At What Age Should E-Collar Training Start?

Confused on what age your dog should be to start e-collar training? Read on to find out!

Written by Sarah Connor - Pet Nutrition Expert. Updated on 27/07/2023.

At What Age Should E-Collar Training Start?

When bringing your puppy home, you should start training with positive methods. But when should positive e-collar puppy training begin? The correct question is not at what age is a dog ready for e-collar training, but how do I know when my dog is prepared for e-collar training?

Many positive dog trainers believe e-collar training should begin between 6-9 months or later, depending on the breed, basic training, physical development, and the dog's temperament. These will all play a huge role in determining readiness for e-collar training.

This blog will discuss all the factors to consider before using an e-collar on your pup. We've also included some verified Redditor's and Gun Dog Users' comments and our favorite puppy training e-collars like the Bark Beyond E3 E-collar for dogs.

Written by Sarah Connor, an experienced canine trainer and nutritionist for over a decade. Her positive reinforcement methods and passion for pups make her a go-to for dog owners.

Gun Dog Forum on Best Age to Use an E-Collar

We found a Gun Dog Forum comment by a trainer explaining e-collar training well. The forum member says, "When the dog has demonstrated that it understands the command, when it understands the necessity for instant compliance, and when it has demonstrated that understanding by executing the command reliably and repeatedly in the yard when on a check cord."

The same user added, "If a dog is ten months old heeling and coming reliably in the yard on a check cord, then it is probably time to overlay the e-collar and phase out the check cord for those commands."

The user explains that if you have a three-year-old dog that does not heel or come reliably in the yard, the e-collar will do more harm than good in the hands of amateur trainers.

The user goes on to say that you should think of the e-collar as a very long check cord, but if the dog does not know what the commands are and does not understand what you want him to do, the stimulation from the e-collar will only confuse him, or make him shut down.

Factors to Consider Before Initiating E-Collar Training

We adore our dogs, and although many think that e-collar training is inhumane, many positive trainers add that when done correctly ( after basic obedience training), e-collar training via beep and vibrate modes and positive reinforcement is beneficial for successful training! There are many factors to think about before using an e-collar on your dog. These include the following:

  • Maturity and confidence of the dog
  • Obedience training level
  • Temperament
  • Dogs should have an advanced understanding of the behavior you want them to accomplish before using an e-collar

Age-Appropriate Training Guidelines

Dog trainers say you should not wait for a bad habit to form and then react using an e-collar. Each trainer or pet parent needs to have a good understanding of the individual dog before using e-collar training, and you need to take into consideration age-appropriate dog training guidelines.

Extension of Basic Obedience Training

The best takeaway with when to start e-collar training is never to begin training your dog with an e-collar as the first training mode. E-collar training is an extension of basic obedience training, so the first call is taking your puppy to puppy training classes where your puppy can socialize with other dogs and people and learn the basics of obedience training.

A dog should understand his training commands first, and pups can start wearing a dummy collar while training for obedience. A stimulus should only be used if your puppy is trained in obedience.

E-collars should never be about punishment but used instead for persuasion, repetition, and consistency in training. With positive reinforcement, e-collar training can be practical but should be used sparingly. When e-collar training, try to avoid getting your pup into situations where he needs correction. This is when e-collar training can go wrong!

Benefits of E-Collar Training

E-collar training is a cutting-edge method that brings multifaceted benefits, not just for the dog but also for the pet parent. One of the remarkable advantages of e-collar training is the ability to reinforce known commands even from a distance with a remote, making it particularly useful for spaces where dogs tend to wander.

The Ideal Age for E-Collar Training

Young dogs should be introduced to e-collar training at least six months of age. This allows them to be mature enough to understand training and cues. If you're new to e-collar training, working with a positive dog trainer is essential to help you use the e-collar effectively and humanely.

Yet, the most important tip is that before introducing your dog to the e-collar, your dog should understand basic obedience training. Your dog needs a solid base for an easier transition to e-collar training. Here's the takeaway:

  • Cognitive development: Pups should be between 6-9 months old, depending on breed and maturity, before starting e-collar training.
  • Emotional Well-Being: Early e-collar training can induce fear and anxiety and hinder dog training.
  • Sensitive Temperaments: Sensitive or shy dogs may not do well with e-collar training.

Why Use E-Collars for Behavior Shaping?

A positive trainer can help you understand your pup's needs, behavior, and temperament and will help you understand more about timing and technique via beep and vibration mode for older puppy e-collar training.

E-collars work well as a behavior-shaping dog training tool that works from a distance and can be used for obedience training, competition trials, detection training, and hunting. Training your dog should be fun and enlightening for you and your pup.

Preconditioning For E-Collar Training

Before six months of age, you should only use positive reinforcement. Successful training with an e-collar requires an in-depth understanding of the dog's age, temperament, and individual training needs—positive and e-collar training aim to ensure practical, positive training experiences for both dog and trainer.

Gun Dog Forum on The Best Age to Start E-Collar Training

Gun Dog verified comments as to when to train a bird dog, including the following:

"I strongly agree with this advice. Train the dog. Find a solid, proven system and follow it so you know what you're doing rather than experimenting. Most pups of all breeds can easily start e-collar conditioning to "Here" at 4-5 months of age with an excellent, flexible e-collar."

"The E Collar can be the most valuable in MAINTAINING training, and when everything is done where that dog knows its job, the E collar should be the least used. When I go out to train or run dogs except for the trials, the E collar is always put on, so should I need to use it, I do not miss a training reminder at the time of an infraction."

Remote Training E-Collars

Today's remote training collars, like the Bark Beyond E3 E-collar for adolescent puppy training, feature convenient multi-dog control within long ranges and up to three receivers, with multiple gentle training modes like a soft beep and vibrate and adjustable levels of stimulation.

Smart-AI 2023 e-collars are weatherproof and flexible. Dog trainers highly recommend e-collars and find them a beneficial training tool when used correctly and humanely.

E-collars may not be suitable for all dogs, so working with a positive trainer is key in determining the right approach for your dog. E-collars need specific operation knowledge, and it's easy to make mistakes if you're a newbie.

The best way of doing so is by using e-collar training to complement and not replace positive training. This ensures a balanced approach and optimizes training effectiveness and the safety and well-being of your dog.

BarkBeyond E3 E-collar - Dog Training Collar
BarkBeyond E3 E-collar - Dog Training Collar

Positive Redditors' Comments For E-Collar Training for Pups

We combed through the comments and wanted to post a few remarks about "At What Age Should E-Collar Training Start?"

"I’m honestly afraid even to ask this question, but I’ve wondered it before. Is there not an option for a collar that only beeps or vibrates? No shock, just an audio cue or something like that to get their attention. As OP put it, it is a tap on the shoulder. Although I strongly disagree that a shock of any kind can be viewed as a tap. But a beep or a quick vibration might be better than a whistle in situations where your dog has gotten much further away from you."

"hey do exist, and using a vibrating collar can be humane. It's done with deaf dogs. The problem is that most dogs find the vibration scary and uncomfortable, so you must spend a lot of time creating positive associations and buying an expensive collar. If you're only trying to use it as a cue in that manner (and your dog can hear), then you can just use a whistle when they can't hear a verbal."

Negative Redditors Comments Against E-Collar Training for Pups

"We only ever consider using e- collars for life-threatening issues that we cannot solve any other way. Like one trying to kill/maim livestock or escaping fences …. And even then, it's just to get the point across to a very stubborn dog."

Another Redditor added, "Personally, I feel like six months is too young to introduce these sorts of aversives. They are still babies at that age, at this age, everything should be focused on using positive reinforcement. If you are focused on teaching recall, starting with a long line and treats is the best way."

"Using aversives to correct puppy curiosity and lack of developmental focus will not give you the results you are looking for. You'll just run the likelihood of making your distracted, unfocused pup nervous and averse to new experiences because every time they see something new and exciting, they get uncomfortable on their neck," explained another Redditor.

Positive Puppy Dog Training

The most important step in positive puppy training is never letting your puppy do what you don't want her to do as an adult dog. This will stress your dog later on and annoy you in the long run.

If your puppy is taught not to jump on people from the beginning and is rewarded for sitting, life will be much easier for both of you. Positive puppy training allows for faster training with no negative reinforcement. As with anything, if you embrace clicker or positive training properly, results will be much quicker.

Once your puppy catches on, you can get your dog to perform any wanted cues or behaviors like " no jumping" and "no biting" with positive associations - high-value treats, which tend to stay with your dog for life. Only after your puppy has learned the basics of obedience training and has fully understood it can you start with e-collar training.

Remember that stressed-out puppies or adult dogs should not use an e-collar. Dogs must be correctly socialized, positively trained, and have regular exercise and veterinary care to eliminate many behavioral issues.

E-Collar Training

Today's e-collar technology is very different from what it was years ago—E-collars like the Bark Beyond E3 E-Collar via its beep mode can be helpful in training pups six months or older once they've been obedience trained. This dog training collar for pups also features multi-dog control, allowing you to control up to three receivers simultaneously.

This Smart-AI collar boasts multiple training modes – beep mode, vibration mode, static mode, and LED mode – providing diverse options to achieve desired results. The vibration mode is suitable for limiting unwanted behavior. In contrast, the static mode should only be used in an emergency, like an ineffective recall cue, and your dog is about to cross a busy street.

Bark Beyond remote control's impressive 800m range offers flexibility and freedom. The user-friendly LED screen ensures clarity during nighttime training, while the adjustable and waterproof collar fits all dog breeds. What's great about this e-collar for young dogs is that it is fully waterproof, meaning you can enjoy the outdoors in all types of weather.

2023 E-Collar Smart-AI Technology

Today's e-collar technology has undergone revolutionary changes, prioritizing our dogs' safety, comfort, and overall well-being. Here are some aspects showcasing these advancements:

  • Advanced Features: Modern e-collars offer many features, from essential obedience tools to behavioral correction modes. Brands have incorporated training options such as beep, vibration, and various shock levels, ensuring dog trainers can select the most humane way for their dogs.
  • Adjustable Levels of Vibration & Shock: Adjustable stimulation levels allow dog parents to tailor the training intensity according to their dog's sensitivity and size, preventing discomfort. You can also opt for beep and vibration modes without shock for practical positive training via e-collars.
  • Enhanced Range and Control: With ranges extending from a few feet to as much as 3300 feet, e-collars now allow dog trainers and pet parents more flexibility even when training for recall or outdoors in large open spaces.
  • Battery and Durability: E-collars now come with longer-lasting batteries, with options for rechargeable or replaceable variants. Their designs have improved in durability, and many are now waterproof, like the Bark Beyond E3 e-collar, catering to water-loving dogs or those residing in rainy climates.
  • Safety Measures: Modern e-collars emphasize safety. Features such as automatic shutoff and built-in measures are incorporated to avert overstimulation or unintended activations. This ensures minimal risk when used responsibly and according to guidelines.
  • User-Friendly Designs: Simplified models with clear instructions have been developed for less tech-savvy users, making the process straightforward and hassle-free.

Distraction -Free Training

In a distraction-free room or outdoors at home in your garden, you can introduce your dog to low-level stimulation and reward him with a treat. Make training fun, not a correction or punishment. Just get your dog's attention from a distance.

The critical takeaway is taking your dog to positive dog training classes before attending e-collar training. E-collar training is best used to reinforce training that has already been done.

This means that your dog will be clear and have an advanced understanding of what you're asking him! There's no need to use shock modes unless you have an emergency and your dog is in danger.

Use Beep

Use " come" and " sit." If your dog is responsive to your verbals, it will be easy. Use beep for recall and tell your dog to come while he's exploring. This is escape training. Draw your dog in, sit, and break. Dogs respond better when you're using the beep and vibration modes instead of using continuous stimulation.

Always give your dog a break, and allow for short training sessions. The e-collar may be overwhelming for many dog parents, though many want their dogs to be off-leash and safe at the same time. You can only do this via a high-tech 2023 e-collar.

E-collars allow you to communicate with your dogs. It's best to always work with a dog trainer first to establish the e-collar basics! When used correctly, the e-collar is not abusive, making it easy to travel and keep your dogs safe.

Best Value Puppy E-Collar 2023 Deal

If you're a multi-pup home, the trio-set best-value e-collar pack at $358.00 allows you to save big while using Smart-Ai technology e-collar training on your dogs.

With the 14-day money-back guarantee, the BarkBeyond E3-E-collar will enable you to strengthen your bond with your dog and transform unwanted behavior with the latest SMART-AI technology that's safe and humane. The takeaway with the Bark Beyond E3- collar is that you can use the beep and vibration modes without resorting to shock mode.

BarkBeyond E3 E-collar - Dog Training Collar
BarkBeyond E3 E-collar - Dog Training Collar

Fear Signals in Dogs

If you need help with using an e-collar, working with a positive trainer from the beginning is best. You should also look at stress, anxiousness, or fear signals from your dog, which may include the following:

  • Lip licking
  • Head-turning
  • Backing away
  • Growling
  • Yawning
  • Puffing out cheeks with short, explosive breaths
  • Shape and look of the eyes

Best Dog Training E-Collar for Puppies 6 Months and Older

The best dog-training e-collar is the Bark Beyond E3 E-Collar, which offers an abundance of features. This e-collar offers many features, from essential obedience tools to behavioral correction modes.

Brands have incorporated training options such as beep, vibration, and various shock levels, ensuring trainers can select the most humane way for their dogs and never use shock mode.

The beep and vibrate modes are perfect for training pups six months and older, but the use of e-collars on smaller breeds and dogs with sensitive temperaments.

How Does a Dog's Mind Work?

We know that dogs understand our emotions and can read and respond to our body language. Studies by Marta Gacsi and colleagues at the Clever Dog Lab demonstrate that dogs will obey commands faster when the person giving the command is facing them and in sight.

The study also shows that dogs could tell the difference between intentional communication, like pointing to food, versus accidental pointing, like when you check your watch.

Social Referencing in Dogs

Another study by Isabella Merola demonstrated that dogs responded strongly when their pet parents gave them directions and that dogs take in emotional information from people and use it to determine how they will react to a situation.

FAQ's At What Age Should E-Collar Training Start?

Q: Can you train a puppy with an e-collar?

A: E-collars like the Bark Beyond E3 are intended solely for behavior modification and are best used by a professional trainer. Most e-collar manuals add that behavior modification training collars should only be used on puppies six months and older and on dogs weighing more than 12 pounds.

Q: Why do so many dog trainers use e-collars?

A: E-collars allow you to communicate with your dogs. When used correctly, the e-collar is not abusive, making it easy to train, travel, and keep your dogs safe while off-leash.

Q: When can you start using an e-collar on a puppy?

A: Dog trainers and e-collar manuals explain that dogs should be healthy during e-collar training. Most e-collars are not intended for dogs under 12 pounds or six months of age. Always read your manual thoroughly and work with a trainer until you get the hang of using an e-collar for positive dog training,

Teaching Recall with an E-Collar