Training for a Poodle

BY | September 20 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Training for a Poodle

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Behavior & Anxiety Management
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Poodles are highly intelligent dogs who can be susceptible to anxiety, especially if not properly trained and socialized. Learn how to take care of your Poodle here.

Poodles, whether standard, miniature or toy, according to veterinarian Bonnie Beaver in her book "Canine Behavior," are widely regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Although some highly-intelligent dogs can be stubborn and uncooperative, Poodles are highly trainable. Unfortunately, Poodles are also susceptible to anxiety, particularly without proper training, exercise, and socialization.

Types and Symptoms

Dog behavior specialists such as veterinarians and dog trainers sometimes break anxiety into several categories to help determine the cause. Separation anxiety is sparked by a separation from the dog's owner and frequently manifests in destructive behavior such as chewing and soiling when the owner is not present. Fear of biting and aggression are generally caused by inadequate socialization. These dogs may cower when approached by a new person or dog and then bite if the person or dog does not back off. Some dogs develop generalized anxiety when they do not get adequate exercise, and other dogs are genetically predisposed toward anxiety. Poodles are not genetically anxious dogs, but individual Poodles may be anxious and several environmental factors can increase this anxiety.

Energy and Anxiety

Poodles are moderate and high-energy dogs and require adequate daily exercise. For most Poodles, running in a backyard a few minutes each day is insufficient. One or two brisk walks per day, high-energy games and training classes are much better outlets. When Poodles get insufficient exercise, they may become anxious and destructive. Beaver recommends exercise as the first line of defense against a variety of behavior problems. She points out that many dogs experience an immediate improvement in anxiety with proper exercise.

Intelligence and Anxiety

Intelligence is correlated with anxiety in dogs because intelligent dogs need lots of mental stimulation. Without daily training and attention, Poodles may become restless and anxious. This anxiety frequently manifests in destructive actions such as soiling the carpet or chewing on furniture. Anxious Poodles may also develop compulsive behaviors such as excessive chewing or licking. Spending a few minutes every day playing with and training your Poodle can provide your Poodle with a healthy outlet and reduce anxiety.

Socialization and Anxiety

Poodles are highly social dogs who bond strongly with their owners and who, when properly socialized, get along well with children and other animals. However, without proper socialization, Poodles may become fearful and anxious. This fear can lead to aggression and fear biting and poses a danger to owners and other animals. Toy and miniature Poodles are especially susceptible to fear-based aggression. Their small size makes them particularly sensitive to rough handling and teasing by children. To prevent anxiety and aggression, Poodles should be heavily socialized to novel stimuli, new people and a variety of environments beginning as puppies. Adult Poodles with fear problems are more difficult to socialize, but a competent dog trainer can help you properly socialize your dog.

Genetics and Breeding

Dogs bred by irresponsible breeders are especially prone to anxiety. Beaver points out that temperament can be inherited, and anxious mothers frequently give birth to anxious puppies. Similarly, early experiences such as being separated from the mother too early can increase anxiety. When selecting a Poodle, choose a breeder who has lots of experience with Poodles and who knows about the importance of breeding for temperament. If you already have an anxious poodle, a competent dog trainer can help you work with your dog to overcome your dog's anxiety.

Health Problems

Endocrine system problems - especially thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances - can make dogs anxious and even aggressive. Similarly, unaltered dogs are more prone to aggression because hormonal fluctuations can alter their personalities. Occasionally, veterinarians prescribe anti-anxiety drugs for dogs with severe anxiety. These drugs are often the same drugs prescribed to humans - although in different doses - for similar problems, such as clonazepam and diazepam. Holistic remedies such as Rescue Remedy - anti-anxiety food drops -- may also be effective at alleviating anxiety. If your Poodle suddenly develops anxiety, this may indicate a health problem, and you should consult your veterinarian before beginning a training regimen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do poodles have a bad temperament?

Poodles can be lively, active, and fun-loving dogs in nature, but they can also demonstrate stubbornness, nuisance barking, and aggression towards strange people or dogs that don’t frequent their homes. The truth of the matter is that poodles, like most dogs, thrive on attention and can be absolutely lovely dogs depending on your own treatment and training style.

Do poodles have anger issues?

Apparently, this is not a constant behavioral issue, however, developed anxiety can lead to more aggressive behaviors. For example, separation anxiety can cause fear and aggression, like most dogs and other pets.

How do you discipline a poodle?

You must take your time to find the best approach before tackling personalized dog discipline like a pro! Get to know your new pup. Be consistent and firm with reward and punishment. For example, when giving timeouts, you might find that your dog responds to time in their crate, time in a corner, or just pure silent treatment. In terms of reward, your dog might desire a treat (e.g., dried duck, chewables, etc.), playtime at the park with another doggie friend, or just alone time with you. The absolute wrong ways to discipline your dog are to use physical or verbal punishment. You are their pet parent, and they are your baby! For example, they might become “hand-shy” and therefore won’t know if you are raising your hand to pet them or to slap them. When you are disciplining a poodle, they also require consistency and firmness in their training. They respond well to positive voice tones and not to harsh treatment. Use reward, punishment, and exercise to curb unwanted behaviors.

Are poodles hard to manage?

Poodles are one of the top smartest dog breeds out there. However, they can use this intelligence to demonstrate a stubborn temperament that makes poodles difficult to manage and train.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professionals with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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