If you choose the miniature schnauzer, smallest of the three sizes (giant, standard and miniature) you're not alone. The mini is the most popular one. Not just cute (have you seen those brows?), he's intelligent, cheerful and adaptable — just as happy in an apartment as on a farm.
Loving but Strong-Willed
These mini dynamos generally are loving, happy, playful and protective, and they get along well with children. Their strong-willed attitude means they’ll "dis" you if you don’t display proper leadership, which you can learn through dog obedience classes. Show your miniature schnauzer who’s boss, and he’ll happily obey you. Because this breed possesses a natural authority, if you don’t strut your leadership stuff, your mini just might. Miniature schnauzers are terriers, after all, and most terriers bark a lot. Mini schnauzers bark mostly at strangers or other dogs, though. They usually don’t bark indiscriminately. The tendency to bark at strangers combined with this little cutie’s protective nature make him a good watchdog.
Small Dog Syndrome
The miniature schnauzer, like most small breeds, can fall victim to small dog syndrome. You know, when poochie thinks he runs the house. Small dog syndrome in the mini schnauzer can lead to him expressing separation anxiety, willfulness, nervousness, excessive barking and a disposition to attack big dogs. Stem this Napoleonic craziness in your mini schnauzer by not letting him run the house, providing him with physical exercise and mentally challenging him through games, such as tug-of-war with a dog toy, and obedience training.
These feisty little dogs respond well to positive training techniques. Yelling “no” and hitting your mini with a newspaper don't exactly fit the bill. This sort of negative training makes a mini schnauzer anxious and stressed, which can lead to bad behaviors. Don’t be a bully. Mini schnauzers respond well when you praise and treat them for good behavior. Clicker training, where you immediately click and treat for good behavior, works well with this breed. If your mini doesn’t display the behavior you want, simply don’t click and treat. Your mini soon will work for the positive reinforcement. If you don’t train mini schnauzers, they’ll train you. They often enjoy testing the waters to see just what they can get away with. If you don’t control this little stinker, you probably won’t have a well-behaved dog. All this wonderful breed really wants is to please you, so training yours should not be too difficult.
Affectionate and Gentle
Show your mini schnauzer love and attention. Most crave it. Almost narcissistic, they have a great “sense of self” that causes them to expect you to pet them whenever you see them, according to Dan Kiedrowski, author of “The New Miniature Schnauzer.” However, your pup will reward you. Gentle with children, mini schnauzers won’t become impatient or intolerant of them. Minis can play and entertain children for hours.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.