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Discussion Starter #1
I know how people feel about shock collars and that is not what I want but I have what about a collar that vibrates? I know that the Garmin Alpha has tone and vibration settings (I am looking a a GPS collar anyway for once he gets better off lead and while we are working one that rock hard recall). He responds really well to a tone, I am actually using a hunting call as the signal for his emergency recall so it is audible from a great distance.

I guess the real question is are tone and vibration collars Adverse Training? Do they have the same effects as Shock/E-Collars? What is the general perception of them?
 

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It can be somewhat a grey area (depends on how you are using them to train plus it's the dog who determines what is aversive, not what we feel should/should not...) but in general I am ok with the use of tones and vibration assuming used and conditioned as R+ cues and reward markers. I would personally consider using vibration for deaf dogs. Tone... right now I just use my voice and am playing around with a plain old whistle.
 

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@kmes It is one of those big investment things so I don't want to do it if it is bad. I am training the hunting call so that he hears it and he comes back and gets a treat. Trucker just acts completely tone deaf to a normal clicker so I am improvising. I would like the vibration or tone to train like a traditional clicker since they just don't work for him at all and every marker word I choose i forget I choose it and over use the crud out of it.
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For one, I really love multi-tone collars. they are a bit easier to use than a multi-tone whistle. I used both to train my Shepard, as I watched the multi-tone whistles be used for different commands. I really hate yelling and having a "sit" beep, a "recall" beep, a "go play" tone...are much nicer.

As she ages and can't hear as well the shriller tones of the collar do get her attention MUCH better than my voice.
 

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As long as not inherently aversive to the dog (counter conditioning needed to change association probably would not worth it) it's totally ok to use a tone and vibration as a reward marker and recall cue, imo. :)

But, you may find you have the same issue with not recognizing it as a marker or cue. Honestly everyone who I have worked with who has a dog that clicker or verbal marker doesn't work with has had multiple training issues... poor timing and marker not conditioned tend to be the biggies. Not saying you do have these issues going on, but if you do they will carry over to the use of tone and vibration as well since the training involved uses the same methods, just different markers/cues. It's worth taking a look at current training to make sure the pieces are in place on your end before spending the cash.
 

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@kmes

The hunting call works amazingly to get him to come (I think he thinks I have his squeaky ball, which I do and I give him as his reward). I am going to read up some more on clicker training to make sure I am doing it right.
 

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@seashoreduck Which type of collar do you use?
The first one I had was a random brand for hunters that had 5 tones and a vibration. I had it for 6 years before it died...I think from not washing it after her being in the ocean the seal deteriorated. (we went to the ocean alot) I bought it about 8 years ago half off, for around $150

Right now I use a petsafe small dog e-collar, which I cannot post per forum rules. Since she's trained for a collar, I just bought a really cheap replacement that had 3 tones...I don't use the electronic stim feature. I got it on sale for $60 or 70ish.
 

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@seashoreduck okay. Thanks. Yeah I don't want the "shock" that come with the collars I just was looking at the ones that have tone, vibration, and GPS. I liked Garmin because then we can use it as trail maps and Geo-caching maps too. We have a little while before I would buy one if I decide to I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't damaging my dog by using a tone or low vibration like a clicker.
 

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@DobisHoundis is there a way to figure out if a dog is going to find them averse?
 

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@seashoreduck okay. Thanks. Yeah I don't want the "shock" that come with the collars I just was looking at the ones that have tone, vibration, and GPS. I liked Garmin because then we can use it as trail maps and Geo-caching maps too. We have a little while before I would buy one if I decide to I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't damaging my dog by using a tone or low vibration like a clicker.
Garmin is an excellent brand. I dislike clicker because it's one sound and the dog has no idea if you mean sit, stay, or "release". I like multi-tone whistles for that reason. You'd never use one word for all of those commands and one sound is simply to get the dog's attention and may put pure stress on it in the long run because it has to guess what you mean.

Fear reactive dogs may not like the tones, but I think if you use the tones before you ever put the collar on the dog and it has positive associations most dogs will not struggle to identify that collar=good thing.
 

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Vibration is startling to a dog. If you're startled how does that make you feel? You would generally stop what you were doing if you were wearing something that suddenly startled you. Especially if you had no idea that the vibration was coming. I'd call that aversive. If something stops behavior it's usually +P.
 

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I think it's different for every dog. It might startle some and others just feel it more like a tap on the shoulder. Some respond to it and others (like my dog) don't even blink an eye.
 

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is there a way to figure out if a dog is going to find them averse?
The only way to really know is to try it. You may be able to make an educated guess based on your dog's general response to noise/strange sensations, but you won't really know without applying vibration to his neck. You could maybe try setting your phone to vibrate (1 second "burst") and hold it near/on his neck to see how he responds. If you want to condition him to positively associate it, I would wait on that, and treat for being near when the vibration occurs, closing the distance to actual contact with his neck. You would essentially use the collar/phone as a clicker, if that's what your intention is for it. If he does well with that, I would imagine he'll do well with an actual collar.

If you get one which is also an e-collar, you probably can and should remove the probes (the little metal pieces), and that will make it more diffuse and also eliminate the possibility of wear/sores under the points if he wears it over a longer period of time.

Vibration is startling to a dog. If you're startled how does that make you feel? You would generally stop what you were doing if you were wearing something that suddenly startled you. Especially if you had no idea that the vibration was coming. I'd call that aversive. If something stops behavior it's usually +P.
I got the impression from the OP that she wants to condition Trucker to recognize the vibration/tone as a reward marker, which, if successful, wouldn't be aversive. The clicking sound a clicker makes is startling and aversive to some dogs, but when paired with something to form a positive association, can become a powerful reinforcer.
 

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With a clicker you can muffle the sound when charging the clicker. Can a vibration collar be adjusted to barely vibrate so that it's not startling? I just don't see the point of a vibration collar. I used to train with e collars. Yes, they have a vibration setting. Yes, all the dogs reacted with a startle response. Is that proof that all dogs will react that way? Nope. But for me it was one of the reasons I eventually decided that I didn't need a collar of any sort to train a recall.
 

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Not sure how I feel about the vibrator. I really only subscribe to training using positive reinforcement so I guess the question that surfaces in my mind, is the vibration positive or?????? I know I'm not nearly as adverse to the concept of a vibrating collar, as I am to a shock collar, but I hesitate to say I am in favor of it.
 

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@seashoreduck a clicker is a marker, not a cue. Cues tell the dog what to do. A click marks a correct choice/action. It means ''that's right, reward is on it's way.''

@TruckersMom, were I to use vibration, I would likely start with collar off. Vibrate on soft surface or in hand, then treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat until dog is happy with vibration. Then work towards collar on in small steps.

An auditory sound is likely going to be easier to condition .
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People often use vibration collars, paired with rewards for deaf dogs. Is that +P training? I personally don't think so. I think it can be a terrible crutch or a great tool but it all depends how you use it.
 

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I haven't read the other replies, so sorry if I'm repeating.

But IMO, it depends on how you use it. It's always the dog that decides what is aversive. If you take the time to condition the dog to be ok with the vibration sensation, and you teach the dog that vibrate = come and get a treat, then no, it's not aversive. If you slap it on and buzz your dog when he does something you don't want, or as negative reinforcement, and the dog doesn't like it or responds fearfully, then it's aversive.

If I had a deaf dog, I would absolutely use a vibration collar. I think it's a fantastic tool to be able to communicate long distance or out of line of sight. But I would make sure that my dog is conditioned to be ok with the vibration, so it's not scary or unpleasant. I think using towels to create sort of a pad underneath the collar and absorb the vibrations would help dull it a bit and lower the threshold so it's not scary. Plus, since it'll probably make some noise, you can even start conditioning with the collar in your hand and just have it around the dog at first.
 
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