Training a Mini Schnauzer to Not Bark at People

Although schnauzers are born to bark, they are highly trainable and can be taught to limit their barking.

Although schnauzers are born to bark, they are highly trainable and can be taught to limit their barking.

The famous “Barky Von Schnauzer” commercial is a favorite among schnauzer owners for good reason. Schnauzers are genetically geared to bark. Although you can’t stop your schnauzer from barking completely, you can train him to bark when appropriate and stop when asked.

Teach Him to Bark on Command

Recruit a friend to help you first teach your schnauzer to bark on command. Training him to bark within your rules enables you to teach him when to be quiet.

Position your volunteer outside your door.

Tell your schnauzer to “speak” and have your friend ring the doorbell.

Allow your schnauzer to bark a few times then hold a treat in front of him.

Give your schnauzer a treat and praise him when he stops barking.

Practice this method until he learns to “speak” on your command.

Teach Him to Be Quiet on Command

Begin training him to be quiet on command once he has mastered barking on command. Start in a calm, quiet area without distraction.

Ask your schnauzer to speak.

Allow him to bark a few times, then say “quiet” and hold a treat in front of him.

Praise him and give him a treat when he quiets.

Add distractions such as your friend ringing the doorbell to his practice once he has learned to be quiet on command in a quiet area.

Items you will need

  • Treats


  • Schnauzers are highly trainable dogs so you can teach a variety of bark control methods. Besides the speak and quiet commands, you can teach him to sit or lie down on command or in response to bark-invoking stimuli such as the ringing doorbell. Sitting and lying down make it harder for him to bark and also provide something for him to do instead of barking.
  • If your schnauzer enjoys toys and carrying things in his mouth, you can train him to greet people carrying a toy in his mouth instead of barking.
  • An especially intense barker who can’t hear you give a command over his barking may need something besides your voice or a treat to get his attention. Tossing a can containing some coins at his feet or a squirt of water from a spray bottle during the barking can break his focus. Cesar’s Way recommends that when you use this method that the dog never sees the object coming from you. He needs to believe that his barking causes the noisy object to appear or the squirt of water to happen.


  • A variety of bark control collars are available in stores and online. These should be used as a last resort and only under the guidance of a certified trainer or behaviorist. If you have more than one dog or other dogs close by, do not use these collars. Barking from other dogs will set off the collar. Also, if your schnauzer suffers from any form of anxiety, these collars will only worsen the condition.

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About the Author

Jodi L. Hartley has been a writer and public relations professional since 1992. Her experience includes public relations and marketing for a pet service/retail business, as well as volunteer work with animal rescue organizations. Hartley holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and an M.B.A.

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