Is a shock collar the only option I have left?

I am at my wits' end; I swore I would never use an electronic (shock) collar for my dog, but I don't know what to do. He goes absolutely beserk when any delivery person brings something to my front porch. He has never bit anyone, thank goodness, but I am worried if I can't get a handle on this, it is just a matter of time. He barks and jumps around, he has torn holes in furniture and my blinds trying to get through the front room windows. I have tried a firm voice, a citronella collar, this thing that emits a high pitched noise, even a swat on the rear end. I don't know what to do next. He is otherwise a great dog. Please help. (He is a 3 1/2 year old neutered lab pointer cross.)

Asked by Member 1099583 on Mar 13th 2012 Tagged shockcollar, barking, mailman in Methods of Training
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Bruno CGC

You forgot one option... consult a professional dog trainer. All these tools can work to modify behavior, but only if you have very good perception of dog body language, and VERY good timing. An incorrectly-timed punishment is worse than doing nothing at all.

A good e-collar costs several hundred dollars. (I would know, I own a low-end brand, and it retails for 200. Good ones are double that or more.) Save that money and hire someone experienced to help you here.

To find someone reputable and experienced- the APDT website might be a place to start, and ask your vet if they can recommend any trainers or behaviorists. Get references from previous customers before committing any money.

Good luck!

Bruno CGC answered on 3/13/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


It is far better to train what you want, rather than getting an unwanted behaviour to stop. Have you tried a clicker? Train your dog to sit when people come to the door, or woof once, then sit. Yelling is like joining in the game & aversives like hitting or citronella can lead to bigger problems.
Get a friend to help you practise, Get a book on positive training..I like "The Power of Positive Dog Training" by Pat Miller.
E-collars need to be introduced to the dog, you need to condition him to it, you will need training on how to use one properly. It can take up to 6 weeks for all of this. Plus E-collars should only be used on a dog who knows what to do, not to train a new behaviour.
A trainer, a behaviourist, work on your part..all options to try before an e-collar.
How much exercise does he get? His mix needs a ton of exercise & a job to do or he will create one of his own. As you are finding may not be what you want him to do.

Member 904338 answered on 3/13/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


An e-collar is used during training to proof a behavior the dog has already been taught. Using one to teach a behavior is not going to work, all that is going to happen is that you are adding another adversive to an already overwhelmed dog and that is only going to make him MORE overwhelmed and frantic.
People seem to think that e-collars are magic and all you need to do is strap it on and hit the button and your dog will be instantly trained. They do not work like that unless your dog already knows what is expected of him when the delivery person comes, getting shocked is only going to wind him up more.
My dogs are trained to sit on their bed when the doorbell rings. It didn't happen by itself, they were taught to go to their bed on command while NO ONE was there, then I had someone ring the doorbell but NOT come in while I sent them to their beds, and we worked up to them going to their beds whenever the bell rings.
This cannot be taught overnight, it will take weeks to learn

Member 641257 answered on 3/13/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Stop with the punishment and learn clicker training - with clicker training you can tame the savage beast! Here is a link to some articles I wrote on the subject:

I also recommend watching the videos on Youtube produced by "kikopup" (Emiy Larlham) and "supernaturalbc2008"/"supernaturalbc2009" (Donna Hill).

Try to find a good reward-based trainer, preferably a clicker trainer to help you. Start by looking for one on the Karen Pryor Academy website ( or by calling 800-472-5425

Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP
Owner, Canine Connection LLC
Dubuque, Iowa

Opal answered on 3/13/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer