Miniature Schnauzers pack a lot of personality into a tiny package. Like other terrier breeds, they believe they rule the roost and soak up as much attention as they can possibly get. They are sturdy little balls of spunk who love nothing more than to run and play outside with the people they love. Miniature Schnauzers are clowns who enjoy making mischief. They are incredibly smart and will use that intelligence to do things like open cabinets or closets to get at food, toys, or your favorite pair of shoes. They get along fine with other household pets – they may give chase to your family cat, but he's not a danger to other pets, rather, he'll chase Fluffy for his own amusement. Miniature Schnauzers make a great pet for active families, and are an excellent choice for first time dog owners.
Miniature Schnauzers are versatile dogs who can live in the city or the country. They need daily walks and time to run every week, but they can be just as happy living in an apartment as a farm. The Schnauzer's yard should always be fenced in because these terriers will take off like a shot if they catch a glimpse of a cat, rabbit, bird or squirrel.
Their need to chase and dig can be channeled productively by enrolling your Miniature Schnauzer in earthdog activities, where they are able to track rodents and dig for them. The rodents are hidden below ground in safe enclosures, so it is a safe activity. They also enjoy and excel in agility training. These activities can keep you Schnauzer's mind and body active, and he will love the bonding time spend with his favorite people.
Schnauzers are highly trainable as they are intelligent and eager to use their minds. They are very independent and stubborn, however, so training can be a challenge and should never be done by the softie in the house. Schnauzers don't like being told what to do and want to be in charge at all times. Training should be conducted in a calm-assertive manner, and lessons should begin early in puppyhood. They are motivated by food and positive reinforcement, and sessions should be kept short with varied activity, as repetition can bore them.
Once leadership is established and basic obedience has been mastered, your Miniature Schnauzer should be graduated on to advanced training which may include agility or tracking.
Miniature Schnauzers are terriers and they exhibit all the classic terrier traits: excessive barking, digging, chasing anything that catches their eye, posturing toward large dogs, suspiciousness toward strangers and believing they are a lot larger than they really are. The key to raising an obedient and well-mannered Schnauzer lies in setting boundaries, socializing him extensively, and maintaining a proper exercise regimen.
Barking is a trait that can't be trained out of Miniature Schnauzers. They are alert watchdogs who will sound the alarm early and often that something is approaching. Teaching your Schnauzer to obey commands to stop barking can save your eardrums, as the Mini Schnauzer's bark can be quite shrill.
These dogs are not well-suited for homes with small children. While Schnauzers enjoy the company of older kids, toddlers can be too much for them to handle. Toddlers do not understand that dogs have boundaries and can get snapped at or even bitten.