When is a Dog Old Enough for a Shock Collar? Behaviorist Answered

When is a Dog Old Enough for a Shock Collar

If you are curious about training your little pup then you may have heard about shock collars or e-collars. Well today, I’m going to tell you “When is a dog old enough for a shock collar?”.

A Shock Collar is also known as an e-collar and sends electrical pulses through a dog’s neck. It is used to train them for certain things such as avoiding some behaviors and creating a general fear in them for something. Many EU states that the use of e-collars counts as animal cruelty and that’s why it’s banned in many countries. 

Regardless of everything, shock collars are known for being an excellent tool for training dogs. You might be concerned about when your little friend should wear one and when. In this blog, I will tell you when a dog is old enough for a shock collar. So without further ado, let’s begin!

When is a Dog Old Enough for a Shock Collar?

Your dog can start wearing the shock collar after 6 months (26 weeks). This is because after 6 months, the development cycle of the dog is fully completed and the dog can identify different signals it receives which will help in correcting unwanted behavior. “If your dog is younger than 6 months then DO NOT use shock collar – Dr. Finlay Tayler

Vibration Collars (1)

Now that I discussed the basics of a shock collar and what it is. It’s time to discuss when is a good time for your little friend to wear it. 

If your dog has been acting up since you brought it home then you should focus more on correcting his manners manually from day one. Small hard work tends to give big results. If you work hard on your manual training then your little friend won’t need a more aggressive method of training.

That’s why you can try manual training for a while and if that makes him a good boy then all’s good and you got a good and obedient little fellow. If the manual training still seems to be ineffective then you can try the shock collar.

Effects of Shock Collar Before Suitable Period

If you try to use a dog collar before six months then it may not be a good idea after all. I do not recommend using a dog collar on your little fellow before 6 months because dog collars are harsh.

So harsh that your little friend who you love so much will experience physical abuse in the form of painful burns that the shock collar causes and also emotional scarring.

That’s why it is always important to manually train your little pup first if he is acting up otherwise use a shock collar on him after six months.

Is It Safe To Use a Shock Collar on a Dog?

Now that I have covered the basics of when a dog is old enough for a shock collar, it’s time for the safety concerns. Many people ask if it’s safe to use a shock collar on a dog and to be completely honest, I’ve been down that path too! 

To fully understand whether it’s safe for you to use a shock collar for your little friend you must learn how e-collars or shock collars work.

sace shock

Shock collars work by sending electric shocks through your dog’s neck to create fear in them if they’re about to do something you don’t want them to. While an effective tool, shock collars are often misused and cause fear and anxiety in your little friend instead of stopping them from something. 

Shock collars often end up giving the dogs emotional trauma instead of stopping them from doing what they want. That’s why from a safety standpoint, it’s still a little unclear whether they are exactly safe or not.

How to Introduce Shock Collars to Your Dog?

While many dogs react aggressively towards shock/e-collars, there are some ways to train your little fellow to be a bit more accepting of them. Or at least be a little comfortable when they’re not getting shocked I guess 😛 You can get started by first:

Choose the Right Collar

Choosing the right collar is the first thing you need to do to make your pup a little more comfortable with the experience of losing his bad habits. One thing you need to keep in mind is that not all shocks/e-collars are made equal. Some have a bit more intensity some have a snug fit and some have loose. 

I made the mistake of buying a collar that wasn’t a right fit and it bugged my little one so much and didn’t become a pleasant experience for him. You also need to consider a collar with the right shock intensity.

Some people who don’t have an experience with shock collars like you and me choose way too intense collars. The result is that the dog gets so physically hurt that it leaves behind a trauma and even results in physical injury.

That’s why it’s always important that you select a shock collar that’s both a right fit and a perfectly balanced one.

Positive Association

As mentioned above, you should focus more on making your little friend comfortable with the experience more than forcing the collar onto him. Let your little friend closely look at it, even sniff it. Make him as comfortable as possible so he can have more time to get used to it than him getting a surprise shock for no reason.

Unadorned Collar

Comfort is the key if I’m being completely honest. I’m here to help you and your little friend get used to this new lifestyle. If you’re looking to have a smooth start then you can also try doing the whole process step-by-step.

Not sure whether you understand me? Don’t worry! I’ll explain it. The thing I’m trying to say is to first let your pup get used to just the collar. Don’t shock him for some time in the beginning. This thing will allow your dog to first get used to the collar itself before the whole shocking thing. Then, you can gently start the shock process and carry it on.

This whole thing is based on just one thing, comfort! After all, it’s the key of course!

Receiver Introduction

Same thing I discussed earlier. Make sure that your dog is first comfortable with the experience then start the whole thing. Doing it suddenly will cause a trauma experience to your dog and even result in physical injury. 

The thing I’m trying to say is that first let your little friend get used to the collar itself. If he gets comfortable with it, then turn on the shocks. Keep it off at the beginning otherwise, you’ll regret it by looking at your dog’s extra vile behavior.

Positive Reinforcement

It’s more about making them comfortable whenever they’re wearing the collar than letting them imagine that only bad things are going to happen. The thing I’m trying to say is that whenever the collar is on, you need to show them extra affection.

The positive thing that this act brings is that they will be more accepting of the collar and automatically think that the collar brings extra affection. 

Gradual Timings

Be slow but steady, let them get used to the collar. I used a trick called Graudal Timing. It’s a method where you gradually and slowly turn on the collar. In simple words, you slowly increase the intensity and find a perfect one. 

All you need to do is to slowly turn on the collar for some time and let them get used to it. This will be like teaching your dog to get used to something new which will be both more comforting and accepting.

Turn On Tone Mode

Many E-collars also come with a tone mode. I like this feature very much. In this feature, the shock collar gives a small electric shock to give a sort of warning. 

The advantage of this feature is that it’s generally less startling and can act as sort of a warning for your bud.

Low Stimulation

As discussed earlier, be slow but steady. If you don’t feel the need to put your little bud through all that pain, you can try a low-stimulation setting. 

In low stimulation settings, a very small amount of electrical pulse is sent through the collar. I like this setting as it’s not strong enough to cause any pain and also not weak enough to be not noticed. 

Command Association

The most important thing to consider when you are about to use e/shock collars is command association. Your shock collar will be of no use if your dog doesn’t understand what it means. 

You need to make sure to use signals they already are familiar with and not the ones that are just straight-up Latin to them. Be concise and easy.

Pros and Cons of Shock Collar for Puppies

Now that you know when a dog is old enough for a shock collar and whether it’s safe for your dog or not, it’s time for you to learn some pros and cons of shock collars.

sace shock 2

As you know, everything has an upside and also a drawback to it, and shock collars are not an exception. There are some genuine advantages that you can have if you use a shock collar but there are also some drawbacks. That’s exactly what I am going to discuss today so without further ado, let’s begin!


First I’m going to explain to you all the good stuff about the shock collars. Let’s begin, starting with:

Quick Feedback

One thing you don’t need to worry about is lag and delay. The Shock collar gives an instant response the moment it senses something. It’s like,” Hey bud, don’t do it” or “ Hey bud, good job!”.

Off-Leash Control

All of us want to go walk with our dogs without being bound by a leash. Well, Shock collars can make it a bit easier for you to ditch your leash when walking with your dog.

You can do off-leash training with your e-collar and also have peace of mind when walking with your little bud without being bound by a leash between him and you.

Precise Correction

Want your bud to behave a certain way? No problem! Shock collars are a great tool for that. If you want to correct your dog’s habits or make him act a certain way, e-collars are the way to go.

Distractions from Dangerous Behavior

Some things may call you but you shouldn’t even bear an eye, That’s exactly what happens with dogs. They get curious about certain things when in reality they are extreme hazards. 

In these situations, you can use shock collars to make them avoid these things, a gentle shock will be enough to snap them back to reality and divert their minds. As a result, you can save your little one from dangerous/hazardous behavior.


Shock Collars are extremely consistent. So consistent in fact that you can trust them fully. They send consistent signals to your little one and do not confuse them with mixed signals that they cannot even understand. 

Off-Limit Areas

If you want to set a boundary for your little one where he shouldn’t be hanging, shock collars can help with that too! Shock Collars are also helpful in signaling them for a certain limit or boundary and help them understand that there is a certain limit for them.


Now that I told you all the good stuff, I’ll tell you some drawbacks/disadvantages that come with using the shock collars:

cons shock

Physical and Psychological Harm

This is where it gets serious. Shock Collars are a great tool for training your little one but if not used properly, you can seriously hurt your dog both mentally and physically. It can leave behind trauma and physical burn marks which hurt the pup because of strong electrical pulses.

That’s why it’s always important to double-think before actually using the shock collar because you can seriously mess up during the whole process.

Fear and Anxiety

As discussed above, improper use of the shock collar can seriously mess with the dog’s head. It can leave behind a traumatic experience in the dog’s mind. Your dog can also develop fear and anxiety due to the collar which you may want to avoid.

Negative Association with Training

The thing you don’t want to happen to your dog is associating training with something bad. This can mostly happen if you don’t use the collar correctly or just force it upon your little bud. Make sure to use the right-suited collar on your dog to avoid any discomfort and show them extra affection when it’s on.

Misunderstanding Causality

Mixed signals are not what I am aiming for here. They may take the signal for something else and misunderstand it. Make sure to set the signals the dog understands and not the signals that are just pure Latin to them. Be concise and simple and you’ll eventually find success. 

Risk of Misuse

Using the shock collar without any proper knowledge about it is like dancing without knowing any steps. Do proper research before actually trying to use it because if not used properly, a shock collar can result in both the injury of your dog and also leave behind trauma.

Critical Development Period

Throwing tantrums is a part of growing up and using a shock collar on your dog during that phase can seriously mess up their development period. That’s why I recommend you first try manually setting their behavior and make the shock collar your last priority.

When can you use a Shock Collar on a puppy?

Now that we have discussed when a dog is old enough for a shock collar and also the pros and cons of using a shock collar, it’s time to discuss when your pup is old enough for a shock collar. This is the most important question during the whole conversation.

for puppy (1)

Personally, If I’m being honest, I will recommend you to wait for your pup’s development phase and be patient with him. Make the shock collar your last priority and resort to manual training first. If you can’t see any other options then make sure to use the shock collar with proper knowledge otherwise it will leave behind a painful experience and a trauma to deal with.

The recommended age for a dog to use a shock collar is at least 6 months when its development cycle is over.

Common Question:

Is it OK for an 8-month-old dog to use a shock collar?

Yes! After the initial development cycle which usually lasts at least 6 months, you can use the shock collar because, at this stage, dogs are usually more likely to understand the connection between the stimulation and how they are supposed to react.

Can a 2-month-old puppy wear a collar?

Yes, but you need to take a few cautions before you make your pup wear one. Be sure that it is soft and gentle. Also, you need to make sure that it is very comfortable otherwise your little friend is going to have a hard time getting used to it.

How painful is a shock collar?

A shock collar gives a sense of surprise more than a sense of pain. It is effective in catching the attention of your dog more than actually hurting him. The signal feels more like a static shock you may get from a doorknob than an actual shock you may get from an outlet.

Do vets recommend bark collars?

Some do but some are against it. Whatever the condition is, you need to first consult with your vet before you start using the bark collars.

How strong is a dog shock collar?

Shock collars are usually gentle but you can adjust them to different settings. It’s a good practice to first go gentle and then slowly turn up the intensity if needed.

What can I use instead of a shock collar?

If you have decided that the shock collars aren’t a right fit for you and your pup, there are other options you can try like manual training, some harnesses, and even some head collars. These options are also pretty effective when it comes to training your friend a certain way.


So that’s it! In this article, I discussed when a dog is old enough for a shock collar and when is a good time for you to get it on to him to behave a certain way. I discussed many things about e/shock collars in this article. Firstly, I discussed whether it’s even safe for your dog to wear one or not.

Secondly, I explained to you how you can even introduce it to your dog and make it feel like a lifestyle more than a training. The thing you need to remember during all of this is that patience is the key and slow and steady wins the race. Be slow but steady and you will get success pretty soon.

The third thing I told you was the pros and cons that come with using the shock collars and whether you can use them on puppies or not. 

I hope you liked this article and found it informative. Be sure to

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