The Miniature Schnauzer is a wonderful companion dog and fits well into all types of households whether it be a family, a single person, living in the country or in an apartment. The Miniature Schnauzers personality is much bigger than their small size.
They love to play, love the company of people and other animals and like to keep busy. The Miniature Schnauzer is not the sort of dog that wants to just lay around doing nothing. They are not a couch potato.
So, how much exercise does a Miniature Schnauzer need? The Miniature Schnauzer is similar to a terrier in many ways and needs a good amount of exercise and activity, both physical and mental.
Without the opportunity to release all that pent up energy and to challenge their minds they can develop behavior problems. This can include barking, digging, destructive behavior and escaping to explore on their own. In some cases, frustration can lead to aggressive behavior.
There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Miniature Schnauzer every day. This guideline relates to a healthy adult Miniature Schnauzer. For a puppy read “How to exercise a puppy” for more on their special requirements.
1. Daily walk
2. High-intensity play
3. Mental stimulation
The daily walk is essential for a Miniature Schnauzer not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Miniature Schnauzer to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across.
Ideally, the minimum should be 30 to 60 minutes daily. This can be just once a day, or two walks a day would be better if your schedule allows. The Miniature Schnauzer is capable of going for long hikes if the opportunity arises. Dogs also like routine, so try to schedule the walk for around the same time each day. Daily walks are much better than nothing all week and a big walk at the weekend.
If your Miniature Schnauzer has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. Alternatively, you can put them on a long lead of 5 to 10 meters if they haven’t quite perfected the recall.
The Miniature Schnauzer is fast and can turn on a dime. Like many of the terrier breeds, they were originally bred for rodent hunting. Ideally, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills.
A Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it. This activity is ideal for a Miniature Schnauzer as it works directly with their natural prey instinct. Be sure they have a good “leave it” command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. It is important that this be a controlled exercise.
Playing Fetch with your Miniature Schnauzer is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Many Miniature Schnauzers are ball crazy and can play this for hundreds of throws. A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Miniature Schnauzer is highly trainable they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs”
Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Miniature Schnauzers are very agile and look spectacular playing this. Roll the Frisbee on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your dog is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.
Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon. You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.
A good energy burner if you have stairs in your home. Start at the bottom of the stairs and have your dog “stay”. Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and then say, “Go!” Let your dog dash up the stairs as fast as they can. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.
Running, biking or skating with your dog
The faster your dog is moving the more energy they will release. Try running, biking or skating with your dog to really get them moving. Just be sure to build up the distance and intensity of the activity over time to prevent causing injury to your dog. Read “Running with your dog” for more on this.
Tug of War
A firm favorite of the Miniature Schnauzer. Make them crouch and pull back to use extra energy. Ensure that this is a controlled game and they release when you want them to.
Dog toys that move on their own
There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. These are ideal for a Miniature Schnauzer as they cater directly to their chase and natural prey instincts being ratting dogs. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Self Playing Dog Toys
There are a variety of dog toys that your dog can use to play by themselves. These are great for times when your dog is home alone, you don’t have the time or you are otherwise occupied. This way your dog can still get some physical activity and mental stimulation without your direct involvement. See “Self Playing Dog Toys” for some ideas.
Consider involving your Miniature Schnauzer in dog sports. You can participate as a serious competition or just enter for fun. Apart from the obvious sport of agility, there are many other dog sports that may be fun for your Miniature Schnauzer. For more ideas see “Dog sports you may not have heard of“.
There are countless more activities you can do with your Miniature Schnauzer to burn pent-up energy quickly. For more ideas, check out “How to tire a hyper high energy dog” and “Tire a high energy dog quickly“. You may also like “47 Boredom Busters and games for dogs”
Mental stimulation and enrichment.
Miniature Schnauzers, in fact, all dogs need an outlet for their minds. If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds they will come up with their own ways to achieve this. This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping and other destructive behaviors. Read “Mental stimulation and mind enrichment for dogs” to learn about the 6 types or categories of mind stimulation a mental enrichment and some great ideas to provide this.
Some ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment include;
Puzzle toys are ideal for dogs like the Miniature Schnauzer to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their high intelligence, try to find puzzle toys that are a bit more challenging as they tend to work these out quite quickly. Check out “Top 7 puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your Miniature Schnauzer to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs”.
Scenting and nose games
Miniature Schnauzers can have quite a keen nose. Playing scenting and nose games helps to provide mental stimulation. Read “12 Scenting and nose games for dogs” for some ideas.
Provide your Miniature Schnauzer with good strong chew toys. Chewing is a great way to occupy them. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw.
Over exercised dog symptoms
Miniature Schnauzers can go hard and keep going, often not knowing when to stop. With any dog, it is possible to over-exercise them. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” to learn more.
How much exercise does a Miniature Schnauzer puppy need
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Miniature Schnauzer. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.
Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.
The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.
As your Miniature Schnauzer puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.
The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your Miniature Schnauzer puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.
For more on exercise for your Miniature Schnauzer puppy read “How to exercise a puppy”
How much exercise does an older miniature Schnauzer need
As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.
Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.
In conclusion, how much exercise does a Miniature Schnauzer need?
The Miniature Schnauzer is a relatively high energy and highly intelligent breed. It is crucial to provide adequate physical and mental exercise and activity to release pent-up energy and prevent boredom. The cost of not doing so can be an unhappy and frustrated little dog. This can lead to behavior issues such as barking, digging, escaping and destructive behavior.