If you are the proud parent of a dedicated, intelligent, and protective German Shepherd, you already know how important training is for these spirited dogs. German Shepherds are known for their high energy, determination, and remarkable learning abilities. Yet, these traits can sometimes lead to behavioural challenges that need addressing with more than conventional training techniques. In some cases, a shock collar can be an ideal tool.
Don’t let the name dissuade you – a shock collar is not about punishment or causing pain but rather about gaining your furry friend’s attention in a safe way when traditional commands aren’t proving effective. Used responsibly, this device can greatly aid behaviour, obedience, and off-leash training, making it an essential tool for many German Shepherd owners.
However, finding a suitably safe and effective shock collar for a breed as large and energetic as the German Shepherd can be overwhelming. You want to make sure you’re making the right decision not only for your training goals but, more importantly, for your pet’s comfort and well-being.
What Are Shock Collars?
Often misunderstood due to their name, shock collars or electric dog collars are devices typically worn around a dog’s neck that emit a low-level electrical impulse to the dog’s skin. The idea isn’t to induce pain but to catch the dog’s attention. It’s a bit like when a person is engrossed deeply in a book; sometimes, a light tap on the shoulder is necessary to get their attention. Shock collars aim to provide a gentle tap to distract the dog from any potential misbehaviour and alert them to their trainer’s commands.
Shock collars come with varying levels of stimulation—ranging from a light vibration or a beep to an electric signal, with control settings to adjust the level based on your dog’s sensitivity and responsiveness. It’s important to remember that the objective is to train and not to harm or cause pain to your dog. Therefore, choosing the right intensity level should always err on the side of caution and remain as non-harmful as possible.
These training collars are often equipped with a remote control, allowing you to correct your German Shepherd’s behaviour from a distance—this can be particularly useful during off-leash training or when working on commands from across the yard or the park.
Choosing the Right Shock Collar for Your German Shepherd
German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, energy, and resilience. When selecting the right shock collar for these unique dogs, they must consider their physical characteristics, temperament, and training requirements. Therefore, below are some key aspects you should take into consideration.
A German Shepherd is a large breed. Male German Shepherds can stand up to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, with females slightly smaller. You must choose a collar that fits comfortably on your dog’s neck without being too tight or too loose. An ill-fitting collar can irritate the skin and cause discomfort.
German Shepherds are known for their active, energetic nature. Therefore, your dog’s shock collar must be robust and resilient enough to withstand these activities, whether it’s playing, training, or exploring outdoors.
Shock collars come with varying intensity levels of stimulation. It’s crucial to go for a collar with a wide range of levels, so you have the flexibility to find one that works for your German Shepherd without causing any distress. Remember, the aim is to make the dog aware, not to inflict pain.
The range might be an important consideration if you plan on using the collar for off-leash training or in large open areas. The range refers to how far away you can be from your dog for the collar to still be effective.
Some shock collars come with extra features, such as the ability to emit a beep or vibrate before delivering a shock, providing an additional level of communication with your dog. Some models even include waterproof GPS trackers, which can be incredibly useful for tracking and training active German Shepherds.
Finally, do not forget to read reviews from other German Shepherd owners. It can provide useful insights into practical, real-world usage of different shock collars.
Best Shock Collar for German Shepherd
When creating effective training programs for your German Shepherd, a good shock collar can be an invaluable tool. Here are ten of the top options currently available on the market.
1. Educator E-Collar Remote Dog Training Collar
The Educator is celebrated for its low-level, “blunt” stimulation that reduces stress on your dog. Its standout feature is the “lock and set” function, which prevents accidental increases in stimulation levels. Boasting a 1/2-mile range, it provides control over distance and is suited for outdoor training.
2. Garmin Delta XC Bundle – Dog Training Device
This collar from Garmin is great for training multiple dogs simultaneously with up to three setups. It also offers an impressive 1/2-mile range and has three different training configurations – tone, vibration, and stimulation.
3. SportDOG Brand 425 Remote Trainers
This trainer provides a remarkable range of up to 500 yards and the capacity to train up to three dogs with the same remote. Waterproof and submersible to 25 feet, the collar is perfect for active German Shepherds who enjoy their water and terrain adventures.
4. Dogtra 1902S Ergonomic 3/4-Mile Remote Dog Training E-Collar
The Dogtra 1902S is known for its precise control with 127 stimulation levels, allowing for tailored training experiences that suit your dog’s temperaments and sensitivities. There’s also an extended 3/4-mile range, making this collar ideal for long-distance outdoor training.
5. PetSpy M686 Premium Dog Training Shock Collar
This collar has four training modes – vibration, shock, beep, and light, offering a comprehensive training solution. The touch-distinguishing buttons make it easy to use, even without looking at the remote.
6. PATPET Dog Training Collar
The PATPET Dog Training Collar stands out with a large remote screen, offering visibility even in bright light. It gives beeping, vibration, and shock options, while the remote reaches up to 1,000 feet.
7. Pet Resolve Dog Training Collar with Remote
This shock collar provides an impressive 3/4-mile range and includes a unique ‘no standby mode’ to ensure it’s always ready for training. Features include vibration, shock, and a beep mode, all user-adjustable.
8. DOG CARE Dog Training Collar
Reliable and efficient, this collar provides three training modes, and its safety keypad lock prevents accidental shocks. Another great feature is the ‘Simultaneous Charging’ that allows both the remote and the collar to be charged together.
9. Flittor Dog Training Collar
Adaptable and flexible, this affordable training collar offers three efficient training modes (beep, vibration, and shock), each with sensitivity levels that can be adjusted to best suit your dog’s responses.
10. TBI Pro Dog Training Collar with Remote
This collar boasts a long-distance range of 2000 feet, providing optimal control even in extensive outdoor settings. With three safe and effective training modes, it’s a fantastic all-rounder. Plus, it’s waterproof, perfect for dogs who love the water.
Using a Shock Collar Safely and Effectively
A shock collar can be a fantastic tool for reinforcing training methods when used appropriately and responsibly. The key is to remember that the purpose of this device is not to punish the dog but to redirect its attention towards the desired behaviour. Here are some guidelines to consider while using a shock collar:
Breaking your German Shepherd into the shock collar should be a gradual process. Starting with lower settings such as vibration or sound can help your dog get used to the idea before experimenting with shock settings.
The collar should be appropriately fitted to your dog’s neck. A proper fit is tight enough to stay in place but not so tight as to cause discomfort. The collar should sit high on your dog’s neck, just behind their ears.
Start with the lowest level of correction that your dog will notice. You should gradually increase the intensity if necessary, but do not overdo it. The goal is not to cause stress or pain.
A shock collar works best when the correction aligns with the undesired behaviour in real-time. This immediate feedback will help your dog make clear associations between their behaviour and the correction.
Remember to balance correction with positive reinforcement. The stimulation from the collar should redirect your German Shepherd’s attention. Then you must reward your dog for obeying your commands with praise, treats, a favourite toy, or positive attention.
Keep the shock collar under your supervision. Your German Shepherd should not always wear it, nor should they sleep with it on. Their necks must be rested to avoid irritations and potential health issues.
Training and Use
Shock collars should ideally be used alongside professional training. If you’re unsure about using a shock collar safely and effectively, don’t hesitate to consult a professional trainer or a dog behaviourist to guide you through this process.
Alternatives to Shock Collars
While shock collars can be quite effective when used properly, many dog owners may feel uncomfortable with this method or find that it’s not working well for their pets. Fortunately, other alternatives can be just as effective in addressing your dog’s behaviour and training needs.
Positive Reinforcement Training
At the heart of this method is a simple principle: reward good behaviour and ignore or redirect unwanted behaviour. This can include verbal praise, treats, toy rewards, or lots of petting. With consistent application, positive reinforcement can often dramatically improve a dog’s behaviour and foster bonding between owner and pet.
Clicker training uses a small device that makes a clear, sharp sound to mark when a dog has done something right. The sound is followed by a reward, which helps the dog understand which action led to the reward. Over time, this method encourages dogs to repeat those behaviours.
Vibration collars work similarly to shock collars, but they give a vibration instead of delivering a shock. This provides the dog with a physical cue without causing discomfort.
These collars emit a spray, usually a harmless citronella when your dog starts to bark. The burst of citronella is generally unpleasant to the dog’s sensitive nose, thus deterring undesirable behaviour.
Ultrasonic Training Device
These devices produce a high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear. It’s a safe and effective tool for instructing and controlling your dog’s behaviour.
Professional Training Classes
When trying to curb problematic behaviour or teach new commands, engaging with a professional dog trainer can be invaluable. These experts can guide you through the process and provide personalized training methods for you and your dog.
Pet behaviourists are experts in animal behaviour and can provide insights into why your dog behaves in a certain way. With this understanding, they can offer strategies and solutions that do not require a shock collar.
Finding the best shock collar for a German Shepherd depends on your training goals, your dog’s temperament, and your comfort with using such a tool in your training strategy. The best shock collar matches your dog’s neck size, respects their breed characteristics, blends well with their personality, and works in harmony with the desired training outcomes.