Dogtra E-collars... Why I Love Them
E-collars... right for us, but not for everyone
I understand that not everyone loves e-collars. Many are under the impression that e-collars are cruel, shock a dog, and are torture devices that will scar a dog for life. Although my dog is neither scarred nor tortured by his e-collar, I understand if e-collars are not for you. Please do not read on if you are opposed to them.
If you are on the fence about these, I hope you will consider getting an excellent collar if you decide to use an e-collar with your dog. E-collars can be used very humanely, but you must get the right collar. A poorly-made, cheap collar is not a good choice.
My dog is a very biddable, soft dog. He is not scared of his e-collar because he has been trained correctly with it.
Why use an e-collar with a soft dog? Well, my dog is a herding breed dog. He requires at least 20 miles a day of off-leash running. He returns on command at all times.... except when coyotes or deer are around. Then, he loses his mind and nothing I say can convince him to return.
I take him to hunting training grounds to run, but in the winter, the coyotes and deer are out for food. The coyotes will lead the dogs away for miles, sometimes leading them into highways.
So, there is the conundrum. Is the dog happier on leash and under-exercised, but not on a shock collar? Or is it more humane to allow him exercise and deliver a correction maybe twice a year when the dog runs after a coyote? I, for me and my dog, choose the latter. It is the only time I use an e-collar correction.
For my dog's needs, I choose Dogtra collars. While many collars have the functions I list, Dogtra has all the features I need in a relatively inexpensive package.
This is the collar I use!
A Vibration-Only "Pager" Button
Most Dogtra collars have a "pager" button. This button works when the main electric stimulation switch is set to ""Off," so you don't run the risk of accidentally shocking the dog.
The pager button sets off a vibration similar to that of a silent cell phone buzz. It does not hurt at all (I have tried on myself), but it does startle or alert the dog.
This is excellent for deaf dogs, as a training tool. It is also good as a low-key method of breaking a dog's concentration when it is overly focused or fixated on something. I use it when my dog is digging after mice and I want to continue our walk.
Dogtra's pager is a nice, strong buzz that snaps the dog out of his prey trance.
I used another collar brand before, and the pager was not nearly strong enough to get a reaction.
Any e-collar should be completely submersible, just in case they get wet. My friends bought a cheap pet store e-collar for their dog. It shorted as soon as it got wet. Had the collar shorted while on the dog, I can't imagine the results would have been positive.
Most Dogtra collars have both a submersible handset and collar. My dog swims in his for hours.
Long Battery Life
As long as you don't zap the dog constantly, the collar and handset keep a charge for a long time. I charged mine for 8 hours on the recharger, and it lasted almost 3 months of 2 hour daily use. During this time, I used the pager button often.
I did notice that when I needed to use the shock, I needed to recharge, but the "medium battery" indicator is very clear (yellow instead of green).
I have had the collar over a year, and I've charged it twice.
Dogtra collars have all sorts of ranges. Mine has a half mile range. Dogs can get far away fast, especially when in high prey drive mode, so it's good to have a good range.
Many other collar brands only work for about 1/2 of a mile.
Both the handset and the collar are fairly lightweight compared to the last few collars I had. The collar strap is sturdy but not too thick. The handset is small and comes with a belt clip. A holster can be purchased separately, but is not necessary.
A Wide Range of Stimulation
The best stimulation for a dog e-collar is the lowest one at which your dog will react. You are not out to hurt your dog... you use the collar to protect him from his instincts.
Dogtra collars have tiny increments by which to elevate the stim. My collar is a "low level" collar, and it has 120 stim levels that are increased with a dial. The level number shows on a screen with a backlight.
When running after something small, my dog can be easily summoned with the pager only. When running after an interesting coyote, he may need a level 20.
When he is running after a pack of coyotes or a fast-moving deer, he won't even feel a 60.
This is just to say that if the dog does not even feel a high level of stim, he is not getting horribly mentally scarred from it. Pain tolerance goes up dramatically as the dog goes into prey drive mode. This is not to say that you need to crank the stim up to max. That is cruel and unnecessary.
Least stim possible for desired reaction....
A Reasonable Price Range
I bought my Dogtra collar for $200. It cost me less than some pet store collars, and it works a whole lot better. Although there are many more expensive collars, this one suited all my needs.
We're both happy
Thanks to Dogtra, my dog can continue his off-leash 20 mile daily runs in areas of temporary high distraction in relative safety.
An e-collar is no substitute for training. Please train kindly and with the help of a professional.