It’s about time the little guys got fair treatment!
October 18, 2019 Category: News, Trainer Tips
I want to give a shout out to Dogtra Company for designing a remote collar for little dogs! The Dogtra iQ MINI gives small dog owners the choice they’ve been waiting for. The iQ MINI boasts a 1.3 ounce receiver. It is both lightweight and functional, giving those of us with smaller dogs the ability to provide the same freedom we’ve grown accustomed to providing our larger canine companions.
Too often, small dogs are overlooked when it comes to training equipment. They are typically thought of as house companions and often get carried in purses or rolled around in strollers. I don’t want to sound judgmental, but I feel it is important to understand that the tiny ones have the same needs as any other dog. They need to have four paws on the ground, to explore, sniff, and get dirty. They should be allowed to be a dog.
I recently returned from a raw and natural dog wellness symposium. Several presenters touched on the topic that our dogs truly thrive by being able to get enough exercise in a natural, unrestricted way.
A dog’s overall wellness is impacted by the ability to move freely and be in contact with the earth. It was even suggested that a small amount of dirt consumption may be beneficial for balancing a dog’s diet. That assumes of course that the dirt is free of potential toxins. I won’t go down the dirt consumption theory in any detail within the context of this article, but if you consider that our domesticated dogs came from ancestral predators that roamed freely while hunting and scavenging, you can connect the dots on how innate the experience is. It is not difficult to imagine that those animals ingested some of earth’s microbes and they became part of the natural gut flora.
Regardless of whether or not you want to buy into the dirt consumption theory, I suspect we can all agree that allowing a dog the ability to actually be a dog is good for their physical and mental well-being. However, it is an experience that has been lost for many of our modern dogs. Particularly for the toys breeds, they are too often treated as human infants, coiffed, clothed, and transported in ways that their paws never touch the ground.
Please don’t misunderstand; I’m not against picking up a small dog to keep them safe in situations where they may otherwise get injured and I’m ok with indulging our whims by putting clothing on a dog that is comfortable with it. However, our personal whims should always be balanced by the needs of the dog by respecting them as the animal he or she is. Providing fulfillment by allowing the expression of some natural predatory behavior through sniffing, scratching, running, and chasing helps offset the stress created by living an urbanized lifestyle.
That being said, I realize the biggest hurdle in allowing these small dogs the ability to run freely is our confidence (or lack of) in knowing we can keep them safe while doing so. Concerns about a dog running off or getting into a potentially dangerous situation when off leash are the same for dog lovers regardless of the size of the dog. But until now, there wasn’t an easy remote collar solution for canines in the 10 pound size range.
This is where the iQ MINI is filling a void. And while it is marketed for fitting dogs as small as 7 pounds, I would not be at all concerned about placing it on a dog of less weight, provided that the neck circumference allowed comfortable contact and wearability.
I was fortunate enough to be involved with the development of the iQ MINI. It was a selfish request on my part to have a collar that would fit a dog with a slim neck, because I had adopted a small terrier mix from my local shelter. My little 15 pound guy has a neck circumference of just under 9 inches and while I could fit the Dogtra iQ PLUS on him, it looked particularly bulky. The new iQ MINI has the same features as the iQ PLUS but in a slimmer profile. The bonus is that it weighs in at just 1.3 ounces so it is almost 1/2 the weight of the previous receiver. The iQ MINI also has built-in plastic conductive contact points. This is an additional bonus in that it makes it more contoured to fit those smaller necks and diminishes the possibility of skin irritation from contact dermatitis.
One word of caution though before you purchase the iQ MINI for your little one. Because the contact points are built in, you cannot change the contact point length as you can on the other Dogtra receivers. If your petite pooch is particularly long or thick coated, this receiver style might not make good contact with the skin unless you’re open to thinning the coat on the neck.
Another thing to note is that with a downsized receiver comes an equal downsize in batteries. Under routine use, be prepared to charge your unit every two days or similar to how you might charge a smartphone. The unit does come with a two-hour rapid recharge feature though, so it doesn’t take long to get back up and ready to play!
While I’m personally very happy to see this development toward building receivers that fit small dogs, my feisty little guy is actually ecstatic every time I reach for his iQ MINI. When I get his collar out, he knows it means we’re hitting the trails and taking another adventure in the great outdoors!