How to Train a Miniature Schnauzer to Not Bite

Easy
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Do you have a Miniature Schnauzer who seems to love biting? While you might think this is somewhat normal behavior, there are no breeds of dog for whom this type of behavior in an adult dog is natural or acceptable. Remember, what might seem like playful biting at first can easily turn into serious attempts to bite that can and often do result in injuries. No matter what you might think, there is no point at which your pooch's biting should be tolerated. 

Defining Tasks

In nature, your pup would engage with his litter brothers and sisters in play that often involves in biting, chewing, tussling, wrestling, and many other forms of contact play. It is how they learn about their environment and their place in the family. As they mature, it may become the way they take their place in the pack. At home though, this type of behavior is not needed nor necessary. But, unless you teach your dog to stop biting, he may never outgrow the habit. 

Getting Started

Unlike many other forms of training, teaching your dog not to bite doesn't take much in the way of supplies. Of all the things you might need, patience and plenty of time for training are the most important. Of course, you may also need a few chew toys, some treats, and a nice quiet place to work with him in. 

The Reach Out and Touch Method

ribbon-method-3
Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
A quiet room
Find a nice quiet room in your home to work on training Spike not to touch. Bring Spike into the room and put him on the floor or if he has already mastered the 'sit/stay' commands, have him sit.
Step
2
At his level
This training works better when you are on your knees close to his level. Once you are on the floor, slowly move your hand towards Spike, but only go a couple of inches at first.
Step
3
If he stays put
If Spike stays put, be sure to praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
If he moves
If Spike moves, put him back in place and try again.
Step
5
The real test
Place a treat on the floor between you and then move your hand close to it. If Spike stays put, let him have the treat. Keep working on this, getting a little closer to him and the treat each time. With plenty of practice, you should soon be able to lay the treat on the floor, reach out and touch your pup, all without the fear of being bitten anymore.
Recommend training method?

The Redirect Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
We shall come a-gathering
Gather up a few chew toys to use in redirecting your pup's need to chew.
Step
2
When he bites
When your pup starts to bite you, move your hand slowly away while saying "No Bite!"
Step
3
Replacement therapy
Then give him a chew toy to play with. When Spike takes it from you and starts to chew on it, praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
No rough play
If rough play tends to put Spike in the mood to bite, the obvious answer is to cut back on the level of play and use a chew toy instead of your hands to play with him.
Step
5
Keep working it
The secret is to keep working with Spike, consistently redirecting his desire to bite to the toy. In time, he will simply kick back and chew rather than bite.
Recommend training method?

The No Bite Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
A time to bite
When Spike decides he needs to bite you, let him know he shouldn’t be by saying "No bite" or better yet, yelping like one of his litter mates would if he were biting them.
Step
2
Walk on by
At this point, turn your back to Spike and walk away. Do not say anything, do not get mad at him, do not pet him, just walk on by.
Step
3
If he doesn't stop
If he still keeps trying to bite you, take a tin can full of pennies and make a loud rattling noise with it. This should startle him and put an immediate end to his biting. While you are rattling the can, be sure to give Spike the "No Bite!" command.
Step
4
During game play
If the biting occurred during gameplay, either of these methods will put an immediate end to the game. You should give Spike time to calm down.
Step
5
Try, try again
Once Spike has managed to calm down, you can resume play and try again. Continue repeating the training until he finally gets the idea that biting is never going to be his best plan of action.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Baby
Miniature Schnauzer
2 Years
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Question
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Baby
Miniature Schnauzer
2 Years

He absolutely will not allow nobody to wash him or groom him. He has started biting just me for no reason and it’s only from time to time.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1130 Dog owners recommended

Hello, It sounds like pup needs to be desensitized to touch and the grooming tools and process, but it also sounds like there are other forms of aggression present also. Because pup is biting you outside of just grooming times, I also recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, will come to your home to evaluate pup and how they interact with you in person, and who comes well recommended by their previous clients for their work with needs like aggression. With a trainers help, the training will probably in part look like the following: First, I recommend desensitizing pup to a basket muzzle - which is more comfortable than a standard one and will allow pup to open their mouth while wearing it still, and keeping a drag leash on pup while you are home to supervise. Muzzle introduction video - for a dog who is new to the muzzle, progress through the process very slowly over several days, at a pace pup can stay relaxed at, rather than doing it in one sitting like the dog who is already comfortable in the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s With those safety measures in place, I recommend teaching the following commands, desensitizing pup to being touched and handled, and following the commands from the listening article I have linked below. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Listening methods - all three - including Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you To work on getting pup used to touch and handling use pup's daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of pup's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold their collar and give a treat. Touch their tail gently and give a treat. Touch their belly, their other paws, their chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. When pup is okay with the touches, then hold the paws with a little pressure - like you do when clipping a nail, giving a treat each time you take a paw into your hand and keeping this brief. As pup improves, hold that paw for longer, giving another treat every couple of seconds until pup is fine having you hold their paw for as long as a nail trim would take. Next, take the clippers and simply touch pup's paw with your hand and hold the clippers still in your other hand then give a treat - not clipping or touching them to the paw yet. Repeat this over several separate sessions until pup enjoys this exercise also. Next, take the clippers and just touch them to a nail without clipping then give a treat. Repeat until pup is comfortable letting you do this will all the nails. Next, clip just the tip of the nail, rewarding right after each nail, or even sprinkling a couple treats for pup to be eating while you clip. As pup gets comfortable, work up to really cutting them. Spend time learning how to locate the quick and not get too close to it though, or the nail trims will hurt and pup will dislike it again. This process will need to be repeated with each grooming tool, whether that's a brush, tooth brush, nail clippers, scissors, water, ect... After the trainer evaluates pup and their interactions with you, likely some additional training that addressed that aggression will also be done. For example, if pup lack respect for you, obedience commands and more structure will probably need to be added into pup's routine. If pup is fearful, trust be build. If pup is resource guarding items, areas, people, or other animals, the resource guarding addressed through both respect building and counter conditioning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Gigi
schnauzer
2 Years
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Question
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Gigi
schnauzer
2 Years

When my dog is disciplined she tries to snarl, show her teeth and bites extremely hard. We do not physically discipline her we use eye contact and pointing. She will lash out and no amount of spanking while she's biting helps. It makes it worse. And she is drawing blood. This is NO NIP this is all out biting

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1130 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tomi, At this point I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to work with you in person at your home, to address this need. Look for someone who comes well recommended by their previous clients for their work with aggression. I would also desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle, counter condition pup to touch and eye contact to rebuild trust with those, and with the use of safety measures like a leash and basket muzzle, build respect through obedience command practice and consistency instead of direct confrontation. This doesn't mean pup can do whatever they want, but getting pup working for you, being able to calmly enforce commands through the use of a drag leash and basket muzzle for safety, and keeping your interactions with pup calm and confident - but not loud, angry, or feeling sorry for pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Belle
mini schnauzer
10 Weeks
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Question
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Belle
mini schnauzer
10 Weeks

Her biting is getting worse. I have tried to redirect her but she comes back and goes for the ankles, the clothes, anything. When she gets like this I have to put her in the play pen as there isn't anything we can do to stop her. She has lots of toys and chewy things. I tell her NO BITE over and over. She is dangerous!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1130 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carolyn, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told her not to. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ollie
Miniature Schnauzer
5 Months
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Question
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Ollie
Miniature Schnauzer
5 Months

My puppy will not stop biting me for attention. He will bark and bite. I tried the method of ignoring him, ignoring him and going into my room, saying no firmly, redirecting him with a toy, and putting him in the crate. I do not know what to do anymore because it is embarrassing when friends come over

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1130 Dog owners recommended

Hello, For the biting, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Check out the article linked below. I recommend working on gently building pup's respect for you also. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Pay attention to whether pup is being rewarded for the barking at any point by anyone - which typically means pup is getting anything they want when they bark. Make sure not to reward pup with something they want or like when they are barking. Second, I recommend teaching the Quiet command. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark If for instance, pup is barking when you go into the kitchen without him, confine pup out of the kitchen, and check out the Surprise method from the article linked below, to reward pup when they are quiet. At first, you will reward pup when they get quiet even for a bit after barking. You want to make sure that you progress to rewarding pup only when they stay quiet for a longer period of time, then reward pup only when they don't bark at all when you go into the kitchen AND stay quiet while you are in there, so that pup graduates to not barking at all when you walk away. This method can be done with pup on one side of a baby gate, in a crate, or in an exercise pen. It doesn't have to be in the crate necessarily but you do want pup to not be able to follow you into the kitchen. surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate I would also work on teaching pup the Out command and calmly enforce out using the section on how to use out to deal with pushy behavior, after Out is taught, to make pup leave the area where the person he is barking at is, if he doesn't obey quiet when told to also. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Pay attention to what you are rewarding when. Look for opportunities to reward pup for asking politely for things through things like quietly sitting or lying down, be patient and quiet, and obeying commands, and not giving pup what he wants when he is demanding. Ultimately you want to teach pup polite ways to ask for what he wants that you can reward, like sitting when he wants to be fed, going to his dog bed when you are eating your food, ect...to earn what he wants. For barking that is related to boredom, try feeding pup part of his meals in a dog food stuffed kong classic chew toy, or something like a kong wobble, pup has to work to get dog food out of, to keep him busy and quiet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jilly
Miniature Schnauzer
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Jilly
Miniature Schnauzer
10 Weeks

Biting
Asking to go potty outside
Fit throwing

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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