By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
Are Affenpinschers easy to train?
No, actually they're challenging to train. Lucas and Monkey both came through my obedience training classes some years ago. Lucas was an adult dog, while Monkey was an Affenpinscher puppy.
Both of them were feisty and willful little guys, with independent minds of their own. They would dart around on the leash, then stand up on their hind legs and paw frantically at my knees, demanding to be picked up and pretending they didn't understand what I wanted them to do.
Training these Affenpinschers was not easy. They were highstrung and trembly and I had to be calm with them, so that they would settle down. But I also had to firmly make them do things, until they realized that I meant what I said.
The biggest challenges were housebreaking, barking, pulling every which way on the leash, and acting with aggression toward other dogs.
Not all Affenpinschers are like this, of course. Some are sweet little things and all you have to do is show them what you want and they will do it.
So when you ask, "How easy is it – training Affenpinschers?" my answer is, "Usually it's a challenge, but it depends on the temperament and personality of the individual dog, plus your own dog training skills."
That's where I come in. Keep reading my dog training articles (and hopefully buy my book, "Teach Your Dog 100 English Words") and I will help you train your Affenpinscher to be well-mannered and well-behaved. I've been working with dogs for 35+ years, as a dog trainer, canine psychologist, breed advisor, and author of 15 books about dogs.
Dog Training – What Works, and What Doesn't
Some dog training methods are based on what makes the OWNER feel good, rather than what on actually makes sense to the dog. For example, "positive-only" dog training is a big fad right now. Now, treats can be great motivators for training Affenpinschers, but if your dog will only obey for a treat, then HE is in charge of his obedience, not you. [read more]
Here are my dog training tips for training Affenpinscher puppies and adult dogs:
Keep your Affenpinscher on-leash. This breed has a terrier heritage and can be excitable. He will chase anything that runs. You don't want him to end up under the wheels of a car.
Teach your Affenpinscher puppy to respect you. Respect is the key to training your Affenpinscher to be well-haved. [read more about Respect Training]
Teach the right words to your Affenpinscher. My method of training Affenpinschers includes teaching specific words in specific ways so that your dog not only learns the words but also develops the respectful attitude that makes him happy to obey you. You will need to work especially hard on "Come" (because Affenpinschers are independent chasers and will take off on you) and "Quiet" (because Affenpinschers can be hyper-alert and thus noisy). [read more about teaching words to your Affenpinscher]
Stop searching for dog training tips for each behavior problem. Honestly, one of the most common questions owners ask me is: "How can I stop my dog from doing (some specific behavior)?" They're hoping I'll tell them where to find a secret button on the back of their dog's head that will trigger a MISBEHAVIOR-OFF switch. :-) Alas, my answer is almost always the same, no matter what the misbehavior is. Here it is.... [read more about stopping dog behavior problems]
Start training your Affenpinscher puppy the moment you bring him home. But you need to teach the right things in the right ways. If you use the wrong teaching method, your puppy will begin making decisions about how he wants you to fit into HIS life, and that's a recipe for conflict and behavior problems. Here's my recommended schedule (what to teach, when to teach it) for training your Affenpinscher puppy. [read more about training Affenpinscher puppies]
Start housebreaking right away. But expect it to take many months before your Affenpinscher's miniaturized internal organs are strong enough for reliable control. Until potty training is complete, your Affenpinscher must not be loosed in the house. It is so easy for him to sneak behind a chair or under a small table, and it takes only a few seconds for the deed to be done. The results can be hard to see and when you don't see it, you don't correct it – and so the bad habit becomes established. If you live in a cold or rainy climate, housebreaking will be especially difficult, because Affenpinschers hate both the cold and the rain. A COVERED potty area is strongly recommended. Sometimes a doggy door is necessary so your Affenpinscher can run outside the moment he feels the urge. [read more about housebreaking Affenpinschers]
Socialize your Affenpinscher puppy with strangers and other dogs. Affenpinschers can be standoffish, and if you don't teach them early on to be friendly and trusting toward people they don't know, their natural caution can become skittishness or suspiciousness. Similarly, you need to teach your Affenpinscher puppy to be calm and accepting toward other dogs. Many Affenpinschers will put on a display of excited ferociousness ("pitching a fit") when they see a strange dog, especially a large one. It sounds funny, but if you don't curtail it firmly, your Affenpinscher may end up truly aggressive, which is likely to get him killed by a larger dog. [read more about why your dog acts the way he does toward strangers and other animals]
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