Electronic collars or “shock collars” as they are sometimes known, are a type of aversive training tool that became popular in the 1980s as an alternative to traditional leashes.
Modern shock collars have come a long way since earlier designs and consist of a dog collar with two metal nubs that sit gently on a dog’s neck when the collar is fastened and come with a handheld remote transmitter.
To use the collar, the trainer presses a button on the handheld transmitter to administer an electric current.
Modern collars have a range of up to 5000 yards (even longer for hunting collars) and come with a range of stimulation options and levels.
Owners are also able to control more than one dog at a time with some collars.
Shock collars are often used as a tool of last resort to curb a variety of stubborn and unwanted behaviors in dogs including, excessive barking and food aggression, as well as to train dogs to stay safely within a property line or to stick close by while off-leash in a public place.
Shock collars are controversial because they are a punishment-based training tool and are (incorrectly) believed to cause dogs pain.
This leads us to the question, are shock collars humane?
Are Shock Collars Effective and Humane?
Opponents of shock collars argue that they are not effective and that they cause dogs undue pain.
This does not appear to be the case according to a recent scientific study.
In a controlled study in 2014 at the University of Lincoln in England, researchers found that a whopping 91.8% of test subjects that used an electronic collar, found it improved their dog’s behaviour.
The same study also found that there were no differences in stress levels between the dogs wearing shock collars and the dogs that had dummy collars fitted.
Here at Superwhiskers we believe electronic collars are a suitable training method, if used carefully and responsibly.
Where you have an unruly or hard to train dog, using an electronic collar safely and correctly can potentially save the dog from injury or death down the road by correcting behaviours that may put it at risk.
Shock collars can also correct undesirable behaviours quickly and efficiently, rather than using traditional methods that lead your dog to associate you with frustration or unpleasant memories.
With this in mind, let’s look at some of the advantages shock collars provide over traditional collars to dogs and owners.
The Advantages of Shock Collars
Shock collars have a number of advantages over traditional training methods such as leashes or reward-based methods.
Shock collars provide for consistent correction — training your dog properly requires consistency of correction as your dog should receive the same level of correction every time it breaks your rules.
Unlike a leash jerk or stern words, shock collars allow for consistent correction by delivering the exact same stimuli without any variation.
Your dog will not associate correction with you — Shock collars remove you from the equation, meaning that your dog will not associate unpleasant stimuli with your actions.
They keep your dog on your property — shock collars can be used to train restless dogs to stay on an owner’s property.
They can also be used in conjunction with “invisible” electronic fences, so owners can do away with traditional fences.
Shock collars effectively train dogs not to bark — shock collars are an excellent way to correct excessive barking and are one of the quickest and simplest ways to rectify this behaviour.
Some types of shock collar can be calibrated to deliver an electronic stimulus whenever a dog barks loudly.
If your dog continues to bark, the duration and intensity of the stimulus can be set to automatically increase.
These collars effectively rectify problem behaviors — shock collars are a very effective solution when it comes to dealing with problem behaviours such as food aggression and aggression towards other dogs.
Shock collars teach dogs to avoid dangerous animals and objects — shock collars are an effective way to warn your dog to stay away from dangerous animals such as snakes or larger animals and hazards such as heights or rough bodies of water.
What Makes the Best Shock Collar?
It is very important to make sure that you use a high quality collar for this type of product, due to the fact that it contains electricity and a potential safety hazard to your dog.
We have created the following three criteria so we can evaluate and find the best shock collar effectively and objectively. These criteria are: safety, features and value for money. The best shock collar will excel in all three of these categories.
This criteria evaluates the range and level of control the collar gives you.
Range is a very important consideration, especially for outdoors off-leash training, because when your dog moves out of range, you effectively lose control over it.
The number of levels of stimulation a collar provides is also important, as it will allow you to find the perfect level of stimulation to get the dog’s attention without causing it undue discomfort.
The best dog collar models will have a range of over 400 yards and will have a number of stimulation levels.
This criteria will focus on the number and utility of the features a collar provides.
Features such as an LCD screen, rapid charging, water resistance and non-stimulation training options such as vibrate mode or beeping, will be awarded additional points.
Collars that have relatively few features will lose points.
Value for money is always an important factor when reviewing a product.
This criteria will weigh the product’s price against the safety options available and the features of the product as a whole.
It will also examine the quality of the collar and transmitter as well as its ruggedness and durability.
Products that are awarded high scores in this category will find the sweet spot between a competitive price and a wide range of features and safety options.
This category will also take into account the length of warranty offered and whether this is a full or limited liability warranty.
So without further ado, here are the results from our search for the best shock collar in 2017.
There are several excellent contenders here, but as always, there can only be one winner.
The Contenders for the Best Shock Collar
#5 Petspy — Dog Training Collar
This versatile entry-level collar from Petspy offers some great features and an excellent range, for a modest price.
Safety — The collar comes with relatively few shock levels with only 8 levels to choose from.
It loses points for this, as 8 levels may not be gradual enough for all dog sizes to find the “sweet spot” between getting your dog’s attention and excessive stimulation.
While the shock levels of this collar are relatively limited, this collar scores highly for range, with a useable range of 1100 ft.
This is the second longest range of any collar on this list and is much greater than many “domestic” collar competitors.
Features — This collar has a power saving standby design so that the battery is not being drained while the device is not being used.
It comes with additional vibration and beep modes, so that your dog can be trained without the immediate need to resort to electronic stimulation. The vibration mode has 8 levels of stimulation.
This product is also waterproof, so you can let your dog explore the world around it, while remaining confident that the collar will still able to control your dog should it come into contact with water.
Value — The Petspy training collar is very versatile and is suitable for all breeds from 10–140 lbs.
It is priced at a very reasonable USD 49.99 and comes with a free training guide and video.
It also comes with a limited 1 year warranty and 24/7 customer care.
We would note that the battery warranty lasts only 30 days however, which is a little shorter than usual for this type of product.
Overall, while it may not deserve the title of “best shock collar in 2017”, this is a great entry-level product if you want to try out this type of collar and see if it works for your dog.
The range of this collar also makes it suitable for extended distance training or even camping or hiking.
#4 Petsafe — Adventure Collar
This is a rugged and quality product from a trusted brand that has been around for more than 25 years.
Safety — This collar has an excellent 800 yard range and is great for both home, park, hiking or beach use.
It has a relatively limited range of stimulation levels, however with only 8 adjustable levels of static stimulation.
Features — This model is waterproof at up to 5 feet of immersion, which will cater to dogs that enjoy water and even the odd swim.
The Petsafe Adventure Collar has the capacity to train up to 3 dogs at the same time (additional collars sold separately). It also comes with a low battery indicator.
Value — This product comes with a 1 year warranty, along with the option to contact PetSafe’s US-based customer care specialists six days a week.
It comes with a price tag of USD 109.95 and we think it provides very good value for money when its rugged construction and large distance are taken into account.
Overall, this is a robust and very well made collar, with a range of great features. It is the perfect collar if you want a high-quality and dependable product for camping, hiking or for a day at the beach. It is also a great choice if you have several dogs you would like to train together.
#3 Petrainer — Pet998DRB
The Petrainer Pet998DRB is a popular shock collar that can be used by both experienced trainers and amateurs alike.
Safety — This model has a moderate range of 330 yards which makes is suitable for training your dog in the backyard or at the park.
The Pet998DRB really excels when it comes to the stimulation levels available, with 100 levels of static shock to choose from.
This makes it suitable for a wide range of dog sizes and it will cater to any dog’s compliance level.
Features — The Pet998DRB has an impressive range of features.
The collar provides 100 option levels for non-shock vibration, along with a beep tone training mode.
The collar receiver and transmitter are also water resistant and it comes with a light mode that allows you to see your dog in low-light conditions.
This product also sports an LCD display screen, so you can easily see the various modes and the level of stimulation being administered.
It also has a power saving mode with an automatic standby and memory function.
Value — The adjustable collar strap is suitable for neck sizes from 14 to 23 inches and is perfect for dogs from 15 lbs and up. This also means that one collar can be used to train multiple dogs.
This product from Petrainer comes with a 1 year replacement warranty along with US-based customer service.
It comes in at USD 24.99 and provides the best value of any product on this list when its significant array of features along with its very low price are taken into account.
Overall this is an incredible entry-level product, offering great value and a range of excellent features for a very reasonable price.
This is definitely the best shock collar of the “entry-level” collars we could find.
#2 Dogtra — 1900S
The people at Dogtra have over 20 years experience creating cutting-edge shock collars.
This product is intuitive and user friendly and is definitely one of the better premium products out there.
Safety — This is without a doubt, the best shock collar when it comes to safety.
The 1900S has a whopping range of 3960 ft, a range that is unsurpassed in suburban-type obedience collars.
It also has very precise stimulation levels ranging from 0–120, with a constant stimulation option for the biggest and most unruly dogs.
This model also comes with a patented Rhetostat intensity dial for smooth and effortless stimulation control.
Features — This product comes with a raft of intuitive features and scores well in this category.
The collar and receiver are fully waterproof and the contact points have been designed with wet environments in mind.
In addition to the constant stimulation option, it also has static stimulation and vibration mode options.
It has a 2 hour rapid-charge function, to ensure quick access to the training collar whenever it is needed.
An LCD transmitter screen also conveniently displays the battery life and stimulation level.
Value — At USD 207.00 this collar is more expensive than some, but you are getting a premium product and we consider it to be excellent value for the price.
The 1900S has a slimline and ergonomic design and this coupled with it’s 120 stimulation levels makes it suitable for all dogs from the smallest to the largest breeds.
It also comes with an excellent 2 year warranty.
Overall, this is a very high quality shock collar made with the serious amateur, professional trainer or hunter in mind.
Although it just misses out on being named “the best shock collar of 2017”, this product is a stellar contender.
#1 Patpet — Dog Training Collar
This product from Patpet combines all of the best features of the previously discussed collars into one excellent and seamless design for an outstanding price — it is definitely the best shock collar out there.
Safety — The Patpet collar has a high focus on the safety of your pet and scores very highly in this criteria.
It features a unique ergonomic, concave/convex surface design, that allows you to distinguish between the different buttons on the transmitter without looking at them, allowing you to focus fully on your dog.
The uneven surfaces of the transmitter also avoid false operation of the stimulation button.
We especially like the time-out protection failsafe. If the receiver applies a current for more than 10 seconds, it will automatically cut out.
The range is up to 660 yards, more than ample for most suburban and non-suburban environments.
While it features only 16 levels of shock, this is double the industry minimum and should be adequate for all but the most sensitive dogs.
Finally, this model includes separate buttons for the shock, vibration and sound modes, so there is no confusing the buttons.
Features — This model features a 2 hour rapid charging battery, along with 16 vibration levels and one beep level for non-stimulation training.
This collar is suitable for dogs up to 100 lbs, so it will be suitable for most dog sizes.
It can also be expanded to a 2 dog system with the purchase of an additional collar, as the transmitter allows you to control two dogs at once with the flick of a button.
The Petapet collar comes with an LCD screen that shows the battery level, stimulation level and the collar you are currently training with.
Value — This product provides unbeatable value for money in our opinion and is priced at only USD 69.99.
This product also comes with an industry leading 90 day money-back guarantee and an outstanding 2 year warranty.
Overall, this is the best shock collar in 2017 so far. It is perfect for both suburban use and for camping or hiking alike.
While the other collars on this list excel in one or maybe two criteria, this collar scores very strongly across all three.
Where is the Best Place to Buy a Shock Collar From?
So you’ve soaked in all of the above information and have decided on the shock collar you think is perfect for your dog. Now what?
Instead of taking the time and effort to find a physical store, simply go to Amazon.com.
Here you can find your product in seconds, read honest user reviews and immediately confirm the availability of the product.
At Amazon you can compare seller prices and get the best price possible.
The product will then be shipped straight to your door in a matter of days, or even quicker if you choose express postage, or are an Amazon Prime subscriber.