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What's Up With Anxiety in Schnauzers?

Updated on April 15, 2013
Some schnauzers are fraught with anxiety.
Some schnauzers are fraught with anxiety.

The Adorable Dog With the Beard and Mustache

This intelligent and distinguished-looking dog got its start by protecting German livestock. Alert and attentive, today’s schnauzer, especially the miniature version, is prone to anxiety if it doesn’t get sufficient mental and physical stimulation. Calm your mustachioed mutt with daily exercise and early socialization.

A Trio of Schnauzers

The three schnauzer designations, Standard, Giant and Miniature, all descend from the Standard Schnauzer, and all three come with the inherited drive to protect their family. This breed is exceptionally trainable, and Giant schnauzers make good police dogs. Without a job to do, boredom can set it and lead to nervousness.

Socialization should start as soon as the puppy comes home.
Socialization should start as soon as the puppy comes home.

Socialization Skills

Exposing your schnauzer puppy to other animals and people will go a long way toward reducing his natural nervousness around strangers. Enroll him in a puppy kindergarten before six months of age and sign him up for adult obedience classes once or twice a year thereafter. Weekly visits to the local dog park and doggie play dates will temper his stranger-danger apprehension.

Exercise That Worry Away

Exercise is the best stress-buster around. Schnauzers are members of the working breed classification, and without adequate physical exercise, they can develop annoying nervous habits. A brisk walk, twice daily, is essential if your pup is cooped up indoors. He’s plenty smart and easy to train so engage in regular games of fetch or join a dog-agility club where he can learn to focus and burn off excess energy. Alternately, build your own backyard dog agility course and invite your friends to bring their pups and share in the fun.

Missing you can make your schnauzer see red.
Missing you can make your schnauzer see red.

Separation Anxiety

Schnauzers can develop separation anxiety with symptoms ranging from pitiful whines and barks to frantically tearing up everything in sight when you leave. Help your schnauzer puppy relax by confining him to a single room when you’re home and make it a point to enter and leave that room frequently without talking to him or making eye contact. As he becomes accustomed to your comings and goings, stay out of the room a little longer or take a short trip to the store. The trick is to gradually get your lonesome boy to understand that you will always return. Don’t make a big show of leaving or arriving, and don’t punish your pup if you discover evidence of misbehavior upon your return. Scolding only increases his angst.

Feeling the Love

If your schnauzer has to bounce off the walls to get your attention, he will, but you’ll both enjoy each other’s company more if you emphasize the tranquil times. Reward your schnauzer with cuddles and love when he’s calm and relaxed, and ignore him when he exhibits frantic behavior. With consistency, patience and reinforcement, your schnauzer can develop a calm temperament that makes life better for both of you.

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      Carol 4 months ago

      Just a quick question, My schnauzer pup is 6 months old now. He appears to have a problem with his peeing. It goes straight out and then gets all over his front legs and belly. He only weighs 11 pounds. He seem to find it frustrating himself. He does not like getting wet. I have talked to the vet but he doesn't seem to think it is a problem. I do. Have you ever heard of this in other puppies?

    • bzirkone profile image

      bzirkone 2 years ago from Kansas

      Good article. I accidentally own one of these dogs. I would not have ever picked a Schnauzer intentionally. Standard Poodles are what I love and after losing the last one to old age, I had no intention of having another animal. Turns out the Schnauzer shares many poodle traits and in its own way, is a graceful athlete. You didn't mention how responsive these dogs are in human conversation. I spend several minutes each day chatting with my dog and she answers quite appropriately. I'm quite sure she either wishes she could talk or believes that she is talking. Either way, I love this dog more than I meant to.

    • HowardBThiname profile image
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      HowardBThiname 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you for visiting. This is one of my all-time favorite breeds.

    • Vacation Trip profile image

      Susan 4 years ago from India

      Interesting and useful hub. Thanks for sharing.