How to Train a Miniature Schnauzer

Easy
8-12 Weeks
General

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.

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.

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.

The Start Young Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Be the Leader Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Handle Bad Behavior Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Don't reinforce unwanted behavior
Don't give your minute Schnauzer attention, even negative attention, for bad behavior.
Step
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.
Step
3
Reinforce desired behavior
Reward and reinforce positive behaviors. Provide treats or toys and attention when your pooch responds appropriately to commands.
Step
4
Provide alternatives
Distract from unwanted behavior and provide alternate activities or items, such as chew toys, to redirect behaviors.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Rufus
Miniature Schnauzer
4 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Rufus
Miniature Schnauzer
4 Months

Struggling to control his barking at other dogs/people

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sue, Check out the article linked below and use the "Quiet" method and the "Desensitize" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Also, check out the PDF e-book download linked below and the information about how to socialize puppies found in that short book. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Rufus's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Wilson
Miniature Schnauzer
13 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Wilson
Miniature Schnauzer
13 Weeks

Hello, my dog is 13 weeks old and we have had him a little over a week now. We are struggling with biting and barking. He often bites hard. We respond to his attempts by handing him a toy, which he often pushes to the side in order to bite us. We then yelp in a high pitch voice and ignore him. This usually makes him aggravated and he barks and/or bites our legs as we walk away. His bites are painful so it is often hard to ignore. He usually responds to being ignored by biting furniture, hiding under the couch, or leaving the area to use the bathroom. He also often barks when one of us walks into a room. We feed him the recommended amount, provide plenty of teething toys, and let him out regularly, so I am not sure how to address the problem. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Taylor, Check out the article linked below and teach use the Leave It method. This will take a little time to teach so practice frequently to speed up that process. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Also, it sounds like he is often over-tired and over-stimulated when the biting is at its worst a lot of times. Puppies can actually get more wound up when they are overdue for some down time. When he gets like this, put him into a crate or an exercise pen with a food-stuffed chew toy to give him time to wind down and play calmly. When you put him in the crate or pen, he will likely bark at first, ignore his barking. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below to help with the barking when confined. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate For the barking while loose, check out the article linked below and the Quiet and Desensitization methods. Quiet is a useful command to have to stop the barking, but he likely needs to be desensitized to people entering and leaving the room in general to make that less exciting for him. Follow the Desensitization method for that, and also check out the video linked below for an example of someone doing this at a front door (you can do the same type of training for just entering into rooms and not just the front door though). Don't ever give treats while he is in the middle of barking; wait until he is quiet - even if that's only a second, before rewarding, so that your timing rewards the quietness and doesn't encourage more barking. Quiet method and Desensitization method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Desensitization door video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxPrNnulp5s The video channel above also includes a few other barking videos in Kikopup's channel if you need further examples. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Wilson's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Bosley
Miniature Schnauzer
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bosley
Miniature Schnauzer
3 Years

I have Miniature Schnauzer that I bought as a pup. We lived in a residential area and had a fenced in yard and he was quite easy to potty train and was a really good little boy. We moved to MPLS and now live in a little farm house in the country. Since moving he has been a very naught pup. He want to chase people down the road he goes potty in the house (ever since we had to get a cat for mice) and he barks excessively. We are at our wits ends with him. I love him dearly but i don't know what to do with him. He is so stubborn that the training collar doesn’t phase him most of the time. What can i do to correct his bad habits. I don’t want to get rid of him. He is my emotional strength.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Roxanne, First, the peeing is likely marking if it only began when you got the cat. If that's the case, then have him wear a belly band while inside (which is like a male diaper that can be washed and you put disposable pads in it to catch urine). When you see him start to squat or lift a leg to pee while wearing the belly band, clap your hands loudly a couple of times, then rush him outside. The purpose of the belly band is to prevent him from spreading his scent successfully - which is a marking dog's goal. You need to break that cycle if the potty training issues are scent related and not due to a lack of understanding or other issue. You also need to clean up any new or old accidents from him or the cat with a cleaner that contains enzymes. Only enzymes remove the smell fully and any remaining urine or poop smell will further encourage pottying in that spot. Make sure you are not using ammonia containing products to clean also - since ammonia smells like urine to a dog. Introduce the belly band using lots of treats and supervise him while he wears it the first several times, interrupting him anytime he tries to bite at it. Second, check out the article linked below on teaching Come. Before you can use an e-collar and it be effective you have to lay a good foundation for Come or the e-collar will be ineffective and can actually add to the frustration. Come - especially the use of a long leash and premack principle for a while: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Next, once Come is well established through repetition, check out the video below for an overview of how the e-collar should be used to make it effective for training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtJxSXu4rfs&t=429s Check out the video below for how to find the right collar level for your dog and to make sure it is fitted properly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM For the barking you need to establish what type of barking is it. Is he barking due to territorial behavior? Fear? Being overly sensitive, Bordedom?. If he has become overly sensitive or it's because of boredom, then barking is actually a self-rewarding behavior and it needs to be interrupted with a corrector, but it he also needs to be desensitized to whatever he is barking to while in a calmer state using rewards, so that he doesn't feel the need to bark so much. If it's territorial, he needs a lot more leadership, and to be shown that you don't want him to display that behavior - one alert bark is fine but then stop. If he is afraid, he needs to be socialized around what he is fearful of and taught "Quiet". Check out the videos linked below for desensitization and how to teach the Quiet command. There may be something additional that needs to be addressed too depending on why he is barking. I would need more details about him to help more though. Quiet command... https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Desensitization video: video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Bosley's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Belle
Miniature Schnauzer
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Belle
Miniature Schnauzer
9 Weeks

I'm having trouble potty training. I've tried puppy training but she always uses the bathroom beside the pad and not on it. I didn't want to do the crate method because I don't work close enough to take her out at the appropriate time. Please help me understand how to at least get started puppy training.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Candice, I suggest switching to a real grass pad because many dogs associate the pee pad with fabric like carpet and naturally try not to soil it. Either way when you have a couple of days off, like over the weekend I suggest using the crate training method from the article I have linked below while home from work just to teach her the concept of where to pee and ensure she doesn't pee else where and is rewarded for peeing on the pad when she does go potty on it. After using the crate for a couple of days to help her associate the pad with peeing, then switch to the Exercise Pen method from the same article I have linked below since you will have to go back to work. She will still need the close confinement of the exercise pen to keep the pan nearby for awhile even after doing the crate training method over the weekend. The exercise pen will also keep her safe during teething and later jaw development chewing phases during the first year. Also, if you want to put a bed in the exercise pen with her, use a cot type bed or something like www.primopads.com - something non-absorbent. Exercise Pen and Crate Training methods - it mentions a litter box but you can use a real-grass pad instead: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad brands - most found on amazon too: freshpatch.com doggielawn.com porchpotty.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Belle's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd