A Pager for Pointing Dogs!
By Jim and Phyllis Dobbs and Alice Woodyard
Modern technology has given us the ability to reach another person whenever they are wearing a pager. The pager is worn against the body and emits a vibration that will immediately get the wearer's attention, letting him know that someone wants to communicate with him. Now this pager feature is available for dog trainers so that they can communicate with their dogs.
A New E-Collar
A new collar has been designed especially for the development of pointing dogs. Besides having continuous and momentary electrical stimulation, this new collar emits a vibration to get the dog's attention in the same manner as a pager worn by a person. A three-position slide switch located on the side of the transmitter allows you to easily select one of three choices; pager only, electrical stimulation only, or pager and electrical stimulation. A rotary dial on top of the transmitter allows you to instantly change the intensity level from #1 through #6.
At the Dobbs Training Center, we have been testing these collars on bird dogs and incorporating the pager feature into our training for the last several months. We have found it to be extremely useful, especially in situations that call for finesse.
Teaching sensitive dogs to stay in contact with you, but not inhibiting them in the process can be a tricky proposition. It's in these situations that the new remote training collar with the built in pager tends to shine!
Reach Out and "Touch" Your Dog
Anyone who has attended our seminars around the country or come out to the Training Center to work with us has heard us say, "If you are developing a dog correctly, nine times out of ten, all you need to do is let the dog know that you can reach out and touch them. Then it's as if they say 'Oh yeah, I remember this lesson.'"
The key phrase is "Touch them." In the past, a lot of people who wanted to use a gentler approach to training tried using collars that emitted a warning buzz. But with experience trainers realized that many dogs responded better to feel than sound. That is one of the reasons that this new bird dog pager that touches the dog is so exciting.
The dogs respond to the pager as though they are being guided rather than reprimanded. Therefore they tend to maintain their focus on the lesson at hand rather than over reacting. As a bird dog trainer, you will appreciate being able to truly correct the dog without upsetting it. This can be a tremendous advantage when working with the more sensitive individuals.
The Many Purposes of a "Pager"
We have tried this pager feature out on many dogs. One dog was a special training project to see if we could train a deaf dog to respond to the feel from the pager. We taught the dog to look for us when it felt the pager, and then we gave it a hand signal to communicate what we wanted the dog to do.
Another dog we worked with was a very bold and outgoing competition dog, and we didn't want to inhibit its forward run in any way. But we did want to be able to get the independent cuss around a course. The pager allowed us to keep this one in contact with us until the habit of going around with us was instilled.
We also worked with many sensitive dogs that were very talented but lacked the ability to withstand the normal rigors of training without getting worried. The pager "touched" the dogs but didn't cause them to become worried.
In addition, "Letting Down" and "Blinking" are common problems that are encountered by bird dog trainers. And the solution to these problems may very well lie in the mild, physical contact the "Bird Dog Pager" gives you.
All in all, when we used the pager feature to help train the bird dog, we found it to be very practical and useful.
Making the Pager Meaningful
To make the feel of the pager meaningful to the dog, you typically pair it with low-intensity electrical stimulation a few times while doing yard work. Then the attention-getting capability of the pager can be used by itself to reinforce your commands without inhibiting the dog's desire to work.
The trainers we know that have been using this pager feature, like the results they are getting. Until many more trainers utilize this new training feature, its fullest potential as a training aid is unknown.
From our personal experience with the pager, however, we feel that it may be a major breakthrough in the advancement of bird dog training. The new pager feature should make it much easier for you to get your bird dog to listen to you without diminishing style.
Dobbs Training Center