Poodles are fantastic family dogs that possess a keen sense of loyalty and sensitivity to their owners. In most cases, this builds a treasured bond between poodles and their family members. Given the sensitive nature of these dogs, as well as potential health problems found in the breed, emotional tension and stress in the home can lead to undesirable issues.
The Poodle Breed
Poodles come in toy, miniature and standard sizes. They were bred to be water retrievers. They are an athletic, sporting breed. They have natural guarding instincts, but they are not known for aggression. All sizes of the poodle are renowned for their ability to learn quickly. They require attention and exercise. Poodles learn patterns and operate by them. Because of this, a break in a poodle's routine can be emotionally upsetting.
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Poodles are very sensitive or hypersensitive dogs. If too much action or noise is around them, poodles can startle or become frightened. In addition to being physically sensitive, poodles keenly sense emotional tension around them. A house that has a lot of conflict or even silent anger or tension can create behavioral issues as well as health issues for poodles. As a breed, poodles are prone to Addison's disease as well as hypothyroidism, two conditions that trigger lethargy, depression and gastric upset. Addison's, a hormonal disease inherent to the breed, can present acute symptoms when your poodle is stressed.
Reactions to Emotional Tension
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With a nervous and high-strung system, a poodle often reacts to emotional tension in a physical, easily identifiable way: upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. A poodle might meanwhile react to extreme stress through obsessive barking or urination and marking. These behaviors often prompt negative reactions among an already tense household, leading to more stress on the poodle. A poodle's stress can potentially turn inward, with neurotic licking or chewing of her own fur, resulting in hot spots and bald spots.
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Relief for your poodle in an emotionally tense situation can come in a variety of ways. Treatments range from Tellington TTouch, a calming and bonding massage therapy, to essential oils and pheromone therapy. If your poodle experiences high amounts of nervous tension on a consistent basis, speak to your vet about medications that can help to alleviate the painful edge of emotional stress.