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Will A Micro Prong Collar Stop Your Toy Dog From Pulling?

Will A Micro Prong Collar Stop Your Toy Dog From Pulling?

Can you train a toy dog with a micro prong collar?

Your tiny dog doesn’t sweep you off your feet when they pull on walks, but their pulling ruins the walk nonetheless.

I know exactly what that’s like – pulling on walks was one of Matilda’s biggest behavioral issues, and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to convince her to calm down and walk politely.

As I researched ways to train her, I read about micro prong collars for toy dogs. In a forum, one user suggested a chihuahua wear a micro prong collar because they felt the use of tools did not depend on the strength of the dog, but the toughness of their personality.

I agree that a dog that’s determined to pull on walks, despite attempts at training, needs extra attention. But as I researched different training methods and tools, I realized that a prong collar would do much more harm than good.

Does A Micro Prong Collar Actually Hurt?

One time, I noticed a large, pink prong collar at PetSmart. I’ve never used a prong collar on a dog before, so I took the empty aisle as an opportunity to get up-close and personal with the device.

I placed the pronged side against my upper part of my neck, in the correct, recommended position. Used as designed, the prong collar has to be high up on the neck, and for it to stay in that position, it has to be tight enough for the prongs to, ever-so-slightly, dig into the skin.

I didn’t have to press the prongs into my skin at all to feel uncomfortable. It felt like… well, it felt like prongs gently stabbing my neck. I pressed it a bit deeper into my skin, and though I didn’t expect to love the feeling, I was surprised at just how painful it was, even though I wasn’t putting much pressure on it at all.

Now, keep in mind, a dog does not control how the prongs are positioned on their neck. They cannot always predict or understand a sudden correction. Dogs can’t make sense of billowing plastic bags or fleeting shadows – how could they make sense of constant poking, and occasional jabbing of two dozen metal prongs around their neck?

A dog’s skin is actually much thinner and more delicate than a human’s. The epidermis of a dog is 3-5 cells thick however in humans it is at least 10-15 cells thick.

Toy dogs are at even greater risk of pain in any type of collar. Pressure around the neck can cause tracheal collapse, thyroid issues, nerve damage, and even eye injury, especially in Pugs, Chihuahuas and other breeds with protruding eyes.

However… if you’ve seen photos of dogs with deep, bloody puncture wounds around their necks from prong collars, keep in mind that those severe injuries are not from normal use. Dogs won’t typically suffer obvious, outward injuries from prong collars unless the collar is left on for months.

Prong collar injuries are more difficult to notice because they can happen gradually – and people who use them might not trace a health issue back to their equipment.

What Your Toy Dog Should Wear On Walks

You shouldn’t attach your dog’s leash to anything worn around the neck – regular flat collars, micro prong collars, chain collars, martingales – all of these collars create pressure around the dog’s neck.

A toy dog should always wear a soft harness on a walk. A harness distributes pressure around the dog’s chest if they do pull.

Avoid falling for harnesses that claim to stop pulling. Most of these have some way of applying painful pressure to stop your dog from pulling, usually with a strap that tightens around your dog’s vulnerable belly area. Not much research is available on these harnesses because they’re new to the market. Regardless, it’s not worth risking an injury to your dog’s internal organs – or even causing your dog pain – for the sake of training.

Pain-free no-pull harnesses clip to the front of your dog’s chest, rather than your back, so your dog will face you when they pull. However, most of these do not fit dogs under 15 pounds.

You don’t need any fancy equipment to train your toy dog to walk politely on a leash. A comfy harness keeps your dog from experiencing pain and discomfort. Only when your dog is not stressed or in pain, can you properly begin to train them.

What Most People Get Wrong About Training Dogs Not To Pull

To the untrained eye, painful training equipment seems magical. Simply place this around your dog’s neck, wave a magic wand, and voila, no more pulling.

But that’s not how you train a dog to focus on you and enjoy the walk while they’re in-sync with you. That’s how you train a dog to be afraid to act naturally for fear of pain.

Keep in mind that a dog that pulls does not have a “tough personality.” A pulling dog is a curious dog, or a dog who is bored of walking at your leisurely human pace.

Why risk hurting your dog when, instead, you can find a fun way to engage them on walks?

Use treats, at first, to train your dog to walk by your side. You won’t need treats on every walk, though walking is a wonderful training opportunity.

Get to know what motivates your curious dog on a walk, and use that as a reward. Do she love to sniff and lift her leg on trees? Reward her with those trees.

Does she love to sprint? Race ahead when she’s walking nicely, slow down when she’s not.

A separate blog post on loose-leash walking is soon to come.

In the meantime, start shopping for a comfy harness that fits your toy dog – not an easy feat if your pup is under 10 pounds, but it’s a worthwhile investment for a lifetime of fun adventures together. 

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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Burt Bodhez

Saturday 14th of August 2021

Jack, You and Julian Diaz are 100% correct. A harness is will result in training failure. These so-called "expert" blogs are just places to put up junk content to attract eyeballs and then sell advertisements or get paid for promoting products.

Lindsay Pevny

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

Hi Burt, it's great to hear that you tried using a harness for training even if it resulted in training failure for you. If you can share what techniques you tried and what training goals you were hoping to accomplish, I might be able to make some suggestions or connect you with a certified trainer who can help you. Thanks for commenting.

Elizabeth Airey

Sunday 1st of September 2019

I do use a prong collar on my Husky/Norwegian Elkhound cross, both for walking and when she's running beside my bicycle, but the collar sits low on her neck and is only a check, not a constant poking into her neck. I have also started getting her to come back to me as soon as she starts pulling on a walk...I stop, get her attention and praise her when she reaches me. It's not perfect, but she's smart and the technique is starting to work. Someone did tell me the "proper" way to put the collar on the neck, but, why?, the collar works the way I want it to and she's not in constant discomfort.


Thursday 18th of April 2019

Dog lovers and dog professionals are a different thing. I have trained over 1000 dogs in my life so far. I wouldn't even look at this page, hadn't it been on first Google search with so many lies. Harness is for weight pulling and nothing more. A tool for dog training. Making it popular so you can steal people's money, doesn't make it different. Small breeds should be on collar, especially if they pull. What you don't know is how to use it and techniques for proper exercise in dog walking. Please, do not lie to people about husky and harness, it is breed made for pulling and it will never stop, if you do not use proper technique. I don't expect this comment to be published. Find a good trainer and listen and learn.

Dog love all around, Jack

Lindsay Pevny

Monday 3rd of June 2019

Hi Jack, if you're ever interested in speaking to one of the dozens of dog professionals I've interviewed on the topic of training without abusive tools, I'd love to help you connect. When you feel good about what you do, you'll no longer have to leave anonymous comments on blogs - and maybe you'll even be open to getting featured here. Best, Lindsay

julian diaz

Saturday 30th of December 2017

What??? No this is alot of bs. Dogs skin are WAY tougher than a humans. That's why prongs are safe to use on them it prevents them from pulling too hard like they would with a normal collar. And moving at the dogs speed lol. Is tht a joke should I roll over for my dog too? And become the beta as well. No it's an animal that needs me to be it's leader this is where behavior problems come from. Putting a harness on a dog is like giving them a toy, they LOVE PULLING, and giving them a harness let's them use there whole body to pull even harder. Please stop putting out bs like this learn what's right for an animal before you spread crap.

Lindsay Pevny

Saturday 30th of December 2017

Oh Julian, as a dog lover, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to hear that it's not necessary to cause pain to a dog to train them to or earn their respect. Multiple veterinary sources (I used just one above, there are plenty of others) do state that a dog's skin is not as thick as a human's, possibly because our skin is hairless and therefore needs to be thicker. Their skin thickness varies with area of the body and breed, dogs with thicker hair actually have thinner skin. Even so, there is no way to really tell what a dog is experiencing when we use forceful training methods, though body language can tell us a lot about their mental state.

Even a Husky can be trained to walk without pulling on a regular harness - they're so smart and receptive to communicative training methods, and can be reinforced as above, with opportunities to run.

It's wonderful when you don't have to depend on tools - when your dog can actually make a choice to pull or not pull, and your science-based methods encourage your dog to WANT to walk alongside you, rather than HAVE to.

It's also perfectly fine to roll around on the floor and play with your dog, too, and I think it will do you some good! There's really no such thing as a beta dog, and being the human that provides food, shelter and attention is the best way to build a relationship based on mutual respect, just as you would with fellow humans.

Thanks for your insightful response, I hope you have learned something that you can apply to your relationship with your dog.

Ben Doyle

Wednesday 9th of August 2017

Hey Lindsay,

Good article!

I'm right in the middle of researching and reviewing no pull dog harnesses for an article on my website so I'll let you know what we come up with.

What we are finding out is that the chest led harnesses are by far the best, as when a dog starts to pull, they just circle back to you which makes them perfect for training purposes. We've found that issues arise with rubbing and pain when they're the wrong size or not adjusted properly.

But you're right, a toy pooch shouldn't need a prong collar, no dog should. Many people seem to look for a magic product to replace proper training. Afterall, training takes patience which is something we all lack to some degree.

If you're going to get your little dog a harness, these padded mesh ones are perfect:

Just make sure it's small enough. We've had dog slip out of them, even if they're only a little bit too big.

Hope this helps!


Lindsay Pevny

Wednesday 9th of August 2017

Get in touch when you publish, I'd love to share your findings. I used an Easywalk with Matilda, but the smallest size was a little too big - so it didn't work as it was supposed to. I ended up just getting a comfy harness and running more so she was less inclined to race ahead.

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