The 8 Best Dog Training Collars to Buy in 2018

Find the right fit for your pup's needs

A young woman teaches her young Bernese Mountain Dog how to sit
Paul Biris / Getty Images

Dog training collars aren’t for everyone (or every dog, for that matter). Relying on physical stimulation (much like an electric fence) to curb aggression, reduce barking and stop unwanted behaviors, they typically require active participation on the owner’s part—as well as a high level of attentiveness to prevent causing your dog undue stress.

Not sure where to start with training collars? You’ll want to consult with your veterinarian first to make sure it’s the right choice for you and your dog. Of course, you’ll also need to make sure you’re purchasing the right product for your needs—and there’s a significant amount of variety out there, with collars ranging from the budget-friendly to the high-tech. Curious where to start? Here’s our roundup of the top dog training collars on the market.

  • 01 of 08

    Best Budget: Mockins 100% Rainproof Rechargeable Electronic Remote Dog Training Shock Collar

    Mockins 100% Rainproof Rechargeable Electronic Remote Dog Training Shock Collar
    Courtesy of Amazon

    Training collars typically use vibrations or static simulation (or a mild electric shock) to foster obedience, whether you’re trying to stop an aggressive behavior or teach your dog to walk with a leash. While many of these products can be expensive, this one from Mockins checks all the major boxes and comes at a low cost. Fitting dogs 15 pounds or larger, it offers 100 levels of vibration and static shock, with the delivery preceded by a warning tone. It’s also waterproof and fully rechargeable.

    Customers say this collar works exceptionally well, especially for the price. Most owners stick with the vibrate feature, with several noting that it produced good results even in larger dogs.

  • 02 of 08

    Best High-Tech: Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar

    This collar from Educator is great for dog owners who want an alternative to a traditional shock collar. Rather than using a “sharp” static shock, it relies on “blunt” stimulation technology that has an effect that feels more like a strong tap. Educator describes this as less stressful for dogs, but just as effective for motivating them to comply. It also includes a Pavlovian Tone feature (named for the famed conditioning study), where dogs learn to respond to the sound before the stimulation rather than the stimulation itself.

    The Educator E-Collar also includes an ergonomic, stopwatch-style controller, which also controls a tracking light to help keep your dog visible after dark. Customers say the whole package is well designed and is especially valuable for pet owners with super-smart dogs that still struggle with some destructive behaviors.

  • 03 of 08

    Best for Barking: Made4Pet Dog Bark Collar

    The use of training collars isn’t limited to issues like food aggression or jumping. If your dog tends to bark excessively, there are collars out there that are specifically designed to help curb this habit. Our favorite is from Made4Pet, which delivers feedback to your dog as soon as they bark. There’s no need to use a transmitter—the collar automatically recognizes when barking happens, and sends a non-harmful signal that your dog will feel, but it won’t cause pain.

    The Made4Pet collar fits most dogs and is made with built-in silicon to prevent skin damage during use. Customers say it works effectively and is well priced compared to some of the other options out there. Bear in mind that because the collar is designed to register barking specifically, it may not trigger if you’re dealing with other vocal habits, like late-night howling.

  • 04 of 08

    Best No-Shock: Wolfwill Humane No-Shock Remote Dog Training Collar

    The “shock factor” of many training collars isn’t everyone’s thing. That’s understandable—and there are other options for pet owners who want to promote better behavior, but are worried about causing their dog pain. This collar from Wolfwill exclusively uses tones and vibration to give your dog feedback and is still highly effective. The vibration feature has 16 levels of intensity, and the collar works at a range of up to 660 yards. The transmitter is designed with touch-distinguished buttons made with blind users in mind, but the product isn’t specific to owners of seeing-eye dogs.

    Customers say the product works exactly as described, and does a great job of getting dogs to stop jumping on tables, chasing squirrels and demonstrating numerous other behavioral issues. They also like that since it uses vibration and sound only, it doesn’t have the uncomfortable prongs common to other training collars.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best Sporting: SportDOG FieldTrainer SD-425 Training e-Collar

    SportDOG FieldTrainer SD-425 Training e-Collar
    Courtesy of Amazon

    Training collars also work well for hunting enthusiasts who want teach their dogs to improve their flushing and retrieving skills. While the SpotDOG FieldTrainer collar features many of the same features as other products—multiple levels of stimulation, waterproof design and so on—the transmitter can control up to three collars, making it ideal for hunters working with multiple dogs. It features a 500-yard range and offers up to 80 hours of battery life (it takes two hours to recharge).

    While some customers use this collar for basic behavioral issues, others have had success teaching dogs to obey commands in the field, even complex ones like hand signals.

  • 06 of 08

    Best Long-Range: Meyoung Dog Training Collar

    If you live on a property with a lot of unfenced acreage you’ll want to invest in a long-range training collar. This one from Meyoung works at distances up to 2600 feet, or around a half-mile. This makes a great choice for constant barkers especially, since owners can deliver a signal when they hear their dog barking, but they’re too far away to see. The collar has three modes—beep, vibration, and static shock—with most owners using vibration. It’s also waterproof and fits dogs weighing from six to 100 pounds.

    Customers say the collar is ideal for those who live on large properties, with some using it to prevent their dogs from running into areas with other wildlife. Most advise using the shock feature no more than once or twice, if at all—it’s strong enough that the vibration mode should be sufficient.

  • 07 of 08

    Best for Gentle Lead Collar: PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar

    Do your daily walks with your dog tend to feel more like the dog is walking you? Take a different approach when it comes to promoting better leash habits—rather than a typical training collar, go with a simple (but effective) no-pull harness. The idea is pretty straightforward: Simply loop the lead around your dog’s muzzle, and a light tug will remind your dog to not to pull away (or lunge, jump, or otherwise misbehave). There’s no painful pressure to your dog’s throat or head—just a gentle redirection of their attention.

    The PetSafe Gentle Lead Head Collar is available in sizes suitable for dogs from five pounds to over 130 and comes in eight different colors. The package also includes an explainer DVD that demonstrates the appropriate way to use the collar. Customers rave that it really does help dogs that won’t quit pulling on the leash—and it won’t break the budget, either.

  • 08 of 08

    Best Martingale Collar: PetSafe Martingale Collar

    Martingale collars are the humane successor to the choke chains of old. They operate in a similar fashion, with the collar tightening when your dog starts to pull. But because of the limited closure, it’s much safer and won’t actually choke your dog—just adjust to the size of their neck. For that reason, it’s also a great choice for pet owners whose dogs have a habit of slipping out of their leash.

    This martingale collar from PetSafe in five sizes for petite dogs up to large ones, as well as five colors. Customers say it’s ideal for “collar escape artists,” and call it a no-cruelty alternative to the standard choker.