Training the Affenpinscher
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Training the Affenpinscher

Dogs
Breed Facts

The Affenpinscher is a small and very distinctive breed of dog whose known history goes back to the 17th century. Their country of origin is Germany, and the first part of their name, Affe, is derived from the German word for monkey or ape, due to the expressive and almost simian appearance of their faces! The Affenpinscher is a terrier-type dog that is generally classed by breed registries as within the toy or companion dog groupings rather than that for true terriers, but the Affenpinscher nevertheless shares many temperament and appearance traits with other terrier breeds.

The breed was little known within the UK and not a particularly common sight up until around ten years ago, but the breed came to particular prominence worldwide in 2013, when an Affenpinscher took the prestigious Best in Show award at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. This raised interest in the breed worldwide, and now the Affenpinscher is in considerable demand among prospective owners, both within the UK and further afield.

If you are considering buying or adopting an Affenpinscher dog, it is important to do plenty of research into the breed and their care requirements before committing to a purchase, in order to ensure that you can effectively manage and handle the dog and are not biting off more than you can chew!

In this article, we will look at effectively training the Affenpinscher, and how to work with their core personality traits and particular talents. Read on to learn more!

The Affenpinscher personality

When training any type of dog, it is important to first develop a good understanding of the personality and core traits of the breed, in order to find out what makes the dog tick. This means that the training and management of the dog itself can be tailored to work with rather than against the dog’s core traits, which is much more effective than applying a one size fits all approach across the board!

The Affenpinscher may be small, but they are full of life and personality, with a confident, outgoing temperament that is typical of most terrier-type dogs. They are high-energy dogs that are very playful, and whom also tend to have a strong stubborn streak when it suits them too! Due to their historical working role as a ratter, the breed has a strong prey drive, and they are very tenacious and single minded when something catches their attention! They may have a tendency to chase smaller pets and wildlife, but providing that they have clear, unambiguous boundaries and plenty of stimulus and socialisation when they are young, they tend to be responsive, obedient and keen to please.

Affenpinscher training “do’s”

The Affenpinscher requires a tailored, bespoke training approach that is designed to work with the temperament and personality of the dog rather than to fight it. As a relatively intelligent breed with a strong prey drive and single-minded nature, the Affenpinscher is quick to learn and take direction, but their stubborn streak and high energy can make them challenging to handle for the first time trainer.

They require a confident, experienced trainer that can provide clear boundaries for the dog, and that is able to address their periods of unruliness and stubbornness without losing their cool!

They need varied, short periods of ongoing training, and respond well to learning through play, with challenges and variety to keep things interesting.

Working on recall from an early age is vital to ensure that the dog will come when called, and will not take off in pursuit of potential prey. Early introductions to smaller pets such as cats are also advised, as it can be very hard to train an older dog of the breed not to chase other pets!

Plenty of socialisation with other dogs is also necessary, and the Affenpinscher generally plays well with others, and loves to make new friends.

Affenpinscher training “don’ts”

The Affenpinscher’s trainer should be calm, assertive and able to problem solve when it comes to the dog’s occasional bouts of stubbornness or unresponsiveness! As a lively, active breed, the Affenpinscher soon gets bored with monotonous, repetitive training, and so this approach should be avoided if you wish to retain the dog’s compliance!

Positive reinforcement training has proven to be much more effective when dealing with the Affenpinscher than punishment, which is true for most breeds, and so speaking harshly to the dog, telling them off for noncompliance and physical chastisement should be avoided at all costs, as this will hinder rather than help your training endeavours, and affect your bond with the dog.

Also, it is a mistake to think that Affenpinscher training should finish once the dog has grasped the basic commands; training should be an ongoing process that is constantly refreshed and worked on throughout the dog’s life, rather than seen as something to be performed when the dog is young to set them up for the remainder of their life.

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