Dogtra IQ Mini Plus. How Do I Love Thee. Let Me Count the Ways.

When I looked for a remote training collar more than 20 years ago I tested three of the “big” names. One of them was Dogtra. It’s been too long for me to recall which Dogtra model I tested but as new models have emerged from the brand none have disappointed me. Currently, I use and recommend the IQ Mini Plus to 99% of my clients. The other 1%, who have an unusually difficult dog, will be suited to a  Dogtra model that boasts a stimulation for moderate to difficult dispositions. Let’s stop there for just a minute. Almost all of my clients believe they have an unusually stubborn dog that will need a lot of “heat” but it’s almost never the case. When we’re talking about pets, and we are, Dogtra’s IQ Mini Plus has enough heat.


In addition to its calibrated stimulation levels being ample, its size and weight is what makes it the most attractive. The receiver weighs a mere 1.3 ounces making it visually discreet and as comfortable as a remote collar can be for a dog. If need be, my pups can wear them all day without a problem. Dogtra advertises the model as appropriate for small dogs weighting as little as 7 pounds but it doesn’t mean it’s any less effective on my client’s 85 pound Labrador. In fact, they rarely need more than 40% of its calibrated stimulation. That is par for the course when using my training methods. I may have occasion to use up to 80% but it’s often needed for just a few incidents at the beginning of training and back down to 40% we go for the duration of training. The next feature to list about this model that makes me smile is the curved, ergonomic contact points made of the same material as the receiver casing. This eliminates the concern that many express over the traditionally pointed contact points. 


The reason I chose a Dogtra model so long ago and continue to use it today is its ease of use. Most receivers (that’s the thingy on the collar that delivers the stimulation) are the same across brands. You simply have to turn them on. It’s the remote that has to be understood in order to operate the receiver.  A toggle switch in the middle to operate Dog 1 or Dog 2, a dial to adjust your level of correction and 3 buttons down the front. Each button does exactly what it states and nothing more. There are no double functions for any switch dial or button. No formulas to be memorized. No need to hold a combination of buttons at any time. I’ve spent entire sessions with clients trying to learn and relearn the functions of their remote with them when they’ve purchased a collar other than my recommended Dogtra IQ Mini Plus. Push and twist. Hold for 3 seconds, hold for 5 seconds. Tone. Vibration. Stimulation. All operated by buttons that are doing double duty. No trainer and certainly no novice needs to be required to study their remote’s textbook time and time again just to begin a session. A remote should be so simple that the only reason you read the included instruction manual is because you can hear that little voice in your head saying “you should read the directions”.  And you should. But when you do read the directions it will affirm for you what you originally believed to be the accurate and simple operation of the Dogtra IQ Mini Plus simply by looking at the remote. On that note, let’s talk about why this simplicity is a value. 

Mini Schnauzer mid recall using the Dogtra IQ Mini Plus

It’s not unusual for someone to feel like they need more bells and whistles when more bells and whistles come available on other models. It makes you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Let’s focus for just a moment once again on what type of dog we’re discussing in this article. If you are hunting with your dog you might need and appreciate more bells and whistles. For all of my pet owners, keep reading.  If you have a pet it’s probably because you love animals and if you’re reading this article I’m guessing you love dogs. And as an animal lover you might be drawn to the idea of a “warning” sound made possible with other remotes as an example of a bell/whistle that seems appealing. The reason I don’t use remotes with warning sounds is because I feel I don’t have time for warnings. When you train your dog to a warning you’re simply training it to understand it has a certain amount of time to keep doing what it’s doing instead of responding to a command. I always jokingly (but seriously) say the “come” command IS the dog’s warning. I don’t have time for warnings when a potentially dangerous dog, an inattentive motorist or rogue toddler has appeared on the scene. I need my dog to come now not 5 seconds from now.


The reason I don’t use a receiver containing GPS function is because I like to keep GPS on my dog’s every day collar. This offers me a safety. If he doesn’t have his remote collar on or the remote collar has died I’ve got a back up attached to my dog’s flat collar (for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “flat collar” it simply means the collar your dog wears regularly that probably contains his or her ID. ) For this I use an Apple AirTag secured to my dog’s every day collar.


So with “tone” and GPS out of the way that simply leaves vibration and stimulation. I like to use vibration for two purposes. 1. It’s how I double check my work to see if I did indeed charge the collar, turn the collar on and have the collar paired to the correct position on the remote. (Remember earlier we talked about a toggle switch at the top that allows you to switch your remote between 2 dogs.) The other way I use it is to recall the dog. “Recall” is fancy dog trainer speak for calling your dog. I use the command “come”.  I won’t get into the how-tos of that here but I want to briefly say I don’t recommend you use the vibration to call your dog until you’ve taught them to be recalled with a voice command. 


Finally, you’ve got 2 buttons for stimulation. One is for a “nick” correction and the other is for a “constant” correction. The N or “nick” button should be rather self explanatory. It emits a very brief correction. The C or “constant” correction button will emit a correction for as long as the operator presses the button but not exceeding 10 seconds.  Beginners should move through their training using the N button to accomplish much of their goals. I typically use the C button instead of turning up the heat during moments of intense stubbornness or sudden onset deafness. 


Working a Weim in his front yard with the Dogtra IQ Mini Plus

That’s it. That’s the Dogtra IQ Mini Plus remote in its entirety. To summarize I want to impress upon you once again that multiple functions are at times, as in the case of a remote training collar, not where value lies but rather in the equipment’s simplicity, effectiveness and reliability. This is an area of spending where you want the highest quality available in the aforementioned traits. It’s a one-time purchase you won’t regret. Many of my clients are using their Dogtra models on the original beneficiary’s successors several years after the original purchase. An inexpensive battery will often get a seasoned collar back on its feet. I believe you will come to love Dogtra’s IQ Mini Plus for your pet just as I have because of its ease of use and compact size. 

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