Are Shock Collars Effective for Aggressive Dogs?


Reading Time: 7 minutes

Dog aggression is a problem every dog owner looks to solve. Using a shock collar can effectively address this negative behavior. Here’s the full guide that explains the causes of a dog’s aggressive tendencies, solutions, and tips for prevention.

Why Do Dogs Get Aggressive?

Pet owners need to identify the cause of aggressive responses in dogs because some aggression issues cannot be treated with shock collar training. The most common types of aggression observed in dogs are the following:

  • Territorial aggression: This type of aggression occurs when dogs are over-protective about their obsessions. They specify and protect their land, food, and even toys. Such aggressive behaviors are quite normal in dogs. They can harm other dogs or strangers who cross the boundaries set by the dog, but they feel safe and comfortable around their owners.
  • Frustration-elicited aggression: This type of aggressive dog behavior is triggered when the dog wants something but could not get his hands on it. It might be food, toys, or even the owner’s attention. There might be other reasons, too, like when a dog has an urge to attack the neighbor’s dog but is unable to because he is on a leash.
  • Redirected aggression: This type of aggressive behavior is the worst one. It is similar to the above one but in specific scenarios; for instance when the dog is already aggressive and is fighting with other dogs, and a third person tries to stop the fight, the dog can become overly reactive in attacking that third person. Such aggressive dogs don’t even hesitate in biting their own owners.
  • Social aggression: Dogs suffering from social aggression didn’t have proper training and don’t know how to deal with other dogs and humans. So, they show aggressive behavior whenever they are taken to crowded markets, vet clinics, or dog parks.
  • Fear-based aggression: If a puppy was showing good behavior for some time, but now has turned into an aggressive dog, he must be suffering from this type of aggression. If something scares the dog and he has developed anxiety about it, he should be treated right away. Otherwise, the fear can turn into aggression. This type of aggression is mostly meant to protect the dog from the person or the thing that is the reason behind his anxiety.
  • Pain-elicited aggression: Most dogs are well-behaved and don’t fight with other dogs normally, but suddenly they can start acting irritated and show aggressive behavior. These dogs surely suffer from pain due to an injury or any other health problem.

Let the Vet Examine the Dog First

If your dog is a good boy but has suddenly started showing aggressive behavior, you would probably like him to be trained. But before opting for any training method, let your vet examine the dog. He might have an injury or a disease that is causing him pain and thus aggression. There are many reasons for being in pain, including cuts and bruises from an accident or genetic diseases like hip dysplasia.

Once the vet has examined the dog, and the treatment has started, your dog’s behavior will return to normal while enjoying good health. But in case the vet says that the dog’s health is perfectly normal and pain is not the reason behind his aggression, you can train him using a shock collar to drop the aggressive behavior.

How to Help an Aggressive Dog Using a Shock Collar?

If you think you don’t have enough time to train the dog, better contact a professional dog trainer. But if you want to train your aggressive dog by yourself, you can go through the following step-by-step guide:

1-Know How to Use a Shock Collar Properly

First of all, buy the right dog training collar for your pooch. The most effective collar is the shock collar also called the E collar. It is a remote training collar that works from a distance with the help of remote control. When a dog trainer gives the command from the remote, the collar gives a light shock to the dog. Some people question the safety of the collars. However, they are perfectly safe and humane.

Their different training modes are important features to know before using shock collars on aggressive dogs. Most shock collars have 3 modes. One is the beep, one is the vibration, and the other is the shock feature. If you think that the dog will not be able to tolerate the shock directly, go for the beep and vibration mode. But stubborn dogs ignore these signals and hence need to be shocked.

An E collar needs to be fitted around the dog’s neck properly. Ideally, there should be a space of two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. It is neither too tight to cause skin irritation and suffocation nor too loose to allow the dog to escape the collar. Similarly, don’t attach a long leash or any leash on the collar. There is the risk of tightening the collar resulting in death. An E collar is an off-leash training tool.

2-Help Your Dog Get Accustomed to It

Now it’s time to make the dog trust the E collars. When he is wearing it for the first time, he must not have a bad experience. To avoid any kind of bad experience, turn off the collar before putting it on the dog’s neck. If the collar is turned on, you or your dog himself can mistakenly press the button on the remote. It gives the dog an unnecessary shock. Getting a shock while he was not ready for it can make the dog anxious and afraid of the shock collar. An aggressive dog can turn more aggressive in such a condition. So, put the collar on your dog very carefully.

A few days before you start the dog training, put the collar on the dog and don’t give any commands. If the dog is reluctant in wearing the collar, don’t apply any physical force to get the collar on the dog’s neck. Instead, associate it with positive behavior and treat him with food or toy.

3-Use a Shock Collar Rightly to Get Rid of Aggression Issues

Finally, you can start E collar training to get rid of aggressive behavior in your dog. Know your dog’s pain tolerance. The shock that the dog collar provides can be increased and decreased by the varying intensity levels. Make the dog wear the collar with the lowest intensity level. Now increase it gradually and with each increase, give the dog a shock and see if the dog responds. If he does, there is no need to increase the intensity, but if he does not respond, increase the stimulation intensity a bit.

Now keep the collar on the dog when he is most likely to get aggressive and press the command as soon as he starts getting aggressive. The shock will divert the dog’s attention from the cause of aggression. Besides using the dog training collar, you also need to make the dog learn some basic obedience commands. It is because giving the dog voice commands when he seems to be aggressive can help. For example, call your dog to come to you if he is showing signs of aggression and you are afraid that he might start a fight with another dog. But for this, the dog must know the obedience command “come.” Other commands like sit and no can also help.

4-Associate Training With Positive Reinforcement

A positive reward system always brings the best in your dog. He does not want a trophy or a medal; all he wants is a tasty treat or a toy to start giving a positive response. Training and activities that are highly rewarding encourage the dogs to do more.

Anything positive encourages the dog, including a pat and praise. You don’t have to speak long sentences to encourage the dog. “Good dog” and “Good job” are enough. Dogs don’t understand what you are saying; your tone makes them understand whether you are praising or scolding them. So try to keep the tone soft and pleasant.

Benefits of Using a Shock Collar on an Aggressive Dog

Training aggressive dogs with shock collars bring some side benefits. Some of them include the following:

  • You can control the dog’s behavior from a distance. You don’t have to be present right in front of him or along with him.
  • It can also help in boundary training. For example, if your dog is aggressive towards the dogs walking near your backyard, you can use invisible fence collars that keep the dog within its boundaries.
  • It gives instant feedback.
  • The dog will never know you were the one giving him shocks, so these collars don’t affect your bonding with him.

Can Dog Aggression Be Avoided?

It is a famous quote that prevention is better than cure. It can also be applied in this case. If one helps the dog avoid aggression, hiring dog trainers would be no need.

Knowing the Dog’s Body Language

Keep the dog’s behavior in check. When something triggers the dog, it starts barking. As barking is normal, it alone cannot be taken as a sign of aggression. It should also include other signs like growling and snarling. In case the trigger of aggression is right in front of him, he lunges (move forward while barking as if to attack the person or the thing). Sometimes, he acts like he is on the verge of biting. We call this sign snapping. It is a final warning before biting. If the trigger does not go away, finally, the dog will start biting.

Working on Their Socialization

Socializing the dogs with other dogs, humans, and animals from other species can help them avoid aggression. It is because the dogs who are more social tend to be happier and have better mental health. They enjoy their life better than other dogs. They can easily fight fears and anxieties and have nothing to worry about. It is better to socialize the dogs at a young age. Puppies tend to memorize things better than adult dogs. But it does not mean an adult dog cannot be socialized. Contact a professional trainer for this type of dog training, as they know better. For instance, socializing two dogs who are shy can bring better results than socializing a shy dog with an outgoing one.

Can Shock Collars Worsen the Dog’s Aggressive Behavior?

In some cases, the shock collars can have a negative effect on a dog’s aggressive behavior. Though the static shock does not hurt, it is unpleasant. In addition, when the dog is extremely frustrated, the shock serves as the fuel to fire. In such a case, the dog becomes difficult to control and might even hurt his owner.

Moreover, there are two types of shock on the remote control. One is continuous, and the other is momentary. The continuous shock lasts till the trainer has pressed the button, while momentary shock only lasts for seconds no matter how long the button was pressed. The former type of shock can make the dog more aggressive compared to the latter.

Which Dog Breeds Are More Likely to Get Aggressive?

Though each dog has an individual personality, the breed also has a great impact. Dogs belonging to the following breeds are more aggressive than others:

  • German Shepherd
  • Siberian Husky
  • Dachshund
  • Chihuahua
  • Pitbull
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Jack Russell Terrier


Aggression is a common issue in many dogs. There can be different reasons behind it. It would be better to take the aggressive dog to a vet, as sometimes sickness is also the reason behind this aggression. You can train him to drop the negative behavior if he is healthy. Aggressive dogs can be trained using shock collars. You can easily control dogs’ behavior from a distance. Instead of hiring a trainer, you can train the dogs by yourself if you know the right use of the collars.

Rate this post