Most people assume that electronic collars are only for problem dogs, but the truth is even the softest dogs can be trained very effectively with an electronic collar.
If 100% reliability is also a part of the training requirements that you want for your dog then electronic collars are your very best choice.
Don’t go out and buy the cheapest collar that you can find. There is a huge difference in the quality of the collars that are available. A good electronic collar absolutely MUST be rechargeable. The ones that take batteries don’t last nearly as long as the rechargeable collars. There is also a huge difference in the stimulation that is delivered with the rechargeable collars having softer and better graduated increments in the levels.
Most of the criticism of electronic collars is based on the assumption that the collar is used only to punish a dog for doing something wrong. This is not the most effective way to train a dog because the dog quickly learns that the collar is responsible for the punishment and will quickly go back to the bad habits you are trying to stop.
Electronic collar training is better understood as a form of communication. Consider that not all communication is verbal. A lot of communication is visual and some of it is also tactile.
Tactile stimulation is often merely a tap on the shoulder or even a caress. Electronic collar training is the best form of tactile stimulation and because of this it has been used for deaf dogs with great success. Because the levels of electronic collars can be easily adjusted the collar can be most effective when used in the most distracting environments
A best way to train a dog with an electronic collar is to train in conjunction with positive reinforcers like food. If the dog is trained with a level that feels little more than a mosquito bite and with the addition of food, all dogs can be easily and happily trained with an electronic collar. In this form of training the dog is trained to perform in a reliable, gentle way. The dog is shown that coming back to the owner is the way to stop the stimulation from occurring and from there every other behaviour is added to the training repertoire. Training includes not pulling on the leash, sitting quickly when the owner stops and one of the best things it includes is place. Place means that the dog will not leave a designated spot even if someone is at the door. In my house we have to be very careful if we are handling our electronic collars because our dogs absolutely love them. All their training has been done in a positive way, often using food or toys as rewards.
When it comes to reliability nothing quite compares to electronic collar training.