Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
DirectorMan

Vibrating collars on deaf dogs

Recommended Posts

Vibrating collars have been suggested as replacements for clickers in clicker training for deaf dogs, as well as for getting their attention prior to a command such as a recall. The conventional wisdom is that one shouldn't use them for both purposes as the dog would be confused as to the intent of the vibration. Assuming this is true, for which of the above options would you use a vibrating collar, and what would you use as a substitute for the vibrating collar for the other option? The alternatives to vibrating collars that I have seen on deafdogs.org have their drawbacks, but I can't think of anything better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no personal experience with this whatsoever, so take my opinion with a grain of salt...

 

I'd lean towards using it to get the dogs attention. Once you have the dogs attention and it correctly performs a behavior or trick you could use a hand signal as a "clicker" (maybe something like a thumbs up?). It just seems to me the vibration would be much more useful for getting your dogs attention so she knows you want something from her. It might also allow her to relax a bit more and explore her surroundings knowing you have a way of telling her when you need her focus.

 

Again, this is all just a "best guess" from someone who has never worked with a deaf dog. We actually have lots of trainers on this forum and I'm curious to hear what they think!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used one before that had a short vibrate and a longer one I can't remember where I bought it. The long was for recall and the short was to get their attention. Then use hand signals. I bet you could find something that would give short ones that could mean different things. Make combinations like a whistle. That I'm not sure on. As for clicker replacement I'm not sure I don't use one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend who's trained her deaf border collie and has certified him as a therapy dog. She uses a thumbs up as a marker to replace a clicker. Dunno what she uses to get the dog's attention, but I could ask if you like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd appreciate it. Thanks. If she has any other tips/suggestions to offer, that would be great as well. I could use all the help I can get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to PM you with some additional stuff, but my friend, who has 2 deaf dogs, said she can use a vibrating collar on one, but not on the other, who's very sensitive and terrified of the collar. It just goes to show how different these dogs can be and that what works for one may not necessarily work for another.

 

She taught her dog to check in with her frequently so she can give him a cue when she needs to. Obviously, that can only be in a safe, confined space for him to be off leash. Elsewhere he must be leashed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's another reply I got from another friend who has several deaf dogs [names changed for privacy]:

 

I personally don't think vibrating collars are necessary or even worth it. They're heavy, bulky, expensive, and have limited uses. There's the one benefit of the dog could be trained to look at you when far away, but honestly you can just as easily train a dog to naturally "check in" with you and get the same result without paying for a special collar that will be heavy for your dog to wear.

I don't use vibrating collars with my deaf dogs and I only know one person who does and she only uses it when the dogs are in the woods. She likes it and thinks it is helpful, but she is also a dog trainer so her dogs are generally better trained than the average dog.

Most people with deaf dogs do not use vibrating collars.

Hannah (who is my only "just deaf" dog) is naturally a Velcro dog and will naturally "check in" with me. All I have to do is wait a few seconds for her to look at me and then sign "come." She comes running. If she is really distracted by something and more than a few seconds have gone by, I will move myself to be better in her visual field and start waving my arms, clapping, jumping up and down, flashing the lights if it's dark out, etc. That will usually get her attention. Very, very rarely, she still won't look so I will either throw something nearby to her or stop being lazy and actually walk to her and tap her.

Honestly, I really have no issues with getting her attention or getting a fast recall from her. It is easier with a Velcro dog who will naturally check in with you, but with some training, any dog can be trained to check in with their owners.

There is a deaf dogs Yahoo group. I left it (as did April) years ago because some of the training methods they advocate are abusive. One person uses a cattle prod with her deaf Australian cattle dogs because they are a "tough" breed and won't respond to positive training methods. And it was accepted on that list. When I objected to it, I was told I need to be open-minded and tolerant of all training methods. So I left. I don't usually recommend that group although there are some very good discussions on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The one person I knew who used a vibrating collar used it as a "look at me" and then she was able to give any hand signal. The dog learned to do a recall from anywhere based on the vibration because it had to go find the owner to look at her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend has a deaf sheltie that competes in agility. She uses a penlight as a clicker- quick flash = treat. Obviously she doesn't shine it in his face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...