Question: What is the best training collar for large dogs? My working line German shepherd dog (GSD) is a little stubborn. He needs a heavy duty dog collar or harness for leash training an extra large dog.
My GSD is a working line dog and is a handful at times. I have found three awesome training collars for big dogs like my German shepherd.
Each collar is a tool that solves a specific problem.
Example: Does you dog pull? Get a prong collar. Is your dog aggressive? Get a dominate collar. Are you teaching off-leash skills and obedience? Get a remote collar.
There is no one-size-fits-all-solution.
But each collar is very effective if the dog is trained to understand how to turn off the pressure sensation associated with the collar.
Best aggressive dog training collar: Dominate dog collar
This is a fitted slip collar, which sits high on the neck under the jaw and behind the ears. Proper placement is essential.
A dominate dog collar provides control of the dog’s head. It is the only collar that works well with aggressive dogs.
This collar does NOT require hard yanks to correct a dog. It requires the handler to pull up slightly until the dog settles and is no longer acting aggressive.
I have had good luck with Redline K9’s dominant dog collar. It comes in lengths ranging from 13 to 30 inches in 1 inch increments. It is made from nylon, with metal hardware.
I use this collar mainly as a backup, security collar connected to a Herm Springer prong collar for walks.
Pros: Very effective collar for aggressive dogs. Great backup collar for pinch collar. Prevents escape from the collar.
Cons: Puts a lot of pressure on the dog’s trachea if not fitted correctly and the dog pulls. Can take the drive out of a dog.
Best dog walking training collar: Prong collar
The prong collar also known as a pinch collar is one of the best collars for dogs that pull.
A prong collar has little points around it. The points push into the skin uniformly around the dog’s neck. (Like the slip lead, the pinch collar needs to fit high on the neck.)
With any spiked training collar, the dog needs to be taught how to turn the pressure off before using this as a training tool.
Once the dog learns how to turn the pressure off, the pinch collar is like having power steering on the dog.
When the dog starts to pull, the collar tightens and the points push into the skin. The dog feels the correction and stops pulling.
These collars do NOT require yanking or pulling hard on the leash. They require a gentle touch.
Note: The Herm Springer prong collar is the best spiked collars for dog training. Herm Springer’s quality is top notch and is superior to any of the pinch collars at the pet-type box stores.
Pros: Very effective collar for dogs that pull.
Cons: Tricky to get on and off. Requires a backup collar. Can excite or shutdown sensitive, fearful, or aggressive dogs.
Best off-leash training collar for large dogs: Remote collar
The electronic dog leash is also known as a remote collar, shock collar, or e-collar.
This collar provides an electrical stimulation to communicate with the dog. Stimulation settings vary between electronic dog leashes, but the lowest level of stimulation for the situation is the right amount.
For example, I use a Mini Educator, which is made by E-Collar Technologies. Its stimulation ranges between level 1 to 100. My GSD trains at level 4 in the house, level 8 outside, and level 15 under heavy distractions.
For fun, I tried this device on myself beforehand. I couldn’t feel the stimulation until it was at level 15, which is the highest level my dog has been exposed to.
The stimulation feels similar to what you would feel with a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine. It doesn’t hurt.
The key with a remote collar is to condition the dog to the collar. Do NOT just put it on the dog and start stimulating him/her without teaching the dog how to turn the stimulation off. That’s unfair to the animal. (Here’s an awesome video on how to condition the dog to the collar.)
The remote collar is my favorite tool. I think it is the most humane training collar. When properly conditioned, a dog requires very little stimulation and understands he/she is not doing the right thing.
A remote collar is the best dog leash for hiking and reinforcing obedience.
Note: I have two e-collars for comparison — a Pet Trainer and a Mini Educator.
The Mini Educator, which cost considerably more than the Pet Trainer, is worth the money. The stimulation feels more refined, is consistent, and can be adjusted more incrementally.
Pros: Very effective training collar for large dogs, especially for being trained for off-leash work, and perfecting obedience.
Cons: Stigma associated with “shock” collars. Expensive.