tracking and Training System Best for Long Range & Tracking 8
Dogtra iQ Vibe Vibration Only No Bark Collar Best Vibration-Only Style 8

How to Choose

Before you run out and buy a remote training collar, it’s important to have a plan, objectives, and expectations for both you and your dog. Do you need to contain him in one area or deter him from some areas or away from livestock or wildlife? Will you be doing off-the-leash training or preparing him for a sport?  Do you need to track where he is or his activity levels?

A short period of training with an electronic training collar paired with positive reinforcement and consistency can make the difference for dogs who have reached the limits of positive reinforcement training. This can address behaviors that threaten the dog’s well-being or safety or might lead to them being surrendered by their owners. In addition to a shock or electric impulse feature, most have a vibration/haptic signal function and a beeper (auditory) signal. The use of a haptic or auditory collar can facilitate off-leash learning.  A dog’s senses are so fine-tuned that a barely perceptible haptic signal through a collar can communicate with them. And for a special-needs dog that may not have all of his senses, such as hearing or sight, a haptic collar can help you let him know if he is in danger. Persons with service dogs can use a remote training collar to send a haptic signal to their dog for help.

If you intend to use the electric impulse/stim/shock function on a collar, you should test the collar frequently and on an ongoing basis on your own hand to understand if it’s appropriate for your dog.

Remember how keen your dog’s senses are, and keep in mind that for most dogs, an auditory or haptic (vibration) cue may be all that you need to help communicate what you need him to do. Dings, songs, and haptic buzzing on our mobile devices can program humans pretty effectively, and can do the same with dogs. But remember that just like that generic, but familiar ringtone you hear occasionally in a crowd that triggers you, a dog can also form very negative associations to certain stimuli. There is misinformation out there about these types of collars being a one-stop fix for poor behavior. Do not fall for that.

If you are seeking to correct behaviors in your dog, the use of a remote training collar should not be reactive, impulsive, or inconsistent. You should only consider this after consulting with a professional trainer who can train you first about a dog’s behavioral responses to commands, rewards, and corrections.

Many of the remote training collars on the market are considered aversive, or shock collars. These collars have metal contact points that deliver an electric pulse to your dog, with most collars offering various levels of electrical impulses. These are sold as a collar that is controlled via remote control or triggered by an “electric fence” are designed to contain a dog, and will administer a shock to a dog if it attempts to cross out of a designated area.

Collar Attributes:

  • Material:
    Remote training collars should be made out of tough yet flexible material. Most of the time, these types of collars may be made out of similar materials to your typical collar. Make sure this is not chafing or uncomfortable for your dog, especially if he is wearing it in conjunction with another collar or a harness. Large, clunky units won’t be appropriate for smaller dogs and are uncomfortable for bigger dogs at best.
  • Contact Points:
    The contact points that come in contact with your dog’s skin should be as short as possible but still make it through his fur. Cheaper collars often use nickel in their contact points which cause so much of the irritation, redness, and other issues seen with e-collars. If you’ve ever worn cheap earrings that made your earlobes swell up and hurt- it’s the same concept. That’s what cheap contacts containing nickel will do to your dog’s neck. You want to try and avoid nickel on your dog’s skin as much as possible.
  • Modes
    A true remote training collar should have various modes to give you flexibility on training. These modes typically are beeping, vibration, and shock. Some other collars will but their features are centered on one of these modes while offering lesser versions of the others. Shock, sadly, is becoming increasingly popular so be mindful of that when shopping for a remote training collar.
  • Range
    The whole point of a remote training collar is to be able to use it at great lengths. Most only suited for short ranges, with some flexibility for medium distances (over 200 feet). However, there are some that excel at long-range and could be used long-term for outdoor/hunting dogs that need cues over great distances.
  • Battery
    Knowing your remote training collar is going to work and hold a charge is vital. It’s really what keeps the whole thing running!

 

Types of Remote Training Collar Modes

The best collars will have a combination of functions to allow the dog owner to customize their training and communication with their dog.

  • Beeping/Vibration/Haptic Mode(s)
    Some training collars come with different modes and these are the most common! Beeping and vibration can become a trained cue for your dog to assist in training. Unlike the shock collars, collars that only beep or cause a vibration do not cause any pain. So you’ll need to train your dog what these sounds and vibrations mean. These are a much more favorable method with trainers than just shock.
  • Shock Mode
    These types of collars emit a small electric impulse/static shock to your dog through metal prongs to distract him from a bad behavior or get his attention. This is called negative reinforcement training and isn’t the best method to use to get good/proper results. It is extremely important to test the shock-levels on yourself before putting them on your dog. The objective of the shock is to distract, not cause serious or lasting pain.
  • Spraying Mode
    This is probably the most uncommon remote training collar mode. It’s fairly straightforward, while you’re training when your dog performs an undesired behavior, you’re able to spray them with water to correct it. This is personally my favorite but it’s again still negative reinforcement which is not the best way to ensure positive behavior long term.

Training Collars Require Training

Remote training collars are great for training, but not a substitute for it.

If you use a remote training collar only as a means to discipline your dog for poor behavior, you’re probably only causing your dog harm. Instead, you should consult a professional canine trainer to help you understand the reason for the behavior and develop a plan centered on positive reinforcement to address the problems. You may even find that you don’t even need a remote training collar.

Here are some resources for you to find a dog trainer near you!
American Kennel Club

We hope that with our help, that you’ll be able to pick the training collar that will meet your needs. Let us know what you chose! We’d love to hear about how your dog is coming along with their training!