What Are Miniature Pinschers Like? Our Story
Our Miniature Pinscher, Buzz
When our first Miniature Pinscher died of a brain tumor, I was convinced we would never own another dog. That lasted three weeks.
I searched the web for a puppy and found Buzz in Minnesota. We had him shipped and went to pick him up at the airport. When the airport personnel brought out his crate and set it on the ground, it rocked back and forth, as if a Tasmanian devil was inside. We opened the crate and inside was this tiny brown Min Pin weighing in at fewer than 5 pounds—but every single one of those pounds was pure, unbridled energy.
We brought him home and laughed at his antics as he ran around and got into everything possible. Much to our surprise, he was easy to house train. We had to be vigilant and put him outside as soon as he ate, as well as after every nap, but he always relieved himself. We were slightly hampered by cold weather, but he seemed to adapt as long as we didn't leave him out too long. Min Pins do not do well in the cold.
This breed is noted for their stubbornness. They are lovable and very affectionate but it's the Min Pin way or no way—at least if you leave them to their own devices. You really have to establish leadership with this breed.
We worked with our little Buzz, but, as adorable as he was, he was also a terror. We have many dogs in our family (each of our children has dogs, two of our children have two dogs). When we would all get together we spent most of our time trying to get Buzz to stop terrorizing the other dogs, including a St. Bernard! We decided it was time for puppy kindergarten when Buzz was six months old. I can only say this was the best move we ever made.
When we gathered for kindergarten class the beginning of class was free play for puppies. Small puppies were in a penned-in area and larger puppies allowed to roam and play outside of that area. No small puppies for Buzz! He always managed to get out of the confined area and play with the big guys. He wasn't intimidated by anything. We learned that Buzz was (and still is) a very food-motivated dog. He will do anything for food. Our trainer, Doc Karen, is the best. Buzz wasn't the smallest dog in this class, but he was definitely the most noticeable. We spent six weeks learning how to make Buzz listen. I think we learned more than Buzz did during this time, but we bonded and learned together. Our Min Pin is our dog!
Teaching Buzz to Sit and Walk on Leash
Teaching Buzz to sit was an experience in itself. We showed him how by pushing his hind down to the floor. We would treat him when he was in a sitting position. Over and over we used the sit command and the treat. Then one day he sat on command!
However, we should've known not to let it go to our heads. The next time we tried the same command he stood there with ears pointed and head tilted and didn't move. When we gave up and moved away, he sat down. This routine continued for quite a few sessions until he learned the treat came only when he sat when we said sit.
It took patience and daily sessions, not only in class. We had a 10-minute session in the morning and 10-minute session in the afternoon, every day. Classes were one hour a week, but by the end of six weeks he was sitting on command. Every time he would sit we would say good boy and treat him. Now, if we ask where's our good boy, he sits waiting for his treat!
The leash was another test of wills. We went one way and Buzz went another. Pulling Buzz around on a leash seemed like a really inhumane act. We coaxed, we talked, we bribed, again daily. Finally, one day as we went for a walk, Buzz took off an pulled me! We had made it, we could now walk our dog without being reported for cruelty to animals. The interesting part of the leash story is Buzz eating his leashes. When Buzz was on his third leash I mentioned it to my vet. After he stopped laughing he told me to purchase a Lupine leash. They are unconditionally guaranteed against any damage including chewing. What did I have to lose? I bought one and when Buzz chewed through it I sent it back and Lupine replaced it, no questions asked!
At the end of Puppy Kindergarten, we knew we still had a long way to go so we enrolled Buzz in Basic Obedience. Buzz was the class clown, as min pins are known to be. He loved being the center of attention, whether it was good attention or bad. Fortunately, I have a good sense of humor, so the pair of us were usually the "how not to do it" example. But again, by the end of six weeks Buzz was a star pupil. We continued to Basic Obedience II.
So, how is living with Buzz coming along, after all, that is what this is about.
Buzz Around the House
Every day with Buzz is a challenge. He eats everything and anything. We spent months trying to rid Buzz of parasites but the frogs, worms, birds, dirt, rocks, grass, and everything else he ate defeated our efforts. We did finally get him free of parasites but it was no easy fete. This dog eats anything that's not nailed down! Fortunately, one of the commands from obedience school was "leave it". After chasing him around the house or yard for untold hours, the leave it command has finally taken hold and when told leave it, he will now drop what's in his mouth -- unless it's a bone. That's a whole other story.
Affection is the best part of any Min Pin. When I sit down at the computer he jumps in my lap and snuggles, any time of day or night. When it's time to go to bed he stands at the bottom of the stairs and looks at us, letting us know he wants to go to bed. When we get in bed, we have to lift him onto the bed, and he immediately gets under the covers and sleeps snuggled against our feet. He can jump 3 feet in the air on his own, but can't seem to make it up on the bed himself. When watching tv he jumps on the couch and either in your lap or right next to you snuggled as close as he can get. He'll sleep anywhere and loves to sleep in your arms. He really loves his humans.
Min Pin Agility
Because Min Pins are so active and energetic it is a good idea to enroll them in an agility class. It is not only good exercise for their body but for their minds as well. Buzz is in his third class. The first one was an experiment in futility, at least that's how it felt. Buzz would jump when he wanted to, not on command. When I told Buzz to go into the tunnel he would go over the tunnel. He liked to run around jumps, not over them. The frame and walk were his favorites, even back then.
Some of Buzz's problems were related to my tripping over jumps and forgetting the proper order. Now in his third class, I brought along my 14-year-old grandson to try. He and Buzz did great! They both love it and both move at an incredible speed.
Well, the next class didn't go as well. Buzz decided to be stubborn and not cooperate. He felt it was better to wander around the course looking for food. The next week Buzz decided he wanted to play in the tunnel. He kept running back and forth through the tunnel or jumping over the tunnel, he just didn't want to listen to commands. We haven't given up though. Min Pins are very smart but also very stubborn, as I've said.
So, next week we're bringing his gentle leader and see if we can lead him around the course instead of dragging him around by the collar which we've had to do for the past two weeks. The fact that he is 17-months-old plays a part. This is about the age Min Pins decide to show you who's boss. They want to be the alpha dog. So, this is the time to be really vigilant in training. We'll see what happens.
FYI, at age six Buzz, has mastered all of the agility and will do it without being asked. I just have to point.
Min Pin Habits
There are so many opinions about dogs licking your face. One is that it's a sign of dominance and the other is it's a sign of submission. Go figure. He loves to lick your face. Our 20-month-old grandson thinks this is the greatest treat there is. He puts his face out to Buzz and says, "kisses." Buzz complies immediately licking his face. They wrestle together with Buzz biting my grandson's hair, and they run around chasing each other. What one doesn't get into the other one does. Min Pins aren't known for being great with children but Buzz is the exception to that rule! He loves our grandson and our grandson loves him.
Buzz likes to nap but when he wants to play he lets you know by pulling on your pant leg. He'll play anytime, anywhere. He loves to run around and being chased is his favorite pastime. Toys are a real challenge as he destroys most of them. He loves toys that squeak but eventually he finds the squeaker and gets it out or eats it depending on how quick we are. Stuffed toys find their demise by being gutted and rubber toys chewed to bits.
He loves to ride in the car. We took him for rides with us from the time we got him. Now, when you put your coat on he jumps in his crate because he's ready to go! He wants to be with you and is especially happy to please.
Our Min Pin, Our Joy
Buzz continues to be our joy. Everywhere we go people stop to look at him and ask about him. His chocolate coloring makes him look as special as he is. Many people think he is a small Doberman and I have to explain the Min Pin came before the Doberman and they aren't really related. We enjoy Buzz every day, even when he's digging new holes in my flower garden, I love him.
At six years old, he now plays with my two-year-old granddaughter who loves his kisses too. When he no longer wants to play he goes in his crate.
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Buzz at Two Years Old
- My Min Pin Eats Everything
Anything is game, bugs, worms, paper, rugs, my Min Pin eats it! For such a small dog he sure does have an appetite.Life with my Min Pin who eats everything is an adventure.
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© 2011 Mary Craig