Derived from the standard schnauzer, whose origins date as far back as the 15th century in Germany, the miniature schnauzer breed is the smallest of the three schnauzer sizes. These little, muscular dogs have a happy temperament and make good guard dogs because of their propensity to bark at strangers, according to the American Kennel Club. To control your dog's barking, train them to stay quiet on command.
Determine the trigger for your dog's barking and remove it or desensitize them to it. Miniature schnauzers typically bark when a stranger is at the door because of their guarding instinct to protect their family members. As part of this territorial barking, a miniature schnauzer may bark when they hear or see another dog or person outside. Close the drapes or blinds to block your dog's view of the outside to help stop this type of barking. You can also desensitize your dog to strangers or other dogs by giving your dog treats and praise while you are both in the presence of strangers and other dogs or while your dog sees them through a window. When your dog views strangers and other dogs as something good, they won't continue to bark at them.
Rewarding Desired Behavior
Miniature schnauzers are intelligent dogs that are easily trained using positive, consistent methods. When your miniature schnauzer begins to bark, ignore the bark completely; acknowledging the barking ends up encouraging it further. Once your dog stops barking, praise your dog and give your dog some favorite treats. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour for some dogs. If the dog begins barking again, immediately ignore your dog. Your dog will soon realize that barking results in something unpleasant while staying quiet results in a reward. This type of training decreases barking overall, especially compulsive barking.
Train your dog to stop barking on your verbal cue by teaching them the "Quiet" command. Trigger your dog to bark by having a friend or family member ring the doorbell or play a recording of other dogs barking. Once your dog begins to bark a few times in a row, calmly say "Quiet" and wait for a pause in the barking. Immediately click a dog training device and give your dog a treat. You can also give your dog a series of treats to stop your dog's barking after giving your dog the "Quiet" command. This type of training requires repetition for 10 to 15 minutes each day to teach your dog what is expected of them.
Never yell at your miniature schnauzer during training to keep your dog quiet. Not only will this make the dog fearful of you, it will also encourage your dog to continue barking. Training may take several weeks or months, although this breed learns more quickly than others, according to the American Miniature Schnauzer club. These eager-to-please little dogs respond well to positive training but bore easily, so keep the sessions short and vary them with play each day. If you notice that your dog seems to bark for no reason, bring your dog to a veterinarian to check for any health issues that could be the cause of this behavior. Exercise your miniature schnauzer daily to help release pent-up energy and reduce your dog's propensity to bark.
Teach Your Dog to Bark
Some puppies are natural talkers – they moan, groan, howl, yowl, yip, yap, whine, and bark. Others are quieter by nature. Either way, teaching your puppy the “Speak” command and its opposite command, “Quiet,” will enable you to build his communication skills and eliminate inappropriate puppy outbursts.
Command #18 - “Speak” and “Quiet”
“Speak” means your dog should bark.
“Quiet” means your dog should stop barking and be quiet.
Ask yourself, is my dog a talker or more the silent type?
- If… Your puppy is a natural ‘talker,’ you can take advantage of that fact in teaching “Speak.”
- Then… When your pup begins to bark, for whatever reason, you can say, “Simon, Speak!” If he barks again, say, “Yes! Good Speak!” Try to time your command of “Speak” to occur just before he barks, and then offer a treat and reinforce with “Yes! Good Speak.” This is an easy way to teach this command, and if you keep it up, he will understand what you want and will “Speak” on command. Look for opportunities when you know your puppy will begin to bark (for example when someone comes to the door) and ask him to “Speak” just before he would start anyway.
- If… You have a puppy that is quiet by nature and not a big talker.
- Then… You will need to build some excitement (and maybe a bit of frustration) to get him to speak. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Does your puppy have a toy that gets him super excited? You could use that to entice your puppy to “Speak.” Ask him to sit and begin playing with the toy. Keep your energy up and be excited. Encourage him to speak, but do not let him have the toy unless a sound of some sort issues forth. At first any sound from him will do – encourage him with “That’s It! Speak!” Reward (with a treat) for any sound he makes to give him the idea that sound is what you are looking for. Reinforce a sound with “Yes! Good Speak Simon!”
Once your puppy is speaking on command, you can begin teaching “Quiet.” With your puppy ready and willing, ask him to “Speak,” followed by “Yes! Good Speak!” Ask for another “Speak.” As he is speaking, say, “Simon, Quiet!” Say this slightly louder and in a firmer tone of voice, to get his attention. As soon as he is silent, say, “Yes! Good Quiet,” and give him a treat.
You can make a game of “Speak” and “Quiet,” asking for “Speak” two or three times followed by a “Quiet,” then maybe one “Speak” followed by a “Quiet,” then four “Speaks”… you get the idea. Changing the number of times he speaks before being quiet will keep him interested in doing as you ask and ensure that you are in control of his speak/quiet cycle.
“Speak” and “Quiet” are fun and useful commands that can help develop communication skills between you and your dog. Teaching “Speak” and “Quiet” essentially gives you the ability to switch your puppy’s vocalizations on and off – a handy skill to have to prevent incessant barking or to play vocal games with him. Have fun with it and your puppy will too!
Get 20 Commands Delivered in 10 Weeks!
All training tips in this series are from ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities), a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs for veterans with disabilities. Learn more about ECAD.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do mini schnauzers bark so much?
How do you discipline a Schnauzer?
How do you calm a Miniature Schnauzer?
Are Schnauzers hard to train?
Can a Schnauzer be trained not to bark?
References & Resources
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Miniature Schnauzer
- The American Schnauzer Club: The Miniature Schnauzer
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Barking
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Desensitization and Counterconditioning
- Iams: In Training: Teaching Your Dog Not To Bark
- The Humane Society of the United States: Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down
- The American Schnauzer Club: What Kind of Personality Does the Miniature Schnauzer Have?
- American Kennel Club: Miniature Schnauzer History