Training A Toy Breed

Liz wrote to me about training a toy breed.  She wanted to know if my approach to dog training works on small dogs, too.  In my book, I don’t spend too much time differentiating between toy breeds vs. small breeds because the fundamentals are the same: You just use smaller sized training tools.

Is Training A Toy Breed The Same As Training Any Other Breed?

Liz wrote, “I have a 9 week old “Toy” Schnoodle. He is active, biting, chewing (I know it’s normal due to teething) very aggressive. I just want to know if the collar option works with “Toy” breeds. As I was reading your book, I didn’t see anything for “Toy” breeds. He is about 2 1/2 pounds right now. I have been doing several other things you suggested and so far so good.”

I replied: Yes, absolutely!! Over 20 years ago when I was starting out, that was one of my criterias. I needed a training approach that worked on all breeds, as I knew I would be starting a dog training company and getting clients with dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Toy breed dogs have become extraordinarily popular in recent years. Even my wife is planning to adopt a Yorkie.

Training A Toy Breed Is Just As Easy
As Training A Bigger Dog Breed Because
Their Bodies Are Easier To Put Into Position

The neat thing about dogs is that, big or small: Their brains all work the same way. With my techniques, you administer the leash correction the same way. Typically for the toy breeds, I’ll just use a chain slip collar (commonly called a ‘choke chain’). When you put it on, you should be facing the dog and slide it over the head so that the collar looks like a “P” not a “q”. Buy a collar that fits your dog, so that it’s small enough that when you tug on the leash, there is only 1″ of excess. This is the biggest mistake people make with the slip collar. (And buying a fabric slip collar instead of a chain one: The fabric one’s stretch and typically don’t give a good correction).

Some internet vendors sell a “micro” prong collar, but wait on getting one of those unless you find you can’t get a motivational correction with the slip collar.

A $7 an Hour Dog Trainer Told Her That
Training A Toy Breed With A Slip Collar
Is Dangerous.  It’s Not.

Liz replied, “Thanks for your response. I went to the pet store and tried to find a slip collar. It just so happened that their trainer was there and I asked her which one I should get. She said she wouldn’t suggest that type of correction on a TOY breed because their Traykia (not sure if spelling is correct)is small and easy to crush. What are your thoughts on that. I didn’t get the slip collar because I was scared at that point that I might hurt him.”

If You’re Concerned About Training A Toy Breed
With A Slip Collar, Then Use
A Micro-Prong Collar Instead

I replied: It’s nonsense.

Did you ask her why they sell those collars, then? Does she really think the big box stores would expose themselves to hundreds of thousands of lawsuits if they were selling collars for the past 30 years that damaged a dog’s trachea?

Do you really think I would recommend a collar that would hurt your dog?

Use common sense. Don’t choke your dog with the collar. Tug and release. The people who have problems are the one’s who allow their dog to pull, pull, pull … day after day. Are you going to do that? No, you’re not. Because you’re smart and you’ve read my material and you know how to administer a correction properly (loose-tug-loose).

My recommendation is that you stop listening to so-called “dog experts” who make $7 an hour working at pet stores. If you wanted to learn how to cook a great meal, you’d get advice from a great chef, not some schmoe working at McDonalds, right?

Of course, you can always order a mini-prong collar from one of the online pet supply vendors, which is a martingale-style collar that distributes the correction around the dog’s neck, instead of focusing it at one point. It’s not normally necessary for training a toy breed, because unlike a big Rottweiler, you don’t need more than flick of your wrist to administer a correction.

You will find critics no matter what type of collar you use when training a toy breed.