10 Advices for New Mini Schnauzer Owners

mini schnauzer smiling

The Mini Schnauzer is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Not only are they intelligent, funny, and cute, but they’re also outgoing, fun-loving, and hearty canines with big personalities! A lot goes into caring for a dog, especially dogs as unique as these, so whether you’re the proud parent of a Mini Schnauzer puppy already or simply researching what goes into caring for one, read on for ten of the top pieces of advice you definitely need to know!


1. Feed your miniature schnauzer well

The Mini Schnauzer is not a breed you feed just anything; they require specialized meals to meet their nutritional needs. Whether you prepare meals at home with fresh ingredients or opt for store-bought premium kibble, it’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian for recommendations

It’s also a good idea to speak with a dog nutritionist before preparing meals that contain “people-friendly” ingredients at home. This is because Mini Schnauzer puppies require specific amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals.

Serving meals not designed to meet your pup’s nutritional needs can result in dietary deficits, vitamin imbalances, and even obesity. 

There are dozens of premium dog food brands to choose from, which can help take the guesswork out of what to feed your pup. The top advice of many veterinarians and dog nutritionists is to pay special attention to the first five ingredients listed on the bag. These ingredients should fall under five nutritional categories: proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. 


2. Crate train your mini schnauzer properly

A dog crate is a useful tool you can utilize while establishing a daily routine for your puppy. Not only can a crate give you piece of mind by knowing where he is, it gives him a refuge to retreat to where he can feel comfortable and safe. Furthermore, a crate gives your Mini Schnauzer a comfortable place to sleep at night and nap during the day. 

A dog crate can also serve as a preventive tool to deter destructive behavior, but only if you know how to use it correctly. Dog trainers and veterinarians stress the importance of a positive crate-training experience.

You should never use a crate as a quick reaction to bad behavior.

When and how long to crate your dog is something you should speak to your veterinarian about, but in general, you should never keep your Mini Schnauzer puppy in a crate longer than:

1 hour for 8–10-week-olds

3 hours for 11–14-week-olds

4 hours for 15–16-week-olds

5 hours for 17-weeks on up


3. Potty train your mini schnauzer early

When housebreaking a mini schnauzer, it’s important to start the training as early as possible. If you’ve already begun to crate train your pup, then potty training should come as a breeze, this is because dogs naturally want to keep the space they occupy clean. The first step to potty training is deciding which verbal commands you want to use. Some examples of words you could use are “let’s go potty,” or “time to pee,” or “go pooh.”

After choosing which “potty” words you’re going to use, it’s time to show your pup where you want her to eliminate. This “potty spot” should be in the same location where you want her to go, every time you take her out. Dog trainers suggest walking her out the same door every time you take her out. Finally, be sure to take your Mini Schnauzer out regularly, preferably at set intervals throughout the day.


4. Exercise your mini schnauzer daily 

Have you ever heard the saying, “a tired dog is a well-behaved dog” or “a tired Mini Schnauzer is a well-behaved Mini Schnauzer”? The phrase is accurate! Mini Schnauzers are alert and active dogs by nature and would not be content sitting around most of the day.

In fact, a lack of exercise and mental stimulation may lead to destructive behavior, such as excessive barking, problem digging, or chewing on furniture.

There’s no doubt your pup will often need a way to release his wiggles and blow off some steam!

So how much exercise does a Mini Schnauzer puppy need? Veterinarians suggest five minutes of exercise per month of age, so an eight-week puppy should get around ten minutes of exercise two times per day. Exercise may be in the form of brisk walks, backyard play, short sessions at the dog park, etc. 

It’s important to remember the amount of time for exercise can be adjusted, since every family’s activity level is going to be different. For example, a Mini Schnauzer that lives in a home with young children will naturally be more active than a dog living with an older couple.  


5. Play brain games with your mini schnauzer

An excellent way to engage a curious pup is to play brain games! For example, playing “hide and seek” with your Mini Schnauzer’s toys is a fun way for her to exercise her brainpower. In addition, “treat toys” are great for bored pups who resort to chewing on furniture, and puzzle toys are helpful for when your Mini Schnauzer needs more of that active mental stimulation

It’s also a good idea to have a Nylabone or two on hand; they’re great for anxious pups who have difficulty settling down. Finally, puzzle feeders have become incredibly popular among Mini Schnauzer owners, especially for the puppies who tend to “inhale” their meals. Many of the larger pet stores carry at least two or three different types of puzzle feeders, but if not, check with some of the veterinarian offices in your area.


6. Groom your mini schnauzer early, groom often

The Mini Schnauzer has a double coat that’s bound to get dirty and tangled. The best advice is to start early to get her used to her first grooming. Whether you plan to take care of the job on your own or take her to a professional groomer, the worst thing you can do is wait for the dirt to accumulate and tangles to appear. 

The first thing you should do is get your fur-baby used to being combed. You can start by gently combing his hair two times per week. Many professional groomers suggest you use a comb instead of a brush. The reasoning for this is that a comb can reach to down your pup’s skin, which is necessary to keep tangles at bay. Breeders suggest bathing your Mini Schnauzer once a week or once a month.

Nail clipping can be a stressful experience for a dog, especially if he doesn’t like his feet to be touched. To prepare for future nail clippings, spend a little time each day gently holding and squeezing his feet. The sooner he gets used to his feet being touched, the easier his first nail clipping will be.

Many people wonder how professional groomers get dogs to stand still and remain calm during grooming. The answer is to prepare your pup early for the experience. Some groomers are happy for you to bring your Mini Schnauzer in as a “test run” for their first appointment. Make an appointment and tell the groomer you’d like to get your pup in for a consultation. 

When bringing your puppy to a groomer for a consultation, don’t plan on any actual grooming being done; all you’re going to do is introduce him to the groomer and come up with a plan for his first appointment. Most groomers will be okay handing your pup some treats, since the goal is to help your Mini Schnauzer associate positive feelings with the groomer. 

You should start with the introduction, then let the groomer take the lead. As she gets to know your pup, she may start by offering treats as she’s petting him. It’s important for you to remain calm and patient since the goal is to create a positive experience, which your groomer will probably thank you for.


7. Start training your minischnauzer early!

The Mini Schnauzer is very trainable, especially if you begin puppy training early. Many professional trainers suggest “reward-based training,” a positive type of dog training that is good for Mini Schnauzers.

The basic tenet is consistency, repetition, and using positive reinforcement.

When starting, you must act calm, remain positive, and be patient. 

Your pup may be food-motivated, so keeping some high-value training treats in your pocket can help in the training process. High-value treats are foods your dog craves more than whatever happens to be distracting to him (a squirrel maybe?) Of course, you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about which types of food are okay, but favorites for most dogs are “human foods” like small pieces of hot dogs, little chunks of leftover meat, small squares of cheese, or a little spoon of peanut butter. 

Now, before you give your dog a treat, decide the parameters for which you’ll treat him. Think of a few commands you’d like him to learn first, such as “sit,” “come,” and “stay.” Even before this, the first thing you should do is train your Mini Schnauzer to turn to you when you say his name; basically, you’re going to want him to pay attention to you. It’s crucial you assign the right words to the commands you want him to do and be sure you always use those exact words in every training session. 


8. Remember that you walk the dog – he doesn’t walk you!

Leash training your mini schnauzer is an essential skill that you should begin to work on early. According to dog trainers, an older dog that pulls her owner around does not respect her owner. When teaching your pup to walk on a leash, come up with a verbal command, such as “walk with me” or “heal.” If he starts pulling, first stop, then calmly turn around and walk in the opposite direction. 

The goal is for your pup to realize that if he continues to pull, he’s not going to get to go where he wants to go.

Once she stops pulling, go ahead and turn back the way you were walking in the first place, say the command, then resume the walk. If he begins to pull again, repeat. Once you feel the leash begin to hang somewhat loose, you’ll know the training is working.


9. Socialize your mini schnauzer early

One of the first things that Mini Schnauzer trainers suggest is to socialize your pup early, particularly within the first few months of age. It’s the first three months that will best shape his temperament and personality. Dogs need other dogs to emulate and be disciplined by, to learn to play, and even learn to fight (aggressive play). 

These little guys need to be exposed to different situations to learn to become adaptable in a variety of conditions, and so they grow into well-adjusted adults. The Mini Schnauzer breed is a breed that tends to get aggressive and “territorial” if not socialized early enough. Not to say, “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick,” you can; however, it’s more complicated than if you start the process early. 

The first thing you should do when you begin socializing your new Mini Schnauzer puppy is to allow her to become accustomed to new places, new sights, smells, and sounds. Unfortunately, the world is stressful for a puppy, primarily due to its ability to smell, from 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than what humans can smell. Imagine that! For this reason, you must take baby steps before bringing her on a city walk, where firetrucks pass by with sirens, cars honking, and bright lights flashing.

Try starting with a short car ride with the window partly down, taking him to the park without other dogs to walk on a leash in the soft grass. The goal is to create short, calm, and safe situations putting your pup into temporary, safe, controlled conditions. As time goes on, if he’s doing well with those baby steps, try taking him to your friend’s house who may, or may not, have a dog. 

Before socialization begins, talk to your veterinarian about any required vaccinations. Also, be sure to ask how long you need to wait after vaccinations before bringing your young pup out in public. Usually, several rounds of vaccinations need to take place before you can enroll your puppy into puppy obedience training classes or other social opportunities such as “puppy power hours” or puppy playdates at the local dog park. 


10. Purchase pet insurance for your mini schnauzer

Pet insurance is a wise investment for your Mini Schnauzer; nearly anything can surface due to their wide range of genetic predispositions. Furthermore, problems may not appear for months, even years down the road. Health conditions such as Pancreatitis, eye problems, and even cancer can pop up in any dog, even dogs that have been treated to the healthiest of lifestyles. For instance, Mitral Valve Disease, often the first symptom of heart disease, can eventually lead to heart failure. Considering the average treatment price for Mitral Valve Disease is $15,000 – $20,000, can you afford not to consider purchasing a plan?

Not all pet insurance companies are the same. Still, of the top five, coverages generally include things such as treatment for accidents, blood tests, x-rays, surgery, hospitalization, emergency care, and chronic conditions, as well as cancer.

It’s important to know that pet insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions. Therefore, the sooner you purchase a policy, the better.

The average cost of pet insurance is around $38.00 per month, and while not exactly cheap for everyone, it’s a lot cheaper than what unexpected vet bills can cost. 

When looking at different pet insurance policies, be sure you consider things such as what the deductible and co-pays are, if there’s a maximum dollar amount paid out per “incident” or lifetime, and whether routine care and vaccinations are covered. In addition, be sure you know whether the dog insurance companies you are interested in offer coverages for Mini Schnauzers.

Stacy Bryan
Stacy Bryan

Stacy is an avid dog owner who enjoys spending time with her Border-Aussie, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd dog. Stacy is a freelance writer who splits her time between Northern Idaho and Florida