What Is The Best Training Collar For My Puppy?

To anyone wanting to adopt a puppy, I always recommend they make sure they have the time and energy to train them. Either that or the money to send their new pup to a dog training school or private training class.

Many people these days put the task of training their puppy upon themselves, which I think is the best because it forms the closest bond between you and your puppy.

Of course, if you decide to do that, there are certain dog training tools you’re going to need and dog training treats that are healthy for them.

Dog training tools include things like leashes, crates, and, for some, clickers. Whatever you decide to use, dog experts recommend using them consistently every time you train your puppy. I agree as I believe consistency is one of the best methods to get excellent results.

Some believe a collar is essential when training a puppy, which leads to today’s question: What is the best training collar for my puppy?

The answer Is that most veterinarians recommend against using a training collar for your puppy and instead recommend a training harness. They say that training collars can injure your puppy, and that “shock” collars can negatively affect their mental and physical health.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t put a collar on your puppy, just that when training, a harness is best. A dog collar is still a necessity and, in many places, a legal requirement when your puppy is outside of your home.

Now that you know that the best training collar for a puppy isn’t a training collar at all but a dog harness, I’m sure you have other questions about this vitally important puppy-related subject.

For example, is it better to train a puppy with a collar or harness, and when should you start putting a collar on a puppy?  Please keep reading if you’d love to discover the answer to those questions, several more, and some excellent tips and advice.

When Should your Start Putting a Collar on a Puppy?

From what I’ve seen and read, you should start putting a collar on your puppy at about 10 weeks. 

Most veterinarians recommend 10 weeks because, by 12 weeks, your puppy will have gotten used to their collar. That’s crucial since, at about 12 weeks, you can start walking your puppy outside. 

Some people wonder how to bring a puppy outside to go potty if they don’t have a collar. The answer is that, until about 12 weeks, you can just pick them up and bring them outside. (Watching them closely the entire time, of course.)

Can Training Collars be Used on Puppies?

Training collars, sometimes referred to as “shock collars” or “e-collars,” give a puppy a small electrical shock if they do something they aren’t supposed to be doing. Shock collars are a relatively popular training tool.

Many veterinarians and dog experts, however, recommend against using a shock training collar with puppies for several reasons, including:

  • Shock collars don’t teach your puppy a specific way to behave. Yes, they can stop unwanted behavior, but your puppy won’t learn anything.
  • Training collar advocates will tell you that the collar mimics what a mother dog does to her puppies. (Nipping and correcting them.) In reality, however, a mother dog very rarely nips her puppy.
  • Depending on the puppy and the setting of your training collar, the shock it provides can be quite painful.
  • If you use a shock collar incorrectly, it can cause fear or phobias in your puppy that will last for years, if not their entire life. For example, if they jump on someone’s leg because they are happy to see them. If you shock them when they do, they might have a fear of doing that and never go near anyone else. 
  • Some pet parents set their training collars to a very low setting that reduces the pain their puppy feels. The problem is that, in time, your puppy will likely ignore the pain, which teaches them nothing.

Is It Better to train a Puppy with a Collar or a Harness?

Most veterinarians recommend that you use a harness to train your puppy rather than a collar. There are a few main reasons for this, including:

  • Harnesses allow you to control your puppy with ease. This extra control can significantly reduce the risk of them being injured (or you being injured).
  • A harness reduces the risk of throat injuries, common when using a dog collar.
  • There are three different dog harnesses, including back-clip, front-clip, and dual-clip. One of the three will typically be best for your puppy.
    • Back-clip harnesses are the most common and the most easy-to-use. They also are the safest for your puppy.
    • Front-clip harnesses give you better control and limit your puppy’s pulling. 
    • Dual-clip harnesses combine the best of both but are the most expensive.

One thing to remember is that even if you decide to use a harness to train your puppy, you should still put a collar on them. That’s because it holds your pup’s license and identification.

Should a Puppy Wear a Collar all the Time?

Once your puppy has been acclimated to wearing their collar, they should wear it all the time. As long as it is comfortable for your pupper to wear, most puppies and dogs have no problem with a collar.

The main reason to keep your pup’s collar on all the time is that if they run off, get lost, etc., you will have a better chance of finding them again because their collar has their identification. (Or at least it should.)

If your puppy has a skin allergy that the collar aggravates, taking it off when they are inside might be helpful. The same goes for if your pup has a neck injury.

Some veterinarians recommend taking a puppy’s collar off when they’re in their crate. They say that the risk of your puppy catching their identification tag on the crate bars can be a problem.

Even if you don’t use a crate, some vets recommend taking your puppy’s color off at the end of the day to give their skin and fur a chance to breathe. 

If your puppy or dog has the freedom to roam around your house and you have a dog door, though, taking off their collar isn’t as good an idea.

Lastly, it might be helpful to remove your puppy’s collar when they’re playing with other puppies. (Once they’ve been completely vaccinated.)  Taking off your pup’s collar will reduce the chance of getting their paw caught on another pup’s collar and being injured.

Do Vets Recommend Shock Collars?

No, on the whole, veterinarians do not recommend using shock collars. Most veterinary associations have long recognized that training based on punishment can be detrimental to a puppy.

As I mentioned earlier, shock collars can cause psychological distress for your puppy and induce phobias they might never have had if you didn’t use a shock collar. 

Also, shock collars can burn your puppy’s skin and cause an increase in aggressive behavior. Most veterinarians recommend reward-based training instead, which is more positive and less painful.

Final Thoughts

“What is the best training collar for my puppy?” is a question I hear frequently. As we have seen today, the best training collar for your puppy isn’t a collar at all but a training harness. 

That’s because a harness is less painful and safer when training and won’t have any detrimental effect on them. (Fear, aggression, phobias, etc.) 

Did you enjoy today’s blog about the best training collar for your puppy? I hope so and that your questions were all answered. If you’d like to learn more about being a pet parent, please take a look at my other blogs on the subject.

All my blogs are filled with useful, real-world information that can be very helpful, especially if this is your first time raising a puppy. Until next time, best of luck training your precocious pup and helping them to become a well-adjusted and healthy dog.