I get so many emails each week asking me about training deaf dogs with vibrating collars that I thought I would share some information with all of you in hopes of helping you make an informed decision on whether or not you should buy one.
We did purchase our deaf dog Nitro a vibration collar but I mainly did it to get his attention at the dog park because that is the only time he is off leash. Our choice was the Petsafe Vibration Remote Trainer, we recommend this model as it is a vibration only collar. It is important to note that vibration collars are for getting your dogs attention – they are never to be used for correction.
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In addition, Nitro has been in Levels training for over a year and in that time he has been conditioned to check in often by looking in my direction.
It turns out that he checks in with me so often at the park, I found I did not need the vibration collar any more so it was sent to a friend this week for her to train her young deaf boxer puppy (to help her get his attention in her big back yard).
We recommend a progression of acclimating your dog to the vibration by holding it against his leg, hip, or other area – not starting with the neck. If you have a dog with an unknown background that could include adverse shock training this is very important.
I do want to share some additional information on vibrating collars below. I hope this information helps you decide what will work best for you and your deaf dog. ~Christina Lee – Deaf Dogs Rock
We recommend you do some basic “watch me” training and “recall” (come here) training before you introduce the Petsafe Vibration Remote Trainer to your training schedule. We participated in a Petsafe Vibration Remote Trainer class with Green Dogs Unleashed to learn some of the basic training skills.
One of the reason we love the Petsafe remote rechargeable trainer is because this particular collar is vibration only. I think if it had shock settings (static settings) way to many things could go wrong. Here are a few photos of our class with deaf dog Captain Jack and Rebecca his handler. The class was taught by Erika Proctor with Green Dogs Unleashed in Troy, VA.
Here is a great training video we recommend
Training Your Dog With A Vibrating Collar – This information is found on www.deafdogs.org (Deaf Dog Education Action Fund)
All dogs need training – they just need to learn what each sound or gesture means. No one would assume that just because a dog can hear that he will come running back to you if you call him. You need to train the dog to respond to your voice commands. The same applies to a deaf dog. You have to teach him to respond to your commands. The biggest difference between a hearing dog and a deaf one is that you can’t use your voice to get the dog’s attention. If he is across the room or across the field and doesn’t look at you, you can’t yell to him, direct him, or summon him back to you. If your deaf dog gets loose, it can be a terrifying experience – will he look at me? If he doesn’t look at you, you can’t communicate. These types of experiences, and the wish to be able to better communicate with deaf dogs, has lead to the development and use of the vibrating collar.
A vibrating collar is a training collar that allows a person to press a button on a remote control device, which then sends a signal to the collar, causing it to vibrate. The effective distance will depend on the type of collar you buy (or make), and can vary depending on model (check out our Information page for where to get a vibrating collar). The vibration is not a shock and is not very strong. In fact, many people who have used the collars worried at first that they wouldn’t work because the dog didn’t even seem to notice. But with conditioning and training, your dog will respond to the vibration.
The vibration signal for a deaf dog becomes the equivalent of using voice to get the attention of your hearing dog. Many people just assume that since their dog can hear them, it will obey them when off-leash, which is not the case. Every dog is trained and obeys at a different level. This is true of a deaf dog using a vibrating collar also. Every dog must be treated and seen as an individual and you must take that into account. Each dog will be different and it will depend on your dog – and your comfort level – if your dog can ever be let off-leash, even using a vibrating collar.