Thursday, February 18, 2016

Vibration Only E-Collars

Ecollar Technologies has come out with a vibration-only
"pager" collar they are selling for $189.99. A lot of people seem to like it, but I am glad I have the regular stim collar for my two dogs. Each to his own, and I suspect this has more to do with human comfort and self-perception than anything else.

Most dogs want to obey, and do not need too much of a "tap" to help them work through their Attention Deficit Disorder issues.  That said, there are times when a dog is very "amped" due to a fight-or-flight, or prey-drive situation.  In those cases, I want to be able to "turn up the heat" so the dog can "see the light."  It may not take much, but it may take more than a vibration that the dog has fully explored the limits of.  To be clear, however, I have no experience with this "Pager Only" set up.  Do you?


Peter Apps said...

I have an EZ 902 model. I use the tone as a recall cue to save whistling and calling, and the vibrate as a "focus breaker". Both work very well. These were both trained with help from a low setting tap. A high setting tap is reserved for life or death chases - around here small stock owners who think that your dog killed something turn up at your gate with the body and a shotgun.

Simba said...

I would imagine they'd be great for deaf dogs. Recently got my first flexi for a fourteen year old who can't hear well enough any more to be off lead.

Viatecio said...

I've been told that some dogs consider the pager function very aversive, or that some trainers use it as a precursor to the stim if used as a correction. The Dogtra bark collar uses the pager as part of it's aversive control to barking. People won't know if they have one of these dogs that hates the page until they spend the money and find out that a) this is the case, and b) they do not have the knowledge/skill set to either work past it or use this to their advantage.

Personally, I've always conditioned the page with food so that it means good things and isn't scary, so that way I can use it as a recall and, like you, "turn up the heat" (be degrees, remember--I do not believe in deep-frying dogs if a little heat from the coals will get the job done!) if the dog's mind is too far gone to acknowledge the page. Of the few dogs I've owned, none has taken issue with this approach.

It's just as easy to get a normal collar, keep the level low and use both page and stim as necessary to teach and work the dog.

Peter Apps said...

Hi Viatecio

I trained the recall to the tone using food rewards, the same as I did for calling and whistling. Like many dogs, mine goes deaf to voice and whistle when focussing on something, the tone usually gets his attention and occasionally I need to use the vibrate. I am sparing with the use of vibrate exactly because I do not want the dog to habituate to it, or to associate it with anything good or bad - it is purely there to get his attention off whatever he is focussing on so that he can hear me again. The tone and vibrate in the Pager Only e-collar would fill both these functions on this dog.

He is an African street dog, with the very high prey drive and extreme nervousness (and high intelligence) that have been necessary survival traits for several thousand generations - I suspect that on a more confident dog the tone and vibrate would be less effective as focus breakers.