How to Train a Miniature Schnauzer

How to Train a Miniature Schnauzer
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon8-12 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Steele is a handsome Miniature Schnauzer--bright, energetic, friendly, and adaptable, all characteristics of his breed. His family adores him and he adores them! Steele learns quickly and is usually very obedient, however, he can be highly distractible. His terrier personality really comes out when outside on walks, when he is mesmerized by every little creature that moves within 100 yards of him. Steele sometimes pulls on his leash or fails to come when called if he has become fascinated with a bird or even a butterfly.  

This little house dog can be quite prey driven and independent, and training him will require keeping him focused on you. Establishing yourself as his leader is very important to achieve focus, and these sensitive, independent dogs learn better from positive reinforcement. They generally do not require or respond well to punishment or heavy-handed tactics. Be firm, consistent, and ensure your pooch is well socialized and respects you in order to be successful training your Mini Schnauzer.

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Defining Tasks

Mini Schnauzers make excellent pets. They are usually good with children, protective of their families, playful, smart and energetic. Miniature Schnauzers are usually considered easy to train, but because of their intelligence, energy, and natural prey instincts they can lack focus and be stubborn, especially around distractions. Successful Mini Schnauzer owners make themselves the center of their dog's world, by being a strong leader and making sure their dog recognizes that they are the source of all good things: food, play, rest, and affection. 

Miniature Schnauzers benefit from early training and socialization and positive reward-based training. Your Mini Schnauzer will need to be house trained and learn basic obedience commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'down', and 'come'. Good off-leash recall and learning to walk on a loose leash can be challenging for inquisitive Mini Schnauzers, but are especially important to establish for your dog's safety and your peace of mind. Because they are athletic and smart, Mini Schnauzers can also excel at doggy sports like flyball and agility trials, so you might want to incorporate these into your training regime to keep your bright little pup's mind busy and engaged.

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Getting Started

It is important to stay positive and not become frustrated with your Miniature Schnauzer during training. Make time to train when you are free from distractions and in a positive mood. Use treats, toys, and praise to train your Miniature Schnauzer. Because they love to play, typical of a terrier breed, play can be an excellent positive reinforcement. By using play as a reward you can avoid the danger of overfeeding your little house dog, which can be a problem. Miniature Schnauzers tend to be pretty food motivated and while food is an excellent reward, it can be combined with affection and play so that it is not overused.

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The Start Young Method

Most Recommended

8 Votes

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Most Recommended

8 Votes

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1

Keep sessions short

Start working with your Miniature Schnauzer as soon as possible. Even a young puppy of 8 weeks old can start learning. Be sure to adjust training sessions so they are age-appropriate for your dog’s maturity level, and keep sessions short for young dogs.

2

Socialize and expose

Socialize your miniature Schnauzer and expose him to a variety of situations so that he gains confidence and learns to be adaptable. This also keeps your dog's mind busy and engaged, and prevents him from being bored and picking up bad habits.

3

House train

Teach your young Miniature Schnauzer household manners like using a crate and where to go potty. Potty train by using a crate or supervising your dog and capturing when he needs to go for a potty break and taking him outside immediately. Establish good bathroom habits when your dog is young, as this is the easiest way to house train. Usually, Miniature Schnauzers house train relatively easily as they can be quite fastidious, but your young dog will need direction and opportunities.

4

Obedience commands

Teach your Miniature Schnauzer basic commands like 'come', 'sit', and 'stay', using rewards like treats and play. Start with simple requests or only short sessions. A young dog can only focus attention for a short period of time, work within your dog's limits.

5

Outdoor activity

Apply basic training to walking on a loose leash and off-leash recall. These are the most challenging behaviors for these terriers to learn, as they are easily distracted. Start training your dog to walk on a loose leash and come when off-leash in a relatively controlled environment, like indoors. Move to an enclosed yard, then apply while out on walks where more distractions are present.

The Be the Leader Method

Effective

2 Votes

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Effective

2 Votes

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1

Provide food

Be the provider of all good things. Control your Miniature Schnauzer’s resources. Make sure he understands that you are his food provider by remaining with him after you give him his meal, while he eats.

2

Provide fun

Provide lots of affection and play. Produce toys and chew items for your Mini Schnauzer. Cuddle and pet frequently. Handle your pup. Take him on car rides and excursions.

3

Provide exercise

Take your mini Schnauzer for lots of walks. Practice both controlled walking at a heel or on a loose leash and free walking with lots of nose time and opportunity for investigating, which your Mini Schnauzer loves.

4

Be assertive and calm

Be firm but reasonable--avoid punishment and yelling. Give commands in a clear, firm voice with assertiveness. Use treats and toys to motivate.

5

Give commands once

Do not repeat commands. Give a command once or twice at most. If your mini Schnauzer doesn't respond, correct him or remove him from the situation.

The Handle Bad Behavior Method

Least Recommended

1 Vote

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Least Recommended

1 Vote

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1

Don't reinforce unwanted behavior

Don't give your minute Schnauzer attention, even negative attention, for bad behavior.

2

Remove attention

Practice extinguishing bad behavior by removing your dog from the situation or withdrawing attention and affection when appropriate. Resume play and attention when negative behavior stops.

3

Reinforce desired behavior

Reward and reinforce positive behaviors. Provide treats or toys and attention when your pooch responds appropriately to commands.

4

Provide alternatives

Distract from unwanted behavior and provide alternate activities or items, such as chew toys, to redirect behaviors.

5

Use name positively

Use your Mini Schnauzers name in a positive way when calling him to provide food, exercise, or attention. Do not use your dog's name before reprimanding. You want his name to be something he responds to so you will have good recall and be able to get his attention, not his avoidance.

By Laurie Haggart

Published: 02/27/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Maggie

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Miniature Schnauzer

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8 Weeks

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Question

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All aspects. Housebreaking, sitting, heeling, fetching, barking, etc.

July 9, 2022

Maggie's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rick, First, check out the free pdf e-book you can download at the link below, After You Get Your Puppy. That will cover things like chewing, barking, crate training, potty training, socializing, ect... www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads For obedience commands, check out these videos of a puppy class being taught, which you can follow along with with pup. Puppy Class videos: Week 1, pt 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhJGU2NO5k Week 1, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-1-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 1 https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 2, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-2-part-2-home-jasper-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 3, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-3-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 4, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-4-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 5, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-5-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 1: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-1-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1 Week 6, pt 2: https://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/week-6-part-2-sirius-berkeley-puppy-1-0 For any tricks and games like fetching, check out Zak George from canine revolution's youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtpLvumSTzI Finally, if you go to wagwalking.com/training you can find articles covering how to teach individual commands and tasks, step by step. Articles include topics like "How to train a puppy to Sit", How to Train a puppy to stop barking".... Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

July 11, 2022

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Chubbs

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Miniature Schnauzer

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18 Months

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Question

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Jumping and barking at people and dogs when they walk by. We have a glass front door and live in a big dog walking community. My husband is often on work calls, so this is a problem.

June 7, 2022

Chubbs's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dana, First, check out this video for an explanation of the barking behavior. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuvhhyyVLCM Second, based on what that video covers, I would hang up curtains over that window, that can be closed when you don't have time to work with pup on this, so the unwanted behavior isn't being practiced when no one is there to interrupt pup. Third, I would practice the Quiet command, so you can use that command, and also look for opportunities when you are working with pup to reward pup for looking out the window and NOT barking - to reinforce quietness in that location and less suspiciousness of those passing by outside. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Finally, check out the video I have linked below. The situation in the video is completely different than yours, but you can see examples of a dog being desensitized to something they are barking at, in the video's case another dog while they are on a walk. Notice how the behavior is practiced over and over and over again, with small breaks once the other dog is out of sight before bringing the dog back into pup's sight - so pup doesn't get too aroused during training (which can make it hard for pup to learn), and repetition so that the other dog becomes boring. This behavior is best addressed by combining management with the curtain, training to desensitize, and obedience commands to improve communication when you need to be able to tell pup to stop. Correction, like a bark collar, can sometimes also be effective, but that needs to be used carefully in combination with rewards for quietness - so pup doesn't just become more suspicious of the things that cause him to bark and get corrected. Bark collars tend to work best for dogs who bark for the fun of barking itself - because barking can be a self-rewarding behavior due to chemicals released in pup's brain - so some dogs will bark just to make noise, opposed to a dog who is barking because they are trying to protect their territory from something they view as a threat. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 7, 2022


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