What kind of household is a good match for a miniature pinscher and how much energy do they REALLY have
February 11, 2012 3:12 AM   Subscribe

What kind of household is a good match for a miniature pinscher? When does their high energy become a problem?

We are thinking about getting a miniature pinscher, but we keep hearing that these dogs are HIGH energy. How high is high? Are they often destructive or unable to be entertained?

Someone would be home most of the day and the dog would have access to a dog door and high-fenced yard (although supposedly coyotes in the area are a bit of a concern). Would the dog be able to burn off some of it's energy by exercising itself in the yard?

We also have an older cat and we're afraid the dog will be too rambunctious for him. For those of you who have had (or known) minpins, are they usually able to be trained to be respectful of cats who might not have as much energy as they do?
posted by mintchip to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
The cat is fully capable of training the dog, I would not worry overmuch about that aspect.

You can entertain your minipin just fine as long as you are willing to put the time in to do that - fetch and icecubes and mini-kongs. They are also great dogs for agility training, which is fun for both of you and gives their drive direction. The dog may or may not be happy to entertain itself in the yard without a human; it depends on the individual dog. (However, please note that your dog entertaining itself in your yard can also mean digging up bedding, or digging itself out of your yard - very common.) Regardless, the dog will need a good walk every day for exercise. "A good dog is a tired dog."
posted by DarlingBri at 4:06 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

(PS: If you are not familiar with this breed, you may want to work with a rescue - there are copious numbers of these dogs in the US waiting to be re-homed, and the foster parents will be able to give you a good idea of the dog's personality, habits and cat-friendliness. I would discourage you from buying from a breeder as these dogs are overbred and over-populated.) 1, 2.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:14 AM on February 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

Minpins are not couch potatoes. They can get very anxious and destructive if they are bored. A couple of short walks and a good long one, plus a few play sessions in the yard and you are looking at a time commitment of some hours each day.

Minpins (like all breeds, but more so) need a job. They are going to work at something really hard, whether it's something that you give them to do or something they take on themselves to fill the time. Might as well make doing tricks or agility training their job, or they might become self employed backyard diggers.

They are also quirky and their personalities can be very very different from one animal to the next. One Minpin I knew had a lifelong obsession with her owner's old shoe- He'd cuddle with it whenever she was out of the house. When she left for college, Bonsai the minpin carried the shoe from room to room, inside and outdoors, for four straight years.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:48 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Blisterlips has it. There is a reason there are so many of them in rescue, considering they aren't all THAT common as a general rule. They need a job, and they are terriers (even though the are in the Toy group in AKC, they are terriers), which means digging and sometimes killing (mice, etc.). They are smart, high-energy dogs and they need an involved owner who will spend time with them, you cannot just let them into the back yard and think that's enough exercise, they will find a job if you don't give them one, and odds are you won't like their choice. They can also be pretty snarky with strangers and other dogs if you don't socialize them really well. Great dogs in the right home, good for you for trying to make sure you are the right home. Start with the national breed club to educate yourself more about the breed.
posted by biscotti at 7:23 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I own 2 terriers so can offer advice on high energy dogs not Min Pins in particular, I love the bustling personalities but high energy dogs take a bit of extra planning and aren't for everyone. You would still have to walk the dog even if you have a backyard but a backyard is a huge help in burning off some of the energy.

If you needed quiet time because you work from home or some such for part of the day getting 2 dogs might (and I emphasise "might" it's not for everyone) be the way to go, they are more work, but they can entertain each other and they will play in the backyard together. It worked for us and we had the 2 dogs in an 800 sq foot apartment before we moved to a place with a backyard, and having the backyard has made it a lot easier for me to get work done when it's just me and the dogs at home.

Lots of toys can help, specially toys that keep their brains busy, we also take our dogs pretty much everywhere with us which helps as they are exposed to a lot of new things and they have play dates with friends dogs where they all go crazy and burn off energy running around backyards while I catch up with the human in the family over coffee.

Also nthing the recommendations for agility & obedience classes that was a godsend for us with helping teach both the dogs and us humans how to work together and it burns off so much mental energy they sleep like logs after the classes, also they are a lot of fun.

If you think of high energy as more that they like to be bustling and busy as opposed to thinking of it as some crazed ADHD type hyper behaviour helps. Heck I'm a huge couch potato and the main difference my guys have made is I have to get off my ass and walk them every day and I play with them for 15 minutes randomly throughout the day. Other than that they follow me around while I do my chores, help me DIY by stealing my tools and leave toys scattered around the house for me to trip over and occasionally wake me up by wrestling on my face. OH and remember older dogs will have less comparative energy to a puppy and their personalities will be easier to know before you adopt so a rescue is a great way to go.

Also the cat will train a dog that size to respect it don't worry about that.
posted by wwax at 9:07 AM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have a minpin mix and yes, she is high energy.

I lived in a house with a huge yard for a while and honestly, the outside time did absolutely nothing. She needs interaction with other people or animals. She loves to play fetch, tug of war, etc. She's also happy to lay in my lap for hours, and cuddle next to me at night. She thrives on contact and interaction.

Minpins can become destructive when they're not getting the attention and exercise that they need. They'll chew anything from your slippers to the bathroom door, just because they want something to do.

Training helps immensely, keeps them challenged. Its also a life saver once you've got a face biting demon puppy trained well enough that a firm "sit" command will make her stop and stare at you waiting to see what you want :) (granted, I may be the only one unlucky enough to have a possessed puppy)

If you don't have time to devote to training and play, look for a less active breed. It'll make you both happier.
posted by myShanon at 2:35 PM on February 11, 2012

Oh yes and walks.. walks walks walks... Even if its just to the end of the street and back, a good walk can do wonders for an overactive pup.
posted by myShanon at 2:36 PM on February 11, 2012

Also, when I lived with a big yard... she played outside but spent half that time getting all of the neighbors' dogs to bark (hours. on. end.) The other half of her time was spent finding things to drag inside to share with me. Dead things the roommate's cat killed (waking up and stepping on a dead snake was less than fun), leaves, every stick she could get hold of, clods of mud, discarded cigarette buts, even poop... So no, having a yard to play in did absolutely nothing to reduce her energy level... it just gave her inventive new ways to be destructive.

She's doing much better now that I'm in an apartment by myself, and our biggest problem is the occasional barking... and her desperate attempts to befriend the kitty I brought home as a playmate. Unfortuntely kitty isn't interested in being friends :(

She is my sunshine, and bedtime is my favorite time of day because she drags her giant teddybear (normal sized bear, tiny dog) up onto the bed... in the dark it looks like the flailing teddybear has come to life and is making its way up the bed to attack my face... which it tends to do repeatedly until she decides its time to settle down for sleep :)
posted by myShanon at 2:46 PM on February 11, 2012

« Older Please recommend me a light reading scientific...   |   Hardcore nap music. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.