Dogtra E-Collar ARC Review : Love at First Site

The Dogtra E-Collar ARC: Advanced Receiver Concept (ARC) Review


The new Dogtra E-Collar Advanced Receiver Concept (ARC) arrived and it was as I had expected…sleek on the dog. It drew a hallelujah from me immediately. A package I’ve been waiting for finally made it into my hands today.

Take a look at the new e-collar on my boy, Tommy.

Dogtra ARC dog collar


The training community, particularly the pet training community, IMO, has been waiting for a streamline receiver for a very long time.

The Dogtra E-Collar ARC receiver is the biggest step in the direction of streamline and still affordable that we’ve seen, ever.

Now, I’m basing this preliminary opinion of the product mostly on appearance. If that makes me shallow, sorry but looks do matter. Anyone who tells you otherwise is denying a very real piece of the challenge in gaining acceptance of this tool in the broader marketplace.

I already know Dogtra Company’s ability to create durable, reliable products. And of course, as is my standard for testing, with receiver in hand, I took the rheostat up to see how smooth the transition is as you climb the stimulation range. Smooth is important and one thing I won’t compromise on with the dogs I work. The ARC did not let me down.

dogtra ARC

They also did well with the transmitter (TX). Very similar to the SureStim unit (my current personal favorite) with a few tweaks to the molding. It fits well in the palm which allows me to work the TX single handed. That means I can easily keep the other hand on the dog, the bumper, the treat pouch, the long line or whatever other pertinent piece of the training puzzle needs attending too. I like the ergonomics of slimline transmitters. Dogtra seems to recognize that women are comprising a larger and larger segment of the training market and having equipment that fits our needs as well makes good economic sense.

That is enough of a review for now…time to go train & play.

Let’s find out if this little gem is more than skin deep…

*Updated 1/29/16


  • Which e collar should we purchase for our 9 m old Border Collie/ Aussie mix?
    We hope to use an e collar with the help of you DVD set.

    • Hi Kerry,

      The choice of e-collar is made based more on your needs/goals and on your dog’s level of sensitivity, rather than on breed. Sensitivity is a very individual thing. It is akin to a humans sensitivity to water temperature. One persons idea of “hot” or “cold” can be vastly different than the next. I have found that about 85% of the dogs I work with do fine with a low-medium powered collar (vs. low-high) However, it doesn’t hurt to have a full spectrum stimulation profile as long as the low end has enough versatility to it. That is one of the reasons I’m a fan of Dogtra e-collars. Their stimulation profile is very fine tuned on the low end and I’ve not found a dog that couldn’t be worked on one of their collars. I’d suggest you look at the 280C, 200C, & ARC models. Between those, it is a matter of deciding what features you prefer.
      Also, fyi, I did respond to the contact form you sent through my website, but it bounced back to me so I’m guessing their was an error in the email address. Also, I think you sent a message through FB and I responded there as well.
      Good luck with your training!

  • Hi Robin, Time for new e-collar.. I’ve had 3 mini educators and one dogra (older model) .. I think my mini e malfunctioned this past fall and went off while my dog was near a livestock fence( NOT electrified) pleasantly speaking with a cow.. however.. the ground was wet.. Since then .. Im very leary of it.. I’ve tested on my self .. it seems ok..butt…. After going back and looking at your review on the dogtra , I might try it? I loved the mini educator size and operating system.. Do you still feel positive about the Dogtra Arc? Thank you for your advice !

    • Hi Sherry,

      Yes, I still feel very positively about the Dogtra Arc. It is still my go-to collar for my personal dog, Diva. I have a 2 dog model (shown on the original blog post with my dog Tommy who passed this summer) I’m very happy with the collars performance and durability.
      It is a low – medium power collar so if you feel you need more pressure on the higher levels of stimulation profile it may not be best suited for your dogs…but for most dogs, it works very well. Also better on short/medium length coats rather than long hair if you would need longer contact points then it is not as desirable of a box profile. I’d might chose the more traditional square box receiver option if I had to use 3/4 inch points to accommodate a heavy or super long coat.
      If you have other questions, let me know!

      • Im sorry I just saw your reply .. i guess i thought i used fb ? thank you very much for opinion.. I I use the mini educator with a bungee collar .. her level is 44 on it.. short coat 1.5 yr female dutch shep. I’ll focus on the arc and thank you for all the excellent information.. Hope to come for a lesson and evaluation sometime when the weather breaks..

        • Hopefully the good weather comes early this year. We all tired of the cold already around here!! You’re always welcome to come for some lessons. That would be great!

      • Could you please expand on why the square box receiver is better than the arc for dogs with long fur who use the longer contact points? I have the Mini Educator but looking at Dogtra because the remote looks easier hold on the Dogtra. My dog has long hair and I’m looking at the 280c, the arc, and the 1900, and your comment about contact point length gave me a pause. Thanks!

        • Hi Angela,

          What we’ve discovered is that as long as you continue to use the black, plastic strap that comes with the unit, you won’t experience problems.
          However, because we prefer to exchange the plastic strap with a nylon snap collar (for ease and appearance) they tend to twist or roll if the longer contact points are on the unit (meaning you’ve switched out the standard 5/8″ and added the extenders to create a longer point)
          At the time of my review I didn’t realize it was the strap that was actually causing the rolling over/twist problem and concluded (in error) it was the increased torque created by using longer contact points.
          I do agree with your analysis that the Dogtra remote is more ergonomic and user friendly.

  • Two questions: 1) Will this collar work with smaller dogs? I have a 15# Maltese-mix/Poodle-mix with longer Maltesey hair. A poodle proportioned body. 2) How much does the stem unit weigh? I looked at the DogtraIQ, but felt the stim-unit was pretty heavy at 4 oz. Maybe I’m wrong about that. So, I bought a Garmin Delta XC, but Stim level 1 is too high for my dog. He twitches and jumps when tweaked momentarily. So, I’m back to looking at the Dogtra because of the wide range of stem levels. Thanks for any help.

    • Hi Wyn,
      The ARC would likely not fit your Maltese mix very well. As a general rule I’ve found they don’t get a good fit unless the dog is more in the 20 – 25 and above range. And the RX (the collar) is heavier than the iQ.
      The iQ and the new “C” units are the lightest that Dogtra has. I would suggest you look at the 280C, that is one of my current favorites for smaller dogs. At 15 pounds I believe your dog could wear it pretty comfortably. If you take the plastic strap off and replace with one of our fabric straps you may like the fit even more. You can take a look at the colors options here.
      all the best,

      • Thanks Robin. I’ll try the 280C and a fabric collar.
        What’s your experience with The SD Comfort Adapter? I had a hard time getting the normal two prongs to touch the skin. I raked it back and forth, but still had to play with it to get both prongs in contact with Sherman’s skin.
        My journey to e-collars was driven by a need to improve recall and get at a car racing desire he picked up in a dog park about a year ago. Doesn’t want to bite the car, just wants to race it. His recall is about 50% when in a large open park until he’s done exploring. Then it ups to 90%. But if he sees a car coming in the access road, he’s off to race the car. I no longer exist. He comes back after that and I can’t punish him for returning… Couldn’t see any other way to get his attention when he starts the race.
        And thank you so much for the training DVD I got from supplier that gives it with e-collars they sell. It’s the first “how to use and e-collar” training that totally made sense to me.

        • Hi Wyn,
          Sorry for the delay responding. We had some problems with the website and I forgot to get back to answering this after we got it fixed…just logged in today and realized I never gave you an answer.

          If you’re dog has longer hair I would not recommend the Comfort Adapter. They are great for very short coats and dogs who are sensitive to wearing the collar…not so good for long coats. If thickness of fur is an issue, I would suggest having a groomer thin the hair. DO NOT shave, just use a thinning shears on the under and side parts of the neck and that should help.
          As to your issue with the chasing and the so/so reliability with the recall. Assuming you have good contact with the e-collar you are most likely struggling with an adrenaline issue. When your dog’s adrenaline gets a sudden spike due to scent or chase… the “normal” e-stim setting is too low to make any impact. In these situations you need to adjust the level and don’t be surprised if the adjustment is significant. I’ve known many dogs, some of mine included, that double and triple their “normal” settings when they are highly aroused. Bear in mind though that the more proactive you are (ie. ahead of the adrenaline surge, meaning you anticipate your dog is about to get excited) in taking control by giving a command BEFORE the chase starts, the less you will have to turn up and the more you will increase the likelihood of the dog listening to you. I would suggest you go back to doing some long line work around cars, give the recall command AS SOON AS you see your dog notice the car but BEFORE the chase starts, use your collar to enforce immediately on the FIRST command and then big reward for compliance.
          If your timing is too late, and the dog is actually in motion chasing, you will need a whole lot more pressure to call him off the chase, so proactive intervention not only gains success in the recall but also prevents the chase and begins to set a precedent of not pursuing the car to begin with. Hopefully with some successful repetitions you can begin to break that dangerous habit.
          Thanks for the kind words about the DVD. My friends at Gun Dog Supply have been fantastic to work with!

  • Just got mine, great compact smooth fit. Just started training with it and really works .We’re starting out slowly, I bought it mainly for use in high distraction situations. It sure turned her around quick when she was after a squirrel. I had it set on 22( which is low enough for me to hold in the palm of my hand with a tingle) and just nicked her once.

    • Hi Kevin,
      I’ll get more pics soon. For the time being if you click on the Dogtra link in the article it should take you to their home page and you’ll see a nice, high res photo of the ARC.

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