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How to Pick the Right E-Collar for Your Dog

By SportDOG™ Staff

The number of great choices in remote training collars, or “e-collars,” can be overwhelming to the dog owner who is looking to make his or her first purchase or upgrade from an older model. SportDOG Brand® offers e-collars that range from very basic for obedience work around the yard all the way up to advanced, long-range models to control dogs that may be hunting, literally, miles away. Take the time to do your research and ask yourself some questions. You’ll find that picking the right model is much easier than you originally thought.

Which breed?

While any SportDOG collar can be used with any breed, certain models have features specifically designed for training and hunting with retrievers, pointing dogs, or hounds. The WetlandHunter® is engineered with waterfowl dogs in mind. The UplandHunter® has features preferred by pointing dog owners. And the HoundHunter® model is built for the rugged sport of hunting with tracking dogs. Additional models include the YardTrainer for close-range obedience training; the FieldTrainer®, a versatile system for close-working field dogs; and the very popular SportHunter® Series, a jack of all trade that works well for many dogs.

Any type of dog can end up in any type of weather, water, or terrain, so SportDOG guarantees all of its collar receivers to be 100% waterproof. Except for a couple of models in the YardTrainer Series, the Transmitters are waterproof as well. So, as you shop for your remote training system, don’t worry about whether your new purchase can handle rough outings. Instead, focus on which ones have the features that best fit your style of training and hunting.

How Far?

All SportDOG Brand collars have a designated operating range. It’s important to understand the meaning of the range ratings. To use the SportHunter Series as an example, it is available as a Model SD-825, Model SD-1225, and Model SD-1825. Their operating ranges are ½-mile, ¾-mile, and 1 mile, respectively. While ½-mile sounds like a very long distance, keep in mind that many variables affect how far away the collar can receive a signal from the Transmitter. The stated ranges are based on “line of sight.” That means you can expect good performance at the stated range on flat terrain with no obstacles between the Transmitter and Collar Receiver.

If you have a retriever that you use only as a flushing dog for pheasant hunting, the Model SD-825 might very well be all you need. But if that same dog does double-duty as a waterfowl retriever, consider some other scenarios. What if you need to get his attention when he takes off after a wing-tipped mallard that glides down in some thick cattails three football fields away from your boat? You’ll probably feel more comfortable knowing you have the extra reach of the Model SD-1225 or Model SD-1825, just in case. There’s really no such thing as “too much” range when it comes to a remote trainer.

Range and type of dog are two variables that are intertwined. Consider how and where you plan to use your dog. A grouse and woodcock hunter who likes his German shorthair to hunt relatively close in the thick woods of the Upper Midwest may do just fine with a shorter-range product. But a hunter whose passion is hunting quail in the Arizona desert behind big-running English pointers definitely wants to reach for something with a mile of range such as the UplandHunter Model SD-1875, which includes a remote-operated Beeper that attaches to the collar strap.

For hound owners, the obvious choices are the models in the 2-mile-range category, which include the ProHunter® Model SD-2525 and HoundHunter Model SD-3225. The ProHunter is a favorite of retriever and pointing dog field trialers as well, owing to the very long distances and variable terrain in which they run their dogs.

How Many?

With just a few exceptions, SportDOG Brand collars provide the option of letting you control two, three, or even more collars from the same Transmitter. Add-A-Dog® collars can be paired up with a Transmitter at any time, so if you decide after your initial purchase that you want to hunt with another dog, simply get an Add-A-Dog collar, set it up to respond to your Transmitter and you’re all set.

Other Options?

Remote training systems are no longer limited to making corrections and reinforcing commands. SportDOG Brand offers all sorts of options that make training and hunting simpler. The audible beeper on the Model SD-1875 can be purchased separately and used with a number of other Transmitters. For the hunter or trainer who wants it all, the TEK 2.0 Tracking + E-Collar System is the new standard for keeping tabs on hounds or far-ranging pointing dogs from up to 10 miles. Its Handheld is a GPS with mapping that also lets you reach out and make a correction at long distances.

While it’s exciting to see how far technology has brought remote training collars, making a purchase can be a bit intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. Ask yourself the above questions to narrow down the choices. Research the training articles and videos provided by the SportDOG pros and staff found at, then make your selection with confidence.

The majority of SportDOG Brand products come with a training manual and DVD. Reading and watching this instruction will help you train a dog you can be proud of.