The Giant Schnauzer is one of the three Schnauzer breeds. Although, despite his name, the Giant Schnauzer is NOT just a larger version of the Miniature Schnauzer. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Having a Mini or Standard Schnauzer is not the same as a Giant. They are three distinctive breeds with three very different personalities and breed characteristics.
The Giant Schnauzer's rugged build, and dense weather-resistant, wiry coat make him one of the most useful, powerful, and enduring working breeds. His coat, including the beard and eyebrows that are the Schnauzer hallmark, is solid black or salt and pepper. The dog's height is the same as the length, giving it a square look. The ears are set high on the head and are either cropped or kept natural. The tail is set high and is usually docked to the second or third joint. Dewclaws are almost always removed from the back legs, and may be removed from the front if they are present.
The Giant Schnauzer developed in the Wurttenberg and Bavaria sections of Germany. These are agricultural sections where the raising of sheep, cattle, and other livestock has been a major occupation for years. Since railroads were not known, sheep and cattle had to be driven to market, which meant that dogs were necessary to help the shepherds. The Giant Schnauzers were specifically bred to aid the shepherd in driving livestock to market, guarding herds against predators, and protecting their families. They were used as guard dogs by the butchers and breweries, and draft dogs to pull carts and small wagons. Though a wrtten breed standard was not established until 1923, Giant Schnauzers have been known as far back as 1832 from cattle and pig farms in the Bavarian highlands region of Germany.
The Giant Schnauzer breed was formed by crossing Standard Schnauzers with the black Great Dane and the Bouvier des Flandres. The Schnauzer name derived from the German word "Schnauze", which means "muzzle". The Giant Schnauzer is called the Riesenschnauzer in Germany, which means "the giant."
During World War I the breed was recognized in Germany for its intelligence and trainability, becoming one of the breeds used for police training.
The first Giants were imported to the United States in the early 1920s and by the 30s, some of the best German breeding stock was in the hands of Americans. Giants were used by the U.S. Army in World War II. Today, the Giant, although rare in the U.S. and Canada, is gaining in popularity.
Cick here to read more about the history of this breed.
The Giant Schnauzer is a playful dog with a sound and reliable temperament, and a guarding protector. An extremely intelligent, energetic, strongly territorial dog, the Giant Schnauzer loves his owners and feels great responsibility to protect them. Some tend to have a herding instinct at a young age so it is best to teach puppies or younger dogs to not nip or mouth at all. They can be aggressive, especially if not properly socialized when young. Without proper socialization they may be unwelcoming of strangers and aggressive towards other dogs. Giant Schnauzers are an intelligent, versatile working dog. They will be calm with enough exercise. Reliable, brave, loyal, bold and vigorous, they love to be with their owner at all times.
Giants need a lot of exercise, requiring daily walks, playtime with another dog or romps in the yard. They especially love having a job to do. They make an excellent jogging companion. Without enough exercise they can become destructive in an effort to entertain themselves. They are a water dog, loving any opportunity to jump into a pond or lake. Being very loyal to their owner, they are not prone to running off if off leash, and may stop and look back to see where their owner is.
Giants have been bred for generations as guard and watch dogs. They have a relentless, imposing bark when they hear, see or perceive anything out of the ordinary. Giant Schnauzers are very prey driven. They will chase any fast-moving critter, burrow and dig, and bark furiously, to annoy that prey out of its safe haven. They bark a lot and are and extremely loud and noisy breed. They are relentless when they want something.
The Giant Schnauzer is a fairly independent, yet dominant, breed. Generally good with other pets although they do have a high prey drive and some may see the family cat as prey. They are extremely territorial and highly dog-aggressive. This is not a breed you take to the dog park and turn loose. Giants WILL fight, they are dog aggressive, especially with the same sex.
Giants who know their place is below humans, are well socialized and who receive enough daily mental and physical exercise will usually love everyone, a sweet-natured goofball. Some of the great qualities of Giants are that they can excel at obedience, agility, carting and protection work. If properly trained they are a dog that can do it all.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
The Giant Schnauzer weighs between 70 and 100 lbs and stands 23.5 to 27.5 in tall.
Health problems in the breed include epilepsy, hip dysplasia, incontenence, toe cancer, and gastric torsion (bloat).
About 12-15 years.
GROOMING AND CARE
This breed requires regular grooming, including brushing and stripping, so owners should be prepared to spend time maintaining the breed’s coat. they are one of the very few large breeds with a non-shed coat. The animal should be clipped all over to an even length at least four times a year and ear care continually is important. A person can easily learn how to do it themselves. Trim around the eyes and ears with a blunt-nosed scissor and clean the whiskers after meals. They have no doggie odor and shed little to no hair.
The Giant Schnauzer is not suited for apartment life. They are fairly active indoors and will do best with acreage. Giants have a huge need for exercise and if not vigorously done at least twice daily they bounce off the walls and are difficult to deal with, even a very well trained one, they have to expend the excess energy they were originally bred for or they just can't settle at night. These energetic dogs will take as much exercise as they can get, and just love play sessions during which they can run free.
They are best with well behaved, considerate children. Reserved with strangers.
Giant Schnauzers are easy to train responding best to firm, calm, consistency, with a positive attitude, rewarding good behavior. Giant Schnauzers tend to be on the dominant side and need an owner who understands canine behaviors and knows how to display authority in a calm, but stern, confident manner and be consistent about it. Without it they may become over protective, serious, with a hard headed temperament, as they believe they are alpha to humans. Socialize well around many different people to avoid them becoming suspicious of everyone they are not familiar with.
Giants are notoriously stubborn. Training is a MUST. Professional training, with a trainer who teaches YOU and your Giant is a must. Any antics that you find amusing in a ten week old puppy (oh, listen to that cute little snarl) and ignore, will most likely escalate into major problems later on. By the time you realize it's a problem, that dog has had YOU trained for quite a while.
Proper training and socialization is necessary to curb any possible agression in this breed.
The Giant Schnauzer is a very alert dog, good at protection, and affectionate with family members. But this is a breed that is demanding and needs a lot of daily attention from you and daily exercise with you. Giants are not for everyone.
Training and socialization is impreative at an early age. When your puppy reaches puberty you will begin to see a totally different dog and most of his traits will come out rather quickly. Unless they have been worked with properly, this is when many people figure out they are in way over their head and this is not the breed for them.
The Giant Schnauzer is a powerful breed that demands a steady, yet very gentle hand, and with proper leadership, this large breed can not only be a couch companion and jogging partner, but a loyal friend that will take a bullet for its owner. If you get a Giant, plan on daily long walks, running, hiking, biking, swimming, or to get involved in agility (obstacle course), advanced obedience, schutzhund (protection), carting, tracking, or a similar canine activity. If you do not have time to devote to your Giant Schnauzer, this is not the breed for you.
Original article by Marybeth Bittel, Tails Magazine
When I was a young music student growing up in Chicago’s western suburbs, my family adopted an Airedale puppy we named Beethoven. I picked Beethoven out at the shelter because all the other puppies rushed forward to greet me, while he hid shyly in the corner. Most trainers agree that’s not necessarily the ideal benchmark for selecting a furry friend, but we got lucky. Beethoven matured into an outgoing, even-tempered, fun, and affectionate family member who sternly guarded our front yard one minute, and romped through our sprinkler the next.
But then came the Fourth of July. Fireworks went off at random intervals around the clock. We discovered that when it came to loud noises and ear-popping explosions, Beethoven was absolutely terrified.
At first we wondered how this could have happened. After all, we’d never left our beloved boy outside while pyrotechnics peppered the sky. He hadn’t been exposed to extreme noises as a puppy. In all likelihood, Beethoven’s fireworks aversion, like so many pet fears and phobias, was just one of those things that took hold when his sensitive hearing encountered a sudden trigger he could neither see nor anticipate.
So we did what numerous pet parents do when their cherished companion is struggling: we cuddled him, coddled him, and cooed comforting words of reassurance. We also sat, feeling helpless, watching him cower and hide as the problem held steady each year. In fact, through all the years of Beethoven’s life, he never overcame this disabling sense of distress, no matter how soothing or supportive we attempted to make his surrounding environment.
When my husband and I began working with abused rescue dogs, we noticed that most arrived with an array of deep-rooted anxieties acquired over time. One Bichon was terrified of rotary fans. A Shih Tzu mix became a jittery mess during thunderstorms. A sweet and docile Foxhound routinely hid from houseplants. These fears ran the gamut, but they had one thing in common: They were exceedingly real to the dog, and they had a great impacts on the entire family.
We began working with local animal behaviorists, and that’s when we learned an invaluable truth: The way we, as caregivers, react to our pet’s anxieties can actually perpetuate the patterns.
Why would this be? As Abe Mashal, owner of Marine Corps Dog Training in St. Charles, explains, “Dogs form extremely solid bonds with their humans. That means most canines are highly attuned to any type of interaction with their human ‘pack’ members.” So when something a dog is doing earns our attention—whether that attention takes the form of praise, pampering, or peevish irritation— the behavior is often unintentionally reinforced.
“Reinforcement,” a common term in the world of animal behavioral training, is really just another word for strengthening. In reality, a reinforcer can be anything that strengthens a behavior.
So for those of you thinking, “I never reinforce my dog’s non-stop barking! I scold her on the spot,” see if these examples sound familiar:
“Every interaction with your dog has the potential to teach and reinforce, merely because you’re paying attention,” explains Sara Swan, owner of Narnia Pet Behavior & Training in Plainfield. How can you tell if this is happening? Simply observe over time. Dogs continue to engage in behaviors that provide some sort of payoff. If you’re dealing with a fear or anxiety response that’s ongoing—such as Beethoven’s abhorrence of fireworks—some kind of inducement is likely contributing to the pattern. In Beethoven’s case, his reactions earned him almost round-the-clock nurturing.
Fortunately, we as dog parents can leverage these same dynamics when it comes to re-programming undesirable behaviors. Let’s say your 80-pound “lap dog” excitedly jumps on you whenever you come home from work. When you withhold the coveted attention—immediately going back out the door, or turning your back on him—many pups gradually begin to seek out a different behavior.
The same thing can work with a fear response. If your pet is terrified of your Swiffer mop, for example, try propping it against the family room couch and just leaving it there. Then, simply act like it’s no big deal and go about your daily routine, even if your pup exhibits an unsettled reaction. Very gradually, over time, as your furry friend begins to approach the mop with quiet but tentative curiosity, reward that calm behavior with brief praise or a small treat. Keep it up, and eventually your dog can learn that “mop = calm = good.”
Helping your dog manage his stress is one of the keys to having a happy and healthy pet. If your animal companion has specific challenges beyond what you’re comfortable handling, always reach out to a certified animal behaviorist who can help you develop targeted interventional techniques that will work on your pet’s unique needs. It will not only help with unwanted behaviors, but strengthen your bond, as well.
Safe, Drug Free Ways To Soothe Your Pet’s Stress
The Thundershirt. The ThunderShirt leverages the age-old principle of swaddling an infant to promote calming reassurance. Simply fasten this snug, stretchy shirt around your pet’s ribcage. During anxious episodes of panting or hyperventilation, it provides ongoing sensory feedback that suppresses this common panic response. ( Thundershirt.com )
Music or ASMR. As a musician, I can attest firsthand that deep, resonant tones often work wonders on a nervous pup. You can also try leveraging something called ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), which is promoted by many hypnotists and human sleep therapists. ASMR is a subjective, perceptual phenomenon characterized by a distinct calming or scalp- tingling sensation in response to quiet, seemingly mundane sound triggers. Certain pets appear especially receptive, and may even be lulled to sleep. To gauge effectiveness, try playing low, calming music or ASMR audio with your dog in the room. Use a meditation CD, or visit YouTube to access ASMR recordings by reputable “ASMRtists” such as The Waterwhispers.
Calming Sprays. Help create a relaxing environment for your pet by using a calming spray on their bedding or by plugging in a calming spray diffuser. Many cats and dogs experience reduced anxiety and stress after being exposed to these non- sedating sprays, which use soothing scents such as lemongrass, cinnamon, and lavender to encourage relaxation.
Original article by Virginia Simpson, Unleashed Canine Obedience
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”
“Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive” - Johnny Mercer
If you are interested in training your dog, you will quickly find that your pup will more than likely respond and learn more quickly through praise for good behavior versus punishment for inappropriate behavior. Seems obvious, but it all starts with how we think about behavior. When people come to me for training advice, they usually start out telling me what they don’t want their dog to do. “I don’t want my dog to jump on people, bark at the mailman, run away, pull on the leash, poo or pee on the floor, etc.” In other words, the definition of a good dog is - not a bad dog.
What I try to do is get people thinking about what they do want their dog to do instead of what they don’t want their dog to do. What does a good dog look like in their mind. For example, “I want my dog to sit on a place mat when people first come over until they are in enough control of themselves to politely say hello.” “A good dog goes to the bathroom outside in the back yard and tells me when they have to go.”
It is easier (and WAY more fun!) to train a dog when you are focusing your attention on what you want your dog to do instead of what you don’t want them to do. This will help you come up with alternatives to “bad” behavior. You can’t just say no all the time; no fun for you, no fun for your dog! You have to redirect and teach appropriate behavior. And it all starts with a positive outlook!
So, make a list of all the things you don’t want your pup to do and then write down the opposite of that. What would you like your dog to do instead? Feel free to contact me if you would like any help!
Virginia L. Simpson
Certified Dog Trainer
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
IACP Member #3141
Original article by Tails Magazine
It’s a terrifying feeling to lose your pet, and an experience that no pet parent ever expects to go through. According to the ASPCA, nearly one in five pets goes missing in the summertime due to triggers like fireworks, thunderstorms, and loud noises. Fortunately, 93% of missing dogs and 75% of missing cats are eventually returned to their homes.
The first step to keeping your pet safe and at home is prevention––make sure your pet is microchipped, that his tags are up to date with your current information, and keep him crated while you’re out if you’re concerned about escaping. If your pet does get loose, these tips from Paul Mann, the founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care provide helpful advice for bringing him home safely and quickly:
Original article by Jordan Walker, Tails Magazine
Approximately 10% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and if your dog is one of them, you know the stress it can cause on both of you. Disruptive and destructive behaviors are typical of separation anxiety, and are signs of a dog in distress. Read on and find out the causes of separation anxiety and some ideas for dealing with it.
So how come canine pals are bound to suffer from it in the first place? This question is still considered a puzzle to experts. However, there are suggested theories as to why it occurs:
1. Shaky background. Dogs acquired from shelters sometimes had tough beginnings. Neglect or abuse from previous caregivers could be at the root of anxious behaviors. Sometimes just the act of being left at a shelter is enough to spur separation anxiety.
2. Lack of conditioning. When left alone, some dogs are able to make themselves comfortable with their own toys. However, others have been conditioned to rely too much on their caregivers for entertainment and struggle to keep occupied when alone.
3. Unexpected changes. Establishing routines for dogs is very important as it helps foster feelings of comfort. When things suddenly take a different turn (such as with a new work schedule), your dog may act out in response.
What You Can Do
The good thing about separation anxiety in dogs is there are ways to treat it. Consider the tips below for helping your dog get over his separation blues:
1. Let him warm up to being alone. Don’t shock your dog into leaving the house for extended periods. What you can do instead is to gradually get him used to the idea of being left alone. Start at five minutes, extending it to twenty minutes and then increasing it every time you notice he has gotten comfortable with the previous allotted time.
2. Make leaving not a big deal. Touching, eye contact, and talking to your dog before leaving the house and when you arrive could make separation anxiety worse. Make it a rule to leave the house without fanfare. This way, your dog will get the message that your leaving the house is not that big of a deal.
3. Be confident yourself. You are your dog’s pack leader. If he senses you are not confident about him being okay when left alone, he will be inclined to act the part. Stay calm and confident and you have a better chance of your dog following suit.
4. Get his energy out first. Try to walk your dog before leaving him alone. Burning his excess energy will put him in a resting mode, making him calmer for the rest of the day.
If your dog is acting particularly unusual or out of character, a visit to the vet is probably in order. Some of the signs of separation anxiety––such as urinating or defecating inside––can have medical causes and should be treated immediately.
Most importantly, remember that anxious behaviors are a sign of an underlying issue, and punishment is not a helpful tool for fixing the problem––in fact, scolding or punishing will probably just make the issue worse. Instead, be your pet’s best friend and stay calm and consistent. He’ll thank you for it.
Jordan Walker is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages