Toy poodles are adorable little balls of fluff that look like they'd never harm a fly. In reality, many teeny toy pups think they’re big fierce dogs, and they may act like barking bully breeds if you don't put your foot down and show them who's boss.
Train your puppy. Strict and consistent behavioral training will help you establish healthy and effective dominance over your pup and teach him the rules of your family pack. Toy poodles are intelligent animals, and this effort will go a long way in helping you control your toy poodle’s behavior in public, at home, and around other animals, as well as diminish barking for attention.
Check out your pup’s environment and see is there’s something making him anxious that you can alleviate. Toy poodles are excitable and like to bark -- it's inherent to their breed. Sometimes small kids, other household pets or loud noises or distractions can alarm your pooch and send him into barking and snarling mode.
Socialize your toy poodle. Puppies who get aggressive and want to fight other dogs often have not been well socialized. Having the chance to interact with a lot of other animals will help tame your toy poodle’s attitude and desire to pick fights. Join a toy poodle playgroup or take an obedience class or even be part of a toy breed organization to help with these efforts.
Keep your pup leashed. If your toy poodle is always itching for a fight, keep him under your control whenever you're around other dogs. Tiny breeds often do well on a harness leash rather than a leash and collar. He won't feel so restrained, like you're pulling him back from a fight, and he'll be less likely to hurt the delicate bones in his neck trying to lurch at another dog.
Exercise and play with your toy poodle regularly and keep him entertained or distracted when you can't. Interactive toys that dribble kibble on the floor or appropriate chew toys can keep your toy poodle calm and collected.
Fix your toy. Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to feel surges of hormones that can lead to excessive barking and the urge to fight for mates.
See a vet. If your dog is overly aggressive and barking and doesn't respond well to training, it could be a sign he was abused in the past or has some kind of underlying medical issues. He may even be a candidate for doggy anti-anxiety meds. A good vet can help you get to the heart of your toy’s troubles.
- Little dogs don't know they’re little dogs, and toy poodles may not think twice about going after a big dog in a fight. It's up to you to protect your baby dog from his own anger management issues. Don't let him interact with large or aggressive animals, especially while he's untrained.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.