Miniature Pinschers are lively, intelligent, bold, and strong-willed little dogs. Although small in size, the dogs need experienced owners to manage them, and training should begin as early in their lives as possible. Expose your Miniature Pinscher to children early, so the dog learns how to behave around them. Do this in a supervised environment to keep the experience positive and prevent the children from frightening or hurting the dog.
House training your Miniature Pinscher can be challenging. Establish a routine at the outset, so your Miniature Pinscher knows when to expect food, rest, and potty trips. Use a dog crate as a training tool when you cannot be present to watch your puppy. If at all possible, dogs will avoid soiling the space they occupy.
A young puppy must go outside immediately after naps, after mealtime, and before settling in the crate for bedtime. A young puppy often will also need to go out at least once during the night.
It is important to monitor the activities of dogs younger than 6 months any time they are free in the house and take them outside as soon as they demonstrate the need. Outdoors, tell your Miniature Pinscher to "Potty," or "Get Busy." Afterward, reward your pet with praise and a treat.
If you discover after the fact that your pet has soiled indoors, do not reprimand or punish the puppy. Clean the spot with a strong detergent to remove the scent. If you have to go out or cannot monitor the dog's activities for an interval, confine your Miniature Pinscher to the crate. Puppies should not be crated for more than an hour at a time, and older dogs not more than three hours.
Teach your Miniature Pinscher some basic obedience from the age of 2 months, which will be about the time you bring the puppy into your home. Start with commands such as "Come," "Sit," and "Down," which you can easily teach in play, using food treats as motivation.
To teach the sit, get the puppy's attention focused on you by holding a treat in your fingertips at a height slightly above the nose. With your other hand, press down gently on the puppy's hindquarters, move the treat above the head in the direction of the tail, and tell the puppy to sit. The puppy will have to sit to be able to focus on the treat. As the puppy sits, instantly give the treat and plenty of praise. With repetition, the puppy will quickly make the connection between the word, the action and the treat. No discipline is involved, but your puppy has learned an important lesson. This is puppy kindergarten, but the principle can be applied to an untrained older dog as well. It is important to use small treats that your dog truly wants, and to do this work some time before a meal, not after.
Once your Miniature Pinscher understands the sit well, you can tell your dog to "Down," and lower a treat to the floor. Hold the treat in your closed hand so the puppy cannot quite get it and move it slightly away from the dog's questing nose. When the dog goes down, instantly praise and release the reward.
Once the young dog reaches 6 months of age, start with formal obedience training such as heeling and extended down-stays. Miniature Pinschers are highly trainable and learn quickly and easily. Because they're trainable and have relatively long legs for their body size, Miniature Pinschers make ideal competitors in field trials, retrieving, mini-agility and dog-jumping. Unlike agility, dog-jumping excludes obstacles, and dogs face only jumps. Because of their boldness and courage, Miniature Pinschers excel at dock jumping, in which dogs compete against similarly sized dogs trying to jump the furthest off a dock into the water. Look to your local kennel club to find sporting and training opportunities in our area; training improves your Min Pin's health, socializes him with other dogs and humans, and lastly, it brings you and your pup closer together.
Miniature Pinschers have been known to be great therapy dogs, providing emotional support to hospital patients or nursing home residents. The dogs are small enough to live comfortably in apartments and can be trained as service or assistance dogs, performing such services as alerting deaf owners to sounds such as a fire alarm, the doorbell or the ringing telephone. A service dog may learn to provide help to owners with a variety of medical conditions or disabilities. Your Miniature Pinscher can be prepared for service dog work by an experienced professional trainer, or you can take your dog to specialized classes where you both can learn the work together.
References & Resources
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.