This post is sponsored by PetSafe®. I am being compensated to help spread the word about the safe and effective use of vibration collars for training deaf dogs on recall. I only share information that I feel is relevant to my readers. PetSafe is not responsible for any of this content.
As a deaf dog parent, blogger and trainer, I am frequently asked about training deaf dogs using vibration collars. The thing is, I’ve never used one personally.
I’ve educated myself by reading books and articles and talking to professional dog trainers, so I’m pretty comfortable answering those questions and offering advice. That said, there is a big difference between knowing the theory of something and actually doing it.
Book learning only gets you so far, and the voice of experience most definitely lends confidence and authenticity.
By getting my hands dirty and training myself- and then my deaf dogs- I will be able to more effectively communicate how and why vibration collars can offer real benefits to many deaf dogs and their parents. By sharing this adventure with you, my hope is to offer some practical, real-life advice so that you and others can safely and successfully train a deaf dog for recall with a vibration collar.
And for the record, though the content and many of the special considerations in this series will be deaf dog centered, much of it will apply equally to hearing dogs as well.
Though a vibration collar may not be necessary or appropriate for every deaf dog, there are many families for whom this training device is a good option to consider. PetSafe and I want to make sure that a thoughtful and informed decision is made, that pet parents understand the right and the wrong way to use a vibration collar and how to train your deaf dog on recall with vibration stimulation. That being said, PetSafe is not responsible for any of this content and the opinions and advice I’m going to share are mine and mine alone.
Safety and humane, positive-reinforcement training techniques will always be at the foundation of this series, and I am using only a vibration collar- not a shock collar.
I’m going to include videos and photos throughout, a sort of travelogue of my journey, which I hope will be educational and entertaining. I’m kind of a doofus and I love to incorporate humor, so you can expect some lighthearted glitter and cotton candy moments to complement the broccoli and spinach.
PetSafe’s tagline says it all: Protect. Teach. Love.
I’m thrilled to be working with PetSafe for many reasons, but their commitment to creating safe and quality products is way up on my list. They also offer free online customer support as well as telephone and email options, so you can choose the method that works best for you.
I’ve already called them once because, well, I’m a man and carefully reading an instruction manual is not in my DNA. They were very helpful and patiently walked me through the process of pairing the transmitter to the collars and not once did they suggest, imply or insinuate that I’m a moron, which I probably am.
Equally important though, PetSafe loves dogs, including deaf dogs. They are supporting this series of educational posts to help improve the lives of deaf dogs and their parents. Any company that helps deafies is golden in my book!
To read all the reasons that I’m a PetSafe pet parent, look here.
- My blog’s mission is deaf dogs. I am writing and working for them, to raise awareness about their existence, needs and capabilities, to be an advocate and to help them live rich, full, happy lives.
- In addition to training both of my deaf dogs, Edison and Foster, with the unwavering support and guidance of Deaf Dogs Rock, I have also trained over twenty deaf shelter dogs in the past few years. I have also worked with private clients to help them with their deafies. I’m not a professional dog trainer by any means, but I do have lots of experience working with deaf dogs.
Before introducing the collar to Edison and Foster, I’ll be testing the vibration collar on myself to learn exactly how it feels! (Why am I especially excited about this??!) Check back next week for my test drive video.
I would never place an electronic device on my dogs without using it on myself first. My husband asked if I’d be willing to test drive a shock collar instead. I taught him a new hand sign involving one hand and one middle finger.
Why Vibration Collars?
- Though I’m a strong proponent of keeping deaf dogs on-leash whenever they’re not in a fenced-in area, I know that I’m viewing this through the eyes of an overprotective pet parent living in an urban area where there are unique dangers and safety considerations that may not be so pressing for deaf dog parents living in more rural areas.
- For deaf dog parents who decide to allow their deaf dog to be off-leash in open areas, I want to make sure that they are making educated decisions and are implementing some safety safeguards. Deaf dogs can’t hear us if they can’t see us, so using a vibration collar in these situations can be a good way to make sure your deafie is checking in with you and staying close.
- A well-trained deaf dog with consistent off-leash recall can explore a little further away on walks and hikes, discovering new smells, sights and experiences along his way, which provides additional sensory stimulation and environmental enrichment. A dog who gets to make some of his own decisions, wander a bit and is exposed to lots of experiences and environments is a happier, healthier dog.
- By keeping my dogs leashed at all times, a decision borne out of my desire to keep them safe, I know that I am limiting and, at times, completely preventing them from exploring the world around them. Dogs are curious by nature and I’d like to offer another option for deaf dogs, so long as I can do so safely.
- There are many large, fenced in dog parks for which a vibration collar makes a lot of practical sense. There is one park in particular that we frequent where I end up doing jumping jacks to get Edison or Foster’s attention when they’re on the far end of the long play area. I’m guessing that pressing a magic button to get them to come to me will significantly decrease the frequency of judgmental sneers of passersby, unless of course they’re judging me for something entirely different, say my socks that clash with my culottes.
- A lot of deaf dog parents choose to use vibration collars, and many more want to but don’t know how, so I want to make sure that they fully understand what to do, what not to do and how to train their dog safely and humanely.
Why Document As I Learn?
- That’s simple. I want to share my mistakes and what I learn from them so that you don’t have to repeat them. Don’t Do This and Here’s Why is much more effective and educational than Because I Say So. I refuse, absolutely refuse! to become my mother. Blech!
Why This Particular Vibration Collar?
I am using the Rechargeable Remote Trainer with Vibration paired with the Vibration Add-A-Dog® Collar. Together, these two systems will allow me to communicate long distance with two dogs at the same time with a single remote transmitter.
Though PetSafe offers many vibration collar systems, I chose these particular models for a few specific reasons:
- These are VIBRATION collars, NOT shock collars. I do not and never will support using shock collars.
- They offer an impressive range of up to 1/2 a mile.
- I want to be able to remotely communicate with two deaf dogs but I really don’t want to have to carry two controllers. These two vibration collars work in tandem with a single handheld device. I can barely remember to carry my house keys, let alone two transmitters.
- Each collar is a different color, so I always know which collar goes on which dog. I’m simple like that.
- The collars themselves are waterproof and the remote controller is water-resistant. I live in Florida, so water safety is always important to me.
- BIG NEWS!! There will be a VERY cool giveaway at the end of this series. I’ll have more information in the next post, but you’ll definitely want to stay tuned and read all the posts. <wink wink nudge nudge>
- I’ll be creating a separate page on my blog where you can easily find and read all the posts in this series. <nudge nudge wink wink>
- Before you begin training your deaf dog for recall with a vibration collar, your dog should have already mastered some basic deaf dog obedience skills, especially Watch Me and Come. As I go along, I may discover others. I can’t wait to find out what I don’t know!
- If you have questions along the way, or think of topics you want me to address, please share them in a comment. Let’s make this interactive!
- If you know other deaf dog parents or deaf dog advocates, please share this series with them. You never know who might need this information.
- Reach out and thank PetSafe for their ongoing support of deaf dogs and their parents.
Up Next: The Must Do’s and The Must Never’s: some basic ground rules when training your deaf dog with a vibration collars.