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There’s no one-size-fits-all training method for dogs, and many people have great success teaching their dogs using training collars. Often called e-collars, these training tools can be an effective way to reinforce commands, curb unwanted behaviors, and communicate with your four-legged friend.
Contrary to what some people believe, most of today’s training collars don’t electrically shock your dog. Instead, they provide some sort of stimulation—whether it’s a beeping noise, vibration, or static pulse—that’s designed to get your dog’s attention, even when they’re far away from you. Many training collars have a long range, making them particularly useful for off-leash training or sporting.
Read on for the best dog training collars to use with your pooch.
Best Overall: Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar
Dog Size: Small, medium, large | Settings: Shock, vibration, sound | Lifestage: Puppy, adult | Material: Plastic, nylon | Range: 1/2-mile
Has a tracking light for nighttime use
More expensive than competitors
One of the best dog training collars available is the Educator, which is well-known for its versatile design. This training collar has a ½-mile range between the collar and remote, and you can use it in a number of ways, allowing you to find what works best for your dog. The remote has settings for a tone, vibration, regular stimulation, and boosted stimulation, and the collar even has a tracking light for nighttime use.
This training collar allows you to select a stimulation level between 1 and 100—an impressive range—as well as a boost stimulation level between 1 and 60. Additionally, the stimulation is “blunt” as opposed to sharp, helping to reduce any stress on your dog. The unit’s receiver is waterproof and comes with multiple contact points for dogs of different sizes, and the biothane collar is 30 inches long, allowing you to cut it down to fit your dog’s neck.
"It only took a few tries for [my dog] to figure out that coming immediately saved her the annoyance of the static shock, and by the end of our first training session, she was responding more reliably. We used the collar several additional times, and her recall has gotten noticeably better, even in the face of distractions."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best for Small Dogs: eXuby Shock Collar for Small Dogs
Dog size: Small | Settings: Shock, vibration, sound | Lifestage: Puppy, adult | Material: Plastic | Range: 1,000 feet
Long battery life
Easy to operate
Shock might be strong for extra-small pups
Many training collars have sizable receivers that may be too heavy for small dogs, which is why the eXuby Collar is the perfect solution for dogs under 15 pounds. This collar has an extremely small receiver that won’t weigh your pet down, and it still provides settings for sound, vibration, and stimulation, allowing you to effectively communicate with your pet.
The receiver and remote have matching exteriors that come in several color options, and you can set the stimulation level to nine different settings. It has a range of 1,000 feet, and the receiver even includes two interchangeable prongs for dogs with short and long hair. The remote has just a few key buttons for easier operation, and it’s compact enough to fit in your pocket.
Best for Large Dogs: PetSafe Big Dog Remote Training Collar
Dog Size: Medium, large | Settings: Shock, sound | Lifestage: Puppy, adult, senior | Material: Plastic, nylon | Range: 300 feet
Battery-operated (no charging needed)
A more limited range
Doesn't provide vibrations
You can train large-breed dogs more efficiently with the PetSafe Big Dog Remote Training Collar, which is designed for animals over 40 pounds. It has a range of 100 yards, and the remote offers 16 different stimulation levels, allowing you to find the right setting for your pooch.
This collar has an easy-to-use remote that has buttons to sound a tone, provide stimulation, and boost the stimulation with a touch. The collar receiver is waterproof up to 5 feet, and the remote includes a wrist strap for convenient carrying. The collar itself fits necks up to 28 inches, and this product is reasonably priced, making it a great choice for anyone who’s trying the e-collar training method for the first time.
Best No-Shock: WOLFWILL Humane No-Shock Remote Dog Training Collar
Dog Size: Medium, large | Settings: Vibration, sound | Lifestage: Puppy, adult, senior | Material: Plastic, nylon | Range: 1,980 feet
Adjustable vibration length
Easy to control
If you don’t need a stimulation setting, the WOLFWILL Training Collar solely offers tone and vibration modes. This popular no-shock collar has a range of 660 yards, and it’s best for use on dogs between 22 and 88 pounds—you can simply cut its adjustable collar down to the appropriate size.
The WOLFWILL Collar offers a sound mode and 16 levels of adjustable vibration, as well as a light setting that flashes a small green light five times (useful if you’re trying to track your dog at night). The receiver is totally waterproof, and the remote includes uniquely shaped buttons that allow you to operate it without even looking at it! Plus, the remote comes with both a belt clip and neck strap for various carrying options.
"My only real complaint about the design of this training collar is that the receiver is fairly large—I’d say it’s roughly 2 x 1 x 1.5 inches and surprisingly heavy. Addy is close to 60 pounds, so she didn’t have a problem with the bulkiness, but I can see it being an issue for smaller dogs."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best Sporting: SportDOG Brand 425X Remote Trainers
Dog Size: Small, medium, large | Settings: Shock, vibration, sound | Lifestage: Puppy, adult, senior | Material: Plastic | Range: 1,500 feet
Long battery life
Includes training guide
Ability to add more collars
Can be confusing to operate
Training collars are frequently used with hunting and sporting dogs, and the SportDOG 425X Remote Trainer is perfect for this purpose thanks to its superior range and waterproof design. The collar has settings for static, vibration, and tone, and each remote can control up to three collars at once—ideal if you’re sporting with multiple dogs.
The SportDOG Remote Trainer has a range of 1,500 feet, and it’s waterproof up to 25 feet. It can be used on any dog over 8 pounds thanks to its adjustable collar, and it offers 21 levels of static stimulation. Plus, its batteries last for 50 to 70 hours per charge, and you can choose from a matte gray or camouflage design.
"While the product design left something to be desired, one thing that I absolutely loved about this training collar is that it includes a training manual. This might not seem like a big deal, but many people have misconceptions about what training collars are and how they should be used...The information was extremely helpful to me, and I think it would benefit other owners, too."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best Remote: PATPET Dog Training Collar
Dog Size: Medium, large | Settings: Shock, vibration, sound | Lifestage: Adult | Material: Plastic | Range: 980 feet
Easy to operate
Long battery life
Two sets of contact prongs
Not for smaller breeds
One common complaint about dog training collars is that their remotes are too complicated, making them tricky to operate, especially in time-sensitive situations. However, the PATPET Training Collar keeps it simple, providing large, easy-to-locate buttons for vibration, tone, and stimulation. This collar has a 1,000-foot range, and it also offers a long battery life, lasting up to 11 days per charge.
When you’re using this training tool, you can choose between 16 stimulation levels and 8 vibration intensities to suit your dog’s needs, and these settings can be adjusted using two buttons on the side of the remote. The collar receiver is waterproof for use in the rain or while swimming, and it comes with two sets of contact prongs for dogs with different coats.
Best with GPS: Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle
Dog Size: Small, medium, large | Settings: Shock, vibration, sound | Lifestage: Puppy, adult, senior | Material: Plastic | Range: 9 miles
9 mile range
Controller is compatible with up to 20 collars
18 levels of stimulation
If your dog is prone to wandering off, the Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle can give you peace of mind—this device is a training collar and GPS tracker all in one, allowing you to pinpoint your dog’s location up to 9 miles away! The collar has a high-sensitivity GPS/GLONASS receiver, and it offers 18 levels of continuous and momentary stimulation, plus audible tone and vibration. You can even set up virtual boundaries on a map, and you’ll receive a notification if your dog ever leaves the area.
This high-end training system tracks your dog’s speed and distance when they’re on the move, and you can use the controller to manage up to 20 collars at once. It has a battery life of 20 to 40 hours, and there are also mini collars available for smaller dogs.
Best for Barking: PetSafe Spray Bark Dog Collar
Dog Size: Small, medium, large | Settings: Water spray | Lifestage: Puppy, adult, senior | Material: Plastic, nylon | Range: Not listed
Long battery life
No electric shocks
Cartridges only last for 30-40 sprays
Hoping to stop your dog’s barking? One of your best options is the PetSafe Spray Bark Collar, a training tool that senses when your dog is barking and provides a gentle spritz of liquid to deter the behavior. The collar can be used on dogs 8 pounds and up, and it comes with two spray cartridges—light citronella and unscented—so you can figure out what works best for your pooch.
The collar’s bark-sensing technology prevents ambient noises from triggering the spray, and its battery can last for up to 40 hours per charge. The brand claims that the collar can help correct the behavior in as little as two weeks, and because the spray is triggered automatically, it can even be used to stop barking while you’re not home.
Best for Pulling: PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar
Dog Size: Medium | Settings: Not listed | Lifestage: Adult, senior | Material: Nylon | Range: Not listed
Comes in several sizes and collars
Might not work for all temperaments
If your dog pulls on their leash while walking, it can make daily outings an unenjoyable experience. The PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar can help stop this unwanted behavior, as its unique design redirects your dog’s attention whenever they start to pull. The head collar comes in several sizes and colors, and it’s a gentle and safe option for dogs of all sizes.
Unlike a standard dog collar, the Gentle Leader loops around your dog’s nose and around the back of their head. Your leash clips on under their chin, and if your dog ever starts to pull, the padded nose loop creates gentle pressure to deter the behavior without any choking.
The Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar offers a 1/2 mile range and 100 stimulation levels, as well as vibration and noise settings, making it one of the most comprehensive options available. If you don't want or need the option to shock your dog, the WOLFWILL Dog Training Collar solely features noise and vibration settings.
What to Look for in a Dog Training Collar
When comparing dog training collars, one key feature to look at is the various settings offered. Most e-collars have a combination of noise, vibration, and stimulation (or shock) settings, so you’ll want to look for a product that has the options you plan to use. It’s also beneficial to compare how many levels are offered with each setting—some training collars just have a few intensity levels for stimulation and vibration, while others offer up to 100.
Training collars all have a range in which the remote and collar receiver can communicate. If your dog goes beyond this set range, your controller will no longer work. For this reason, it’s important to find a collar with a range that suits your application—if you’re planning to take your dog hunting, you’ll probably want a longer range than if your pooch is simply running around the yard.
Training collars can be used on dogs of all sizes, but it’s important to find a model that fits your dog properly. Oversized collars may be too cumbersome for small dogs, and small ones will be ineffective on large breeds. To this end, you’ll want to consider the size of the collar receiver, the length of the included collar, as well as the size of the collar’s probes, as short probes may not sufficiently penetrate thick coats.
How do training collars work?
Dog training collars are a fairly simple tool. They usually include a collar with an electronic receiver, as well as a remote control. When you press a button on the remote, it sends a radio signal to the receiver, triggering some type of stimulation, whether it’s a noise, vibration, or shock. Most receivers have small metal probes that make contact with your dog’s skin, helping to ensure they feel the stimulation, and you typically can increase or decrease the intensity of the stimulation via the remote.
Are training collars safe?
Dog training collars are safe to use so long as you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions. You should always use the lowest level of stimulation possible, and most collars should not be kept on your dog for more than 12 hours at a time. Additionally, it’s important to regularly check your dog’s neck to ensure the collar is not causing any type of irritation—if it is, you should stop using it until their skin and coat has healed.
Can I use a training collar on my puppy?
Most dogs receive the bulk of their training while they are puppies, but as a general rule, training collars should not be used on dogs younger than 6 months old. Before your dog reaches this age, you can use tools like clickers, treats, and toys to teach your dog commands.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a lifelong animal lover who has raised and trained several dogs of various breeds and temperaments. She personally tested several of the collars included on this list, and she’s had great success using different types of training collars to train her dogs.