21 stimulation levels, plus vibration
Long battery life
Includes training guide
Ability to add more collars
We purchased the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X Training Collar so our reviewer could put it to the test with her dog. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’re training a hunting or field dog, a training collar like the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X is an invaluable tool for reinforcing commands when your pooch is off-leash. However, training collars aren’t just for sporting dogs—they can be extremely helpful for everyday owners when used correctly.
For instance, I’ve been training my young golden retriever Addy to listen when she’s off-leash. She’s generally pretty good, but occasionally, she’ll get distracted and not respond to my commands right away. To help solve this problem and further solidify her recall, I introduced the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X into our training sessions over the course of a few weeks. Here’s how this remote training collar worked for us.
Design: Well-made, but could be more intuitive
The SportDog FieldTrainer 425X is solid and well-made, especially when you compare it to other popular e-collars. The receiver is small and lightweight, and it’s mounted on a long plastic collar with a metal buckle that you can cut down to the proper size. (It will fit dogs 8 pounds or larger with neck sizes 5 to 22 inches.) It also comes with two longer “contact points” for dogs with longer fur, as well as a test light tool and a lanyard for the remote.
The construction quality is unbeatable with this training collar, but I thought the user experience left something to be desired. The buttons on the remote aren’t labeled, so I had to read the manual to figure out how to use it. Basically, the three buttons deliver three different levels of stimulation—there’s a low button, medium button, and high button. There’s also a dial that adjusts the level of stimulation between one and seven, as well as a tone/vibrate setting. This gives you a total of 21 stimulation levels—seven settings with three buttons each.
Seems simple enough, right? But wait, there are also seven different modes you can set the collar to. There’s a teeny button on the back of the remote that changes the mode, and a table in the manual explains the specifics of each setting. I won’t go into all of them, but basically, they offer various combinations of continuous stimulation, momentary stimulation, vibrate, and tone. It’s pretty confusing if you ask me, and after playing around with it for a while, I ended up choosing mode two for our training purposes.
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 manual explains how to teach your dog basic commands, how to introduce the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X into training sessions, as well as the proper way to use an e-collar during training. The information was extremely helpful to me, and I think it would benefit other owners, too.
Finally, you can add up to three collars to the same SportDOG remote—helpful if you have multiple dogs. However, the downside of this is when you’re using multiple receivers, you lose either tone or vibration mode. When programmed into multiple-dog mode, the upper button will be used to control collar #1, the lower button is collar #2, and the side button is collar #3. This might be a dealbreaker if you want tone, vibrate and stimulation options on multiple collars.
Battery Life: Charge once a week (or less)
This collar runs on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. It comes with a split charger to power up both the receiver and remote at the same time. Each charge takes about two hours.
The battery life is quite good—the collar works for around 50 to 70 hours per charge, so you won’t have to recharge often. The manual also says the batteries should last for around three to five years, and you can buy replacements via the company website.
Range: Not the longest
The range of the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X is 500 yards or 1,500 feet. This is a little more than 1/4 of a mile, and out of all the collars I tested, this one actually had one of the shorter ranges.
For my purposes, 1/4 mile is more than enough, as I never let Addy that far out of my sight. However, if you’re working with hunting or field dogs, this range may not be long enough.
Effectiveness: Incredibly effective
As I mentioned above, Addy and I used this collar to work on off-leash recall. We’re still working in enclosed areas for safety, and we practice a few times a week for 15 to 20 minutes—short and sweet training sessions are typically more effective than longer ones!
On low settings, I promise you this collar is painless.
During these sessions, I’ll let Addy explore our surroundings, then ask her to come to me. (During one session, Addy happily ran through the garden sprinkler several times, so we also discovered that the collar is, in fact, waterproof—and submersible to 25 feet thanks to DryTek technology, says the manufacturer site). Often she’ll come right away, which is awesome, but sometimes she gets distracted and ignores my command. When this happened, I used the collar to provide continuous stimulation until she started moving toward me. When she starts in my direction, I immediately released the button and gave her lots of praise.
Overall, this method was incredibly effective, even when my dog was seriously distracted by a nearby squirrel or someone walking past. Within a few repetitions, she only needed a split second of stimulation to get her attention back to me.
I found the sweet spot to be the third setting on the dial—she has a fairly thick coat, so lower settings didn’t seem to affect her. I really liked that you can achieve different levels of stimulation using the various buttons, as this allowed me to quickly bump up the sensation if she failed to listen—no dial turning required.
Humane: Pain-free on low settings
Many people think e-collars are mean, but today’s training collars don’t provide the painful electric shock that older models once did. Instead, it’s more of a static shock, like you might get from touching furniture in the winter when your home is really dry.
On low settings, I promise you this collar is painless. How do I know? I tested it on myself first. I love my dog more than the world, and I would never subject her to something that would hurt her. It’s a small prickle that’s just enough to get the dog’s attention.
With that said, it’s important to use the lowest setting possible, as the sensation does increase as you turn up the dial.
Price: Pricey but worth it
At about $170, the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X Training Collar is significantly more expensive than other e-collars. However, I think the high-quality design, durability, and versatility make it well worth the price for owners who are serious about training their dogs off-leash. After all, I’d much rather spend more on a product that I know will work, especially when my dog’s safety is on the line.
Competition: There are gentler and more extreme options
Wolfwill No-Shock Dog Training Collar: Don’t think your dog even needs a static stimulation? Then you may want to try the Wolfwill No-Shock Dog Training Collar, which uses only vibration and/or tone to get the dog’s attention. It’s intuitive to use and less expensive than the SportDOG model, but it might not be as effective for strong-willed pooches.
Mockins Electronic Remote Dog Training Collar: For a more inexpensive option, the Mockins Dog Training Collar is a solid choice. It comes with 100 levels of stimulation and costs just $42 MSRP for a two-pack ($20 on sale or for just one), but the materials definitely feel cheap, and it has a short range.
Mini Educator ET-300: The Mini Educator is very similar to the SportDOG model, but it boasts a longer range (up to 1/2 mile) and more stimulation levels. It also includes a customizable “boost” button, but the controls are quite confusing.
A good long-term investment.
While the SportDOG FieldTrainer 425X Training Collar is up there in price, think about it as an investment in your dog’s training and safety. This well-made training collar delivered reliable results, and its high-quality construction ensures it will last you for years to come—making it worth the cost.
- Product Name Field Trainer 425X
- Product Brand SportDOG
- MPN SD-425X
- Price $164.95
- Weight 1.76 oz.
- Product Dimensions 2.6 x 1.2 x 1.3 in.
- Battery Life 50 to 70 hours
- Warranty 1 year
- What's Included Remote, collar receiver, charging adaptor, short and long contact points, lanyard, test light tool, basic training manual