I’ve been asked this question time and again.
But before that, I’d like to address the pressing matter of whether you could use a shock collar in such a situation.
Given the number of negative reviews of the collars online, not to mention, the individual experiences of owners, a layman may think that the collars are to be blamed.
Ask me and I’ll tell you that a collar is just a tool. How you use it makes or breaks its motive.
Having taken care of that here’s how to train an aggressive dog with a shock collar:
- Understand the shock collar and its functions.
- Focus on obedience training rather than punishment.
- Use plenty of treats to get positive reinforcement kicking in.
- Learn about the cues or triggers of aggression and intervene accordingly.
- Use the shock function only when the dog doesn’t show recall.
- The process is going to take time. So, have some patience.
7 Steps To Train An Aggressive Dog With A Shock Collar
Let’s discuss the steps in detail.
Step 1: Know Your Collar Inside Out
I’ve used shock collars starting from Dogtra and ending at nowhere.
From this premium brand to the likes of FreeSpirit, I’ve seen that almost all of them come with three basic correction modes: vibration, beep, and shock.
However, they all have different modes of operation.
The remotes are different and the delay in the transmission in some is a real pain.
So, before selecting the collar, make sure that
- It has all three modes,
- The remote is easy to use and supports blind usage,
- The shock levels are not too hot; just appropriate for a stubborn dog,
- The manual isn’t like reading a country’s constitution, and
- It has hundreds of positive reviews.
Once you’ve laid your hands on the collar, read the manual thoroughly to get things done the right way.
Step 2: Obedience Training Is A Must
Most owners tend to punish their pooch for bad behavior.
I don’t blame them in a way. They shouldn’t own a dog in the first place if they have anger management issues.
You aren’t supposed to punish a dog when it exhibits aggression, biting, or nipping. Instead, first, you make it through obedience training.
The aim of this training is to refocus the dog’s attention on something else than the trigger of the aggression.
Consider that your dog jumps at strangers.
Now whenever a stranger arrives, you try to divert the dog’s attention from them towards a job such as come, sit, or stop.
To do that, you have to associate the new job with the buzz, beep, or shock of the collar.
In this case, before the dog sees the stranger and lunges at them, I’ll press the vibration button on the remote and say “Come here, boy” at the same time.
When you don’t do this and just zap the dog for jumping on the stranger, it will yelp and run away but not tend to accept that it’s bad behavior.
Over time, it may get worse.
Step 3: Introduce The Collar In Everyday Life
Besides aggression, as I said above, focus on obedience training with positive reinforcement throughout the day.
You should introduce the collar when the dog, for example, does not recall.
But just as with any other training, use the command and the stimulation from the collar simultaneously.
Using it in everyday tasks will help the dog become accustomed to the stimulation to the point where you won’t need this bridge between the command and action.
Step 4: Use Treats
Rewarding a dog makes up a good case for positive reinforcement. I’ve used this technique with every dog I’ve trained and it works like a charm.
Besides coupling the stimulation and the command, when the dog performs as per my wishes, I also incorporate a reward system.
It could be giving it treats, its favorite toy, or playing its favorite game. I’ve owned two huskies and the female Camila was a sucker for treats.
Despite the fact that training huskies are a pain, everything went smoothly with that girl. All thanks to the positive reinforcement.
Step 5: Learn About Your Dog’s Aggression
Over time, keep learning about your dog’s aggression and its possible causes.
You may find that the underlying cause may not be the trigger itself but something else.
For example, my male husky Joe would nip at me when I’d pull on the leash.
I tried shock collars and obedience training with treats, but this nipping would come back after some time.
I checked for any wounds around his neck. There were none.
He simply despised the leash. Just to give it a go, I tried a harness with him and the problem was solved.
Step 6: Use The Shock Function Seldom
Some collars have brutal shock stimulation or in our jargon, the shock levels are “hot”.
You may want to first check the shock level on your arm before applying it to the dog.
I always choose the level that makes the dog turn its head in an apparent search for the cause of the stimulation.
I don’t go overboard to the point that it yelps in pain.
Also, I don’t use the shock functions when the work is done by the buzz or beep.
Step 7: Have Patience
Training a stubborn dog takes time.
I’ve trained many Huskies, Bulldogs, Great Danes, and terriers that didn’t care about anything but their own whims.
Some training sessions would last for months but I’d be patient and would believe my process. You should, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are some of the FAQs that I received from the DoggoMag readers.
Will A Shock Collar Help With An Aggressive Dog?
Yes, it will help. However, try not to use the collar as a punishment tool. Instead, use obedience training with treats for positive reinforcement to divert the dog’s attention towards something else.
Do Shock Collars Stop Dogs From Biting?
Yes, they could do that easily. First, learn about the triggers of biting, then use the collars to divert your pooch’s attention toward a command. Don’t forget to reward it for obeying you.
What Collar Is Best For Aggressive Dogs?
I recommend the Dogtra 1900S series. They are built well. The High Paper Performance is my favorite feature, which acts as a tap on the shoulder of the dog. The shock levels are hot enough for an aggressive dog. The company also provides remote clickers for more than one person.
Make sure that you know the collar inside out.
Then, focus on obedience training, followed by positive reinforcement.
The idea is to couple stimulation + command or distraction + healthy treats for obeying the command.