Active and intelligent, this curly haired breed is easy to spoil. Poodles come in three designations: standard, miniature and toy. All types have a tendency to stress out occasionally, but toy poodles can take the slightest things as personal affronts. Patience and socialization are the keys to overcoming poodle angst.
Persnickety Poodle Personality
Poodle owners love froufrou cuts and colorful bows because their cherished pooches can be finicky, fussy and precise about wanting everything just so. When things don’t go as planned, poodles can take it personally, worrying, stressing and acting as if the world is coming to an end.
A Stress-Free Start
If you’re in the puppy-hunting stage, choose a poodle pup from a breeder that socializes and trains the young litter. Early separation from her mother can increase your puppy’s nervousness, so don’t bring her home before 8 weeks of age. Wait another week if the breeder feels your puppy is not yet emotionally mature enough to leave. Avoid pet-shops with a passion. Poodle puppy mills typically sell directly to pet stores when puppies are five or six weeks old, crushing their fragile psyches and increasing their risk of developing high-stress personalities.
Helping Your Poodle Face the World
Early socialization is essential for helping your poodle get over a fear of the unknown. Before 6 months of age, enroll your curly girl in puppy kindergarten where she will come to enjoy interacting with other young pups. Take your precocious pooch with you whenever possible and encourage strangers to pet her. Highly socialized poodles are less prone to neurotic behavior. At home, provide her with her own calming space -- a dog crate filled with soft bedding and stuffed animals is a good choice -- where she can go to get away from boisterous kids or annoying adults.
Accept Me As I Am
Part of the reward of owning a poodle is accepting her for who she is and not trying to change her into a something she isn’t. Expect some anxious behavior. Walk her, love her, pet her, brush her and hug her. She’s never going to be the laid-back beagle lounging lazily at your feet, but admit it -- there’s something magical about a dog that prances wherever she goes.
- The Howell Book of Dogs: The Definitive Reference to 300 Breeds and Varieties; Liz Palika
- Poodles for Dummies; Susan M. Ewing
- Pedigree: How Can You Prevent Your Toy Poodle From Becoming Overly Sensitive?
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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