Are Dog Training Collars Cruel?

By Naina Anuman 13 Min Read

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When you train your canine by using a strict training collar you would often get offended but when your friend gives you a cute look, you may think that are dog training collars cruel to the pooch.

Dog keepers are often confused about that kind of question and I think you have this query in your mind as well. Am I right?

This query creates controversy among dog owners. It has divided the owner into two groups; one in the support of the use of these training collars and the other has a different point of view.

You know everything in this world is present with certain advantages and disadvantages. So, the opinion of both groups is sacred. But with proper use of technology, cruelty can be minimized.

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Are dog training collars cruel?

In this article, I will try to clarify whether are dog training collars cruel? by discussing the pros and cons of that modern technological instruments and their proper use. So, you may better understand the function of dog training collars and control their side effects.

What are dog training collars?

As you know training collar is basically used to train your best friend, teach him what to do or not. Many dog training collars of different types and functions are available in the market. For example, E.Collars, flat collars, choke chain collars, head collars, etc…

Have you ever used these training collars for your canine?

Let’s discuss some common training collars to understand their nature and find out whether these or cruel or not.

Flat Collars

These collars are also called regular training collars. These training collars look like simple belt buckles. It has a loop from which you can attach a leash for your pooch. You can easily attach identification and other fashionable tags to them.

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Canine’s neck measurement

How would you buy a perfect flat collar for your dog if you don’t know the size of your dog’s neck? So, measure its neck first. You can fit just one or two fingers between your dog’s neck and collar. So that you can get save your canine from its collar’s brutal effects.

Let’s discuss its pros and cons.

    • Your pooch can easily adjust itself with these collars.
    • These collars have a lot of varieties.
    • Tags and leashes can be attached easily to these collars.
    • Loose collars come out of neck easily.
    • A bit tight collar can choke your canine.
    • These collars may get caught into fences so be careful.

In Spite of the upper mentioned disadvantages, to me, these collars have minimum risks and also you can minimize their little bit of barbarousness by using them carefully.

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If you have a little pup then you need to be more conscious and must select the best collar that is more comfortable for him.

Flat collar does not seem cruel

Head Collars

What is the first thought that came into your mind when you hear “head collars”?

 As the name implies, these collars are used at the head of your pooch. Headcollars have two straps; one around the nose and the other one around the neck just behind the ears and a ring to fasten a leash to your pet.

Let’s check out its atrociousness.

    • These collars provide extra control over your hound.
    • Using these collars, you can save your companion from excessive pain.
    • The unmanageable and aggressive pooch can be easily controlled by children and seniors by use of head collars.
    • You can easily change the direction of your friend while it charges over people or other dogs.
    • Some pets hate that collars because of wearing on the head.
    • Head collars can be difficult to wear on a violent dog. Sometimes you need another person to hold it.
    • If It is easy to wear on then it is easy to come off as well if it is a little bit loose.
    • The straps can give pain if your pet’s skin is sensitive.

So, in order to minimize its brutality choose a fit one-head collar for your canine and use it properly.

dog head collar is good for aggressive  canines

Choke Chain Collars

Is your pet too aggressive to control?

If yes, then you need a choke chain training collar for your pooch. Basically, it is designated to control excessively violent or big-sized hounds. A choke chain collar consists of mutually linked metal chains to tighten the neck. You can control your hound easily if you use it properly.

Let’s take a look at its savageness.

    • These collars apply intensive pressure and due to this reason, you can control your hound quite easily.
    • Available in reasonable price and fit for all sizes.
    • If you don’t use choke chain collars properly, they can harm your pooch due to high pressure.
    • These are metal collars so rusting is also a problem.
intensive pressure of choke chain collar seems cruel


E-collar or a remote collar consists of a battery, a wireless remote, and a small box with two prongs. These collars give a vibration or a static shock to your hound to stop something undesirable by it.

These collars are a really modern invention so we will deeply discuss E-collars, due to their use which is increasing day by day.

How to start?

It is not so simple as just buying an E-collar and using it. There are several steps you must follow otherwise either you will harm your canine or there will be no good results. So, in the case of the E-Collar, the chances of atrociousness are higher.

These steps are:

Find the proper fit

It is a very important step to follow as if you buy a loose E-collar for your dog it will not fit properly and the prongs will not touch the skin of your dog. Hence no stimulus can be given to it.

On the other hand, if the collar is very tight then it will hurt your pet’s neck and sometimes it will cause sores on its skin.

Making the Dog familiar with the collar

It is another major step to use E-collars. After finding a proper fit collar for your canine, don’t try to use it in a haste.

First, you have to make it recognize that the collar is its daily companion. You have to make your pet accustomed to your E-collar.

The best way for that purpose is to walk or play with your pooch while he has been wearing a training collar and keep the collar off. Once it will recognize it as a part of itself, it will be ready for training.

Start from the lowest level of training collar

As you know, modern training E-collars have different levels of stimulus. For example, common electronic collars have 65 levels of stimulus intensity. You must start with the lowest level which your four-legged companion can recognize.

Now, how you will find that low level?

This is so simple. Just keep your canine in front of you, set the remote at the lowest frequency, and press the button of your remote. If he becomes attentive then this is a perfect starting level and if not, then increase the level.

When your pet will feel the vibration or shock of the training collar, it will upright its ears or start looking at you. Keep in mind it is a very essential step as if you don’t know the sensation level of your dog you may hurt him or he may become confused and aggressive.

Start with familiar basic commands

What basic commands your canine is better familiar with?

If your pet doesn’t recognize basic commands like “sit”, “stay” or “come” then please don’t use these collars. As you have to make an association of your dog with the E-collar using basic commands.

So, first, teach your hound basic commands.

Positive reinforcement

You have to use this trick. For example, when you say “come” to your canine. If it comes to you then don’t tap the walkie-talkie button. If you see, its attention is distracted and it doesn’t come to you then tap the button.

The vibrations or shock will make him attentive toward you. And when he starts coming towards you, stop tapping and praise like “good boy

This is the way, you have to reinforce your pet positively using training collars.

Any reward or treat is very helpful in making the training process faster.

Avoid negative reinforcement

You must pay attention to the fact that if you unconsciously reinforce your pet negatively, then E-collar will become useless.

For instance, if your pooch is obeying your command and you still tap the button then it will be called negative reinforcement.

If you do that, your pet will become confused about what is wrong and what is right.

Controlling bad behavior

Like reinforcing good behavior, the other use of E-collars is to control bad behavior or undesirable behavior of your canine.

For instance, your dog is habitual of digging holes in the soil in your backyard and you want to stop this habit. You have to wait for the right moment.

When it will start digging holes wearing a collar on its neck, you must tap the button of the collar remote. The vibrations will make it recognize that it is wrong. You must continue tapping until it leaves digging.

This is the way you can control the bad behavior of your canine if you use an E-collar continuously. But you must keep in mind the right moment to use a training collar.

Should E.collars be used or not?

There always has been a controversy on this query from the past till now. It totally depends on you if your dog is too rude and aggressive like Pitbull, he is not obeying even a single order then you should go for E-collar but use it carefully as it is also a living being you bought him as he would remove your loneliness and make you happy when would sad.

So, let’s have a look at its pros and cons.

    • Some dog parents think it is a very good tool as it helps to control the bad behaviour of your pooch from distance through your walkie talkie and you don’t need to chase your pet.
    • Some of them think this device is very good in horrible situations. For example, your hound chasing a deer and going towards a busy road. So, it may be a life-saving technology.
    • When you don’t use training collars, you can’t off-leash your canine. So, E.collars allows you to off-leash it. It gives them a sensation of freedom.
    • In the past, there were collars which were unadjustable. But now, there are modern E-collars which have adjustable shock power. So, training collars are no longer harm to your pet.
    • Some pet owners think that using an E.collar is not all different from any other negative stimulus like a tug on the leash.
    • It is a cruel and inhumane activity to give a shock to a pooch as it creates pain and harms them.
    • Using an E-collar does not mean any freedom. The real freedom is when your pet understands itself what to do and what not to do. But collars just compel your canine to obey the command.
E Collar should be used carefully

What is your point of view about E-collars?

I think it is completely up to you whether you want or don’t want to use this technology. It is true that every technology has some side effects but it depends upon the use of that technology. It is not at all the technology’s fault but yours as you don’t know how to use it.

 For instance, you are taking an exam in “mathematics”. You don’t know anything about it and you fail. Then is this “mathematics” which is at fault or you as you don’t have any knowledge about that?

The same is the case with E-collars. You must know the proper use of training collars before you apply them to your pooch.

Are you going with that technology or not?


You just focus on one thing why are you purchasing training collars? With this perception, you can choose the perfect training collar for your pooch.

The most important point is that you must know the proper usage of that collar which you can get from the instruction manual available with these products.

Our point of view is that not any training collar is cruel. It is its use that makes it useful or pervasive. No doubt, the risks are present but we can minimize these risks and can control our pets easily.

 Anyway, the above discussion may guide you well about the question “are dog training collars cruel?

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Dr. Naina is a highly experienced animal behaviorist with over 10 years of experience in dog training and behavior modification. Dr. Naina holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior, where they studied various domesticated animals' cognitive and social behavior. They continued their education and received a Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine, which included coursework in canine anatomy and physiology, as well as extensive training in positive reinforcement training techniques. As a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, Dr. Naina has worked with a wide variety of dog breeds, from puppies to adult dogs, and has successfully addressed behavioral issues such as aggression, fear, and separation anxiety. Their deep knowledge of canine behavior and passion for animal welfare has led them to develop a keen eye for identifying the most effective and humane training tools, including dog collars. In their work, Dr. Naina always emphasizes the importance of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), recognizing that the well-being of dogs is of the utmost importance. They take a thoughtful, evidence-based approach to recommend dog collars, always considering the unique needs and personality of each individual dog, as well as the preferences and goals of their human guardians. Their dedication to their work has earned them a reputation as a respected and trusted authority in the field of animal behavior.