Zen and the Art of Dog

Can I Use A Prong Collar For My Small Dog? Three Reasons Why You Should

When most people imagine a dog that needs a prong collar, they picture a thick-necked pitbull or a big, strong Rottweiler. Prong collars are usually associated with larger and harder to control dogs. Dogs of all sizes can experience fear, aggression, anxiety, etc that cause them to act out during walks. 

Are prong collars safe for small dogs?

If you have a teacup or extra small dog, a prong collar will probably not be for them. Even the tiniest of prong collars have weight recommendations.

Before buying a prong collar, make sure you check the manufacturer’s sizing recommendations and measure your dog’s neck to get the proper size and fit. 

Does my small dog really need a prong collar?

Have you ever walked past an angry, yipping Chihuahua that is lunging with such force they are basically walking on their hind legs? Sure, small dogs are easier to restrain or even pick up when they act out but these types of actions don’t teach them anything. 

A small dog straining against their leash won’t cause you the same type of harm as a 100lb Doberman. But if your dog is straining and barking at everything it walks past, this isn’t a happy state of mind for your dog to be in. Stress, fear, anxiety can lead to health problems or snowball into other types of unwanted behavior such as snapping, chewing, biting, etc.

We love our dog(s) and a prong collar seems like a scary tool. The point of the prong collar isn’t to deliver continuous pain to your dog. When properly sized and fitted to your small dog, the prong collar only engages when your dog pulls or lunges against their leash. The prongs give them a pinch or a nip that mimics a correction their mothers might have delivered to tell them to cut out unwanted behavior. 

They get immediate feedback that when they lunge or you can even give them a soft correction to redirect their attention.

Is it just for aggression?

Have you ever had your adorably flat-faced pug or Frenchie pull against their leash and let out a horrific gagging noise as their collar compresses their neck? These breeds already have compromised airways and walking on a flat collar and leash is not the best set up. Some people will instead use a harness and leash. There is a reason that sledding dogs wear harnesses–their purpose is to allow dogs to pull. 

The prong collar is a great communication tool to use for training. It is not just used to “punish” a dog and can be used to teach a variety of commands including teaching your dog to heel by your side. 

Every dog is different and if you’re interested in learning how to leverage a prong collar to build a better relationship with your small dog, I would definitely recommend contacting a professional trainer with prong collar experience.

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