Vibrating collar for deaf dog?

(10 Posts)
Spudlet Tue 01-Jan-19 14:33:33

NOT as a punishment, but as a 'hey, look here!' gentle tap on the shoulder sort of thing, if you see what I mean?

Ddog is going deaf, as confirmed by the vet - nothing to be done, it's just age. I really don't want to have him stuck on a lead forever - he loves crashing through the undergrowth and looking for Important Smells. Even with an extendable lead, his freedom will be curtailed and his quality of life will drop. He's in otherwise excellent health, still capable of a day's work even, but he just can't hear! Last time I took him out, he had to be tackled by one of the guys as he was trundling off back to the wagon to wait for me (I was jumping up and down in the complete opposite direction 🙈).

We're going through an intensive recall retraining phase now with a long line and highest value rewards as there probably is a certain element of elective deafness here (spaniel), but it's not all that by any means - I can tell.

Has anyone successfully used a gently vibrating collar and conditioned a dog to turn to look when they feel it? I've googled them and slightly alarmingly they all seem to be the sort that go on to give shocks, and I'm absolutely not interested in that. So just looking for experience or alternative ideas for my deaf old buggerlugs!

OP’s posts: |
spot102 Thu 03-Jan-19 15:46:43

Also have a deaf dog and similarly interested in vibrating collars. Haven't acquired one yet, so can't really help with experience except to say that non-shock ones are available (def on ebay). I have seen a very positive post from someone who appeared to use it to communicate with their deaf dog, and lots of posts that claim that its cruel (which personally I think is nonsense, unless they are thinking of shock, which clearly we are not). I'm also quite interested in its effectiveness at attracting attention, at any rate I can't think its any worse than shouting at a dog that doesn't want to hear!

It does seem quite sensible if used properly, all the other methods I've heard/read of attracting your deaf dogs attention failed my what-if tests in one way or another, mostly in the 'what if she's not looking at me' way .

Mine is young (4 months, born deaf, so slightly different scenario) and currently follows our second dog, also does respond to hand signals, but as I say, I can see a time when she becomes more independent and may need 'reminding' to look at me, So yes am seriously considering this also, but sorry, can't be of more help!

No-one I've spoken (eg trainer, breeder) to has mentioned them one way or another, only done my own research, just been advised to train her to keep her attention on me at all times, however, I'm not really confident this is fool proof!!

Bamaluz Thu 03-Jan-19 16:08:56

No experience of vibrating collars, success with a whistle though.
My old dog is going deaf, and I can't whistle very loud so bought a metal whistle and did some recall training with it, and it's working really well. I don't let him get too far before calling him back to me for a treat.
It would depend on how much your dog can still hear though.

Nesssie Thu 03-Jan-19 16:55:39

I used a vibrating collar that didn't shock on one of my dogs. We had 10 acres of woodland and and we used it as a recall. When the collar vibrated he knew to come home. Saved us yelling til our throats were sore! Unfortunately it was quite cheap and broke after 8 months so I don't know about long term use.

I've heard they can be used on deaf dogs though.

ColdCrumpetsandButter Thu 03-Jan-19 17:08:43

Isn't there a Deaf Dog Network?

spot102 Thu 03-Jan-19 18:02:15

Yes, there is quite a lot of info on-line if you google deaf dogs.
Deaf Dogs Rock is another
Quite a lot seems to be from USA, but this isn't necessarily bad

Detoxpup Thu 03-Jan-19 19:36:06

I have two deaf dogs (failed fosters!) . I do not use a vibrating collar and my reasons are that one they do not really work that well. If a dog is off in the undergrowth they tend not to take any notice of the vibration. However the vibration then appears to be very unsettling for the dog when they are aware of it even with hours and hours of counter conditioning.

So I do have one if you want to try it!
Having a deaf dog means you tend to mix with other deaf dog owners and some have used the collar to limited success but be really careful in which collar you get -they are hard to find in the uk.

My dogs are trained to a flash light - with led coloured lights I find that way better for recall and it can cover some distance as well. I would not recommend light training for a dog that chases shadows so again depends on the dog. I prefer to use a flashing coloured light so that my dogs do not go off to any light they see in the distance- they haven't done yet smile.

What are your dogs names? I find that when people ask me my deaf dogs name I always do the hand signal rather than say their actual names is this just me smile

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Spudlet Thu 03-Jan-19 19:43:29

Thanks guys. I do use a whistle (he's a gun dog) but he doesn't seem to be reliably hearing it - especially in wooded areas where the sounds echoes off the trees. It was really noticeable recently, he could hear the whistle but he couldn't tell where it was coming from and kept haring off in totally the wrong direction 🙄

Shame they don't work in the undergrowth as that's a fairly vital part of the whole process for us really. Not just when working, but in life - hedge bashing is one of his favourite things. I see I may need to consider other options here!

OP’s posts: |
Detoxpup Thu 03-Jan-19 19:45:17

Would it work if you mix the whistle to the light if you get some response from the whistle. So train to get the attention at distance with the whistle then to show the light for the recall reward and your location?

Spudlet Thu 03-Jan-19 19:58:56

Yes, it might - he's very good at body language too. It's getting him to look in the correct direction that's the trick. Mind you, he's always been a bit of a bugger about going 'I can't heeeeear yoooooou' when it suits, so there may be an element of that going on! He's not profoundly deaf but he is harder of hearing and when you combine that with a Very Important Smell, well, just call him cloth-ears and have done.

I am going to have to work on 'look' again and try and get him checking in more regularly. Wonder if he can still hear a clicker?!

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