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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(i'm sorry this is so long! you can skip to the end and work your way back up for selected info if that helps...i just wanted to get it all out)<br><br>
today i drove down to san antonio to visit a standard poodle (there are two other threads about this floating around somewhere that have info about his pedigree, etc.) who is a year and a half old.<br><br>
he lives with 9 other dogs, 5 of which are his siblings, one is his mother, two are miniature poodles, and one yellow lab. all of these dogs are very well loved, but very poorly trained and barely socialized beyond the owner, her daughter, and the vet. they have free reign of the entire house (which is actually very tiny) and the HUGE yard. the door is always open, so they come and go as they please. they are minorly crate trained in that there are open crates in the living room and they go in and out whenever.<br><br>
while the owner truly loves these dogs, she had a serious car accident in january that made her physically incapable of pursuing the type of training she would have liked. in the past, she did show and train her miniature poodles.<br><br>
okay, so that's the backstory.<br><br>
today i arrived with pockets full of treats and was pretty much mauled by a pack of wild dogs. they are NOT unfriendly, they just have no manners whatsoever. while one or a few would occasionally sit on command for a treat, you could tell they knew there was nothing mandatory about it. i tried my best, but there was no way to divide them and test any sort of obedience. after playing with them all for a while, i asked to see the dog i was most interested alone.<br><br>
he currently goes by "chip", weighs about 65 pounds and stands 26" at the shoulder. among all of the dogs, he is probably the most polite and affectionate, though not by far. when dealing with the whole pack, he was gregarious and playful.<br><br>
but once i had him alone, he was very, very shy and nervous. he never acted agressively or dominant. but it took 20 minutes to get him to come to me. when he did come (lured by a little treat trail i made), he was sweet and calm and let me pet him, check him out, etc. but obviously still nervous.<br><br>
then all the other dogs came out and we all played for a while and chip did seem to warm up to me some more. he came when called and and liked and nuzzled a little even though i was completely treatless by this point.<br><br>
my greatest fear is that this dog is so bonded with his siblings that he would have a very difficult time bonding with humans...namely, me.<br><br>
can adult dogs that have grown up with mostly only dogs form a bond with a new human owner? will he be miserable? will i?<br><br>
he is coming here to my house tomorrow to spend a few hours alone. what can i do to "test" our potential relationship? what can i do with him to get a feel for his personality apart from all the other dogs?<br><br>
please help!
 

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Mainly, you can take him for a walk, chat with him the whole time, praise him whenever he's not pulling (I personally don't give a hoot about a dog walking in front of me, as long as he's respecting my leash control--which means NOT pulling)<br><br>
Here is my only concern and this may not be what you want to hear. This process has gone VERY quickly for you. It really was only what, 2 or 3 weeks ago that you started to wonder about Standard Poodles. I fear that there is a very good chance that you're jumping in with both feet being led by your heart and not your head. The story does indeed sound fishy and raises some questions like the ones Joanna and I already brought up. The main one I'm thinking of is what was this stud/show dog doing in this ladies possesion? That question is screaming at me now that I read the description of this ladies house.<br><br>
So, on the good side. He's young and even if he's had NO obedience yet, that's not a big deal.<br>
On the bad side....how much thought have you put into it all? Are you REALLY ready??
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
shannon, thank you so much for your response. i really respect and appreciate your amazing knowledge and devotion to dogs. you have already helped me so much and i look forward to learning even more from you down the line.<br><br>
to address some concerns...<br>
it's true that it does seem like this process has gone quickly. of course, to me it feels like a lifetime! in truth, my dh and i have been passively pursuing poodles for about 6 months, but it wasn't until recently that we began to aggressively seek one. when i first posted about standard poodles in this forum, it wasn't the first time i'd thought of them. honestly, i had just discovered the wisdom here and wanted to double check alot of my learning. so yes, the path to this particular dog has been short, but the search is many, many months long.<br><br>
as for why the stud dog was at the house -- mary (the accidental breeder) is good friends with david arthur (aircastle standards). he was attending a 6 week training in san antonio and did not want to be away from all of his dogs for that length of time. mary agreed to board some of the dogs at her house so that he could be near them. the "accident" happened when the male and female dogs which had been separated on either side of the house were let out together by mary's unknowing daughter.<br><br>
i realize that that story may not satisfy you, but it's all i know and has been confirmed by david arthur. whether or not there is anything shady about it, i honestly cannot tell. my read on this woman is that she is honest and incredibly loving to her dogs. after talking with her daily for a week and spending the whole day with her today the only real fault i can find is her keeping all of these dogs without the physical ability to care for them all. she's a little overwhelmed.
 

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I think my concern was that you originally posted saying you wouldnt' do anything until the new year, then it all sort of spiralled <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br>
My concern is that there are a LOT of health problems in the breed, mainly I just don't want you getting yourself a money pit because you're using your heart too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i hear ya.<br>
thank you for that.<br><br>
i'm really glad i got to spend time with the dog today. it was a great reality check and challenged me to really and truly make a wise decision instead of a sentimental decision. as of right now, my mind is not made up. i want to honestly evaluate the dog here in our home tomorrow to the best of my ability. had i not spent the day with him today, i think i would have felt rushed tomorrow.<br><br>
but now i feel confident that i will be able to make a sound decision tomorrow. if we decide to keep him, we are fully committed. while i have not had a standard poodle before, i have had and loved from birth to death three other pure breeds (dachshund, golden retriever, and chihuahua) and understand the magnitude of potential health problems. i know the responsibility of dog ownership and believe that we are ready to take it on again.
 

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I think she needs to call in Poodle rescue--wow.<br><br>
OK, well, exactly what Shannon said, and if you decide to take this dog you just need to really gird your loins for training him. One nice thing about being in a big pack like that is that he's probably very dog-appropriate and will be easy to socialize to other dogs, but you'll need to work at human stuff.<br><br>
It's hard for me to give specific advice because there's fear and there's fear. A dog who literally thinks that only two or three humans exist on the earth is of course going to be freaked out when more show up. That's to be expected. Where you may end up in trouble is what happens if this puppy gets cornered by an unfamiliar human. Most Standards are so fundamentally OK in the brain that it'll take a week or so, things will "click" and he'll be off and running to meet new people. But there is the chance that he will remain fearful of being cornered, and that can lead to aggression.<br><br>
When you say that he was the most polite and affectionate, exactly what behaviors was he displaying? It MAY be a good idea to also check out a puppy who was behaving less "politely"--his politeness could be submission or deference to the pack, and if you're taking on a totally untrained dog it's easier to bring a middle-of-the-road puppy out of its shell than either a super-submissive one or a dominant one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks joanna!<br><br>
by polite and affectionate i simply mean that while several of the other dogs were climbing, nipping, etc to get to me or a treat, chip was right there but never nipped and never jumped up. he wasn't necessarily submissive to the other dogs, he simply did not seem to feel the need to trample everyone else or put my whole hand in his mouth. also, once i was there for a while and had spent some one on one time with him, he was happy to let the other dogs go romp and wrestle while he came over to sit beside me, nudge my hand gently ...some very basic "you're not so bad" moves. he was also sat/stood very calmly while i checked him over. he did make good eye contact, but never stared me down.<br><br>
while he's not the pack leader (that role very clearly belongs to the yellow lab whom mary crated while i was there), he had some very obvious devotees. he is very playful and energetic with the other dogs.<br><br>
so, my layman's assessment is that he is pretty middle of the road, not submissive, though not whole hog affectionate either. i think new people worry him a little, but he is not "fearful". his distance from me was mostly to check me out, to make sure he was safe without his usual entourage. i'd be pretty freaked out too if i was left all alone in the back yard with a stranger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
here is what i am going to propose tomorrrow.<br><br>
i will give mary a non-refundable "deposit" for the dog and keep him for a trial period. in that time i will take him to our vet, get him updated on his shots, get him micro-chipped, and an all over health assessment. (do not fear the money-pit aspect of this, my mother in law is the vet and we get all of this free or drastically reduced...plus the assurance that our vet has our best interest in mind.) i will start his obedience training and socialize him as much as possible. if at the end of the trial period (or before) we decide that this dog is not the right fit, we will return him and she keeps the deposit and gets a dog with a current health workup. if we decide to keep him, we will pay the remainder of her fee.<br><br>
what do you think?
 

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How long a trial period are you talking about? Would she accept as long as a month?<br><br>
I would also say that it would be a mistake to start formal obedience training right away. He needs time to adjust before he's put in a pressure-cooker situation like an hour-long class.<br><br>
If it were me, I would get him in for a consult with a good behaviorist within the first week (and this is not as easy as it sounds--like Shannon said, anyone can call themselves a behaviorist, and even decades of experience does not a non-idiot make). That would give me a good evaluation and some tools to work with. As soon as he was starting to be happy about approaching people and strange dogs, I'd start attending something like a playgroup (I don't know your area at all, but there are two or three of them within an hour of me, so it would be easy to do). That gets him in a group situation but it's no pressure. If he could do a few playgroups and be happy, I'd start formal classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
that makes good sense. i will ask my MIL to help me find a good behaviorist.<br><br>
i was going to suggest one month as the trial period. that sounds like a good amount of time to you?
 
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