How to Fit an Electric Dog Collar

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Proper functioning of an electronic collar requires correct fitting. Electric collars work by sending a shock through the prongs to the dog, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The electric current needs adequate contact between the neck’s skin and the prongs to give a shock. Electric fence or containment collars send a signal if the dog approaches the wire. Anti-bark collars sends a signal in response to noise or throat vibration when the dog barks. Training collars emit a shock when the handler presses a control. All the collars require proper fitting.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Scissors, shears or clippers (optional)
  • Electronic collar

Use a tape measure to determine the correct collar to purchase. Measure high on your dog’s neck and add 2 inches for proper length, according to PetEducation. To obtain accurate measurements, part the dog's hair or clip the ruff from the collar area. Purchase an electronic collar in that length or longer. Some manufacturers produce adjustable collars that buyers cut down to size. If available, select a collar with various prong lengths for dogs with long or heavy ruff hairs.

Prepare your dog’s neck for the collar. Examine the neck for signs of injury, abrasions or cuts. Wait until any damaged skin heals before fitting the collar. Comb or brush the hair. With heavy ruffed dogs or with short prongs, trim, clip or cut the hair short where the collar sits on the neck. Measure the width of the collar and shorten the hair high on the neck, under the jaw. Clean the neck to reduce irritation risks.

Place the collar around the neck, fastening it to prevent excessive slippage and to ensure the metal conductors make contact with the skin. Feel the prongs to make sure the skin to prong contact remains when the collar moves. Do not tighten it in a way that impairs any movement by the collar or restricts the neck from bending. If necessary, add holes or adjust the collar length. Manufacturers often sell replacement nylon collars if your dog gains weight, increases muscles, grows or you need a different length, according to Vetinfo.

Maintain proper fit by checking the collar for necessary adjustments at least weekly. Replace lost or damaged posts and tighten posts to ensure the collar continues to fit correctly. Check snugness weekly to make sure of consistent contact between the skin and metal conductors and to adjust if the collar becomes too tight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean the neck and metal prongs routinely to avoid skin irritation, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
  • Electronic collars cause irritation and damage if left on for extended time.
  • Collars left on dogs while crated pose choking dangers from catching on the crate.
  • Consult with your veterinarian about using an electronic collar on your dog. Some breeds and small dogs may receive serious harm from using electric shock.

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