Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
I wanted to add to my post above...using the vibration as essentially a non-verbal command as I do with my dog requires the same amount of training that getting a dog who isn't hard-of-hearing to respond to a verbal command does. If I was using it as a correction, my dog would blow right through the vibration. However, I think it can be harder to ignore. Sometimes I think dogs aren't intentionally ignoring commands in an exciting environment, but they honestly don't register the command. Hearing is important to a dog, but a super-interesting scent or something can overpower that, particularly since they're used to filtering out a lot of unimportant (to them) verbal chatter from their humans. If that's the case with your dog, it could be very useful.
The vibration alone is also plenty strong enough for many dogs to see it as an aversive. My deaf dog is a very hard dog when it comes to physical stimulus--he's one of my heelers, which are a breed notorious for that. I have worked with other dogs who would probably regard a vibration on their collar as a very unpleasant stimulus.
In general, I was taught that you start with the lowest setting of the collar (or, depending on how much you can adjust it, the lowest setting that you can personally feel if you hold it to your own arm--some collars are so adjustable that the lowest settings are essentially unnoticeable), and test your dog's reaction to it before increasing it. Delivering a strong shock to a dog who would respond strongly a vibration or a tingle is cruel.
I add that because I am not sure if your trainer was advising you to never bother with the vibration setting, or is just saying that (s)he doesn't think it is going to work for your dog. If she thinks your dog is hearing your commands and ignoring you, and that the vibration setting is too weak to get her attention, then that's one thing. If she doesn't think vibration ever works, then I would have to disagree with her.
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!