What is Static Stimulation?

Static stimulation is a very mild, harmless electric stimulation that gets your pet's attention. Pets experience a light tingling sensation on the skin that gets their attention or startles them and interrupts their behaviour. Electronic collars and other static products are training aids that allow you to redirect and teach your pet safely and effectively.


Surprising but not Painful

Imagine a slight tickle or the light static-like surprise of touching a metal doorknob. Training collars and other products that use electric stimulation are actually quite mild when set at low levels--and most pets learn easily at the lower levels. They work so well because they get your pet's attention, similar to a tap on the shoulder to remind your pet to pay attention to you. The surprise of the electric stimulation is often underestimated as an important learning tool. When properly introduced and used, surprisingly low levels of stimulation can cause inattentive or stubborn dogs to learn commands quickly.1

Gentle yet Effective

Static collars have contact points, also called probes, which gently deliver a mild electric stimulation to the skin. Pets experience a tingling sensation that startles them and interrupts their behaviour. When used according to the training guide, teaching your pet the right behaviour is quick and easy. There are also static mats that can be placed in "off-limit" areas that deliver stimulation when stepped on. Read more about collars and pet proofing mats below.

A Harmless, Humane Approach

Most pets can be taught quickly using electric stimulation products. And once they learn, they rarely need to experience the static stimulation again. The outdated terms "shock" or "shock collar" are incorrect given that today's collars/products have advanced technology to maximize safety and minimize the sensations for your pet. In addition, most products include features that warn the pet with an audible tone or a vibration prior to the static stimulation. For many pets, the tone or vibration is enough to remind them of what they've learned. Properly performed electronic training can be very beneficial and useful in building confidence in your pet.1 Once pets understand the purpose of training, they will often become eager to learn.

Finding the "Just Right" Level of Electric Stimulation

Training your pet begins with setting the collar at the lowest levels. When stimulation is delivered look for just a small, curious reaction, maybe even something as slight as the ears rising a little, or the head tilting. The right stimulation level is just enough to get your pet's attention. The stimulation level and pet reaction will be slightly different for every product; browse our product manuals for more specific directions.

With very low levels of stimulation and a usually short amount of time for dogs or cats to learn, they can quickly enjoy more freedom and a better quality of life in a safer environment. They can happily focus on running and playing rather than inappropriate digging, barking, climbing, etc. That means less time worrying and more time wagging or purring!

Recommended by Vets and Trainers

Research supports electric stimulation as a humane training aid: one study on bark control collars found there were absolutely no lingering psychological effects on dogs.2 When used properly, electric stimulation produces fast and reliable learning, without causing physical or emotional trauma to your pet.1 That is why many respected vets and trainers support static stimulation as a trustworthy, effective training tool. Now you can safely give your pets the guidance they need to be the best-behaved pets they can be!

Regulated and Humane Option

The Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association (ECMA) is a trade association whose objectives are to constantly improve companion animal training technology and techniques, and also to ensure the welfare and quality of life of companion animals. Radio Systems Corporation, parent company of the PetSafe brand, is a proud member of ECMA and shares its goals of promoting the well-being of pets and improving the communication and harmony between pets and their owners. As a member of ECMA, PetSafe is dedicated to promoting the safe and responsible use of electronic collars and other static products to preserve and strengthen bonds between people and their pets.

Please refer to your local legislation regarding electronic training devices.

Top 10 Questions About Static Stimulation

You'd be surprised at how many people don't understand static stimulation. In a recent survey of over 1,000 pet owners, 97% had misconceptions about how it works or how to use static to train their pets. Get the facts about static stimulation!

1) What is Static Stimulation?

Static stimulation is a very mild, harmless electric stimulation that gets your pet's attention. Pets experience a light tingling sensation on their skin that startles them and interrupts their behaviour. Static collars or other products are training aids that allow you to redirect and teach your pet safely and effectively.

2) Are static products humane?

Many veterinarians, trainers, and animal welfare organizations recommend humane static stimulation products. In one survey, 80% of veterinarians said they would recommend electronic training devices in many cases.4

Electronic collars and other products are completely safe, humane aids to help you train your pet. Your pet should respond to a correction with perked ears or a tilted head, nothing more. With any training tool, static or otherwise, if you don't use it correctly or teach your pet properly, your pet could react negatively.

3) Is it like a shock collar?

"Shock" or "shock collar" are outdated terms that don't apply to modern static collars/products. PetSafe static products are designed with the most advanced technology, with mild levels of adjustable stimulation and a variety of safety features.

4) Are static products only used as a last resort, when other methods have failed?

An estimated 50–70% of all dog and cat euthanasia in shelters is the result of behaviour problems, and many are potentially resolvable.5 Electronic collars and other static products can help preserve and strengthen bonds between people and their pets. They can help you get a better behaved pet quickly and safely. You can see results much faster, sometimes within days. Other training tools, such as treats or choke chains, may take weeks or months, and may not necessarily be more effective or more humane. They are recognized as safe, effective training tools that can be used with a variety of training programs and methods.

Training products that use electric stimulation are among many tools in your dog training toolbox. Static products are safe, gentle, and effective for many pets. Before using any product or beginning any training program, carefully analyse the reasons for your pet's misbehaviour to be sure you are using the best method for your pet.

Static products allow you to keep your pets safe and discourage their bad behaviour, helping your pets be better members of the family and better citizens in the community. For best results, it's important to follow the instructions and be consistent with your training. When used correctly, static products can be used for things such as:

Still not convinced? Watch how our bark control collar helped Mike and his loud dog Diego.

5) Will static harm my pet?

Static stimulation has been proven safe and will not harm your pet. It is a very mild electric pulse that does not cause harm. The correction is designed to gently get your pet's attention or interrupt undesirable behaviour but never to harm them. Most PetSafe static training products start with a warning beep, which is enough to remind most pets of what they've learned. When trained correctly, they rarely experience the electric stimulation again.

Rumours that electronic collars can cause electrical burns on a pet's neck are completely untrue and impossible. The stimulation does not last long enough, nor is it powerful enough to cause burns. However, your pet's skin can get irritated from the contact points rubbing against it for prolonged periods of time. Both standard and electronic collars that don't fit properly or are left on dogs for more than 12 hours at a time can cause a condition called pressure necrosis. Pressure necrosis can leave marks that look like burns but are actually pressure ulcers that resemble bed sores. Our recommendation is that electronic collars be worn for no more than 12 hours at a time and that owners check frequently to make sure there is no skin irritation from the probes. Read more about collar safety.

6) Do static products work for every pet?

Just like people, every pet is unique. What works for your Chihuahua might not work for your Labrador mix, and what works for your friend's or neighbour's pet might not work for yours. However, you should never use static products on pets that are aggressive, sick, pregnant, or under 6 months old.

There are two main factors with any training method: pet temperament and training consistency. Dogs who are stubborn and difficult to train usually learn better with static training aids. Dogs who are easy to train or timid might respond well to treat training, clicker training, or electronic collars with spray, vibration, or tone.

Consistency is the other key to training your pet. You can't expect your pet to have consistent behaviour if you don't give consistent and timely commands. Timing is closely linked with consistency.

7) Are there different kinds of electronic collars?

Static stimulation products are only one kind of electronic collar. PetSafe offers electronic collars that use spray, static, vibration, and ultrasonic. They can be used to reduce barking, to keep your pet safe in your yard, or to teach general obedience. Compared to other brands, our products are industry leaders in safety and effectiveness. Our collars are specially designed and tested for safety and comfort, with no negative long-term effects.

8) Can anyone use static products? Are they hard to figure out?

With any form of training, it is important that the trainer be well-informed of proper use of all tools and methodologies. When used correctly, electric stimulation products can be very effective training tools.5

Static products can be a handy tool in your training toolbox. They work well with various training methodologies and can be especially useful in situations where you are worried about you or your pet's safety. Before beginning use of any training product, carefully read and understand the user guide. If you are unsure whether one of our products is appropriate for your pet, please consult your local veterinarian, a certified trainer, or a PetSafe Customer Care representative.

We make it easy for you to become a trainer at home. From detailed user guides, step-by-step video tutorials, and live customer support, we can help you teach yourself the ins-and-outs of training your pet. Browse our education topics to get started. Or see for yourself how pet owners use static products every day to make their homes more pet-friendly.

9) Should the collar be used with high or low levels at first?

Proper levels of static stimulation can be described using three simple terms: "too high, too low and just right". While electric stimulation levels in modern collars are safe at all levels, it is important to determine the "just right" level for your pet. Behaviourally-activated products are automatic; some bark collars start at the lowest level automatically and increase as your dog continues to bark until the barking stops. Trainer-operated products require you to perform a minimum recognition test to find just the right level for your pet. Start at the lowest level and watch your dog carefully for any response. Look for perked ears or a tilted head. If your pet barks/meows or reacts with fear, anxiety, or aggression, the level is too high. You don't want your pet to be afraid, you just want to get their attention.

10) Do static products really work?

Static products are highly effective for most pets with proper training. Whether you want to keep your cat from jumping on your kitchen counters or get your dog to stop barking at squirrels, the stimulation is gentle but effective at getting your pet's attention. It's a great way to train your pet reliably. While electric stimulation has proven to be the most effective correction type for even stubborn dogs, other electronic collars with spray, ultrasonic, or vibration are also effective for many pets.


1 Lindsay, Stephen R. 2005. "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Volume Three: Procedures and Protocols." Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
2 Steiss, J.E., Schaffer, C., Ahmad, H.A., and Voith, V.L., 2007, Evaluation of Plasma Cortisol Levels and Behavior in Dogs Wearing Bark Control Collars. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 106, pp. 96-106.
3 E. Schalke, Y. Salgirli, I. Böhm, S. Ott, H. Hackbarth. Comparison of stress and learning effects of three different training methods in dogs. Institute of Animal Welfare and Behavior. University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover. http://bit.ly/IUxABa
4 Radio Systems Corporation. 2004, The Facts About Modern Electronic Training Devices
5 Salman, M.D., Hutchison, J., Ruch-Gallie, R., Kogan, L., New Jr., J.C., Kass, P.H., Scarlett, J.M. 2000, Behavioral Reasons for Relinquishment of Dogs and Cats to 12 Shelters. Journal Of Applied Animal Welfare Science 3(2), pp. 93–106. http://www.petpopulation.org/behavioralreasons.pdf.