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On this page you will find information on collars for deaf dogs, what they are, how they work, their benefits and the disadvantages of using them.
I would like to make it clear that Sabrina (my own deaf dog) never had a deaf dog training collar because I personally don't like them. My reason for this is that they have to be placed quite tightly around the dog's neck for them to feel the vibration and some dogs find them traumatising.
In addition, it is not a good idea to let a deaf dog off of their leash in an open area anyway (see living with a deaf dog). However, some people do and for this reason I have included some information about them and you will be the best judge of what is the right thing to do for your dog.
Vibrating collars are used to train deaf dogs because they provide the added benefit of acting like a paging system for the dog and its owner. When pressed, a button on a remote control causes the collar to vibrate thus attracting your dog's attention (after extensive training!).
The effective distance of the collar will depend on the make so it is important to consider this when buying one. Although these collars are not the same as an electronic or shock collars and the vibration is not very strong, they are not that pleasant for and a very sensitive dog can have a negative reaction to them. They are also quite large and cumbersome. You may also find that you get a lot of people asking you what is wrong with you dog because the collars can be somewhat obvious and unsightly.
Will your dog need a vibrating collar?
Most likely, not. Many deaf dog owners including myself do not use them for number of reasons:
One of the main drawbacks of vibrating collars is their weight. They are too heavy for smaller dogs and pups (they weigh between 65g to 221g and they are as big as the average soap bar) and it does not really teach your pet to do anything, besides being an attention getter for the cue "look at me". Also, from my experience, it is never advisable to let your deaf dog roam free, as there is no guarantee that they will come back.
The collars available today come with a number of available features. Many of them have a tone feature that can help you track down your dog (although this can be substituted by tying a tiny bell to the collar) and it is ideal if you do not want to hear the sound of a bell when your dog walks or when your pet is sleeping.
If you consider buying a vibrating collar make sure that it is waterproof. If it is a combination vibration/shock system, make sure that the shock setting can be turned off. Ideally it should be small (5% of the total body weight of the pet, which is still a lot). Most of these collars come for medium to large sized dogs, have a long battery life, a tone setting and a long range.
Remember that a vibrating collar is not a magic wand and your dog will need to be
trained regardless. Do not assume that your dog will come back to you if it is off
the leash just because you press a button to make its collar vibrate. Your pet is
deaf and it can never be let off-
When you introduce the collar to the dog patience is the key. You have to let the dog get used to the feeling, especially as it is heavier than a regular collar. Fit it according to the instructions and let your pet wear it for short periods for the first three days so that he or she can get accustomed to it. DO NOT test the vibration until your pet has got used to wearing the collar as doing so could create a negative association to it.
Use treats to encourage the dog associating good feelings with wearing the collar. This can be done by giving them a treat when you put the collar on. Positive reinforcement always works well.