How long can my dog wear a correction collar?
The general rule is to stay within a 12-hour window of use with regular adjustments to the position of the collar.
The correction collar uses two contact points in order to send the static correction when a dog reaches its boundary.
It’s these standing posts that can cause irritation in a dog’s neck, so knowledge of general care procedures will help avoid potential harm to your dog.
In this article, we’ll be going over the proper care of invisible fence dog collars along with potential risks from misuse.
Before opting for shock collars, we recommend obedience training as your initial response to bad behavior.
Training your dog can prevent the potential stress of a shock collar, and is a positive way of deterring unwanted behavior.
A shock collar should be a last resort and only considered if obedience training fails or if you have a very stubborn, large, or aggressive dog.
While shock collars aren’t innately harmful, for certain dogs they can cause emotional distress.
Check out brain training techniques, a science-backed way to improve your dog’s behavior without the use of force or dominance!
How Long Can a Dog Wear an Invisible Fence Collar?
Skin irritation from a dog collar is something to be conscious of in all types of pet containment systems.
Higher-end products may boast longer hours of usage, but it is still recommended to remove the collar at night to prevent the risk of rash or worse.
Each dog collar is going to have its own set of instructions as to care for the collar, so following the guidelines outlined in the instruction manual is the best procedure.
When it comes to general care though, a simple checklist can be made.
Checklist for Shock Collar Care:
- Try to keep the use of the collar down to 12 hours at a time
- Wash the collar and keep your dog’s neck clear of debris/dirt regularly
- Shift the collar often to rotate the contact posts stimulating different areas
The reason there can be issues when using correction collars is that it is easy to confuse the correction collar with that of a standard one.
The shock collar should really only be used when your four-legged friend is out and about in the yard.
If you decide to keep the collar on, it is recommended as well as ideal for a dog’s protection and health to remove the collar every 8-12 hours.
See our related article, Should I Leave My Dog’s Collar On at Night? We explore the pros and cons of keeping your dog’s collar on and taking it off!
Rare Instances to Be Considered
Metal allergies are also something to consider before purchasing an invisible fence system.
Certain dogs are allergic to metals, just like humans, which would pretty much be a game-changer in the introduction of the wireless containment system to a yard.
Metal collar allergies are more common in hairless or short-haired dogs but are often difficult to diagnose without veterinary procedures.
Diagnosis of this condition can be determined by the local vet using a series of patches that test the symptoms.
12 Hours is Not Long Enough!
In cases where dogs need to be let out for longer periods of time, alternative guidelines can be followed.
Exceptional care should be taken following the use of the collar which would require deep cleaning around the neck area.
Keep a look out and stop use if there are signs of irritation and alternate using different methods of containing your dog.
If letting your dog out for longer periods of time is unavoidable then the best solution is going to be alternating with the use of the ol’ leash and tether.
This will also help with appreciation of the freedom gained when your dog is out bounding around the yard.
Use in Tandem With a Dog Tie-Out
Dog tie-outs are great for cases where the dog loves to be outdoors but has zero contained areas to play in.
This is a way to relieve stress from wearing the correction collar too much while also teaching the pup to appreciate the freedoms offered from its invisible fence.
Signs the Collar is Being Worn too Much
There are generally two categories that incorrect collar use will fall under.
- One includes general collar chafing, which can happen with any and all dog collars.
- The other is pressure necrosis or a series of ulcers that can develop over time.
Read More: My Dog Runs Through the Invisible Fence. Here’s what to do if your dog escapes your yard!
Collar Chafing Signs
Signs of collar chafing are going to include skin rash symptoms that look like general rope burn, and loss of fur around the neck.
Dogs are playful beings in general so the risk of collar harm is standard, but the typical factors of collar chafing are:
- Wrong collar size
- Dirt caught up inside the collar
- Pinching where the collar attaches
- Too Loose
- Too Tight
- Pulling and Tugging
Pressure Necrosis Symptoms
Shock collars are a little more involved than standard collars, which are simply used to hold the dog.
The electrical components to the correction collar have been known to cause problems if not used correctly.
At first, the question arises that these sores could be from electrical shock.
However, the shock itself is not enough to cause skin irritation in medium-sized to large dogs.
Pressure necrosis is essentially a symptom caused by collar chafing, but is specific to one area due to the nature of the static correction collar.
Since this is a standard concern with all containment system collars the general care and use will be outlined in their respective instruction manuals.
Here are the general care instructions for static correction collars:
- Use for up to 12 hours a day
- Adjust collar every 3-4 hours
- Keep the collar and area around the neck clean
- The collar should be snug, but not too tight
Additionally, when training a dog on the containment system they will often require general guiding with a leash.
Keep in mind that E-Collars are not meant to be used with leashes, so make sure to use a standard collar with the leash.
Case of the Week
WARNING: Graphic and potentially disturbing content ahead.
For a better understanding of shock collar sores, this bobtown case of the week article highlights a fairly severe – though rare – case (bypass this link to avoid medical photos).
The collar that this specific dog had been wearing, was worn at all times and caused swollen wounds on the neck.
Apparently, these weren’t noticeable at first, but are very clear after fur is removed around the neck.
The veterinarian does make note that dogs have been known to run past boundaries of wired dog fences, but explains these marks can be avoided with proper use of the collar.
Read More: Are Wireless Dog Fences Safe? Learn more about wireless dog fences, their effectiveness, and safety from the experts at BarkVa!
General Tips for Collar Sores
If sores appear from shock collar use, they should be treated to ensure they do not worsen.
Veterinary Tech, Debi Matlack covers general care of collar sores on the PetCoach website.
- Use of a warm washcloth will be essential to promoting drainage of the area.
- Apply a warm washcloth for 5-10 minutes about 2-3 times a day.
- Make sure to dry the area after cleaning it out, and apply antimicrobial preparation to the wound after completed.
As with most cases, it is important to see a vet if the conditions do not improve with time.
Read More: Why Do Dogs Lick Wounds of Other Dogs? If your dog is injured by its collar, you may notice your other dog licking the wounds or infection. Here’s why the behavior happens and how to prevent it.
Clues to Shock Collar Issues
Dogs can be like our kids, and when something is wrong with them the owner can often sense it.
Trust your instincts when it comes to collar use. Pay attention to your dog to see if any issues arise.
If your dog is showing some of these symptoms it might be time to take a weekend off of the collar to see if there is an improvement in overall health.
Symptoms to Look for:
- Loss of appetite
- Fever and other flu-like symptoms
Cheap Products Raise Bigger Risks
There are a number of brands on the market that claim to be everything one needs at a reduced price.
Oftentimes these cheaper products have not been tested properly and can raise quite a few concerns.
The Dogline, notes these brands listed below as trusted and tested pet containment devices.
- Pet Barrier
- Sport Dog
- Dog Watch
What to Do if the Area Under the Collar is Showing Soreness
The best thing to do is to take a break from the correction collar anytime there are signs of soreness.
This will help the dog understand that they are not in trouble and that care is given to their general well-being.
The owner may have to revert to a traditional leash and tether system to contain their dog within the yard.
It is recommended to regularly check under the fur for protrusion marks caused by the contact probes or rope-burn-like marks that could be caused by a tight collar.
These sores will need to be washed regularly with a damp cloth, and the pet should be given lots of belly rubs and treats to remind them that they are very loved.
Upkeep of the Fence System
Patchy systems can cause confusion to the dog which could result in misuse of the collar.
Dogs can alternatively be very clever and learn of breakpoints in the system to escape the boundaries set.
Therefore, it is critical to maintain connections within the invisible dog fence system to prolong the Invisible Fence system lifespan.
There are simple steps that can be taken in order to maximize the benefits of invisible fence use. Primarily these will involve general care.
Much like installing a standard wooden fence that requires pressure washing and occasional re-application of a stain.
General care will not only improve the functionality of the system, but general care also increases the consistency of the effectiveness of the dog fence.
One of the primary concerns regarding pet containment systems is if the dog steps past the boundary.
Once they step past, they are given a static shock when walking past as well as when trying to enter back in.
The best way to answer general questions about invisible fence use is with proper training on how to use an electric dog fence.
Electric Fence Dog Training
Frustration generally comes with impatience or lack of knowledge on how to use a correction collar.
By gaining a general understanding of containment system problems, and how to avoid problems, the dog owner will gain a general peace of mind using the system.
This is the type of confidence a dog will need, as dogs can be very perceptive to the owner’s feelings.
Here is a video that shows you how to properly use a PetSafe electric fence collar:
Professional Training for Invisible Fence Systems
The Invisible Fence brand offers complete training included with the installation of their electric dog fences.
For a well-rounded experience in dog fence system installation, this is the way to go.
Some trainers also offer courses for both the dog and owner that will ensure success.
For other systems, searching for general dog trainers should be just fine to achieve similar results.
The Certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant Directory, ccpdt.org is an excellent resource for dog trainers in all areas.
The CCPDT website has an extensive dog trainer directory that covers most regions in the United States.
It also provides instructions on finding the right dog trainer, case by case.
Sizing, snug fit, and daily removal of the collar are all going to help with your pet’s happiness and health.
12 hours is the rule of thumb for removal of the collar, as well as alternating with a leash and tether to be the ultimate solution for outdoor-loving dogs.
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