The dog is not responding or performing the desired action when it receives feedback from the Halo Collar.
- Before you start training, follow the steps below to learn what levels of feedback prompts work best for your dog. It is imperative that you determine your dog’s baseline feedback levels before you begin to train them.
- Have your dog in a calm, distraction-free room (not the kitchen), with the collar on your dog, and your dog in a relaxed mood (not training, playing, etc. - just hanging out).
- Pick a sound you think will work for your dog, test it at a low level, and observe your dog closely to see if it triggers a response.
- Some dogs will show an obvious ‘tell’ when they notice the feedback (such as picking their head up or standing up), but for other dogs it might be really subtle (they might lick their lips, blink, or pause in their tracks if they were moving). It’s important to pay close attention and look for the different responses that your dog gives. At what sound/vibration/static level does your dog first start to hear/feel the feedback?
- Important note: When your dog responds to the feedback, you should not show any outward reaction. We don’t want the dog to start associating the feedback prompt with a human reaction; Human reaction shouldn’t influence the process yet at this point.
- If you’re not sure if your dog reacted at all, pick up the level by one, and see if your dog gives a more clear reaction to that. This exercise is simply to find the baseline level that works for your dog – this is specifically for a scenario in which there are no distractions.
- Test for sound first, and once you’ve found the correct baseline level for sound, wait at least 30 minutes before testing vibration, so that you have a ‘fresh dog’ when testing the next prompt (instead of testing them all back-to-back and potentially overwhelming or confusing your dog). Repeat the process for vibration and then wait at least 30 minutes before moving on to testing static.
- When you graduate to scenarios where there are potential distractions (like being outdoors where there are other smells, sounds, and sights to capture your dog’s attention), then you will likely need to bump up the feedback level until your dog consistently notices the feedback, even in a distraction-filled area. For example, your dog might respond to a whistle at level 2 when indoors, but it might take level 4 or higher to get their attention when they’re outdoors.
- Repeat exercises as needed.
- Practice exercises repeatedly until your dog fully understands the expectations. This repetition helps your dog to build an association between the feedback prompt and the desired action. Repeating these exercises will allow your dog to develop the neural pathways that make the desired response become habitual. This takes time, and different dogs learn at different rates, so stay patient.
- Make sure you've completed the training process in its entirety.
- The Halo Collar training process is deliberately thorough and repetitive. Going through the training patiently and mindfully will yield great results; This process is an investment into long-term safety, freedom, and peace of mind for you and your dog.
- Temper your expectations.
- Dogs learn differently than us, so just because you understand it doesn’t mean your dog does yet. Every dog has a different learning curve, just like humans. If you started trying to brush your teeth with your opposite hand, it would take time and repetition before you could do it comfortably. That is what this process is like for your dog - you’re introducing something new to them, and it will take time and repetition before it becomes second-nature.
- Stay positive.
- Dogs feed off of the energy that we provide. If you are calm and confident, then your dog will pick up on that. If you are acting frustrated or discouraged, your dog will feel that and be less likely to learn effectively. Your attitude and energy can go a long way in making this process more effective and efficient.
The Halo Collar is a communication device. The communication is intended to motivate your dog to do something (turn around and head back to safety) and educate them that they did the right thing (by discontinuing the prompt once the dog has taken the desired action). Over time, they will learn to associate the prompts with the desired action, but this does not happen overnight.
The more you calmly and patiently train your dog to understand these prompts, the more effective they will become over time, until your dog’s response is second-nature. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to help your dog to build these associations, then you will reap the rewards of enhanced freedom and safety for your pup in the long-term.