Dealing with Miniature Schnauzer Behavior Problems

Are behavior problems common with Miniature Schnauzers

miniature schnauzer terrierThe Miniature Schnauzer is intelligent and in general obedient. They are easy to train and learn new commands quickly. In fact, they rank 12th of the list of dog breeds for working and obedience intelligence. This is a test that calculates how many repetitions it takes to learn a new command and what percentage of the time the dog obeyed the command on the first attempt.

The results show that Miniature Schnauzers took 5 to 15 repetitions to learn a command and obeyed on the first attempt 85% of the time. For more on Miniature Schnauzer intelligence see here.

In addition to being intelligent, the Miniature Schnauzer is also high energy. Many behavior problems are the result of boredom and pent up energy. It is crucial to provide sufficient exercise and mental stimulation for a Miniature Schnauzer to prevent behavior issues developing. For a guide to exercise for a Miniature Schnauzer see here.

A further personality trait of Miniature Schnauzers is that they can be strong-willed and spirited. It is crucial to be consistent with rules and boundaries so they know what is expected of them and acceptable behavior.

If your Miniature Schnauzer thinks they run the home it can become a problem. This is often referred to as small dog syndrome. Allowing small dog syndrome to develop is not in their best interests.
Small dog syndrome often results in separation anxiety, willfulness, nervousness, and excessive barking. It can also make them overprotective resulting in them attacking other, often bigger, dogs. For more about anxiety in Miniature Schnauzers see here.

It is important to provide leadership and to establish yourself as the authority figure.

Potential Miniature Schnauzer behavior issues

As discussed Miniature Schnauzers are generally obedient and well behaved. If your Mini Schnauzer has developed some behavior problems it is most likely the result of three things.

Boredom and pent up energy – being high energy and highly intelligent means your Miniature Schnauzer will require plenty of exercise and activities, enrichment, and mental stimulation.

Rules and boundaries – a lack of consistency with the rules and boundaries can result in a Mini Schnauzer thinking they are in charge.

Fear – this can result in behaviors such as lunging and barking at people or dogs and anxiety such as separation anxiety.

We will look at some common behavior issues with dogs and how to go about fixing the problem.

Excessive barking

Many Miniature Schnauzers can like to bark and vocalize. There are many reasons dogs bark including being overexcited, warning somebody is there, anxiety, boredom, and attention-seeking behavior.

Yelling at your dog to stop usually doesn’t work and often makes them bark more. To a dog you yelling is like barking. They think you are barking so they think they should bark some more.

With excessive barking, a dog will often get into a more aroused state the more they bark. The trick is to stop this state before it gets too high. Teach them a “quiet command” and provide redirection. This can be as simple as getting their attention from the first bark with a treat or toy they like.


Digging is an instinctive behavior in dogs. Many Miniature Schnauzer can be diggers due to their origins as ratting dogs that included digging up the burrows of prey. You can’t completely train instinctive behavior out of a dog, but you can redirect it.

Often a bored Miniature Schnauzer can resort to digging either to escape to find adventure or to occupy themselves. For more on stopping a Miniature Schnauzer digging see here.

Destructive behavior

Destructive behavior usually involves chewing and destroying your property. This can include furniture, clothing, and items around the house. In puppies, a certain amount of destructive chewing is expected as they are exploring the world and around 5 to 6 months will also be teething.

The most common reason for destructive chewing is boredom. Ensure your Miniature Schnauzer is not only getting plenty of physical activity but plenty of other forms of enrichment to challenge their minds also.

Another way to tackle this problem is to remove items they may chew if possible or use a deterrent such as a bitter-tasting spray. See chew deterrents on Amazon here.

Redirect the behavior by providing your Miniature Schnauzer with plenty of chew toys. Chewing itself is not a bad thing for your dog to do unless it is your stuff. Chewing is good for dental health, to occupy your dog, and for stress relief. When a dog chews they release endorphins to the brain making them feel calm and happy.

For the best chew toys for dogs see here.


Anxiety is a psychological and behavioral problem and can be improved and even fixed. This may be fear-based anxiety or separation and isolation anxiety. Miniature Schnauzers are generally very confident and have a big personality. If your Miniature Schnauzer has an anxiety issue it is preventing them from being who they really are.

For helping a Miniature Schnauzer with anxiety see here.

Toileting inside

If your Miniature Schnauzer is toileted trained and suddenly starts toileting inside there may be a medical cause. Consult your vet to eliminate any possible health issues. Another reason for a sudden change in toileting behavior may be psychological. Has something changed in their environment or has there been an event occur?

Lunging towards other dogs and people

This behavior is based on fear and it is the perception by the dog of a potential threat or danger. It can also be an indication that the dog doesn’t see you as the leader and they need to protect you. This can also occur with dogs that haven’t been socialized well.

Often this can be a serious problem and you may need the help of an experienced qualified dog behaviorist.

Leash pulling

There are many reasons a dog will pull on the leash. They may be in a hurry to get where they are going, to meet another dog, or chase something. Ultimately, all these things have the same cause. The dog is getting into an excited state. It is not about stopping the dog pulling. Rather about keeping the dog calm and relaxed on the leash.

Summary – Behavior issues in Miniature Schnauzers

In general Miniature Schnauzer are well behaved and obedient. When they do have a behavior problem it is usually in 90% of cases the result of boredom and pent up energy. It is crucial to provide your Miniature Schnauzer with daily exercise and mental stimulation.

Mini Schnauzers can also be quite spirited and strong-willed. Being consistent with the rules and boundaries will let them know what you expect and what is not acceptable.

Miniature Schnauzer related posts you may like:

Best type of toys for Miniature Schnauzers

How much exercise does a Miniature Schnauzer need

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