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standard poodle lovers, talk to me!!

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
i have been incredibly fortunate to have always had dogs. since i was a baby, i've always had a doggy companion. however, about 18 months ago, i moved across the country to be with my husband. we lived in a teeny apartment in the middle of pittsburgh and my dog just couldn't handle it. so i did the most loving (and heartbreaking) thing i could and sent him back to texas to live with a close friend who is a hiking, camping, outdoorsy guy. my sweet dog and sweet friend fell so much in love, i couldn't bear to reclaim him when i finally did move back.

i think i am starting to break down under the dogless pressure. so i've been doing some research and i think i might like to rescue a standard poodle. from what i've read, they are very intuitive, loving dogs, that get along well with children.

so here are my questions:

1. dh and i are currently ttc#1. will a poodle do well with the transition of a new baby? i know some dogs have a very hard time with that and i would hate to adopt a dog only to make him/her miserable as the family grows.

2. is grooming a huge financial issue? i have read that they need to be groomed every 6-8 weeks. i have never had a dog with those requirements so i'm not sure how much that adds up to.

3. i've read that separation anxiety can be a big issue for poodles as they sometimes grow very attached to their owners. have any of you dealt with this?

4. i want very much to rescue/adopt, though i am not completely ruling out going to a breeder. are there any major pro/cons regarding what age to adopt (keeping in mind that hopefully there will be a human baby in the house within the year)?

5. any other questions i should be asking?

thank you!!
post #2 of 47
We have a half standard poodle and I don't know much about them but I do have a suggestion. Can you contact the poodle organization in your area? They will have lots of answers and probably even more questions you have not thought of. And, they will know the rescue organizations and maybe some poodle rendez vous or get togethers where you can schmooze with poodle owners and pet some of them. This is a great way to get to know a breed.

PS I really like them, too. Every time I meet someone with one, I hear great things.
post #3 of 47
Standards are, by and large, great dogs.

If you want to rescue, you should talk to your local chapter of poodle rescue.

I don't know what the "official" PCA line on adopting to families anticipating children is. If they say no, listen to them. Ask them what other options you have. I would personally not buy a baby puppy right now; you'd be having a baby right when the dog is at its most difficult stage. In your situation I would certainly buy an older puppy (over six months) or a breeder-retired older dog, however.

Grooming is as expensive as you make it. If you do it yourself you'll need to invest a couple hundred dollars in supplies; if you go with a professional it'll be somewhere between thirty and a hundred (depending on what you have done) every couple of months.

Separation anxiety is something that can happen to any dog, though sensitive and reactive dogs like poodles certainly do have an issue as a breed. Wise crating and good training can often head it off at the pass, but once it's ingrained it's sometimes hard to solve. Poodle rescue will have evaluated any prospective dog and will let you know if they have SA concerns with that dog.

Other questions you should be asking are mainly about how your life/house/yard/lifestyle will need to change to be an ideal home for this dog, and whether you're ready and able to make and sustain those changes. I would honestly ASK those questions. Get a Poodle person (the corresponding secretary of the local club is a perfect place to start) and go right down the line. How will my life change? How should my yard change? How should my house change? How should my lifestyle change? You will be reassured at some answers, probably shocked at others. Going into it with eyes wide open is the most crucial thing.
post #4 of 47
Thread Starter 
these are wonderful things to think about! thank you so much for your helpful responses!

i discovered a wonderful poodle rescue down in houston. i'm hoping we can make a weekend trip sometime soon to go down and meet some dogs and learn all we can from the great people there.
post #5 of 47
Std Poodles are one of my favs.
Like Joanna said, grooming can be what you make of it. If you don't mind the dog clipped fairly short and you're willing to brush at least weekly, you could stretch a professional clip to ever 10-12 weeks, for that matter if you don't care how "nice" he looks, you could clip him yourself.
I actually love putting poodles in an "active pet clip", I take the ears down to nothing, leave a very small topknot, clip the feet clean, face clean and take the rest down with a 5 blade, I think when they're in good shape and well muscled that a poodle looks stunning that way. And it's super easy to keep up, but this is coming from a GSD owner who's definition of "grooming" my own dogs involves taking them outside and blasting them with the power dryer to make the dirt and hair fly out....so perfection may not be my goal
I have a thing about feet though so I really love a tight poodle foot that is clean with nails that are very short.

Temperment wise, poodles are actually quite comparable to GSD's, much of the difference is the way they are preceived and TREATED by their owners and the people around them. But the primary traits are there, stand their ground with strangers, friendly but without making overatures, cautious and protective but not terribly reactive. That kind of thing.

So, I guess Im asking, what did you have before and what did you love about that dog, that will probalby give a better idea if a poodle would be a good mix for your family, although, I find they tend to be VERY versatile in that mannor.
post #6 of 47
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by shannon0218 View Post
So, I guess Im asking, what did you have before and what did you love about that dog, that will probalby give a better idea if a poodle would be a good mix for your family, although, I find they tend to be VERY versatile in that mannor.

i have had, in order:

a beagle, daisy, though, honestly, i was very young when she died so i don't remember too much about her.

a cocker spaniel, oreo, whom i loved very much, very playful, affectionate, always by my side, though often a little too overzealous.

a dauchsand/blue tick hound mix (don't even ask me how that happened. i have always hoped that the mama was the hound), max, who was a great bouncy thing. he was, unfortunately, an outside only dog and i think that made him a little starved for attention.

a golden retriever, sherman, who was everything a golden should be, wonderfully loyal, affectionate, athletic, protective, gentle. she was truly our family dog.

a chihuahua, bump, who was my best friend. he is the dog who lives with my good friend now. though he was very chihuahua, he was oversized and behaved much more like a terrier. he is incredibly affectionate, a great watch dog (more like an alarm than a deterrant, though ), loves people, though maybe a little too brave.

i certainly do not mind "high maintenance" dogs. one of the biggest reasons we sent bump back to texas was so that he could enjoy being outdoors and not cooped up in an apartment with some walks along (often snowy) city street. and while i am definitely not looking for a lap dog, i do appreciate dogs that love their people and enjoy being near them. a dog that enjoys living in the house with lots of walks and frequent trips out to fields where they can run or a good long jog with me. i would love to give a home to a dog that can be a part of the family (as opposed to just an animal we feed and water, kwim?).

i am a SAHW and will be a SAHM and my dh works from home, so there is a lot going on all day long. we would love to have a dog be a part of all of it, but not constantly under heels, or yapping it's head off. (i've had both! and while that was perfectly wonderful as a single young woman, i don't think i could handle it now.)

i feel like we're playing puppy psychology!!

but all of this feedback and these questions are really good. we want very much to take this seriously -- to be a good home to the right dog. my poor best friend recently made the mistake of adopting a cocker spaniel without -really- thinking through some of these questions. she kept him for two days before finding another loving, and better suited home for him.

shannon -- you seem to really know your way around the doggy world. are there any other breeds that may fit us, other than a poodle?
post #7 of 47
A couple other breeds to look into,
Cardigan Welsh Corgi (Joanna can help you with this one, she just bought a pup)
Cavelier King Charles Spaniel
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver
English Cocker Spaniel (not the American)
and the Std. Poodle is another one I would have recomended to you--but I'd look at the others too, just to give you a broader selection base.
post #8 of 47
We are embarrasingly infatuated with our Cardigan puppy. They are NOT "soft" dogs, though--don't get one if you're afraid of being authoritative or don't like training dogs. Our puppy is totally engaging, hilarious, high-energy, opinionated, and confident as blazes. They are a breed that you have to DO stuff with, but the nice thing is that they're so charming that you want to do stuff with them. They love other dogs, love people, and are extremely adaptable (because they just assume that whatever you've changed must be a grand new adventure and that they probably somehow caused it by their own brilliance). One caveat: they HERD. You will have a major adjustment period if you bring in a new puppy, because for a good month all you do is squirt water in their faces and say, "No herd!" And even with consistent training they will dash after something that runs by them. But they are extremely trainable and they do learn not to actually bite or crowd.

English Cockers are another huge fave of mine. They aren't as hard-headed as the Cardigans and they're more naturally submissive, but they need more exercise (the Cardis need a lot of running, but they take 20 steps to your five and so it's easy to tire them out).

I don't think the breeders of ANY breed come out and say that their breed is appropriate for inexperienced or uneducated owners. Every breeder is convinced that hardly anybody's good enough for their breed, and they don't want puppies falling into hands that aren't ready for them. But I would say that either of the above (Cardis and ECS) are actually quite appropriate for average owners IF you're willing to put in the time and effort.
post #9 of 47
Ahhhh Joanna...you've been bitten by the herding group bug!!! You're a lifer now I tell ya!
A friend of ours that breeds Goldens, her dh is a lond distance trucker, he'd been robbed twice while a Golden he used to travel with watched from the window wagging her tail (she's got good goldens, that's what they're supposd to do!!)
Anyway, they bought a shepherd from us, at around 6 mos Janis says to us "I think there's something WRONG with him!" We tell her to tell us what's happening.
Well, when Art and I are in different rooms he circles and whines. When the goldens go in a different room he paces between the 2 rooms, he just NEVER settles!
I'm like, you just need to get everyone in ONE room--so when they relaxed in the evening they used to babygate all the dogs into the living room, then Cargo was perfectly happy
post #10 of 47
Yup, she doesn't even like it when we're walking too far apart! Oh, one more thing: it's a breed trait to be noisy. They bark a lot and they are very vocal otherwise; when Clue is unhappy about something (for example, Doug was out late last night and she knew he wasn't home), she trots around whining and muttering and yowling and complaining. And she knows the routine--at about 11, Doug goes to bed and I stay up and either work or do computer stuff for another couple of hours. So at 11, woe betide me if I am not sitting down at the computer desk. She will follow me around and whinge and natter and scold me until I go sit down, and then she'll curl up on my feet and heave a big sigh and go to sleep.
post #11 of 47
You haven't lived until you've been scolded by a herding dog
When I lived at home Timber knew when my little brother's school bus would arrive. Weekends he had figured out, but PA days or holidays, that dog would go sit by the door...even if he had to leave the room my little brother was in to get there!! When the bus didn't arrive he'd go in and yip and grumble at my brother. My brother would go out the back door and come in the front door...Timber was a happy camper then and could go on with life
I figure herding dogs was a great trainer for having kids though, I never peed alone before I had Molly and I'll probably never pee alone again!
post #12 of 47
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by shannon0218 View Post
I figure herding dogs was a great trainer for having kids though, I never peed alone before I had Molly and I'll probably never pee alone again!
i just had a flashback -- 6 years with my chihuahua and i don't think i ever sat on a toilet alone. i swear that little dog learned to open doors just so he could sit on my lap when i peed. and if i ever i refused him, he'd just jump up to pull my pants down to the floor and lay in them.

is it weird that typing that made me all teary eyed?

but back to poodles....
guys, i think i'm smitten.

like, beyond hope of ever shutting up about poddles until i have one (or twenty) of my own to love. my dh was listening to me go on and on last night and finally stopped to me to say, "which do you want more? a baby or a dog?"

"i've decided that i want both...for christmas. you can give me the baby, and we'll call my dad about the dog!"

i think it's all perfectly reasonable.
post #13 of 47
We are not quite ready to get another dog yet (my dog died at 15 last August), but Std Poodles are one I have looked into. The one I knew was calm, bright, willing, & other traits I look for in a family dog (we have had half poodles of various sorts- wonderful dogs- & if they were not being so puppy-milled purposefully backyard right now, I'd actively seek one out).

I have one question though. I have chickens & rabbits; knowing that poodles are hunting dogs, how crazy would this make the average poodle, raised from puppyhood, around these prey animals? The half-poodles I had as a child were fine with it (even half lab! And God knows the yellow lab I had eventually killed most of my chickens back then, she was NOT a good match). Smart dogs that knew 'our' chickens were not to be molested.

Herding dogs might be considered a better match by some people, but honestly, I've never 'clicked' with the herding breeds (except for a few border collies & danes, & the borders are too intense for me, & danes would break my heart dying young), & actively dislike some (I've been threatened and attacked as a child by too many German Shepherds to even consider them).

Hey, I hope it is OK to ask another question on your thread, Mosesface. It's not too OT.

My uncle always had dogs known to me as 'Austrian Shepherds'- essentially Germans with long, thick, gorgeous coats. THEY were always wonderfully tempered, gentle dogs. I never see them mentioned, & I don't even know if the nomenclature is correct (just trying to remember from small child-hood).

Do you know anything about them? (And why were they so nice, when every German I knew tried to eat me? Yeah, breeding & training I'm sure, but breed traits do exist, & these 'Austrian' shepherds were wonderful family pets.) Do you know anything about them?

Thanks for letting me ask in your thread, OP (and tia for letting me pick your brains, dog pros!)

eta Yes, I know Danes are guard breeds, not officially herders; I have just seen them exhibit herding behavior.
post #14 of 47
One note: Danes are NOT herding dogs or part of the herding group. They are basically large hounds, put into the all-purpose "Working" group, and they will hunt and kill livestock with great glee. Danes and free-range chickens and rabbits do not mix.
post #15 of 47
Thread Starter 
go right ahead!
this is a good question that i actually had not thought about. we're hoping to get some chickens, etc. eventually.
post #16 of 47
We got Jericho from a poodle rescue a year ago when he was six years old.

He's got some issues (he was given up TWICE), mainly separation anxiety and resource aggression. He's aggresive toward other dogs when I or toys are involved, but is fine if I keep moving away and there are no toys. We're working on this--he's just fiercely loyal and *super* protective. We crate him when we're gone, otherwise he rips the house apart and defecates everywhere. We're working on this, as well, but it takes time.

I don't know what his life was like before. He's very intelligent and learns quickly. He's very needy and starved for attention (or would have you believe).

He's been good around my friends' children. When they roughhouse too hard, he gives a warning growl and hides behind me, at which point, we realize they've just done something horrid to him and he's not so much as snapped. (We're working on them, but two-year olds are a handful! They like to do the exact wrong thing for the two seconds the adults are distracted by a hot oven or pan full of grease.)

He does need frequent brushing and weekly bathing. Ear cleaning is a must, as hair grows in the ears. We use an ear solution from the pet store (mostly just boric acid) and let the groomer pluck the hair. He gets groomed every 8-12 weeks. The cost ranges from 60 to more than a hundred, plus tip. We generally go with a utility clip instead of the showier kennel clip. If you do it yourself, shell out the bucks for good clippers (at least a hundred bucks) + instructional videos.

For his baths, I use a gentle puppy shampoo--one that won't bother my skin. My dad installed a handheld showerhead so that I can wash him at home. When the dog is REALLY dirty, I take him to the self service dog wash in town--better their tub than mine!

Exercise! Big dogs need big exercise, at least 45 minutes of hard exercise a day. I take him out for several crazy running/fetching sessions, where I alternate throwing two toys in the yard.

I'm currently pregnant. I think he'll be just fine with a kidlet. It will smell like family, so I think he'll probably turn into a super-loyal babysitting guard dog, much like our family dogs did when I was a child. We'll make sure to give him lots of attention. And the child will learn how to treat dogs properly.

For the record, we opted for a standard poodle because of my husband's allergies. Poodles are *not* hypoallergenic. They're historically water dogs and tend to have oily skin. For this reason, they do shed a bit less dander. Plus, the frequent brushing and gentle bathing keeps the dander at bay. That said, hubby did react to the dog at first. We realized that (a) his previous encounters were with toy poodles (6lbs, not 65lbs) and (b) hubby works from home, so he has no safe zone. With asthma meds, he's reacting less and he seems to be acclimating to the dog. He's thinking about allergy shots, but he's coping pretty well.
post #17 of 47
Thread Starter 
jocelyndale -- thanks for sharing your experience! very helpful. and congratulations on your little one!!!

another round of questions...

how much should we budget for food? i know that dogs about the size of an adult standard poodle will eat between 2-3 cups of good food per day, but i'm at a loss as to how many cups are in the big ol' bags (it's been a long time since i've had a big dog).

our cat eats EVO and has had amazing health results with it. but i haven't been able to check the prices of the innova dog food. anyone know how big of a bag will last a month and what average prices are?

would innova EVO be a good choice for a poodle or are there other, similarly minded dog foods i should be looking at?
post #18 of 47
When I fed Innova kibble I went through a 16.6 lb bag (the medium size) once every 4-5 weeks feeding one 100 lb dog (who has a slow metabolism)
Honestly though, with a std. poodle and the problems they tend to have with their teeth, that is one breed that I totally wouldn't feed kibble to, or at least that I think could derive the most benefit from a raw diet.
Do a search on this forum, there have been some excellent threads lately about feeding raw.
My guys eat raw, they get a chicken leg quarter once a day, once a week they get yogurt and organ meat along with some veggie mash if I remember to make it.
post #19 of 47
Food depends on the size of your dog and activity level. When we first got Jericho, he was slightly underweight (50lbs, 55-60 is ideal for him) and we fed him 1.5 cups of kibble (california natural lamb & rice) a day, supplemented with canned pumpkin, whole yogurt, and fish oil. His weight stabilized and all was good.

He now gets a little less (got lazy last winter, he put on weight). We feed him twice a day, but now he gets closer to 2/3cup with each feeding. He gets the occasional raw or smoked bone for his teeth.

With high quality food, they actually need less, not more. He's well-fed. It seems like so little, but he's really doing quite well.
post #20 of 47
i love my poodle like crazy. he is mellow and friendly, lovely, amazing, and wonderful, actually, but sometimes a bit nervous when outside his routine. he is a big guy (70 lbs and skinny, though i like to say lanky), so needs lots of walks, offleash running, chasing, and playing.

we cut his hair every 6 weeks or so, with trimming around his eyes in between. we have had him since he was a baby and used to groom him ourselves, but didn't prepare him well as a pup for a life of grooming, so it is a lot of work to do it at home--i usually ended up with a sore back after many hours and he with a few large bald patches from my inability to trim evenly! if you don't do it yourself it is a financial commitment--we left it too long once and the poor guy got really matted, which made it so much worse for him when he finally did get a haircut.

he has food allergies, to what we aren't 100% sure, but we have figured out what he is not allergic to and have made another financial commitment there--not necessarily necessary, i know there are other options, but we have chosen a food that is good for him, easy(ish) for us, and also relatively expensive. from what i understand, food allergies are not uncommon in poodles, with skin problems in particular for apricots. they can also be picky eaters, about what they eat and how/when why--our guy won't eat if we put his food down and leave. we have to be in the house and usually in the same room with him for him to eat hid meal (we used to free feed him, which he did fine with, though was even a bit skinnier then, but the food we have now is dehydrated raw, so once it is rehydrated we can not leave it out all day).

separation anxiety has not been an issue for us, but we have had him since he was a puppy and practiced leaving him alone for short periods of time from the beginning--he is also not alone very much. he does get along beautifully with everyone in our life and LOVES his extended family, goes easily with them so we always have babysitters and i don't worry about him at all if anything were to happen to me.

he has always been pretty nervous around kids, even teenagers, which i think for us was a matter of lack of exposure--as he knows more kids he is a little more comfortable, but i keep a close eye on him, not because he would hurt them on purpose, but because he doesn't really understand them. the first time he met a baby (my nephew who came to visit when the poodle was 4 months old) he howled and shook with terror in my lap. he has a better relationship with this nephew now, but is still unsure.

the part i really want to share with you though, is that we had a baby this year he's not terrified of them anymore!!), a few days after the poodle's 3rd birthday. it has been hard for him, even though we've been doing the best we can. he was not allowed to sleep in our bed from the moment i found out i was pregnant (though he does have his own sofa in our room and free range of everything but our bed, including his own bed), the intention being that he not connect his exile from our bed to the arrival of ds. upon ds's arrival, we did send a blanket home from the hospital that ds had been swaddled in for a few hours, cut up in little pieces and placed on his sofas, by his water bowl, and in his bed (i don't know if it helped, but we thought it was worth a try). he really disliked the 3, 4, and 5am crying and feeding and being awake at all hours of the night--it made him anxious and he threw up a couple of times (poodles can have sensitive tummies). ds and the poodle still don't interact much (poodle tries to lick ds when guests come over), but hopefully will start soon as ds becomes more aware--my dream is that they become friends and i feel pretty confident anticipating that (***with supervision: poodles use their paws a lot to play and interact).

i had a pretty straightforward labour and delivery, so was able to get out walking with him right away. we also had a lot of support from dh's parents at the beginning to give him snuggles and take him for walks. he was confused and worried about his place, but is settling into it as he realises that he is still very important in our little pack. it has been a lot of work to try to make him feel important and loved, and has been heartbreaking at times when i am about to snuggle down with him and ds cries for something. his behaviour has also changed in the offleash trails and i notice that he is a little more protective and and less submissive, at moments even verging on aggressive with some other dogs (at other times he still cowers in the bushes when we pass certain dogs on some days). it is something i keep a very close eye on, trying to let him know that i am the protector and he doesn't need to act like that with others ( i am not a behaviour expert by any means, we just have talks and i call him away when he is even a little aggressive, and try to be the protector when we are around dogs that seem like they want to be aggressive with him).

reading back over this, it sounds more like our experience in preparing for baby with a dog in general, rather than a poodle specifically, but i think what i am trying to say is that it is a pretty big change and that poodles can be quite anxious--even my guy who is super mellow (for a poodle ) has had an anxious go of it. i think it is worth the effort though, and i think he is already enjoying the fact that he belongs to a bigger pack than he did before.

i don't know that much about breeding, but probably wouldn't buy from the same breeders again knowing what little i do know now, which is not to say that i don't love my dog like crazy and his whole family and anyone connected with the making of him because he is who he is and i love him (didn't i say like crazy???!!), but poodles being particularly susceptible to tummy troubles and torsion, and hip problems, and being bred for looks over health, they are such incredibly lovely dogs and i think it is important to support people breeding who really know what they are doing and are not just cranking out dogs at 1 1/2 to 2 grand a pup because people will pay it. i also know the anxiousness can be exaggerated in some poodles and it is important to find people who also care about the happiness of their animals. there are some people who visit this forum who know a lot about this and if you do decide to go to a breeder, past threads and new questions here would be a good place to start your research on how to do that.

okay, now maybe you know that i love him like crazy, i become a bit crazy about him and could talk about him forever. i hope i don't upset anyone when i say that i think poodles are the loveliest dogs in the world, and that lovers of others will understand that i just happen to have a tall, curly, apricot coloured bias

good luck with your research and also with ttc! looks like your life is only going to get more rich, no matter what kind of doggie you choose.
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