Activities For Miniature Schnauzers

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Introduction

The Miniature Schnauzer is a lot of dog in a very small package! Adorable without a doubt, affectionate, extroverted and with a sense of humor, this little turbo machine wrapped in a soft fur coat has the energy to burn. Don't be fooled by that sweet face and impressive flowing moustache; they are hardier than they look and have a sense of adventure that can get them into all sorts of trouble.  They are a member of the Terrier group of dogs, so they need to move! They are spunky and not afraid of a dog several times their size. So, training as part of the fun and games is a must. Training will keep them out of trouble with others, as they have no idea how small they are!  Doing anything with you will be fun, but do try to add some variety to the Miniature Schnauzer's day. Games can include digging, finding, walking, and learning new tricks. Praise and attention are what this dog craves, so reward them with affection. Guiding their energy into a positive activity will keep your feisty Schnauzer out of trouble and too tired to get into mischief.

The Chase

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
30 Minutes
Items needed
favorite toy
lenth of rope
long stick or pole
Activity description

Most dogs love a game of chase, and your Miniature Schnauzer will be no different. This is a game that can use up the energy that your dog has stored and will give them a good workout. The game consists of tying a favorite toy to a rope, which is then attached to a pole that you use to drag the toy around the ground, flipping it up in the air and letting your dog pursue it. Allow them to catch it from time to time and reward them for their efforts. The Miniature Schnauzer loves running and will amuse you with their antics as they try earnestly to grab the toy. Teach the dog to let go once they have had a rewarding chew on the toy (offering a treat may help those 'reluctant' to give it back) and your dog will soon learn that giving back means the game continues and they get more attention and more treats. It is a great way to exercise this little dog and train them while they are having fun.

Step
1
Construct the chase pole
Using a flexible but strong rope, attach the toy to one end of the rope. Make sure it is tied securely so your dog can't pull it off and take off with their prize! Then attach the other end of the rope to a sturdy rod or pole. You can buy a similar toy called the 'Chase It Pet Toy', but it is just as easy and cheap to make your own.
Step
2
1-2-3 chase
Get your dog to sit, and show them the toy on the rope. Then as they reach for it, pull the rod so the toy moves, and instruct your dog to 'go get it'. Dogs usually pick this game up pretty quickly, and you will be the one tested to keep it out of their teeth! But do let them win occasionally, so that they don't lose interest. And give your little mustachio plenty of praise and a yummy treat.
Step
3
Don't overdo it
At first, keep the game short as your dog builds their fitness level. Only flip the toy in the air for dogs over a year old, as young dogs may hurt themselves by jumping, causing problems for growing bones. You can vary the game by dragging the toy though the grass, through some water (make sure the toy is sturdy and waterproof) or even using it to get them to jump over low obstacles. Then reward well with affection, and let them have their toy back.
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Obedience Treats

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
20 - 40 Minutes
Items needed
Dinner treats
Several people
Activity description
This game is a way to teach obedience to your dog. The whole family can play, and at first everyone just spreads out around the room. Only one person calls out 'come', and encourages the dog to obey. If the dog hesitates, that person should just slap their leg  or make a loud noise, and smile at the dog. The others should keep quiet and avoid eye contact. This teaches the dog to go to the one who has called and not get confused. Going from person to person, they will soon get the idea of the game, as after they obey, they get a yummy treat. In return, your dog is the center of attention and gets not only the treats, but loads of affection - and what self respecting Miniature Schnauzer wouldn't want that?
Step
1
Let the fun begin
With family members spread a good distance apart from each other, bring your dog into the game by one person calling for the dog. They can use clapping or their voice to get the dog's attention. At first your dog may be hesitant, but the other people are to keep quiet and ignore the dog, while they learn to go to the person who called.
Step
2
Reward and treat
Once your dog goes to the one calling for them, they are to be rewarded and cuddled, telling them how clever they are. Then another person calls out to the dog while the others put their hands behind their back and keep quiet. Once your dog gets the hang of this game, the people can spread out, even going into another room. Your dog will be in their element, racing from one to another and gaining some yummy treats, then sitting until the next person calls for them.
Step
3
Taking the game outside
Once your dog is a champ at the game, it's time to take it to the big league - the great outdoors! This lets the people spread out and even hide from your dog, which makes the game more challenging and a ton of fun for your pal. They will burn up a lot of energy finding the person with the treat, so they won't be gaining weight from all this eat and run exercise. Just ensure you don't overfeed them, small treats please. Too much food and running is not good for your dog. But in small amounts, let the game continue!
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Obstacle Course

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 Minutes
Items needed
Brightly colored cones
Small jumps
Tennis ball
Box
Plank of wood
Bricks
Healthy treats
Activity description

An obstacle course can easily be set up in the back yard, or even inside if it is cold and wet. Your Miniature Schnauzer will love the challenge of the multiple tasks that you will teach them to do. Once they get the hang of the game, then you can challenge them to do it at a faster pace. Patience is needed in the beginning, if this is the first time your dog has done an activity such as this. Indeed, you may want to start with a couple of challenges such as weaving in and out of the cones and jumping over a couple of low hurdles. Then as your pup gains confidence, add in a few more tasks such as a plank walk, picking up a ball and carrying it across a few jumps and placing it in a box or bucket. If you have a handyman at home, ask them to nail some 2 x 2 inch planks on a piece of wide timber to make a dog ladder so that your dog can walk up one side and down the other. Your obstacle course can be as simple or as complex as you like, your dog won't mind. This activity will build your dog's confidence, improve their focus, and is great obedience training as they follow orders from you to run, hold, stay, drop the ball and of course, return to you for a treat.

Step
1
The course construction
This part is for you, as the preparation may take a little time. Decide whether it will be an indoor or outdoor activity, then begin to accumulate what you need. Set up different areas for challenges. Start with arranging the cones in a row a few feet apart for your dog to 'weave' in and out of. Then set up some low hurdles - perhaps three in a row, giving space between each one.
Step
2
Continue setting up
You may decide to stop at the first two to begin with, or if your dog is experienced, continue to add events. If your handyman has made a ramp-step then set that up - you need two. One for up and one for down the other side, joined securely at the top making a triangle shape. Luckily you have a small dog, so it doesn't have to be a huge construction, but it does need to be secure. You may come up with some other ideas of your own; it is as much fun setting it up for you as it is for your dog to participate!
Step
3
Time to play!
Teaching a skill such as weave poles will take time and patience. Hurdles may be easier and the ladder climb, another challenge. Many pet owners will run through the course with their dogs, to lead by example and provide encouragement. Fuss over your talented pup as they learn and complete the course. They deserve your attention, and will appreciate a well earned treat. Once they get the idea, they will be ready to go again, and again, ... and again!
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More Fun Ideas...

An outing with a dog pal

Sometimes a change of scenery  and a bit of time with a dog pal is all your dog requires to keep them happy. You can arrange a dog play date and go either to the other dog's house, host it at yours, or even go to the park with the other dog and their owner. While you enjoy a coffee and chat, your dogs can be having a ball racing around an enclosed secure dog park. They will play their own games, but just supervise so that it is all good play and no pushy bully stuff. Your Miniature Schnauzer could try to bully a bigger dog; they are quite the spunky little canine. Monitor the progress and play, but only interfere if it becomes too boisterous. Both dogs and owners will enjoy the fresh air and a chance to socialize. The only expense is the coffee, other than that - enjoy!

The Frisbee game

Simple yet effective, it is hard to find a dog who won't chase the Frisbee! This game takes minutes to set up and is cheap to play. You can get special Frisbees for dogs that have a material part which the dog can get a better grip on, and it will protect their teeth. All this game requires is a fenced yard, a Frisbee, and a willing dog. Your Miniature Schnauzer will love this game of catch the Frisbee. Two people are better than one but do allow your little pooch to win a few times. Nothing is more disheartening than a dog that tries so hard but gets no reward. Train your dog to bring the Frisbee back for a yummy treat. That way you can both train and have fun at the same time.

Hot Day Hose Fun

On a hot summer day, a great idea for an outdoor game is to teach your dog all about the joys of the garden hose. Many dogs enjoy a game of chasing the water especially if you have a special attachment for maximum enjoyment. If your dog is new to this game, try spraying the water close to their feet then move it away. Your Miniature Schnauzer will try to chase and bite the water. Not only will it encourage them to drink on a hot day, but they will get quite wet which will help them cool down. An attachment that moves around with spraying arms to water the grass is another alternative to the game. You could toss a ball into the water spray and watch your dog go nuts as they race in and out of the spray. It is a cheap, fun game for your spunky Schnauzer to enjoy.

Conclusion

Any dog, whether large or small, likes to feel important; they love accomplishing tasks and getting the 'well done' from you. They live to serve, and your Miniature Schnauzer is no exception. In fact, they are devoted pets and thrive on human attention, so they will be very eager to please. You need to be observant and make sure that your little buddy is not overdoing things. Pursue the games at your dog's fitness level. Activities can be done in any time frame. Take a break between rounds in the game to cuddle and give your dog a drink, treat and a convenience break. Dogs learn through activities, and it is easier to teach a new behavior such as sitting and staying put if it is made to be fun (and rewarding - don't forget that part). Activities will keep your dog happy and improve concentration and behavior. A bored dog is often a naughty dog, resorting to deconstructing your cushions to assuage their boredom. Wear your little Schnauzer out, and they will crawl into your lap only too happy to snooze off, yipping and woofing quietly in their sleep.