Characteristics of electronic training collars for dogs

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Abstract

A wide range of electronic dog training collars (e-collars) is available in the UK, but information enabling purchasers to compare the important characteristics of these collars is not available. In this research, the electrical characteristics of 13 e-collar models were examined, and an approach to ranking the strength of the electrical stimuli was developed. To achieve this, the electrical impedance of dogs' necks were measured so that e-collars could be tested under realistic conditions. This impedance was found to be about 10 kΩ for wet dogs and 640 kΩ for dry dogs. Two replicates of eight e-collar models and single copies of a further five models were then examined. The stimuli generated by these collars comprised sequences of short high-voltage pulses. There were large differences between e-collar models in the energy, peak voltage, number of pulses and duration of the pulses, but little variation between the replicates. The peak voltage varied with the impedance, from 6000V at an impedance of 500 kΩ to 100V at 5 kΩ. The highest voltages were generated for a few millionths of a second. Stimulus energy levels at the maximum strength setting with a 50 kΩ load ranged from 3.3 mJ to 287 mJ. A stimulus strength ranking indicator was then developed to enable the strengths of e-collars with diverse electrical characteristics to be ranked. This ranking shows a wide range in the stimulus strengths of collars, and that the relationships between ‘momentary’ and ‘continuous’ stimuli for various models differ significantly.

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