a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A New Training Phase

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A New Training Phase

SUMMARY: Tika's vibrating collar arrived!
The replacement vibrating collar (the first one didn't work correctly) arrived last night and is charging up.

I've reread the instructions, which have tons of warnings about how just the prongs rubbing against the skin could cause problems. I know to watch for this, because the prongs of the Invisible Fence collar that our Sheba had to wear all the time did indeed cause problems with her skin (but in her case, it was a tradeoff between that or her getting out of the yard all the time).

Tika is now wearing the collar for a little while to see whether it bothers her (it doesn't seem to) and to let her get used to just having it on without anything going on, so she doesn't specifically associate wearing the collar with paying attention to me.

Meanwhile, the control unit finishes charging up.

The collar didn't take as long to charge but also supposedly needs charging every 14 hours or so, so this is not a wear-all-the-time collar. I'll have to see how the training goes to decide whether i want her to wear it all day at home every day (and charge it every night), or wear it only when we go out and about.

I've read their training instructions, which use the vibration "at an uncomfortable level" (you test it on yourself to figure out what that is) as a discouragement for bad behavior or encouragement to do something that you want them to do (it stops when they sit, down, etc.). Whereas I want to use it as an alert (the lowest level possible) to get Tika to look at me.

The instructions I'm going to try using are from DeafDogs.org, which is also where I found the name of the device to order. I picked the Unleashed Technology GT-1 because it's one of the few without a shock option and I wanted there to be NO chance of a mistake, also for its range; shopped for the best price; and that's the one that arrived and didn't work right. I called their support number and, after a long discussion, they said that they'd just have to replace it with a new one. They also told me that "Unleashed Technology" is an obsolete model and the new model is branded PetSafe. The equivalent number is PDT00-12892 (Remote Trainer with Vibration).

Assuming that this replacement set works correctly, I'll post more in the future.

P.S. Incidentally, for those who wonder about operant condition terminolgy, if one were to use the collar in the way that the collar manufacturer suggests for normal training, applying an unpleasant thing until they stop an unwanted behavior would be a positive punishment: that is, you add a punishment to make the behavior stop. Don't confuse "positive punishment" (adding an aversive) with "positive training method" (which advocates primarily using positive rewards (that is, adding rewards) for desired behavior.

P.P.S In addition to the deaf dog training site above, here's another summary of training deaf dogs.

P.P.P.S. This is NOT a shock collar; it is a vibrating collar. None-the-less, I would hesitate  to use the highest vibration setting.

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