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5 Tips for shock collars that work on big dogs

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Home » Blog » 5 Tips for shock collars that work on big dogs

For effective use of shock collars on big dogs: Adjust intensity to suit dog’s sensitivity, ensure snug fit of collar, align shock timing with undesirable behaviors, maintain training consistency, and always pair corrections with positive reinforcement.

Intensity Adjustment

When using a shock collar on a large dog, adjusting the intensity is vital to make sure that it is both effective and does not cause distress or harm to the dog. Big dogs such as a German Shepard or a Great Dane are likely to need a higher intensity than smaller dog breeds. Typically, manufacturers of the shock collar indicate an intensity rating from 1 to 100. Starting at the middle range of about 50 when correcting a big dog would ensure that the correction is effective.

The level should then be increased while observing the dog’s reaction and not in increments of more than five units. The aim would be to find the lowest level that the dog reacts to which may be seen as a slight twitch of the ears or turning of the head. Shock collar brands like PetSafe and Garmin offer guides on how the settings could be properly adjusted. It is essential that shock intensity be set at a level that will get the dog’s attention while not causing pain.

The shock intensity should also be constantly checked and monitored as the dog grows and changes. If the collar has been adjusted properly, feedback from the dog could include less pulling on the leash and the dogs not to bark or growling at this intensity. A study conducted by Kathleen M. Martin in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that the best results were when the corrections are adjusted taking into consideration the size of the dog, the breed, and its behavior.

It emphasized that the corrections be kept to as low intensity as is effective as the purpose is to get the dog’s attention. The battery life and operating cost should also be checked when adjusting intensity. Higher intensities would be effective but would drain the battery much quickly. It is more advantageous for the collar or the batteries to be rechargeable. Some of these rechargeable batteries could last up to about 70 hours of operating time.

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Size and Fit

Choosing the correct size and fit is imperative for the effective work of the shock collar. In the case of large breeds such as for Rottweilers or Mastiffs, the need in appropriate fits is even more critical. The collar should be tight enough in order to work; that is, the electric contacts should be able to touch the skin of the animal without constriction or discomfort. For the large dogs, collar sizes fluctuate from 18 to 28 inches depending on the breed and the thickness of their necks. However, these numbers vary, as SportDOG and Dogtra have adjustable collars in order to be different sizes. Depending on the brand, the appropriate size might be suitable for a big breed animal.

In regards to how the collar should be put on the dog, it is advised that their owner should be able to put two fingers between the collar and the animal’s skin. It is extremely important for the shock to be able to reach the dog, but not be too tight to the point of pressing into its skin. The fit not only depends on the size but also on the material. Dog trainers recommend high-quality leather or nylon, since lower quality materials frayght quickly from the heavy weight of the big dog. The durability and lifetime of the product also depend greatly on whether the material is suitable and of a high-quality. For a big size dog shock collar, it might be suitable to look for brands that recommend usage from 3 to 5 years, which is a longer period of time.

Perception and Sensitivity

Understanding the perception and sensitivity of large dogs like Saint Bernards or Siberian Huskies to shock collar stimuli is critical for effective training. Large dogs often have higher tolerance levels for physical sensations due to their size and coat thickness, which means the standard settings on a shock collar might not be adequate.

Owners need to start with a low-intensity level and observe the dog’s reaction to find the correct setting that the dog notices without causing distress. This process involves monitoring subtle signs of recognition from the dog, such as a pause during a behavior, looking around, or scratching at the collar, which indicates that the dog feels the shock.

The effectiveness of the shock also depends on the type of coat the dog has. Dogs with thick fur may require conductive collar attachments that ensure the shock penetrates the fur to reach the skin. For example, a Golden Retriever with a dense undercoat might need longer contact points on the collar, which are available from manufacturers like PetSafe, which specify these as ideal for dogs with thicker coats.

It is crucial to select a shock collar that allows for fine-tuning of shock intensity. Models that offer over 100 incremental adjustments give the owner the ability to dial in the exact level needed for their dog’s specific sensitivity and tolerance. Regularly assessing and adjusting the collar as the dog’s response can change over time is essential for maintaining the right balance between effectiveness and safety.

The right calibration of the collar not only improves the training outcome but also reduces the risk of the dog becoming desensitized to the stimuli, which can occur if the intensity is too low and ignored. Training sessions spaced out over time, typically lasting no more than 15 minutes, ensure the dog does not experience excessive exposure, which can lead to stress and a reduction in overall training efficacy.

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Behavioral Impact

When it comes to shock collars and big dogs, there is a significant difference in a type of behavior that has to be managed. A dog’s immediate reaction to a shock collar is not entirely predictable. For example, a Labrador Retriever is a sweet and gentle type of dog, but one may accidentally set the shock too high and make their dog too anxious. Meanwhile, the dog’s behavior could quickly change, and the owner would run into issues such as their dog hiding or desperately panting.

When it comes to a shock collar, the dog’s owner should never attempt to train it in an isolated manner. Even if it was possible to control the device or set an appropriate level of a shock, it would still be a terrible idea. Instead of encouraging good habits and teaching what is allowed, it would solely be reinforcing bad behaviors. If a dog jumps on guests, and the owner uses a shock collar every time to stop his dog, it should be reinforced every time the dog does not jump on guests, no matter how rare it might be.

The shocking has to be perfectly linked to the emergence of the unwanted behavior to send the right message. Otherwise, a dog could become confused, feel that the owner is not trustworthy, and refuse to learn. Meanwhile, the program designed to train a dog should not involve a shock right away. The majority of trainers advise that a shock collar should be introduced as gradually as possible, with possible support from its vibration mode or the sound before that.

This way, a dog will never feel any discomfort immediately associated with the collar. At first, these settings could be notably lower than those comfortable for the owner to switch the shocking mode on. Over time, a dog’s owner will have to watch its training and gradually adjust the collar’s settings upwards. Meanwhile, these training sessions should be continuous but short, no longer than 10-15 minutes at once. A continuous training session without shocks would not be stressful for a dog and pleasant for an owner. It would also help to teach a dog positive patterns, such as instantaneously getting a treat upon the entrance of people into the house. This way, an owner will have a real-time assessment of the dog’s behavioral changes and ability to learn.

Training Consistency

To properly use a shock collar on big dogs, proper training consistency is imperative. In this sense, one of the most important ways to guarantee the proper use of shock collars is to establish proper training consistency. The basic idea behind training consistency is simple – it implies the regular use of the shock collar together with clear and consistent commands and rewards. This training approach ensures that the dog is capable of understanding their behavior and the consequences it entails.

For example, if the owner is training a large dog, a Doberman, to keep them within the yard, the shock collar would be activated each time the dog steps outside the yard’s limits. This correction should always be performed in conjunction with a command, e.g. stay until the Doberman learns the command understand the limit. Furthermore, for positive reinforcement, each correct behavior, such as following the command, should be rewarded. However, the owners should remember to make training activities predictable for the dog, conducting them at precisely the same time each day to prevent distraction and anticipation.

Training activities should also last for no more than 20 minutes, as any subsequent promotion will simply create a countereffect. Moreoever, inconsistency in such technical and relatively short trainings, like changing commanders or commands, can also have unwanted effects. This training activity can be easily implemented by the second family member, who can use the same commands and rewards.

This activity is essential because crossing the limits without discipline for exceptionally long periods or breaching is inadmissible. This is why it is necessary for the training activity to stay consistent and timely. Moreover, with time, a proper review should be organized to understand how familiar the dog is with the command. Such activity can involve shorter and weaker shocks.

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