Post # 1
We recently adopted our foster dog, but she came with quite a few problems. Her worst is extreme dog aggression when she’s on a leash. We have worked with 2 trainers to fix this; the first one stopped returning my calls after our second session, and the second finished his second session with us today. He is twice as expensive as our first trainer but the results so far have been worth while. Today, he brought his dogs to our session to measure the extent of her reactivity/aggression and after 15 minutes of trying to reduce her anxiety and have her submit, he told us that she was pretty bad. We tried multiple things our first session and this one (a gentle lead harness, a slip leash that chokes the dog when it lunges, pet correcting air, noise, etc.) and nothing really worked to bring her out of her aggressive mindset.
Today he gave us two options after seeing the extent of her issues: the first is to try a shock collar, and the second is to send her to his home for 3 weeks for in-house training (would cost between $3-$4k). I opted to try the shock collar, and when he put it on and used it first to see if it worked, she became a very different dog after 3 “zaps”. After 10 minutes, she eventually calmly walked up to his dogs and started sniffing them: no aggression at all! The trainer just let her sniff for a few seconds, but he was thrilled that we were able to pull her out of her aggressive mindset and into a place of tranquility.
Here’s my problem: I have ALWAYS been against shock collars and “dominance training” in general because I have always valued positive reinforcement. However, my dog’s aggression is due to her high-strung personality and dominance, and today was the first time since October I have seen her eventually reach a place of peace around another dog while she was leashed. My fear is that the shock collar could lead to more damage, though the trainer insists the collar would only be used temporarily and only for training purposes.
Does anyone have success stories after using a shock collar?
Post # 2
Meglin: I have a good friend that’s a dog trainer and she hates dominance training or “corrections” like yanking the leash or shock collars. I think it’s probably not that simple and is necessary for some dogs.
I don’t know enough about the topic to give a really well-informed opinion, but if you think you’ve exhausted your options, maybe you have no other choice. Maybe some dogs just need a bit of a heavier hand to help them practice impulse control.
Just be aware that things can get heated on this site. You may get flamed, but a lot of people just pass over aggressive dogs or just get rid of them. At least you’re trying to help this dog. I can’t imagine the stress of having such an aggressive dog.
At the end of the day, the shock collar seems to be a nuch better alternative than the dog biting someone.
Post # 3
It wasn’t for aggression but for her safety-I have a dog that loves to explore. She wasn’t trained well when I got her and I tried everything especially positive reinforcement. But she would run away/cross streets even after training sessions in dog parks and safe areas, etc. Then I used the remote trainer shock collar thing. She has ultimately only had to be shocked maybe twice (lowest setting) and then I could just do the warning beep for a couple weeks and she is listening and being recalled perfectly. Now i put the collar on her when she starts to not obey immediately for a couple days in a row-but I haven’t even charged it for a month So it’s not even beeping. She just knows she has to listen and stick within a certain distance when she’s wearing it. It just ended up being the discipline she needed.
I hated the idea and was so opposed. But I was willing to try it and I’m glad I did. Yours sounds like it’s what she needed too. You wouldn’t want her to always Be aggressive and risk hurting another dog or you or someone else. You made a good decision.
Post # 4
Meglin: I have shock collars for my two larger dogs as a wireless fence option… At first I felt really bad, probably like when a mom spants her kid for the first time bad… But I know it’s for corrective purposes and to keep them safe bc God knows they would have tunnel vision and chase a rodent into the street. we only use them every so often bc it has taught them where their boundries are and now they stay close by. Your prob gonna feel bad the first couple times (exp. if they are like my dogs that yelp) but know it’s a better option then death or a huge dog fight that someone doesn’t make it out of.
Post # 5
Meglin: My dog is extremely leash reactive, and unfortunately it takes a LOT of positive reinforcement training. Off leash she LOVES dogs, on leash she is Kujo 🙁 I would advise against shock collars, as I have seen them make aggression MUCH worse. In the dog’s mind, they are now getting shocked when they see another dog, making their fear/aggression much more extreme. I wish you luck bee, reactivity is so hard… There is a great community on Instagram if you search #reactivedog or similar hashtags! Feel free to reach out directly for tips 🙂
Post # 6
countingstars: I have been just like your friend my entire life; when I worked at Petsmart, I use to judge owners that purchased shock collars because I assumed they just didn’t know how to train their dogs. Boy, did karma bite me! Now that I have a dog that needs a lot of help, I feel terrible for judging. You are right… it is incredibly stressful dealing with all of her issues. Taking a walk at our apartment complex gives us anxiety and embarrassment because of the way she responds when she sees another dog. I could certainly look into a second opinion.
deedee2016: Her safety is a concern of mine as well. She only weighs 20 pounds, so if she were to get into a fight, the odds aren’t on her side. Thank you for sharing your success story!
Mandy0721: I definitely felt bad when the trainer used it today! It was only at a “3” for intensity, but she yelped the first time he used it. I can’t deny the fact that it really did work, though!
Post # 7
hazelmaeandromy: Your dog sounds exactly like mine. Off leash, she is usually okay… she has bad manners for a few minutes (because she is so dominant), but then she can usually play alright after that. Making things worse is exactly my fear. Our first trainer only used positive reinforcement, and even when he stopped calling us back, I continued using his suggestions. Unfortunantely, nothing changed for her. Today was the first time I have seen any sort of progress.
Post # 8
i have an e-collar (shock collar, as you call it) for my dog.. who does have leash aggression. I’ve only found it helpful for off-leash heeling, TBH. Its great for that though, especialyl at the beach where the wind blows away my calls for her.. I can just give her a light tap (at a VERY low setting!) and she’ll come quickly.
It hasn’t helepd much with leash aggression, in my experience. Things like the ecollar and prong collar helped at first, especially when the trainer was around, but eventually she just started getting more pissed off in reaction to them. I’m sure we’re just doing something wrong, but there you have it.
For my dog, the only thing that has consistently worked is: 1. have her tired AF. After a 1 hour walk on a warm day, she can pass any dog and not care. We walk her for 45 minutes 2x a day, but unfortunately often its cool enough around here that she’s fine by the end of it. We’re gonna buy one of those harnesses where she can carry a few pounds of water which will hopefully tire her out abit extra. 2. take her to the park often–she’s always better with her leash aggression the day or two after playing with other dogs at the park.
Post # 9
I would not use a shock collar on my dog, and the dog trainers I work with are very much against them. But, personally, I do think shock collars might be an appropriate “last resort” tool to be used with dogs that don’t have much chance otherwise … I’m not convinced you are there, yet, but maybe you are?
Post # 10
Meglin: My girl is about 35 pounds, and she is a pit mix so she is STRONG. I was actually in an apartment downtown when I first got her, and she was so awful in the elevator that I ended up buying a house much sooner than I anticipated so she could have a yard. She is still terrible on leash, but she is also a Tripawd, so I think a lot of that comes from being tethered to me and not being able to protect me. Is she better on leash when she isn’t attached to you? Hazel also redirects, so that was another big reason for the move. If you see positive results, stick to it and keep us posted!
Post # 11
I have a 103lb akita with extreme sonic boom barking issues. After 3 years of trying everything else. We use a shock collar for barking. It is so hard at first, but it is consistent every single time and my neighbors don’t give me the look anymore. I know it has helped quiet her mind while outside. If we hadn’t had this, we would really have a problem as she was loud and obsessed in her barking, like, oh a leaf fell, I need to bark for 30 minutes.
Post # 12
I did use a bark collar with one of my dogs when I was in an apartment and his barking was getting complaints. I was worried that they would force me to get rid of him and he was only barking when I wasn’t home, so it was difficult to correct, despite trying several methods. One bark with the shock collar and the barking stopped.
I haven’t had any issues with aggression, but a friend has with one of her dogs and has spent several thousand dollars on trainers, they have her using a remote shock collar now. I just don’t believe that positive reinforcement training is effective for 100% of dogs. I do think that sometimes the collar is necessary for the safety of the dog.
Post # 13
Meglin: My dog is a rescue, and is extremely reactive to dogs, on and off the lead.
Fiance and I spent ages taking her for walks 2x a day and rewarding her with food and praise when she would walk past a dog calmly. She would literally scream at a dog at first, then as she saw more and more of them she just seemed to get a bit desensitised, which was when we could start rewarding her.
That took a few months before it got visible results. I’m not against shock collars in certain situations, but I would be cautious that you may not necessarily get the results you are after. I would try positive reinforcement and dessensitising for a much longer period before giving up on it.
Due to work committements and some other stuff, we dropped the ball on our dogs training and didn’t take her for a walk for a while. She’s still not as bad as she was originally, but she’s back up there. I can’t take her for a walk by myself because she is so strong so we play with her lots in our large backyard. We are hoping to start back into our routine again soon.
Post # 14
Meglin: A shock collar could make your dog’s aggression issues worse. As with a lot of negative reinforcement training, the dog can’t always know what stimuli or behavior is leading to their being punished. It’s a lot easier to reward and reinforce desireable behavior than reward and reinforce the abscence of bad behavior. The first session going well isn’t a guarantee that it can’t backfire.
Your dog can associate being shocked with the stimuli–the presence of people or other dogs while she’s leashed, for example–with the pain of being shocked, not her own reaction. And that will lead to more aggression in an attempt to warn those people and dogs away from her so she can avoid/stop being shocked. The same thing often happens to dogs penned in with “invisible” fences.
Post # 15
Did you try counter conditioning and desensitization first?