What are the differences in stimulation levels between manufacturers?
Of the collars that we sell, the lowest number of stimulation levels selectable at the transmitter is 6 and the highest number is 127.
Most of the stimulation levels on these products tend to be similar, but they do not number them the same. A level 3 on a Garmin is not the same as a level 3 on a SportDOG, Dogtra, DT Systems, or E-Collar Tech collar.
There is no universal numbering system. Collars with more levels tend to have a wider spread in stimulation. This means as you increase in stimulation levels the difference between one level to the next is more gradual on a collar with more levels and less gradual on a collar that has a lower number of levels.
The increase between levels on a 6-level collar is going to be more than the increase on a collar that has 20 levels. I find that as you get over 20 to 30 levels in stimulation there is little difference between the levels. On a 100-level collar, it is hard to tell the difference between a level 77, a level 78, and a level 79.
Keep in mind when we say a collar has 6 levels and this other collar has 15, that the first collar does not go from 1 to 6 and the second collar picks up at 7 and goes to 15 making it a much stronger collar. The high end on most collars is very similar and the low end is also similar. The difference comes in the steps in between.
What sometimes happens on a system that has very few stimulation levels is that you will have a dog that does not feel a particular level but the next level up is more stimulation than he needs and he will vocalize on the higher level. This kind of collar can be used for limited problem-solving with this particular dog, but it would not work as a training collar.
You cannot train a dog if he vocalizes on the low levels of your system or if he does not respond to a low level but overreacts to the next level when you increase the stimulation. In this situation, you need to look into a system that has a wider choice of levels with a more gradual increase between the levels. This allows you to find the lowest possible level that gets the result you want.
Today it is rare to have a collar that does not have a wide enough spread in stimulation levels that you can not find the right fit for your needs, but this is one thing that you need to look at before you purchase and after you get your system inside the 30 day evaluation period.
When a customer runs into this situation, it is best that they exchange this collar for a collar with a wider "spread" in stimulation levels. This way you now have a collar that has levels in between the level that gives you no reaction and the level that causes the dog to vocalize.