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Introduction to the E-Collar: How to Teach an ‘Automatic Recall’ for Off-Leash Communication With Your Dog

This FREE e-collar lesson includes affiliate links to Amazon products I actually use and recommend to my clients. You won’t pay more, but if you make a purchase using one of my links, I will make a small commission. This post contains the full lesson plan I give to my e-collar training clients when they work with me. Happy Training!


Imagine a world where you can communicate effortlessly with your dog, even when they’re off-leash and exploring their surroundings. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, that’s precisely what the e-collar can help you achieve! Off-leash communication is essential for building trust and freedom between you and your furry companion. It allows them to enjoy their environment while still being responsive to your commands.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: “Is an e-collar safe and humane for my dog?” The answer is a resounding yes! When used correctly, the e-collar is one of the safest and most humane training tools available. It provides a way to communicate without the need for a leash, giving your dog the freedom they crave while ensuring their safety.

However, the key to success with an e-collar lies in properly introducing your dog to the sensation. This will ensure they don’t become scared or run away, but instead view the e-collar as a positive tool for communication. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of finding your dog’s “working level” and teach them to respond positively to the e-collar’s stimulation. So, let’s dive in and start building that strong, off-leash connection with your beloved pet!

Important Note

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of e-collar training, there’s an essential point we need to address. At this stage in your dog’s learning journey, it’s crucial to avoid using the e-collar for corrections. You might be wondering, “Why shouldn’t I correct my dog’s unwanted behavior with the e-collar right away?” The answer lies in preventing confusion and fear in your beloved pet.

See, when you first introduce the e-collar, your dog is still getting used to the sensation and associating it with positive experiences. If you suddenly use it to correct their behaviour, they may become confused and fearful of the stimulation. This can hinder their progress and cause them to spook when they feel the stimulation.

So, let’s focus on building a strong foundation of trust and communication first. Once your dog is comfortable with the e-collar sensation and responds positively to it, you can incorporate corrections as needed. Remember, our goal is to create an enjoyable and effective learning experience for both you and your furry friend!

What You’ll Need

To get started with e-collar training and teach your dog an automatic recall, you’ll need a few essential items. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my top recommendations for each product, which you can find through the affiliate links provided below.

1. Collar to Attach the Leash It’s important to use a separate flat collar to attach the leash during training, as the leash should never be clipped directly to the e-collar. This will help prevent any discomfort or strain on your dog’s neck. I use a prong collar when I’m working with clients, you can check out the brand I use and recommend here(affiliate link). (copy and paste)

2. Leash (6′ or longer) A 6-foot or longer leash is ideal for e-collar training, as it provides ample space for your dog to move around while still maintaining control. I’ve tried various leashes over the years, and this one here(affiliate link) has proven to be both durable and economical. (copy and paste)

3. E-Collar and Remote Choosing the right e-collar and remote is crucial for effective communication with your dog. Look for one that offers at least 100 levels and has a reliable connection. I highly recommend E-collar Technologies Mini Educator e-collar [here](affiliate link), as it has consistently delivered great results in my training sessions. (copy and paste)

Finding Your Dog’s Working Level

One of the most important aspects of e-collar training is finding your dog’s working level – the ideal stimulation setting that effectively communicates with your dog without causing discomfort. To do this, you’ll need to pay close attention to your dog’s reactions and determine the appropriate level for them.

Look for signs of sensation (ear twitch, head shake, blinking etc.)

With your leash attached to the collar (not the e-collar), observe your dog closely as you press the button on the remote. Dial up one or two levels at a time if you don’t think they’re feeling anything. As they feel the sensation, they might exhibit signs like an ear twitch, a head shake, or looking at the ground. Any change in their behaviour can indicate that they’re feeling the stimulation. It’s essential to recognize these subtle cues, as they will help you find the right working level for your dog.

Determine the appropriate level for your dog

If your dog consistently offers the same response to the stimulation, it’s a good indication that you’ve found their working level. Remember to praise your dog when they show any signs of feeling the sensation, and celebrate if they come directly to you. Using food rewards helps to expedite the positive experience.

Finding your dog’s working level is a crucial step in e-collar training, as it ensures that you’re communicating effectively and comfortably with your pet. With patience and keen observation, you’ll soon have a solid foundation for building a strong off-leash connection with your furry friend.

Lesson: Teaching Automatic Recall with the E-Collar

Now that you’ve found your dog’s working level, it’s time to teach them automatic recall using the e-collar. This lesson will help your dog learn to respond promptly and positively to the e-collar stimulation, creating a reliable off-leash connection.

  1. Allow your dog to move out in front and become slightly disengaged. With the leash attached to the flat collar, let your dog move out in front of you and become a little disengaged from you. This will create the perfect scenario for teaching recall.
  2. Press the black button on the remote until the dog moves toward you and use the leash to gently guide them in your direction. Press the black button on the remote until they start moving toward you. If needed, use the leash to gently guide them in your direction. The goal is to encourage them to come to you willingly when they feel the e-collar stimulation. Do not use any verbal command. At this stage, your dog is learning the language of the e-collar and using any verbal cue can cause confusion or can require higher levels to cut through the distraction.
  3. Praise and celebrate your dog’s response. Using food rewards helps make this a positive association quickly. As soon as your dog makes even the slightest movement in your direction, praise them enthusiastically! When they come directly to you, make sure to celebrate their success. Incorporating food rewards during this process can help create a positive association with the e-collar stimulation more quickly. Follow these steps even if your dog becomes distracted on the way back to you, just start over from step 1 and repeat the following steps until your dog comes back to you. No need to tell your dog “no” or correct at this stage, this is why your dog is on leash.

Repeat this lesson 2 to 5 times per day for no more than 5 minutes each time to prevent boredom Before you know it, your dog will learn to respond automatically to the e-collar stimulation with a prompt recall. Remember to be patient and consistent in your training sessions, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying off-leash adventures with your furry friend!


As we wrap up this guide on e-collar training, it’s essential to emphasize the importance of patience and consistency in your training sessions. By taking the time to find your dog’s working level and teaching them an “automatic recall”, you’re building a strong foundation for future e-collar training endeavours.

E-collar training is more than just a tool for correcting unwanted behaviours – it’s an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend through effective communication. When done correctly, e-collar training can significantly enhance your dog’s quality of life and provide you both with the freedom to explore the world off-leash, knowing that you can rely on each other when it matters most.

Remember, the journey to successful e-collar training may have its challenges, but with dedication, understanding, and a focus on creating positive experiences, you’ll be well on your way to forging an even stronger connection with your beloved pet. Happy training!

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