The Behavior of Pomeranians

BY | September 20 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
The Behavior of Pomeranians

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Pomeranians make wonderful companion dogs, but if you're thinking of getting a Pomeranian there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Intelligent, active, and a relatively healthy breed, Pomeranians make wonderful companion dogs and also do well in competitions, including obedience and agility trials. Despite weighing only 3 to 7 pounds, these small dogs retain many of the behavioral characteristics of their larger working-breed ancestors. However, some Pomeranians may be prone to specific behavioral problems, and potential owners should consider the temperament of these dogs before choosing one.

Outgoing Personalities

Pomeranians are extroverted dogs, a trait that probably stems from their ancestry. These tiny dogs are descended from working dogs originally bred to pull sleds and herd reindeer. They are part of the German Spitz family of dogs, and share the extroverted personality and intelligence of related breeds such as Chow Chows, Alaskan Malamutes, Norwegian Elkhounds and Siberian Huskies. Like their larger cousins, Pomeranians tend not to get overexcited. Their working-dog ancestry also gives Pomeranians the ability to live, play, and work well with other dogs. Pomeranians tend to be highly curious, checking out new objects by using every sense available. When Pomeranians are ready to play, they are quick to let their owners know by fetching a favorite toy or standing on their hind legs and barking to get their owners' attention.

Headstrong Behavior

Many Pomeranian owners notice that their dogs are extremely headstrong and willful. These tiny dogs can be territorial and may be wary of strangers, especially if they were not well socialized as puppies. They may not put up with small children tugging on or mishandling them, and may snap or bite when they feel threatened or in danger. Because they are so small, Pomeranians can easily be injured by an aggressive child, so families with young children may have to provide supervision when the children and dog interact. Owners of Pomeranians often find that these dogs benefit from early obedience training.

Trainability

Because Pomeranians are highly intelligent, they generally are easy to train. They also tend to be good show dogs because they are well-behaved and eager to perform the actions their owners want them to. Pomeranians typically tackle tasks such as learning new tricks with enthusiasm. Because they are not highly excitable, Pomeranians also make good therapy dogs.

Considerations

Two potential problem behaviors sometimes seen in Pomeranians are excessive barking and poor housetraining. As with all toy breeds, early housetraining is vital so that bad habits do not form. Barking is typically more of a problem in dogs who are left alone for long periods of time, so owners should not leave a Pomeranian alone with no interaction all day. Many of the potential problem behaviors of Pomeranians are established in puppyhood, so people who purchase or adopt an adult Pomeranian can determine whether those problems exist before getting the dog.

How to Train Pomeranians

The Pomeranian is a little dog with a big personality. These companion dogs retain the gregarious and energetic nature of their German spitz ancestors, who were large working sled and herding dogs. Somewhat cocky, Pomeranians are very intelligent and respond well to consistent, positive training. Poms need plenty of proper socialization from an early age to prevent behavioral problems and aggression.

Socialization

Take your Pomeranian with you as much as possible when you go places to give your dog the opportunity to see many places, people and other dogs. Without this socialization, it is easy for a dog to become shy or aggressive around strangers and uncertain in strange environments. Teach your Pomeranian to feel confident when out in the larger world. Dog training classes or dog sport classes such as agility offer ways to bond into a working partnership with your little dog while providing needed socialization.

Basic Obedience

Teach your Pomeranian puppy basic obedience commands that you will use throughout your dogโ€™s life, such as "Sit," "Stay," "Down" and "Come." Use particularly tempting treats to encourage your Pomeranian to learn the desired response. You can begin shaping your puppy's understanding and response early in life without formal work. For example, if you have a tempting morsel in your hand during play, you can hold it just out of reach above the puppy's nose and quietly say "Sit." It is most likely that the puppy will try to obtain the treat, then will sink into a sit, focused on wanting it. Immediately give the treat and praise the puppy. Bring out another morsel after the puppy is up again and repeat the exercise. It generally takes little time for a puppy to learn the "Sit" command in this way.

Later, you can build on thoroughly learned commands, for example turning a "Sit" into a "Stay" by lengthening the time the pup holds the position before you give a reward. Turn a "Sit" into a "Down" by saying the new command and bringing a morsel to the floor in front of the sitting puppy so that the puppy will have to go to the floor to get it. With repetition, the puppy will sit and lie down on command without overt help on your part. Be certain your puppy thoroughly understands each command before you begin work on another.

Always keep treats in your pocket, and always give a treat when you call your Pom. Soon, your dog will associate your call with the treat.

House Training

Toy breeds like the Pomeranian can be a little harder to potty train because of their small size. Small dogs have small bladders, and they need to eliminate more frequently than larger dogs, so house training requires more vigilance from you.

Take your dog outside to the spot you have chosen as the potty area at least every one to two hours, especially first thing in the morning, shortly after meals and before bedtime. A young puppy with little control will need to go out immediately after waking up and after eating meals. Watch for the signs and try to prevent mistakes. When your puppy takes care of business quickly outdoors, give praise and reward, then return indoors. The puppy soon will learn the purpose for going outside.

Crate Training

A roomy wire or plastic dog crate can provide a safe, secure den-like sleeping area for a dog. It can be a place for the puppy to stay when you have to be away, and a place of refuge for your little dog when there is too much activity going on in the house. Crate training can be a big help with house training. Dogs of any age will avoid soiling their living area if they have a choice. You can use that fact as a training aid, preventing accidents in your home when you are unable to watch your puppy. Make the pup comfortable in the crate. Provide fun toys and a comfortable blanket. Use treats to make going into the crate desirable. Feed your dog in the crate, make certain the pup has clean water, and leave puzzle toys for your Pom to play with. Use treats to teach your Pom to associate entering the crate with a verbal command, such as "Bed" or "Crate."

Training Classes

Reinforce the kindergarten work you did with your puppy by joining obedience classes offered by the local American Kennel Club organization. Check with the local chapter of organizations such as the American Pomeranian Club and the AKC to obtain recommendations on finding specific training classes, such as those limited to small breeds.

Barking

Pomeranians have a tendency to bark at strangers and outside noises because of their desire to protect their owners. This high-pitched bark can be annoying for both you and your neighbors if it occurs too often. To deal with this issue, train your Pomeranian to be quiet on command. Do something such as knocking on a door or a wall to make your dog bark. Once your Pomeranian begins barking, say "Quiet" and immediately reward your dog with treats and praise if the barking stops. Repeat the training until your Pomeranian stops barking on command.

Warnings

Do not begin socialization of a puppy to new places and dogs until the puppy's immunizations are complete. Until that time, work on bonding and socialization with the people and other pets in the household.

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