Your Miniature Schnauzer training will be much more successful if praise is only used as a reward in the daily training with your puppy. That is when your pup actually does something you desire. Otherwise, praise should be withheld. When teaching a new command, you should use a physical movement or stance, which helps to show your dog what it means. Then as soon as your puppy starts to make the proper movement, pile on the praise. That is, when your dog does the desired action, you should pet him and make a fuss of him.
This important conditioning of your Miniature Schnauzer associating behavior with praise is show when you teach your dog basic commands like “Sit.” First, say your puppy’s name, followed by the command “Sit.” At the same time, hold your hand a few inches above your dog, then move it a little behind his dog’s head. He will raise his head to keep an eye on your hand and sit.
Gentle pressure can be used on your dog’s rear if required. When he sits, praise him. Repeat this exercise followed by praise (stroking and saying “good boy/girl” in a friendly upbeat tone) on success, and your Schnauzer will begin to sit without the hand single. This is very effective because it is the need for positive praise and attention, driving your dog to sit.
Training sessions should be short and no longer than 10 minutes and always end with lots of petting, praise, and play. Caring for your puppy in this way soon makes him understand that doing as you ask and following you as a “leader” results in great rewards. Professional trainers often call this type of dog training the “earn and praise” method or the “No free lunch” system. Consistency is the key to all puppy training, and this goes for all family members. Otherwise, your puppy may become confused or learn the easy way of getting praise without working for it.
In working like this with all your training, your Schnauzer puppy will learn and enjoy being a “follower” within the family. This behavioral foundation will make all of your future training and socialization work much easier as your dog will be eager to please. Showing your dog that you are a competent leader allows your puppy to be a subordinate which, in turn, makes him less frustrated and aggressive (protective). This leads to a happy, gentle, well-behaved, and obedient dog who is pleased to be around and own.
Miniature Schnauzers who do not have a leader will take this role for themselves and can become aggressive, unruly, fretful destructive, and disobedient. You have been warned! So, becoming the pack leader in your dog’s eyes is vitally important and has the added advantage of avoiding the most unwanted behavior associated with this breed.
Dominant older Miniature Schnauzers dogs will respond well to the total “social attraction” regimen of training with praise and leadership. However, because of the months or years during which an adult dog has been dominant, owners will need to be very strict, kind, and patient to change the balance of power. Consistency is the key again, as is praise after every successful change in behavior your dog shows.
Treats are very effective in training older stubborn dogs who are set in their ways but are not as necessary with puppies as the reward of praise is usually enough in itself.