PetSafe is Proud to Present the AutoTrainer!

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Auto Trainer main pkg photo_HRThe AutoTrainer is an automatic, reward-based training device used to solve problem barking and calm dogs while their owners are away. This patented device is the first of its kind on the market, utilizing an automatic training system featuring sequences of tones that teach dogs to remain calm and quiet.

 

AT lid open angle view_HRThe system features:

  • The AutoTrainer base unit, which dispenses kibble and records the dog’s bark history throughout the day
  • The AutoTrainer collar, which transmits the dog’s barks to the base unit using Perfect Bark dual detection technology
  • 2 kibble disks, small and largeAT Collar angle view_HR
  • Power adaptor cord
  • 2 CR collar batteries
  • Full instruction manual

 

Read on to hear more about the AutoTrainer from the experts.

Dr. Ian Dunbar, Co-Inventor

Dr. Ian Dunbar, Co-Inventor

 

In the Beginning:

Years ago, during a chance meeting on a flight from Chicago to San Francisco, Dr. Ian Dunbar and Dr. John Watson struck up a conversation about whether marking a dog’s bark and immediately interrupting a progressive tone sequence that predicts food delivery would reduce the frequency of barking and number of barks per day.

 

Dr. John Watson, Co-inventor

Dr. John Watson, Co-inventor

Back in the Bay Area, Dr. Watson promptly engineered a computerized prototype, which the good Doctors tested on barking dogs, primarily at the Berkeley Humane Society. Amazingly, not only did the tone sequence itself drastically to reduce the frequency and number of barks but also, hyperactivity many dogs would pace less and instead, settle down next to their electronic buddy.

 

Ian raised the question of finding an automatic reward-based procedure that could be built into a device to help dogs stop habitual barking. After a few initial tries, we zeroed in on a procedure that would guide a dog’s attention to the anticipation of food with the help of a series of tones. To our pleasant surprise, dogs not only learned to inhibit barking but seemed to calm down noticeably when the device was available.- Dr. John Watson, Berkeley CA 

Development and Testing:

Toni Mark with dog, Sadie

Toni Mark with dog, Sadie

Toni Mark, KPA-CTP, Training and Behavior Education Specialist, PetSafe

Here at PetSafe, we have extraordinarily high expectations for our training equipment.  We pay incredibly close attention to science-based learning theory and the trends regarding what makes pet owners more or less likely to train their pets.  Utilizing all of this information, we set out to make some of the best training products on the market.

We knew what we wanted out of the AutoTrainer –  We wanted an electronic training device that used positive reinforcement to train a dog to be quiet and calm during the day.  We also wanted it to be easy to use and automated.

Although we knew what we wanted a while ago, the development has taken longer than expected. What was the hold up?  Our high expectations.  We went through several rounds of prototypes, samples and testing rounds that weren’t perfect.  We looked at every single angle and every crevice in the device to make sure it was exactly what we wanted.  Even little things that you might not expect- like the shape of the bowl and the strength of the suction cups on the bottom of the machine- were important to us in development. We required that the tones and sequences be perfect, and the shape and size be unique to the function of the machine. We tested several versions of two very important functions of the machine: the muzzle detector (which detects whether the dog ate the kibble) and bark detector (to tell the machine if the dog barked).  Although we could barely contain our excitement in getting this product to market, we continuously held ourselves back –  We wouldn’t launch until we had exactly what we wanted.  When we hit roadblocks, we wouldn’t compromise.  After all, the dogs depend on us!

Now we’re ready to launch!  After months and months of testing, countless days spent reading logical flowcharts of sequences, and an immeasurable amount of hours touching, handling, and perfecting this machine, we are ready!  The AutoTrainer is a training product that we are incredibly committed to and excited about, and we are thrilled to watch it transform the lives of many pets!

How It Works:

Michelle Mullins and dog, Jinks

Michelle Mullins and dog, Jinks

Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, Training and Behavior Education Manager, PetSafe

The AutoTrainer works to decrease barking by marking and rewarding the dog for increasingly longer periods of quiet. The method of rewarding incremental steps on the way to a goal behavior is called shaping. To a shape a behavior, the criteria is slowly increased to allow the dog to be successful and earn a reward. If unsuccessful, the behavior is simply ignored or a non-reward marker is used. A non-reward marker is often an innocuous sound (although it can be any stimuli) the dog learns through association that indicates no reward is coming.

The AutoTrainer begins with a series of tones culminating in a marker tone that results in the dispensing of a bit of kibble (the reward). It slowly increases the length of the tone sequence so the dog will be rewarded for being quiet for longer and longer amounts of time. If the dog barks during a tone sequence the machine will emit a different tone as a non- reward marker and cycle into a shorter sequence to provide the opportunity for the dog to successfully earn a reward at a level at which he was previously successful. Keeping the shaping successful for the dog allows him to learn what behavior is rewarded. Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated, so he will be very likely to continue the quiet behavior that earned the kibble. Shaping engages the dog to make a choice and have an effect on the consequence of his behavior.

Many dogs will be immediately comfortable with the AutoTrainer. However some may need a little acclimation time to get used to the sights and sounds of the unit, as well as some initial introduction to the shaping process. We have included a Teach Me mode and instructions on how to acclimate your dog to the machine, and tips on helping him learn that shaping is fun and rewarding! It won’t take long before your dog will on his way to quiet, calm dog we know he can be!

When, Where and How Can You Find An AutoTrainer?

The AutoTrainer will make its debut at the GLOBAL Pet Expo this March in Orlando, FL, retailing at $199.99. Check with your local retailer, trainer, or veterinarian for availability. Stop by the Petsafe Booth, number 2753, for more details!

Auto Trainer main pkg photo crop  fade_LR

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50 Responses to PetSafe is Proud to Present the AutoTrainer!

  1. Tonya says:

    What happens when it gets stopped up at the beginning of the day? And being gone to work for hours and runs out of food?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Tonya,

      Throughout the day (after training your pet with the system), the time between dispensing gradually increases, meaning less food is needed. The device dispenses a very small amount of kibble at a time. We have done extensive testing, and have not had any problems with the dispenser clogging up. There is a muzzle sensor that detects when the dog takes the kibble. If the dog has not eaten the kibble dispensed, the device will wait for the dog to interact/eat before dispensing again.

  2. Sarah Smith says:

    Are these available in England?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Sarah. These will actually just be available in the US during the initial launch, but we will let you know if they will be available internationally soon!

  3. Sachin Dere says:

    Hi there,
    How can i order this from Singapore?

  4. Marianne Cyr says:

    Is there a video available anywhere?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Marianne! Yes, actually! I’ve included the link in this comment. Let us know what you think! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXpCSc6cqRI

      • Kim C says:

        I looked at the video, looks very interesting. But do you have a video that shows how it works when the dog barks? In this video, I believe there is just one tone heard, then food is dispensed. Would like to see the NRM in action too. Also, what is the result of no interaction with the “muzzle detector”?

        • PetSafe Guest says:

          Hi Kim. There’s not a video yet for showing how it works when the dog barks, but we can definitely look into making one!

          The machine will beep once every 60 seconds to remind the dog that there is kibble in the dish. After the dog eats the kibble, the unit will restart the sequences.

          We hope this answered your questions!

  5. Melissa says:

    Can this work with multiple dogs or will each dog require a trainer? What keepa the dog from opening the unit and eat the food?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Melissa. In order for the AutoTrainer to work correctly, it is intended for single-dog use at a time. The lid fits securely on the top of the AutoTrainer in an effort to prevent a dog from getting into this. Let us know if you have any other questions, and thanks for contacting us!

  6. Katie says:

    What if for some reason it doesn’t work out for my dog? What’s the return policy?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Katie. We have a 30-day return policy through petsafe.net if this is a product you choose to return. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. Lynn Lindsay says:

    Are they in Canada and do you have a price for them please?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Lynn. The price will be $199.99 USD. These can be purchased through us to ship to Canada. Thank you for checking with us!

  8. Chris says:

    Will this also help a dog that barks when visitors come to the house, or is it really only effective for dogs home alone?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Chris. This can actually be both. It is a positive reward-based system that can teach the dog that barking is an unwanted behavior.

  9. Jeannine May says:

    I have a client with a young 10 mos old dog with crate barking issues. She uses a wire crate and we’ve put another device on the top of the crate so the treats can fall into the kennel. We’re afraid to leave this young dog with the device unattended due to possible chewing and destruction issues! I really like this concept and simplicity of this device. Can it be used in a similar fashion as described above?

    • PetSafe Guest says:

      Hi Jeannine!

      Unfortunately, the muzzle detection is necessary for the machine to function properly. It is possible to take the food dish off, however, it may interfere with the way the muzzle detector functions.

      • Jeannine May says:

        What about dogs that are destructive as well as barking? Chew eletrical cords etc…in your trial phase did you work with such dogs and what was the solution?

        thanks!

        • Sarah Folmar says:

          Hi Jeannine. Thank you for your question. The AutoTrainer is equipped to run on D batteries, removing the need for the power cord. The base unit, while not indestructible, is designed so that the lid cannot be opened by a dog. The suction feet stick to the floor, keeping the base unit stationary and the simple design of the unit doesn’t attract destruction. It is recommended that any dog prone to destruction should be supervised extensively before being left unattended with any item.

  10. Daniel H. Antolec says:

    How can I order the Auto Trainer?

    • Tara Houser says:

      I’m interested in ordering also. I’ve been checking petsafe.net, but don’t see it yet.

      • Sarah Folmar says:

        Hi Tara. The AutoTrainer will be available for purchase at petsafe.net later in the spring. Thanks for contacting PetSafe!

    • PetSafe Guest says:

      Hi Daniel.

      A limited quantity of AutoTrainer are available now. Orders may be placed online or through a retailer, trainer or veterinarian that distributes Petsafe products.

  11. Kate Hogan says:

    I have a multi-dog household and frequently take my dogs with me in the car. They are each in their own crate, but necessarily right next to each other. Would it work to set up 2 Auto Trainers so close to each other? They are both a little territorial of the car when strangers approach, one worse than the other. I don’t mind an initial bark, but would LOVE to be able to reward for quiet behavior after that bark for each dog individually.

    Thanks :-)

  12. Nikki says:

    It work work in my dogs favor to use when she is outdoors. How safe is it for outdoor use (rain, tipping over etc.)? Is there a battery option for the unit to use it outdoors?
    Thank you.

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Nikki.

      Unfortunately, the AutoTrainer is not designed for outdoor use. It would be as tolerant to the weather as would a radio or cell phone. The prevention of connection of the suction cups to a hard surface could lead to the unit being moved/tipped by the dog, which would interrupt training.

  13. Nicole says:

    If I have two dogs in the house can I have two auto trainers in it?
    would the sounds be conflicting for them as far as the training?
    Is it fairly durable, if my dog decided if there is some there is more inside and tries to get it in?

  14. Sally Bushwaller says:

    Can this be used with toy dogs? the collar looks fairly large.

  15. Michele says:

    I too am curious about the size dog this unit can be used with. My dog is 11lbs.

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Michele. Thanks for your question. Because of the size of the collar transmitter, the AutoTrainer is intended for use on dogs 10 lbs and up. Owners who wish to use the AutoTrainer on dogs smaller than that do so at their own discretion.

  16. K Harris says:

    Will this work for howling, crying and whining. Our dog doesn’t really bark when we leave but she is vocal. Didn’t know if it picks up other sounds. Thank you!

  17. Sabina says:

    Hello.

    Is it available in Canada? Or can I order it online and it be shipped to Canada?

  18. TCHAIKO says:

    the machine doesn’t always pick up when my dog barks, he can do a series of low growls and the uh oh doesn’t sound. i’ve even been sitting here and heard his loud barking and the machine doesn’t register.

    • KELLI says:

      The collar is most likely not picking up every bark because it isn’t tight enough. It should be positioned so the transmitter fits snugly at the throat area. Any excess of the nylon should be trimmed once fit properly.

  19. Amy says:

    I am very interested in trying this on my 40 lb 5 month okd puppy who barks at me nonstop. I can’t stand the idea of shock collars. Will there be any special offers as cost is a concern. Is there a way to possibly review and blog about the product?

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Amy. Thank you for your question. We do have a promotion of free shipping on orders over $50 currently on our website.

  20. Gitta says:

    Does it work if the dog does not bark, but rather whines and vocalizes in a high pitched sound that doesn’t really sound like a typical bark?

    • PetSafe Guest says:

      Hi there. Thank you for contacting PetSafe. The dual detection technology in the collar must register a vibration in the vocal cord, as well as an audible bark. If both of these things aren’t present, or aren’t being registered properly, the collar may not be able to transmit the barks. Be sure the smooth, flat part of the collar is positioned over the throat, so that vocal vibrations may be detected. The collar shouldn’t be too tight, however, the smooth flat part of the transmitter must lay snug and flat over the dog’s neck. The collar cannot droop from the dog’s neck.

  21. Grace Yeong says:

    Hi, was the unit tested with big stubborn barking dogs? Eg. Great Pyrenees. What were the results? Would they be able to overturn the unit?

    Thanks.

    • PetSafe Guest says:

      Hi Grace. Thank you for contacting PetSafe. The AutoTrainer was tested with dogs of many shapes, sizes and weights. No dogs were able to tip the unit over if it was suctioned to a hard, flat surface. If the unit is placed on carpet, and not suctioned to the floor, it may be turned over. The top latches shut to prevent the food from spilling in the case that it does turn over when on a carpeted surface.

  22. Anne S says:

    Hello, my puppy does not bark for long periods of time but does periodically alarm bark at sounds outside. Is the AutoTrainer likely to help desensitize and train a dog that is already not barking 95% of the time? Thank you, Anne

    • Michelle Mullins says:

      Thank you for your question about the AutoTrainer. As your pup is reacting to specific sounds, the best option would be to create calm, positive responses to those sounds. White noise like a TV or running fan can reduce the reaction. Pair that with something to redirect your dog from the sound like a treat-stuffed toy or a game of tug. Prepare the stuffed toy ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator, or have the tug toy handy to whip it out on the spot. The sounds then become a predictor of something fun instead of something to be wary of and bark at.

  23. Betsy says:

    We’re having problems with the unit getting jammed at least 3-4 times a day. Do you have any suggestions? We are using the correct sized disc for the dry kibble pieces.

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Betsy. We are sorry to hear that you are experiencing any issues with this product. We would love to talk to you about what could be going on, and one of our product experts is available at 1-800-732-2677 M-F 8a-8p or Sat 9-5, ET. We hope to hear from you soon, and thank you for your comment.

  24. Almudena Ortiz Cue says:

    What a great product! I have recommended to a few of my clients ( I am a professional dog trainer). I think the concept of rewarding for desirable behavior (no barking) is brilliant, versus reprimanding the dog for behaviors we don’t want will teach the dog exactly what will gain him reinforcing. However, by reading the questions above, I urge owners to determine if they think their dog is being vocal, destructive or else as a result of serious anxiety or distress. If so and not treated via behavior modification the barking might subside but the dog will (potentially) continue to feel distressed or anxious.

  25. Eric Wolf says:

    I have a dog that has “intermittent barking events”. For the most part, he is perfectly silent. He and the little terrier next door bark at each other through the fence. If we are home, we can address it effectively. I have built up a second fence to create some separation but they still go at it when my wife and I aren’t home. How effective is the AutoTrainer on this kind of behavior?

    Also, the description says it tracks bark history. What format is that tracking in?

    • Roslyn McKenna says:

      Thank you for your question! The AutoTrainer™ is designed for indoor use only. It would be highly recommended for your dog’s intermittent barking if he could be kept indoors near the unit while you’re away. The barks are recorded per hour and by total and can be read in the history at the end of each session. If you’d like to keep track of the history, be sure to write it down at the end of the day because they will erase once the machine has been turned off. Thank you!

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