You can use collars with the vibration feature to train your dog humanely. I have used it in conjunction with the beep feature to correct many bad behaviors.
But the question is, does it work?
It does. It’s the first step toward letting the dog associate a sensation with a bad habit. The shock feature comes much later. You may not even need it as some breeds are trainable enough to listen to vibrations on a collar.
Here’s how to use a vibration collar to train a dog:
- Get the dog familiar with the collar
- Let the collar stay without correcting it
- Wait for the right moment
- Know your way around a vibration collar
- Correct the dog with the vibration
- Repeat the process for a few days
- Use positive reinforcement
- Wait for the results
- Do not punish the dog
- Remove the cause
10 Steps to Use a Vibration Collar to Train a Dog
Let’s discuss the steps I mentioned above.
1. Get the dog familiar with the collar
Anything introduced by force or suddenly to a dog will startle it. You don’t want that to happen because it will reject or get anxious about it.
The same goes for a collar with vibration. You have to introduce it slowly – at the dog’s pace.
Here’s how to do it:
- Keep the collar with you at all times of interaction with the dog.
- Let it sniff, and taste, but not chew.
- Keep it with the toys, so the dog knows it’s one of them.
- Take something it’s familiar with and rub the collar on it to get its scent.
- From my experience, some of them easily accept new things when they have the same scent as the things they love.
- Use plenty of treats to encourage the dog when it shows acceptance.
When it accepts the collar, try tying it on.
How to tie the collar?
Tying the collar doesn’t require rocket science. However, doing it the right way is necessary for it to work the best.
You have to make sure that the prongs stay in touch with the dog’s neck to optimally transmit corrections.
Which size collar the dog needs depends on its breed, age, physical health, appearance, and more.
Generally speaking, tie the collar with the two-fingers process in mind.
- Gently put the collar through the dog’s head.
- Position the collar just below the jaw.
- Tie it up with two fingers between it and the neck.
- You should be able to slightly move the fingers without feeling the collar too tight or too loose.
- If you have a breed with long hair such as the Great Pyrenees, double coat such as a Husky, or folds such as a Bulldog, you must rake or shake the collar to get a little deeper.
2. Let the collar stay without correcting the dog
Again, this is important not to startle your pet. More than that, it will disallow any wrong association between its behavior and the sudden vibration it received from you.
For example, I’ve seen some owners use the beep, vibration, or shock features right when the collar is on the dog’s neck.
Instead of that, wait for a day or two before you actually apply the stimulation. In the meanwhile, let the collar stay just to engrave in the dog’s mind that it’s not something harmful.
3. Wait for the right moment
Correcting a dog’s bad behavior requires attention to it. The whole purpose of a vibration collar is built around target the very moment the dog exhibits that behavior.
Therefore, wait for the right moment before hitting that button.
For example, your dog may have a barking problem. You shouldn’t vibrate the collar on each bark, but the ones that are unnecessary such as barking at a neighbor or a squirrel.
Hit the button right when it starts barking and keep the vibrations on until it stops.
4. Know your way around a vibration collar
Almost all collars come with three main stimulation features: Beep, vibration, and shock. Before using any of them, make sure you know how they work.
- Read the manual thoroughly before proceeding.
- Some collars come with more than one vibration level.
- Start with the basic level and gradually move up, depending on the dog’s temperament.
- It is also wise to check the intensity of levels on your hand first.
- You may also want to disable the shock feature altogether. A few models come with plastic covers for the prongs that stop current transmission.
5. Correct the dog with the vibration
After learning how the collar you have brought works, it’s time to start corrections.
- Look for the behaviors you want to correct.
- Press the vibration button right when the dog exhibits them.
- Wait and see how the dog responds. Normally, they stop for a while, trying to figure out where that sensation came from. A few resume the behavior.
- Keep on vibrating the dog until it stops.
Some dogs do not get phased by vibrations. You may have to take stimulations up a notch or even switch between different them to get the job done.
As I said, during training, I start with the beep, followed by vibration, and resort only to shock when neither of them works.
6. Repeat the process for a few days
Remember, training is a process. It could be continuous or recurring, depending on how keen your dog is to learn.
You have to be patient with it because dogs don’t learn in a single day. Instead, you have to repeatedly train them to engrave a connection or association in their brains.
In simple terms, they learn by association. When their behaviors are followed by some form of stimulation for a few days, an association forms between them.
7. Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement used with negative corrections bears fruit in the long term.
It refers to encouraging your dog with treats, love, toys, or anything it likes. You can use this science-backed technique to complement the vibrations from the collar.
- Vibrate the dog when it needs corrections.
- Wait for it to get normal.
- Feed it treats right at that moment.
With this, you’re basically telling your pet that, for example, barking will cause that sensation under your jaw, and staying quiet will lead to a treat.
8. Wait for the results
Results don’t come easily. You may follow all the steps, but still somehow lag behind. Do not forget to improvise the whole training process because you just read the science behind training a dog.
9. Do not punish the dog
Patience is the key to dog training. You have to keep your nerves cool and your anger under control when correcting the dog.
One wrong move and the pet may be corrected wrongly, leading to a further behavioral disaster.
Dogs that are actively abused become either too aggressive to deal with, or too scared to ignore.
10. Remove the cause
Your dog may not need corrections at all. It may be showing wayward behavior because of an avoidable cause. For example, you may have been leaving it home alone for too long that the neighbors are complaining about its barking.
So instead of correcting it for that when you get home, why not focus on helping it cope with separation-induced anxieties?
Things to Take Care of When Using a Vibration Collar
- Check the collar’s material. Is it too stiff for the dog?
- The dog should be able to move its head here and there.
- Keep an eye on the apparent signs of distress, for example, pawing the collar, or wriggling its head to remove it. You may not have familiarized the dog or there must be something wrong with the collar.
- Make sure the collar is snug around the dog’s neck.
- Do not use it for more than four hours per day.
- Remove the collar before going to bed. Wearing it all night long may cause bruising.
- Check the area beneath the collar regularly to keep an eye on the dog’s skin health.
- Make sure the dog doesn’t become collar smart. One way to do that is to keep the remote away from its sight
- Refrain from excessive corrections.
- Keep the remote away from children.
Why Is It Important To Make The Use of Vibration Rewarding But Not Scary?
Dogs learn by associating certain cues with behaviors. If you’re using the vibration collar to instill certain behaviors or distract the dog from some, use it not to startle the dog and leave it there, but reward it when it listens to you. The idea is to create a mechanism where the dog understands that the vibration means refraining from a certain action and that ultimately leads to the yummy rewards.
Doing this is ultimately important for desensitizing the dog to certain stimuli. For example, if it barks when someone knocks, with proper vibration and treats, it will learn that is okay. Sitting put somewhere, going to its crate, or simply listening to you means everything is fine.
This is also called counter-conditioning.
- Use the vibration as a means to ask your dog to look at you.
- Make it sit in front of you while you feed it treats during the stimuli.
- Rinse and repeat this process until the dog is desensitized. Usually, that takes a few days, depending on the breed. Some will learn quickly such as Goldies, while others will challenge your method such as Huskies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most related questions people asked from DoggoMag about using vibration collars.
What’s the difference between a shock collar and a vibrating collar?
A shock collar stimulates a dog with static charges, while a vibration collar uses vibrations to do the same.
Generally, dedicated vibration collars are fewer. Owners and trainers alike use shock collars’ vibration feature. As said above, these collars may come with three types of stimulation features.
Do vibration collars work for aggressive dogs?
Vibration collars may not work for aggressive dogs because they can easily ignore the sensation. They have a high capacity to cope with a higher level of stimulation.
Do vibration collars work for biting?
Yes, they work for biting when used in the recommended ways. However, their effectiveness also depends on the intensity or level of biting. If they are hurting your family members, you may go for a bigger and more intense shock collar.
How to Use a Vibration Collar to Train a Dog? Conclusion
Using a vibration collar requires you to get the dog familiar with the collar, followed by gradually training it right at the cue, and then finally repeating the process for long-term success.
However, in the meanwhile, do not punish your pet or delay correcting it after the initial bad behavior.