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Can a shock collar make a dog aggressive

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Shock collars can increase aggression in dogs, with studies showing a 25% increase in aggressive behavior towards unfamiliar humans.

The Psychological Impact of Shock Collars on Dogs

Introduction

Dogs are often trained using electronic devices to deliver electric shocks of various intensity, duration, and frequency to the vestibular pain regions. The findings suggest that the use of the shock collar can have profound psychological effects on dogs. These effects include stress and anxiety, which can be detrimental in the training of dogs. It is noted that dogs trained with shock collar cause increased levels of cortisol, elevated heart rate, and more stress-related behaviors as compared to those trained by being reinforced positively.

Discussion

The tail of a high level of stress and anxiety associated with the use of shock collar cause increased levels of overall behavioral problems among the dogs. For instance, the use of stark collar causes increased problems in the behavior of the dogs such as, running away, aggressive behavior, extreme fear, aggressiveness towards people and other animals, and cowers from them a lot more. The pain caused by use of the shock collar by the dog may be linked to the increased levels of the fear and anxiety of the dog, it is evident that without removing the pain, then less expected outcomes will be realized.

Conclusion

The incardination of pain and fear in the electronic training of dogs may cause aggressive behaviors. It is argued that the emotional response to pain causes the dogs to react by being fearful and thus may be aggressive towards the shocks. The use of aversive method to train the dogs was noted with an induced increased fear and levels of aggression. Moreover, reports from Applied Animal Behaviour Science shows that, dogs trained with the use of shock collar were less able to live peacefully with other people and other documentation to validate the same.

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Case Studies: Dog Behavior Before and After Shock Collar Use

  • Observations of increased aggression in dogs trained with shock collars

A number of case studies have shown that dogs that have been subjected to shock collar training became more aggressive after the training. In one such study, which involved the University of Lincoln, dogs trained with a shock collar were more aggressive to unfamiliar people and dogs than those trained with purely positive reinforcement. The study found that there was a significant increase in aggressive responses where 25% of the dogs trained with the shock collar were aggressive to unfamiliar humans compared to only 3% of dogs trained without the shock collar. The victim in one of the cases was a Labrador Retriever who had no signs of aggression before the shock collar training. After the sessions, the dog became aggressive to other dogs even to the extent of the owners. The dog then had to be rehomed due to the unmanageable aggression.

  • Some cases where the use of a shock collar did not increase the aggression of dogs

While many case studies have shown that the use of shock collars makes dogs more violent, there are still other cases where the use of these gadgets was not associated with increased aggression of dogs. Indeed, there are cases where the shock collar has been used effectively to control specific behaviors. Such is the case of a Border Collie, which is one of the case studies, which was barking and chasing sheep. The dog was put on a shock collar, and there was no increase in the aggression of the dog to other animals . Moreover, there was no aggression to the handler . There were, however, aggression and fear from some sheep and stopping others. The other example was a Beagele, which developed a barking problem . The use of a shock collar to control the problem was done, but there was not reported instances of increase in aggression .

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Alternatives to Shock Collars for Managing Aggressive Behavior

Positively Reinforce Training Techniques

Positive reinforcement training is a potent and humane alternative to harsh shock products in dogs. This is when dogs are rewarded with play, treats, or praise after they demonstrate a particular behavior in order to encourage them to repeat it. According to a study from the University of Pennsylvania, dogs trained with reward techniques expressed much lower aggression levels and smaller signs of stress than those trained with other forms of violence.

As an example, a dog trainer may encourage the owner of a dog that has been showing signs of aggression toward other dogs to take it for a walk among other dogs. If the dog chooses not to bark or show its teeth, the owner would then treat it positively. According to the study in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, when such a system of rewarding is applied consistently and regularly, “punishment was withdrawn and rewards were given for desirable behaviors” , while “the probability of issuing an aggressive act usually decreased” .

The Role of Consistency and Patience in Dog’s Behavior Change

By the same token, consistency and patience are vital for aggression in dogs. Behavior change is a process and it is important for dogs’ owners and handlers not to let their guard down. Proceedings of Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine drew the same conclusion, noting that, “in general, training correlates with more predictable, constant dog behavior and less aggression” . Lastly, patience is necessary because behavior might little by little subside. If an owner starts seeing results and loses patience, the process might reverse. Taking time will help develop a strong bond of trust between the owner and the dog which would also greatly help in aggression issues.

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