An e-collar can be an effective training tool for reinforcing commands you give your hunting dog. The right collar will work when you need it to work without harming your hunting pal. Years ago, e-collars gained a bad reputation among dog trainers and animal rights activists, primarily because the collars were often used incorrectly to train dogs.

When you are training your hunting dog, you need to know the dog will respond correctly and immediately every time. The best e-collar for hunting dogs will work in conjunction with proper training to ensure that your dog follows commands when you need without causing harm.

Community Question: When did you introduce the e-collar to your hunting dog? (Please let everyone know in the comments section below.)

Choosing the best collar requires knowing what you want to do with the device and how you intend to train your dog. Most of the products on the market are not likely to meet the specialized needs of hunters, and quite a few are dangerous to hunting dogs.

Let’s face the facts; you will not head out to the field with a budget shotgun constructed of inferior materials hoping for a successful hunt. Why would you strap an unreliable, cheaply-made electronic collar on your dog’s neck and hope it works when needed?

Even the best e-collars on the market are no substitute for effective training, and most trainers will advise that you only introduce an e-collar once your dog has a firm grasp of basic commands (i.e. Come, Woah, Go To Kennel.. or the Best Hunting Dog Kennel). The collar should only be used for positive reinforcement of commands and never for punishing a disobedient animal.

What Is An E-Collar?

An e-collar is the modern version of a shock collar. Many e-collars have a shock function, but also include vibration and sound functions. In many instances, owners have found that sound and vibration are even more effective than shock when training dogs.

Today’s e-collars typically use rechargeable batteries that send an electrical current to two probes that rest against the dog’s skin. The trainer uses a handheld remote that sends a signal to the collar to energize the probes. Modern e-collars are smaller and weigh less than older designs but might be too bulky for small dogs and puppies.

How To Use An E-Collar For Training A Hunting Dog

Before you strap an e-collar on your new puppy, you’ll want to begin with basic training. Many trainers recommend a period of one to two months in which puppies are encouraged to use their natural instincts to chase and flush birds. Trainers should use lots of positive reinforcement anytime the puppy shows interest in chasing birds. This phase teaches the young dog that birds are fun.      

Slowly introduce gunshots to the training using pistol blanks in such a way so that the puppy associates gunshots with chasing birds and getting rewarded for the behavior. By reinforcing the natural instincts of the dog to chase birds, they will become used to the sound of guns and will associate the sound with having fun. From there, trainers can move on to more advanced training depending on the type of hunting they intend to do.

Only once the puppy has mastered the basics of training should an e-collar be introduced. At first, the dog should wear the collar, but the trainer should not turn the collar on. This way, the dog will not automatically begin to associate the collar with the noise or sensation; it will simply become another element of the process.

The e-collar is then used to provide the dog correction at longer distances. Remember, always couple positive reinforcement with the use of an e-collar. They should never be used for punishing a dog.

The Top Five E-Collar Brands for Hunting Dogs

These are the top-five brands on the market today making e-collars for dogs. Each brand has a proven track record of developing leading technology for safe, reliable, and effective e-collars and other training tools.

1. Garmin

Garmin is well-known for its highly-reliable GPS and navigation products. The company produces products ranging from navigation receivers for cars and trucks to smartwatches and some of the highest-quality dog e-collars on the market today. Garmin designs each product they sell to enhance the customer’s experiences in the field while providing durable solutions for outdoor adventures.

And if you're looking for the best Garmin e-collar for hunting, we have a great summary you should read!

2. SportDOG

SportDOG was created in 2003 by Radio Systems Corporation to produce the most durable electronic dog training products around. According to SportDOG, each product is developed in the field and extensively tested in the worst possible conditions, including rain, snow, mud, and heat. The team behind SportDOG are hunters who develop devices they want and need in the field. The dedication to producing quality equipment makes SportDOG one of the best brands for hunting e-collars.

3. D.T. Systems

D.T. Systems has one goal in mind with every product they develop; to produce a dog-tough and dog-tested device. Since 1983, Dallas, Texas-based D.T. Systems has created an extensive line of training tools for hunters to maximize training opportunities to help develop keen hunting instincts and reliable hunting dogs. The line of e-collars includes many well-regarded products available that are backed by a company with a vested interest in hunting.

4. Dogtra

Dogtra goes above and beyond to ensure high-quality electronic dog training tools. Each product is extensively tested by professional dog trainers, law enforcement K-9 trainers, and hunters to ensure excellent functionality, reliability, and safety. Dogtra certifies its electronic training tools with a number of top agencies and holds numerous patents for products they create. Dedication to innovation and robust customer support makes Dogtra a top pick for any hunter looking for the best e-collar.

5. Educator Collars

Educator Collars uses training techniques that include various stimulation types to help hunters teach their hunting dogs to respond rapidly. Patented technologies include “Pavlovian” tone and shock, medical-grade stimulation cycles, and combinations of tone, vibration, and shock to quickly teach hunting dogs to respond to commands through positive reinforcement. Educator Collars are designed and constructed in the U.S.

My Final Thoughts On Hunting E-Collars

Hunters looking for effective ways to reinforce training while ensuring their hunting dog remains within control in the field may find an e-collar effective. Remember that even the most powerful, reliable, and highest-quality e-collar is no substitute for proper training.

When an e-collar is used as part of a hunting dog’s training regimen, hunters will have confidence that their hard work will be rewarded with a dog that loves to hunt. 

For a blog about the Best Hunting Dog Breeds, we have that too!