Best Dog Training Collars & Reviews (2017 Update)
Training a dog to behave correctly can be a tough process at times. There are some dogs that are more prone to certain behavioural issues, such as barking at people and other animals, and need greater attention. Some dogs are easier to train than others, depending on their temperaments and intelligence. Dog owners that struggle with certain behavioural issues may wish to turn to other forms of help to correct problems faster. Devices such as training collars can be a great aid in the right hands, and right the right intent. Here we will look at 5 of the best dog training collars out there, but not before we look at some of the key considerations when using and buying these products.
Why would dog owners turn to dog training collars as an aid, and how do they work?
The basic principle of these dog training collars is pretty simple. The dogs wear the device around the neck, like a typical collar. The device contains an electronic system that offers a response to a particular behaviour type that is undesirable. This can be achieved through sensors, which automatically detect the problem and trigger the required response. Alternatively, there are ones with user-operated remote controls. Many products are specifically designed to target the issue of barking, with noise sensors in the collar. The sound of the bark triggers a response the dog finds to be unpleasant. As a result, they will soon learn that the barking is undesirable, with annoying consequences, and will stop. Barking is the most commonly controlled issue, but some device can be used to correct all kinds of behaviour with manually released deterrents for any issue from straying to chewing and poop-eating.
Static/electronic dog training collars versus mist-spraying citronella options.
There are different ways that training collars can correct a dog. This can range from electric/static shocks that scare the animal a little to noise alerts that warn them and sprays that are unpleasant to a dog’s nose. Opinion is split on these devices because they are so different. The electronic ones are a quick, effective trigger-and-response style solution that can get great results on the right dogs. The problem is that many dog owners are wary of this option because they feel that the static is unkind. Some are worried about the risk of shock and pain for the animal. The five best dog training collars that we will be looking at here are in this category.
If you are already sure that you don’t want to use one of these options on your pet, you may want to take a look at our companion guide on the best citronella spray collars. Many prefer these spray collars because they are simple and appear to be more humane. A lot of people like to use citronella because of the natural scent and the effect on the animal. Some say that they turn dogs into “walking air fresheners”, but the animal is not so keen on the smell. The quick trigger and the association of the smell with bad behaviour is often enough to make them stop pretty quickly.
Considerations to keep in mind when buying a dog training collar.
# What sort of range and battery life does it have?
There are many dog owners that will choose a product with a receiver in the collar and a transmitter in the home. This is all well and good until the collar goes out of range. This can be an issue in large gardens so beware of the specified range. Also, buyers should be aware of the battery life of the collar, the ease of recharging and the availability of additional batteries. In some cases, the products are so useful and fast to work, that additional batteries really aren’t an issue.
# What is the general ease of use like with these devices?
Whichever style you opt for, you have to make sure that these products are easy to use and will respond in the manner you desire. This means a collar that is easy to attach and remove as needed, and one that is easy to adjust to personal preferences. Some collars will have sensitivity levels that can be changed. Some will be easier to use than others. None should be that complicated or unintuitive, but the cheaper models may be a problem for some.
# How much does it cost?
Cost is a bigger issue than some may assume here. There are some products that are incredibly cheap and some that are much more expensive – around the $80-$100 mark. The higher end products should be more effective and easier to use. Yet, you also have to remember that this is a quick solution to be worn for a short space of time, not a long-term investment.
Top 5 best dog training collar reviews.
1. SportDOG Brand FieldTrainer 425.
The first model to talk about here is one that immediately suggest good quality and interesting functionality due to its range of features. Ignore the talk of this being a “field trainer” and just look at the use of the static shocks for behaviour correction.
The reason that this model comes top of this list is because it seems to tick most of the right boxes in terms of its range, function and sensitivity. It uses rechargeable batteries with a 70 hour life, has a 500 yard range and there are 7 levels of static. On top of this, there is also the benefit of the waterproof material, tone-only option and ability to train more than one dog.
There is a lot to love here, but it is still not perfect. There are some that struggle with this model because of the strength of the static and the learning curve on using it. There are some that have given dogs too much of a shock and it has made them wary. Others felt that the lowest settings did nothing.
2. Educator ET-300 Dog Training E Collar.
When it comes to products with a wide range of helpful features and the ability to provide peace of mind, this Educator option gives the MarsBoy a run for its money. This is an appealing looking device from design alone, with that small, round shape and clear ergonomics. It certainly looks more professional than some of the cheaper models below.
There are benefits seen here pretty much across the board. There are those that praise this device for its effective use of vibrations and the safety for the dog. They are also many that are impressed with the way that this model goes further with the design and features for a more user-friendly approach. At the same time, it doesn’t forget to be durable and waterproof.
While this option does seem to tick all of the boxes, there is one shortcoming that cannot be ignored. With all of these features and tech, including a tracking light, it requires a lot of juice. Some find that the battery just cannot keep up. Also, there is the familiar issue of the price.
3. PetSafe Yard & Park Rechargeable Dog Training Collar.
PetSafe is a company that is highly respected for its well-made devices that provide convenience in the lives of dog owners. This broad range includes this rechargeable dog training collar with 8 levels of static, two tones and a collar up to 28’’.
This model is desirable because of the name and the range of features. It actually has a lot in common with the SportDog model, as it is waterproof, can handle multiple dogs and has a strong range. Most buyers seem to be happy with the way that their dogs respond to this device and can get some good results.
So why is this option down in 3rd place compared to those above? There are some small design issues that buyers would like to see improved and a bigger issue with the battery life. The buttons on the transmitter aren’t that clearly labelled – which is an issue when praise and shock are next to each other. As for the battery, some say that the capabilities diminish with time and it takes too long to charge.
4. PetTech Remote Controlled Dog Training Collar.
A lower price tag doesn’t have to be a bad thing if the company get the features right. There is no doubt from the look of this PetTech device that it is cheaper, especially compared to the Educator model. It looks like an old fashioned walkie talkie. Yet, it is sold as the “ultimate dog training collar” for use on all kinds of behaviour.
The versatility and manual use of this device are plus points here. Owners can use this device to their own preferences over 1000ft, and with 100 levels of customisation. This is down to the use of static, vibrations and tones, much like the option above.
One of the biggest issues with this budget model is with the collar part, rather than the electronics. This is sold as a one-size-fits-all device, but it can be far too big for smaller dogs. The use of cheap plastic also means that it is difficult to trim down and adjust.
5. Garmin Delta XC Dog Training Collar
The final model to mention here is a bit of a wild card entry. Many people will be familiar with the name Garmin if they have any form of GPS system. This brand reputation and known quality means that there are high expectations for the performance of this system and the communication between the transmitter and the collar
There are some clear benefits here in terms of the way that this product is made. Unlike the cheaper models above, this feels like a durable model that will last. There are also 18 levels of stimulation to get to grips with in this hands-on system, which makes it more versatile than some.
So why is this down in 5th place here? There are two reasons why we have put this last compared to the lesser known, flawed options above. The first is the cost, because this really is more expensive than a training collar needs to be. The biggest issue is that it can take some time to get used to the manual setting, which may result in the dog getting a bigger shock than planned.
Choosing the best dog training collars for your dog.
As you can see from the reviews of the products listed above, there are plenty of positive results and quick changes with some of these products. However, it is important for dog owners to remember that no matter which option they go for, and which style of collar they choose, there is the possibility that their dog will not get along with the product. It is common to see the best rated products given a handful of 1 star reviews from dog owners that saw no results. This could well say more about the dog or the owner’s use than the design of the product because the majority of users – on these 5 products at least – do pretty well. There are some breeds that are more stubborn than others and some individual animal that just won’t play the game.
In the end, there are still plenty of positive points to take away from these products and plenty of considerations on buying the correct option. Clearly, the biggest issue here is with the style of the collar. While many aren’t keen on the static and electronics models – for functional and humane reasons – they can work and they are still safe. The top products above reflect this with their sensitivity adjustments, alternative responses and ease of use. When choosing the best dog training collar, it really does come down to that ease of use, the response nature of the collar and the cost.