Non-Stimulation Communication : Tone vs. Vibration
Many of the collars that we sell have a non-stimulation communication mode.
These features can be used to give the dog a warning, give the dog praise, or for silent commands.
Many of the Garmin remote training collars have a tone feature. DT Systems, Dogtra, and E-Collar Technologies collars use a vibration or pager feature. Most SportDOG systems feature both tone AND vibration.
I warn folks regularly about the problems when using tone as a "warning." I prefer to teach the dog a command. After he "knows" the command, we add in the stimulation. After proper training when the dog understands the command and chooses not to comply, he does not need a "warning." He needs a correction. Now, he might not need a very strong correction, and that is where the advantage of a low-level continuous stimulation collar comes in. An adjustable stimulation collar allows you to pick the stimulation level that your dog needs for the particular situation or problem.
One down side to tone as a "warning" is the high number of products in the world today that beep and buzz. I do not like dogs to react when someone's cell phone goes off or they open a car door or the microwave finishes cooking.
The other down side to tone as a "warning," is when you work with multiple dogs. You give dog 1 a tone warning and dog 2 hears it. Now dog 2 thinks he has done something wrong and is about to get a correction and he has no idea why. This leads to paranoid dogs.
I also do not like to use tone for "praise." Don't get me wrong, I think praise is the best way to train dogs. I just don't like it coming from the collar. I want it coming from the handler.
I DO like to use tone for "silent commands." You can overlay tone over a known verbal command or a known whistle command. It is very easy to teach "here," "sit," or "whoa" using tone. This can come in handy for the big running pointing dog or with a retriever in the duck blind.
I have also had a good many folks with flushing dogs teach them to quarter and turn with tone. Add this to "here" and "sit" and you can completely work a CRP field for pheasants with out blowing your whistle or giving a verbal command.
Do not confuse "tone" with the "beeper" feature in many of the collars. "Tone" is a quiet sound that can only be heard close to the collar. A "beeper" is used to locate a bird dog. They are very loud and can be heard as far as 400 yards away.
If you want a non-stimulation warning feature on your collar, I recommend that you look at vibration. It will not cause problems with other dogs and outside sources (telephone, pagers, cars, or microwave ovens) will not duplicate this feature.
You can also use vibration for silent commands.