Ah, okay, this is right up my alley, as my Kylie girl forced me into reluctant education on electronic collar shopping.
Before I go into that, though, you do know the ethics rule is ya gotta shock you first at each level you will be using, right? Hehe. (That way, you are prepared when you get those folks who throw it in your face--Why don't you put it on yourself?!) This
is the one we finally settled on, and I LOVE it. I can't find at the moment the exact link I ordered mine from, and you'll probably want to comparison shop anyway, but this was "only" about $170, with free shipping. It has every bell and whistle you'd want, too, is lightweight, small, and takes abuse well (Kylie chewed the antennae and it still works!). Here
is the lower level stim version--if you think the "stubborn dog" model is not right for Red <--it DEFINITELY was for Kylie!
I had a Tri-tronics collar and was horrified to discover one day that, after one of Kylie's water adventures, it was randomly shorting out and thus shocking her indiscriminately. Ugh. It was supposed to be okay in water--and she'd just been playing in puddles, not swimming, but, agh, I can't explain the guilt I felt--plus I got the crap shocked outta me when I checked it--and it was never supposed to be on that extreme level, just complete malfunction.
I'm NOT saying it was a Tri-tronics fault; it may have entirely been our error and I never properly followed up with the company, although I did report the incident and got mediocre customer service before deciding to cut my losses.
I totally understand the not wanting to fork over a lot (money was way tight when I bought the Sportdog collar, personally) but here is where I landed with it: This is something I plan on using for years, off and on as needed, with different dogs, possibly. It needs to be tough, reliable, convenient, and LAST in a safe
All my hours, days, weeks of training do not deserve to be blown by a malfunctioning collar, and my dogs sure as heck don't deserve to be corrected for doing nothing wrong.
So, not to be an alarmist or get ya shakin' in your shoes over which collar to buy, but do be careful and read those reviews, particularly on longevity/guarantees.
Oh, and to get you something to look forward to--it's a beautiful moment when you see those wheels turning in their eyes...Blow her off, don't blow her off, um, yeah, let's do an immediate about face and get running back to my human!