Gunny gets a shock collar
Cesar Milan
Presented By
Cesar 911

Cesar Millan Resorts to Drastic Measures to Control This Violent Dog's Behavior

Dog Training Expert Cesar Millan demonstrates the right way to utilize a shock collar during training when other measures don’t work to correct a stubborn dog’s unwanted behavior.

Gunny the American Bulldog might look sweet, but in reality, he is anything but! Gunny is supposed to be a happy barn dog, but instead, he frequently and violently attacks the other dogs and horses that live at the barn where his owner works. He’s even bitten the owner’s child so severely that the poor little boy was hospitalized. But where most people want to give up, Cesar still sees potential in Gunny and wants to take him to his Dog Psychology Center for intensive rehabilitation. On this episode of “Cesar 911,” Cesar intends to do just that but Gunny makes sure his rehabilitation is no walk in the park. 

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Most of the time, Cesar is able to quickly earn a dog’s trust and obedience by demonstrating his ability to be a strong pack leader. But Gunny is an exception. After failed trust exercises and Gunny’s lack of response to a muzzle, Cesar sees no other option than to resort to using a shock collar, or an E-collar, as a last resort. Only then is Cesar able to get Gunny to listen to his cues and truly make progress in his rehabilitation process. However, this probably isn’t something you should try at home. 

While Cesar needed to use a shock collar to make progress with Gunny’s training, note that he only did so as a last resort. Most dogs will never reach a point where they actually need a shock collar to behave, although some trainers and owners do like using E-collars as a way to expedite training and quickly eliminate unwanted behaviors. Shock collars should only ever be used when all other tactics have been exhausted and you can’t get your dog to respond to positive reinforcement training. Because shock collars are often misused or overused, it’s also important to only do so while working under the guidance of a qualified animal trainer or a licensed veterinarian. 

In general, it’s always better to treat dogs to associate good behavior with positivity and rewards than using negative reinforcement training. If you think you may need to use a shock collar on your dog, always reach out to an animal professional first to explore other training strategies you could try instead or to at least make sure you can use a shock collar safely. While high-quality E-collars can vary the intensity in regards to how much shock your dog feels, especially poorly made shock collars can be incredibly painful for your dog, and can even cause burns or sores around your dog’s neck. In general, cheaper shock collars might seem like a good deal, but they generally aren’t made well and do cause more pain. If you’re going to use one, at least splurge for the more expensive E-collars that are a bit safer and can usually provide noticeable vibrations instead of painful shocks. Your vet or trainer should be able to help you identify a good brand to buy and help instruct you on how to use it properly to avoid harming your dog. 

That said, using shock collars during training can also leave mental scars. Shock collars teach your dog what not to do, but don’t instruct them on how they should behave instead. There is never any positive reward to encourage your dog to behave better. When shock collars are overused or misused, they can cause lasting anxiety, fear, stress, and aggression that is directed toward you or other dogs. This leads to a whole slew of other behavioral problems that you’ll never be able to fix using a shock collar. 

The key takeaway is that shock collars are a useful training tool when used appropriately in the hands of qualified professionals. However, their use can also cause permanent damage to your dog’s physical and mental health and the significant risk of harm is not something pet owners should take lightly. High-quality E-collars should only be used as a last resort to combat severe behavioral problems and with proper supervision and training in place. It’s not a training tactic that should be used by many, but it can perform miracles for the few dogs who are like Gunny and have exhausted all other options. 

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