Garmin training device shocking dog lovers

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On September 8, Garmin introduced a new device to help make dogs “have better manners.” The company released a promotional video, along with a brief statement to Facebook followers:

Your dog wasn’t born with manners. Our new Delta Smart dog training device and activity tracker works with your smartphone to help keep your dog safe, healthy, and well behaved.

Though some page followers seemed intrigued by the device and the smartphone app, most have expressed outrage that Garmin is selling the equivalent of a shock collar as a training device. The company explains how the device works:

At its core, the Delta Smart is a training system for dog owners who want to teach their canine companion new commands, or refocus them away from unwanted behaviors. The dog device functions as a “virtual leash” that can be used inside the home or outdoors. The Delta Smart gives dog owners a wide range of customizable correction settings, including tone, vibration, and 10 levels of stimulation, as well as five different virtual touchscreen remote layouts on a smartphone. Different family members can connect to the Delta Smart with their own devices, and one smartphone can control multiple dog devices.

It is the “10 levels of stimulation” which has dog lovers up in arms. A sampling of the comments on the Garmin Facebook page include:

I’m a runner and wear your watches to train and race, but I will be replacing my Forerunner because of this product and will encourage others to do the same. I can’t support a company that has chosen to sell shock collars for dogs under the pretense of “training”. Not only is aversive (sp) training detrimental to dogs, it’s cruel.

Another Facebook user wrote:

I’ve actually been looking at watches with heart rate monitors and such. Garmin was at the top of my list. Was. No more. Sorry Garmin, I’m a dog person and have been all my life. I won’t support a company that markets something like this.

Garmin has promoted the special collar as a way to keep dogs out of trouble…a means to stop counter surfing, overly enthusiastic door greetings, garbage grazing and more. While the angry Facebook users have opted to focus solely on the “stimulation” there is also the option to train dogs to respond to sound or vibration from the collar. The fear appears to be that consumers will opt out of the tone or vibration options, choosing “stimulation” only.

The learn more about the complete offerings of the Garmin device, click here.

(Photo Stephanie Swanson)


1 reply
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    I am certainly not an advocate of zapping your dog for everything, but as someone who has used an E-collar to train my dogs, this doesn’t sound that bad to me. If it keeps the dog out of something that could hurt it, and allows it to have the freedom of the house (instead of being confined to a crate), then is it so bad? My experience with such collars is that I have very rarely used the “stimulation” part of the collar, attention can be gotten from the use of the tone or vibration, certainly doesn’t hurt the pet but gets their attention and keeps them from doing something that might hurt them. It has helped immensely save my girls tail (she is a chaser and chewer).


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