In training your Affenpinscher, remember that your dog considers himself your partner, not a subject to be dominated, and tends to be quite independent-minded.
Traditional dominance-based training methods generally do not work well with the Affenpinscher. Praise, food and play are much more effective training tools than harsh corrections, which are likely to make your Affenpinscher stubbornly refuse to do what you want or even actively rebel. Newer gentler training methods that make the dog feel that “training is play” are extremely effective with the Affenpinscher.
When training your dog, do keep in mind that the Affenpinscher is very intelligent and becomes bored with constant repetition. Therefore, vary your training methods to keep your dog’s attention. Of course, it can be very frustrating to try to train a dog that may dig in his heels or decide to give a comic performance (such as inappropriately flipping over on his back and waving his paws in the air) for a laughing audience.
Nevertheless, owners have enjoyed great success with their Affenpinschers in the obedience ring. Even if you do not choose to compete at shows, obedience classes are a wonderful way to create a well-behaved companion, socialize your dog and strengthen the bond between you and your Affenpinscher.
Excerpt from Affenpinscher, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Affenpinscher here.