Does a Vibrating Dog Collar Work?

Filed in Dog Training on April 10, 2022

Does a Vibrating Dog Collar Work

You may heard of vibrating dog collars and their safety advantages over shock collars.

A vibrating dog collar can be a great way to train your dog off-leash and on-leash. It offers you the ability to get your dog to behave even when there isn’t a leash between you.

It can also allow a lot more freedom for your dog to explore on their own without being physically attached to you.

By the way, I wrote another blog post on the best vibrating dog collar with no shock, if interested.

But the real question is does a vibrating dog collar work?

What is a Vibrating Dog Collar?

A vibrating dog collar is a type of electronic collar that is much less well-known than the more typically used shock collar. Vibrating dog collars create a mild vibration that’s not aversive but does have the power to get a dog’s attention.

They don’t cause anxiety or result in negative behaviors in the way that shock collars do. Typically, vibrating collars are triggered by the use of a handheld remote. They may also beep in addition to vibrating.

Sometimes, vibrating dog collars are triggered by a dog barking or getting close to a barrier, although this is much less common.

Do Vibrating Dog Collars Work?

dog wearing collar

When used appropriately, vibrating dog collars can be a highly effective training aid. They aren’t aversive and therefore aren’t associated with the negative consequences of punishment-based training.

When used as part of a positive reinforcement training routine, vibrating dog collars can be extremely useful.

Why do Vibrating Collars Work so Well?

  • Consistent. Vibrating collars make the exact same stimulation every single time, which can make it a lot easier for your dog to understand what you’re trying to communicate.
  • Unique. A vibration against your dog’s neck is not like any other sound or sensation, which can help cut through all of the distractions your dog may be experiencing.

When Vibrating Dog Collars May be Helpful

Vibrating dog collars may not be the most common training aid, but in certain situations, they can be invaluable. Here are a few of the times when vibrating dog collars can be helpful:

Training Deaf Dogs

Perhaps the most straightforward and practical use of vibrating dog collars is in the training of deaf dogs. Deaf dogs can be a challenge to train, particularly for verbally focused animals like humans.

It’s extremely natural for humans to talk to and call out to dogs, but when your dog can’t hear you, you may be left struggling to communicate with them.

A vibrating collar can be a superb way to get your deaf dog’s attention. Once you have their attention, you can use whatever hand signals you like to communicate with your deaf dog.

A vibrating collar is more effective than other techniques like flashing lights or frantically waving your arms at your dog.

When a dog has their nose down, they may be able to see very little, which is when a vibrating collar can come in handy.

Most people simply train their deaf dogs to pay attention to them when they feel the vibrating collar.

However, other people actually train their dog to associate vibration cues with particular behaviors. It appears clear that vibrating dog collars work well with deaf dogs.

Vibrating collars can also be very useful when a dog is both deaf and blind.

A single vibration may mean that the dog should stop before they run into something, a long vibration may indicate that the dog should try to find their way back to their owner or go to a particular location, etc.

Training Highly Focused Dogs

woman adjusting his dog's collar

Do you ever feel like your dog is ignoring your commands when you call out to them? In fact, your dog is likely so focused on what they’re doing that they really don’t even hear you.

This is particularly common for dogs that are highly motivated by smells, such as scent hounds.

All of the yelling in the world may not get your dog’s attention when they’re focused on something very interesting. However, sometimes a vibrating collar can cut through your dog’s focus.

Many owners of these kinds of dogs are astounded by how quickly their dog will look up and pay attention to them once they feel the vibration. It may turn out that your dog isn’t stubborn after all, but just too focused on what they’re doing to notice you.

In fact, this kind of focus is a highly desirable characteristic in many working dogs. These dogs have been bred to be so focused on the job that they are indifferent to distractions.

For scent hounds trained to focus on the smell rather than a human handler, learning to pay attention to a person calling out can be nearly impossible.

A vibrating collar can make all the difference.

By associating the vibration strongly with a highly desired reward like a favorite toy or particularly good treat, you can train your dog to notice and pay attention to the vibration no matter what they’re interested in.

Quiet Remote Training

Some dogs are perfectly able to respond to your commands when you shout out over a distance or when you use a sound-making device like a whistle. However, there may be times when you would rather communicate with your dog quietly.

This could be especially effective for hunting dogs when you would like your dog to do something but you don’t want to startle the game by shouting out.

It can also be useful for herding dogs and dogs in competitive environments in which your voice or whistle may be drowned out by all the noise around them.

A vibration is an excellent way to quietly get your dog’s attention and communicate with them.

Conclusion on Whether Vibrating Dog Collars Work

When it’s used as a part of a positive training routine, a vibrating collar can be an extremely effective way to train your dog remotely.

You may be amazed by how well they can work to communicate with dogs that otherwise may struggle to pay attention to commands when they’re off-leash.

No training aid is a magic bullet, but a vibrating collar can be one of the most effective ways to communicate with an off-leash dog effectively.

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