Can I Use a Remote Collar for Training a Toy Breed Dog?

Training a Toy Breed Dog with a Remote Collar

Remote collar training a toy breed dog? Can it be done?

The short version answer is: Yes, of course.

I do understand there is a fairly common perception that little dogs somehow need less training and so a collar “wouldn’t be necessary”. Plus, I believe there is a certain amount of worry that somehow the electricity is *scary* or could hurt a smaller dog.

But none of that is true.

First off, the collars are totally safe just like the medical professions TENS unit (more on this topic later) Secondly, anyone that has discovered the need for training a toy breed dog can attest to how much mischief they can get into!

Honestly, why shouldn’t these little pixies enjoy just as much safe, off leash fun as the big dogs? And why should pet owners sell themselves short on having a really well mannered companion just because their pooch is pint sized?

Regardless of size, most dog owners struggle with similar problems. Big dogs and little dogs don’t seem to come when called, do lots of jumping on visitors, go bolting out the door, chew up the carpet and joyfully participate in plenty of frivolous barking.

Regardless of size, dogs are dogs and they all learn the same way. Sure techniques can vary slightly from individual to individual; that is what makes training an art as well as a science, but there is enough in common that the tool can remain the same.

The only real consideration when asking the question “Can I use a remote collar for training a toy breed dog?” is “Will it fit and can the dog comfortably carry the weight of it?”

In order for the collar to work properly it has to fit so that both contact points touch the dog’s neck. For really tiny dogs there is just no way to get a really good and comfortable fit. But I am sure the technology will keep advancing and someday it will not be a concern.

For now, dogs in the 10 pound range can very easily wear a remote collar and even smaller than that can be done with some minor adjustments made to the collar. As we move into the future and people discover how much easier on the dog remote collar training actually is, I do believe we will see more e-collars designed with these little guys in mind.

Happy Training,




  • What do you all recommend to ensure no sore from the points on ecollar. We have replaced the original points with comfort pads. Anything else to help as our collar tends to slide a lot since his coat is so soft and we have to pretty tight.

    • Hi Brandy,

      A few things to keep in mind and try…
      – be sure to rotate the receiver box every 3 hours or so if the dog is where it for a long day.
      – If the receiver/dog get wet, take it off when you allowing the dog to dry. The combination of moisture and friction can expedite a sore in getting started.
      – Consider looking into a bungee type of strap for the receiver. That allows more comfort/expansion, while still keeping a snug fit.

      If any redness or sore area gets started, keeping it clean and allowing plenty of air flow to the area is the most important for quick healing. If it actually gets infected, you will need to seek medical help for possible antibiotics.

      • Thank you for the info. I just found your site today and followed your Facebook page. I’m going to look into that attachment also

  • I have a huge problem with my two Maltipoos, both females. One I’ve had since she was 8 weeks old, the other we rescued about 7 months ago. The problem is that they fight constantly. The fighting is becoming increasingly more aggressive. I think it’s a jealousy thing as they both want to be with me. This is making my life miserable. Will a collar help this problem? I am at the end of my nerves

    Thanks, Lana.

    • Hi Lana,

      Remote collar training can be an efficient way to have better control of their obedience and manners, and that sounds like part of the reason you have having problems. You say they are jealous over you as they both want to be with you…to me that sounds like resource guarding, meaning they both regard you as “theirs” and thus don’t want to share. Through training you can gain better control of their listening skills access to you is on permission, not just because they want it. They can learn to remain on a place or go to their kennel on command, they can have better recalls or learn to stay off the couch (if need be). Remote collar training in and of itself doesn’t solve the problem, but it can make the work you need to do easier and quicker. I would suggest you find someone skilled to assist you. Check out the trainer referral listing here.

      good luck,

  • HELP!!!
    I have a 6 month old Yorkie who does NOT listen to anything I say or do to discipline or train her. She BOLTS across neighbors yards, I call her to come back she runs further. Just today my across the highway neighbor had to walk across the street so she would follow her away from the road, (barking and running circles around her), toward home. I met them half way down my driveway and still had to run full speed to catch her. She lays down, I think, when she gets tired and lets me pick her up. I’ve been putting her in her little kennel for a few minutes at a time when she takes off and that doesn’t seem to help. She just cries the whole time and LOUD until I let her out! She escapes my house when I let out my other 2 dogs or shell listen well for 2 days and I’ll trust her to be free and then off she goes again! I watch her and try to keep her tied to a run but the second shes free -even to unhook her shes off again! She is incorrigible! When I try to discipline her in any way she looks at me like I’m playing or ignores me altogether. I am at my wits end! I called the local Pets Mart and the lady I spoke with sounded like she was insulted at the thought that I wanted to use a shock collar on such a small dog. She suggested I find a class and cut the convo short. What else can I try if not this and all else has failed? I have 2 other dogs that are fully trained, a Chihuahua and a boxer/ bulldog/ pitbull mix and they are sweet as pie and act on command, no barking or bad behavior and they were easy to train. My big dog is even trained to “herd” her home like a sheep dog when I ask her to but this is not always possible.
    She does not listen to me or anyone else and I’m afraid shes getting worse. The collars I’ve found online are for dogs 8-10 lbs and up. She is barely 4lbs maybe even a few oz less and her little neck is only 7inches around. Please any advice is greatly appreciated. My puppy may be smucked on the road if I dont get some help.
    Erin & Kiwi

    • Hi Erin, It is difficult to find an e-collar to fit a dog that small. I’ve used the Dogtra iQ and I believe PetSafe has a small collar as well. However you do have a lot of training to do and a good obedience class with a balanced trainer will help you. the PetSmart classes seem to be quite biased toward “all positive” and I personally don’t think that is the realistic approach to training. I would google for a private trainer in your area and discuss if they are a balanced trainer (they use all tools and quadrants of training to help) I would also suggest you keep a light line on your pup so you can more easily manage and have some control for now. time outs after the fact do little good. dogs have a two second association period so reward or corrections for behaviors you desire or wish to minimize must happen “in the moment”.
      Best regards,

  • My dog is a 10 year old Bichon, the vet recently told me that she has a heart murmur, that is my biggest concern about a shock collar. However, she sleeps in the bathroom next to my bedroom and wakes up far before I want to get up. I want to know if it would be safe for her. I would really love to be able to just get her to not whine or scratch the door until I take her out. I take her on a walk before bed , and she had a pee pad in the bathroom, so it isn’t like she had to hold it all night and is desperate to go out. She weighs about 14 pounds. If you think it is safe for her, do you have a brand that you would suggest? Thanks so much for any advise!!!

    • I can tell you that the stimulation does not go “through” the dog’s body, it goes from one contact point to the other, therefore it is only felt on the skin surface between the contact points. However, stress is something that could potentially affect your dog…something you should discuss with your veterinarian. If you choose to try an e-collar it is important to go through the collar conditioning protocols so that you minimize any stress and your dog learns what the sensation means (in this case to stop whinning/scratching). Find help to teach her the process.
      You might also be interested in this blog entry that was written by a physician after attending one of my workshops. It discusses his tests with the remote collar and it’s affect on his heart.

      • I am not worried about the size of the collar. We purchased the smallest collar possible. I am worries about the intensity of the shock. We have a 5# chihuahua. On our first go round last night I watched him shock himself over and over as he panicked and kept crying everytime the shock went off. He then ran under the bed still in full panic and continued to shock himself. After I finally got a hold of him and took it off. I put it to my throat…just as he has to wear it and I “barked” to see what he felt. I….and 120# girl would never consciously do that to myself again… So please, explain to me how this isnt hurting a 5# pup?????? It hurt me once….he felt is 10 times in a row

        • Hello Lisa,
          This certainly sounds like a very unfortunate incident for your chihuahua. 🙁 May I ask why you didn’t test the collar before you put it on him and how come you didn’t have a leash on the dog as I always suggest so that you can help him immediately if there is any confusion? Did you e-collar condition before using a bark collar? That is always my preferred method because I believe it is more fair to the dog. Allowing the confusion and startle to go on that long and not having a leash to help the dog….then having to get him out from under the bed….very sad. Did you start out on the lowest level? If so I am very surprised to hear of such a reaction to the lowest level and again remind anyone to test the equipment before applying it to the dog. Please let me know what brand and model you were using?
          Again I am terribly sorry to hear of this experience for both you and your dog. I would suggest you find a professional to help you deal with what ever problem lead you to purchase an e-collar and use it in the first place without proper education and assistance. This is a very good example of lack of education and why the tools get blamed for the the outcome. 🙁
          Best regards, Robin

  • Hi, I have a 5-6 pound Min Pin. Do you have a collar or know who sells a collar for my dog. If the collar comes with a remote all the better. I am familiar with remote type collars. Dogtra has a great collar however, not for small dogs. Thank You


    • HI Jesse,
      The smallest collar Dogtra currently has is the iQ. It is 3.5 ounces which the dog can wear without problem, the challenge is that the size still looks like a tumor on a Min Pin’s neck and you may struggle getting good contact if neck is thin/narrow. I think Radio Systems may have a smaller collar. I haven’t looked in a while but I know I used one a few years back with my sister’s Maltese. The shortcoming there was it ate through replaceable batteries…but we were able to train a solid recall, interrupt some barking problems and move on. Someday my hope is the industry as a whole realizes there is a very significant market that is being over looked with the toy breeds. I know loads of people that are receptive to collar training their tiny dogs we just don’t have the perfect product available to us yet…

  • So what brand do you recommend for a toy breed (5 lb). I have a sweet little pom that has learned to high tail it to the street and run down the middle of it. I believe she thinks she’s the ring leader and I’m following her for the fun she is hunting! We live on 20 acres, and the street is far from the house. None of our other pets even think of going to the road. This has to stop before she is smushed puppy!

    • Hi Sherri,

      There are not many choices for dog’s that small. PetSafe has some tiny/toy dog versions. I used one on my sister’s Maltese and it fit well. Drawbacks are they are battery operated and you will go through batteries pretty quick. Also, when using a “clickable” dial that has some significance between levels of stimulation, be sure to tap the button multiple times before assuming the dog can’t feel a particular level and adjusting up. This will help prevent a startle response of going “too high”
      Dogtra has the iQ with a rheostat dial which give more finesse but the receiver is going to be large on a 5 pound dog and you may not be able to get the contact points to sit properly on the neck to make good contact.

  • Great blog Robin! I agree remote collars can be used on little dogs too as we are using the “just right level” (as coined by you) for that individual dog. Im training my 72 year old mom how to train her Miniature Schnauzer with a remote collar and they are doing wonderfully with it. She can now take her dog on walks (previously it was impossible for her due to her little dog pulling her like a sled dog), her dog has a rock solid sit and stay, place command and her dog is no longer reactive toward other dogs as well.

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