If you're looking for a fun, interactive way to exercise and compete with your Affenpinscher, obedience competition might be something for you to look into. For a long time, it was thought that Affenpinschers were not suitable for obedience competition because of their trademark stubbornness, but Affenpinschers are entering more and more in obedience and finding some success.
What is an obedience trial?
An obedience trail is a sport in which a dog must perfectly execute a series of tasks that are directed by his handler. The dog must perform the tasks without the use of a leash and the tasks are usually performed in what has evolved into a highly stylized fashion. "Obedience" is almost a misnomer today, as a dog that can perfectly perform tasks in an obedience trail does not necessarily have perfect obedience at home.
The AKC offers competitions as three levels: Novice, Open (an intermediate level) and Utility (an advanced level). The main tasks the handler and dog must perform are Recall, in which the handler leaves the dog in a sitting position, crosses the field and calls the dog, who must then run straight to the handler and sit just in front of him, Drop on Recall, which is the same as Recall except that the dog must quickly drop to a lying position at the direction of the handler, Heel, in which the handler walks in a predetermined pattern with the dog following always in heel position, Long Sit and Long Down, in which the dog must remain sitting or lying for a certain amount of time, Retrieve, which is separated into different categories but mostly consists of a dog retrieving an object without delay, and Scent Discrimination, in which a dog must identify an object by scent, which is reserved for the Utility level.
Training your Affenpinscher for obedience.
As mentioned before, Affenpinscher owners often dismissed their dogs as being too stubborn to learn the tasks needed to perform obedience trials, but this attitude is changing. The key is understanding that each breed is different and if training is approached in a manner that will work with your Affenpinscher, you are more likely to be successful.
Affenpinschers are very intelligent dogs and are generally willing to please their handlers. The down side is that they can become bored very quickly, and also need plenty of positive reinforcement in order to be successful, as negative reinforcement does not result in any success. You can start your training with concentrating on the essentials of sit, stay and come by having training sessions that last not more than fifteen minutes at least three times a week. Award your dog with treats or toys and plenty of positive reinforcement, and keep your tone light. Every dog is different so it's impossible to say how long it will take your dog to get the basics, but keep trying and have fun while you're at it.
Once you've got the basics down, you may want to consider seeking out obedience trial classes through your local kennel club or other organizations. Not only will you be spending quality time with your Affenpinscher, but getting involved in your local kennel club is a great way to socialize with like minded dog fanciers and will give your dog the opportunity to socialize as well!