Should You Leave a Shock Collar On a PUPPY? – What to Know

You have the essentials – a crate, doggy bed, food, and perhaps you have started the potty training phase.

Now you want to know if you can train your puppy with an electric fence collar.

He’s just a little guy, so should you leave a shock collar on a puppy like him, and if so, for how long?  

It is safe for a puppy to wear a shock collar for up to 4 hours without harm and up to 12 hours if checked periodically for comfort and fit.  

The name “shock collar” may be alarming, but rest assured, a computer collar, or E-collar, as it is also called, is not meant as a form of punishment but as a training tool.


Before opting for shock collar use, we strongly suggest obedience training as your first response to bad behavior.

Training your dog can prevent the potential stress of a shock collar, and is a more positive way of addressing unwanted behavior. 

A shock collar should only be considered if obedience training fails or if you have a stubborn, large, or aggressive dog.

While shock collars aren’t considered cruel, and have been used by trainers to get the attention of tough cases for decades, certain dogs may experience emotional distress.

Brain training techniques are a science-backed way to improve your dog’s behavior without the use of force or dominance!

How Long Should You Leave a Shock Collar on a Dog?

How Long Should You Leave A Shock Collar On A Dog
Most dogs can wear the collar for 8 to 10 hours per day without developing skin issues.

A shock collar is not meant to be worn 24/7.

But, if you readjust the neck strap and placement of the prongs every 4 hours you should be good to go for most of the day.

With proper adjustment of the collar, your dog should be able to wear a shock collar for up to 12 hours before possibly developing pressure sores (somewhat graphic content in link).

Pressure sores contain the following symptoms:

  • Bloodstained fur
  • Callused skin
  • Bald spots
  • Open wound
  • Pain

You should not leave a shock collar on your puppy without adjusting it and checking that the prongs are not cutting into his neck.

If the collar is cutting into his neck, it’s too tight.

As a rule, there should be about a finger’s width of space between your dog’s neck and the prongs on the collar.

Read our related article, How Long Can a Dog Wear a Shock Collar? for more about problems with leaving the collar on too long and proper usage.

Should I Use a Shock Collar on my Puppy?

Should I Use a Shock Collar on my Puppy
It’s best to avoid using a shock collar until your pup has mastered basic obedience commands.

The short answer is yes, you can use a shock collar on your puppy.

The long answer is, as long as you are careful of the age of your puppy and how many hours in the day he wears the collar (no more than 12 hours).

Keeping that in mind, it’s perfectly safe to put a shock collar on your puppy.

So when can a puppy start wearing a shock collar?

  • Some say as early as 10 weeks, but that is if you have a well-behaved puppy that no longer needs frequent reminders to obey. 
  • If your puppy has not yet formed a habit of obeying then, regardless of age, he may be confused or even traumatized by early training.
  • Most agree a puppy should be at least 3 ½ to 6 months old before training with an invisible fence collar, or shock collar.  
  • It’s recommended to use a shock collar only after your dog knows basic commands, such as come, heel, shake, etc. Only then is he ready to learn the new command to stay within his yard.

A puppy has a short attention span, and just as you would train a child, he has to be reminded to have good behavior.

If he is still ripping up Dad’s favorite house shoes then he is probably not ready for a shock collar.

As mentioned above, a computer collar is not meant to be worn 24/7.

If you readjust the neck strap and placement of the prongs every 4 hours, you should be good to go for most of the day.

How to Train your Puppy

How To Train Your Puppy
In general, the best practice is to teach puppies what to do through praise and rewards (positive reinforcement).

Once your puppy is of age and can follow basic commands, you are now ready to train your puppy with their E-collar.

Following are the steps to training your puppy with an electric dog fence shock collar.

  • Adjust the Shock Collar
  • Find the Collar Setting that is Best for your Puppy
  • Adjust the Invisible Fence Boundary
  • Reinforce Good Behavior through Traditional Forms of Training

Adjusting the Shock Collar

  • To set the shock collar, press the button on the receiver collar.  It should beep or light up, indicating that the collar is turned on.
  • Next, press the button again within 5 seconds to see on which level the collar is set. If it beeps or flashes 2 times – it is set on level 2. If it beeps or flashes 3 times – it is on level 3, and so on.
  • If you press the button again within 5 seconds the level will increase.
  • Once you get to the highest level pressing the button again will set it back to level one.

Finding the Collar Setting that is Best for your Puppy

  • To set the level of the invisible fence collar take your puppy to the fence boundary with the collar on his neck at the lowest setting
  • If your puppy continues through the fence line without pausing, increase the setting.
  • You will know you have found the right setting when your dog tilts his head inquisitively or stands at attention and follows through with obedience.    

Keep in mind that your goal is to get your dog’s attention before he feels any type of sensation, and he is never meant to feel pain.  

If your pup cowers or even yaps when shocked by the collar then it is set too high

Consistently using a shock collar on a puppy at too high a level can lead to a fretful worrisome pet.  

Read our related article, How to Adjust Invisible Fence Collar Strength, for a complete step-by-step guide to adjusting your pup’s collar intensity!

Adjusting the Invisible Fence Boundary

After setting the strength of the shock collar, you will set the distance between the alarm sounding and your puppy being shocked by the collar.  

You can adjust the signal at the transmitter box.

Keep in mind the fence should have at least 2 feet of space for your dog before he hears an alarm.

The more space the better if you want to avoid his being shocked.  

Check out the video below for details on how to set your fence boundary.

Reinforcing Good Behavior through Traditional Forms of Training

A shock collar is not meant to be used as the one and only form of training.

As mentioned earlier, you should see that your puppy is consistently obeying basic commands before introducing a training collar.

Your puppy should know first of all by the tone of your voice whether he is being a good boy.

There are a number of dog behavior resources available out there.

Try these tried and true methods first:

  • Reading books
  • Talking to your vet
  • Take an online training course 
  • Watch videos 

For those peskier puppy behaviors, try reading online forums about a specific training issue your puppy has.

The way to reinforce good behavior is to give your dog a reward when he uses the desired behavior.

If the way to your dog’s heart is through his stomach (as it is with most dogs), then give him a treat when he obeys.

Other forms of reward would be words of praise, a pat on the head, or even playing together with his favorite toy

Look out for reinforcing bad behavior with a reward.

An example of this would be tossing a treat when he barks or feeding her when she begs. Such actions will undo the hard work of collar training.


It takes patience and trust on both sides of the relationship when training your puppy.

With a kind but firm hand, you can lead him to grow in understanding of expected behavior.

Over time he will experience the freedom that comes with a safe and happy life and the freedom to run outside, with boundaries you are happy with of course.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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