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Old 01-09-2011, 07:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Portuguese Water Dog? Or a Poodle? And..

Hi all,

I have a PWD and they are a wonderful breed. As adults. As puppies, they are insane.

I want to get another dog now that my PWD is two and finally calmed down, but I can't decide on whether to get another PWD (and endure 2 years of insane puppyhood) or to get a poodle.

Can someone tell me the following:

What are poodle puppies like? Are they hyperactive and mouthy like PWDs?

Lastly, if I go with a poodle, are there differences in temperament depending on the size? I am falling in love with the small toys, but also love the grand look of the standards but worry about the size, especially when I have one mid-size already. I'm hoping for a dog that is a lovey- a velcro dog that will become very attached to me.

I had poodles (small/mini) growing up and it was very hit and miss, personality-wise.

I have no idea what to do. Help!

Terry in Michigan
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You description of a PWD sounds an awful lot like a poodle to me.

I only have the one poodle, and she is still a puppy (7 months old). She was extremely mouthy when she arrived, but I actually liked that as it gave me ample opportunity to teach her bite-strength inhibition. Now at 7 months she still wants to mouth, but she knows not to (and when we are playing and she accidentally grabs my hand instead of a toy or something - it's the softest, quickest little mistake... just what I wanted!)

She was insane for about 2 hours every evening until she hit about 5 months old. I just knew not to expect to accomplish anything between 6:30-8:30pm or so, because she was just ridiculously hyper. She still has random bouts of the crazies, but it's usually because she hasn't been able to expend enough energy during the day and a bit of fetch outside is the perfect cure. Otherwise, she's an unstoppable athlete outside and a big couch potato inside. At 7 months of age, my standard is far from being 'hyper'. Spirited - definitely (as in, just joyful and very expressive of her glee at certain people or activities), but in a fun, not hyper, way.

I think you're pretty much stuck with a crazy puppyhood no matter what kind of dog you get. And as you mentioned, there is so much variation dog to dog even within breeds that it would be pretty tough to predict...
Good luck on your decision!
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Lilith - PWDs and poodles are very similar in temperment and behavior. A good friend of mine has two porties, both still under two years old. Her female (Gabi) is only a few weeks older than my Mia, so I've had lots of opportunity to compare the two. It amazes me how similar they are - Mia and Gabi share so many mannerisms, looks, behaviors, and of course, both are whip-smart. The only differences that stand out to me are the physical differences.

I can't comment very knowledgeably about toys, but they are supposed to be bred to the same standards as the spoo, just smaller. So I assume a well-bred toy will behave similarly to a spoo. But that said, there seem to be many poorly bred toys (and minis) out there.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One difference you may find with a smaller poodle is that they tend to mature earlier. Having said that, Poppy did not really hit adolescence until she was nearly 12 months, and at 18 months is still somewhat immature! It is also easier to cope with the zoomies and bouncing in a small dog (although as your PWD will inevitably join in, you may not notice the difference!). But just like a PWD a poodle pup will need exercise, stimulation, and plenty of company.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for your responses. My PWD didn't have just 2 hours of zoomies- she went non-stop all day long. It was nuts. She never napped. She'd come from behind, jump up and take a nip out our behind, even! She got plenty of exercise. Finally, I had an injury (broke my kneecap while walking her) and couldn't care for her and had to put her in doggie day care 5 days/week. For quite a while while I was rehabbing.

Wouldn't you know it that after running and playing for 12 hrs straight (with a mid day rest and snack), she was still going when she got home?

I can't handle that again, so was wondering if the poodle pups were maybe just a tad more low key.

Good point about the toys- physically, I think I could manage one better than a larger dog.

Still, it's a hard decision so I'm open to hearing more plusses and minuses for not only the breed choice, but the size should I go with a poodle. I guess standards aren't a bit calmer than the smaller pups, eh?

Thanks,
Terry
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have lots of experience with PWDs and much more limited with Poodles. My family has had PWDs since I was 8 years old, while I have had a Miniature Poodle for about 8 months now.

First off, keep in mind variations in the individual temperaments within a breed. It sounds like you have a very high energy PWD. My parents currently have a 5.5 month PWD puppy. She is naughty and chewing everything, but her energy levels are not over the top and all in all I would say she is a pleasure to live with. My mom is taking her to a puppy class that has 2 other PWDs in it, and one of them is crazed while the other is fine. So if you consider getting a PWD again, I would talk closely with your breeder about your needs, particularly with regards to energy level. We have had 5 PWDs in my life and none of them has ever been as energetic as what you're describing.

So bearing that in mind, my 10 month old mini puppy has been a pleasure to live with, but I would say he is fairly high energy. He was quite busy when he was little and I had to hide wires, and keep him in full view most of the time to make sure he wasn't in trouble. Now he has to have a good walk/ play session with other dogs every day, otherwise he becomes a little over the top in the house. I do like his smaller size - he is easy to pick up if I need and takes up less space in my home (I live in a condo) than a PWD. I would say he is actually higher energy at 10 months though than my parents PWD is at 5.5 months, so again, variations in temperament.

Whatever breed you decide on moving forward, I would closely interview breeders, meet the parents (or at least the mom if possible) and make it clear what type of temperament you are wanting. Good luck!
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have had 3 standard poodles and neither of them have been particularly crazy as puppies. Millie was probably the most calm. People who have met Millie throughout the past 11 months (she is only 11 months old) can never believe she is a puppy as she is very calm when in the house. Though, when its time to play or go for a walk she sure has more energy than any dog I've ever seen! It's actually funny because people at the dog park often come up to me and say "boy I bet its a handful at your house with those two dogs!" And I always try to explain that both Millie and Henry are extremely calm and well behaved IN the house. They save up their energy for playtime. Also, she is the definition of a velcro dog. If I go in my bathroom to take a shower and don't bring her in the bathroom with me, she sits by my door the entire time acting all offended. Also, wherever I am, she is always napping near me. If I get up and she loses sight of me she wakes up from her nap and darts to find me as quickly as possible. She has to keep her eye on her mommy!

Henry was a bit stubborn as a pup but not crazy or hyper by any means. Especially as a pup he didn't want to come when called if he was in the backyard, but that is pretty typical for puppies in general. Very loving and velcro dog as well.

Tony, gosh, that was 13 years ago but from what I remember he was probably a mix of Henry and Millie. Definitely not a particularly crazy puppy by any means.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't have any experience with PWDs, and have only had my first mini poodle puppy for a few months, but I agree with everything that everyone else has said so far. Jake is a complete joy to live with most of the time. Every once in a while, he can get a bit overwhelming, but that just means he needs to go in his crate for 1/2 an hour to an hour and take a nap. I find that he's a lot like a toddler- if he's being obnoxious, it means he's tired.

I had a ton of people tell me that poodles were great because they were calm inside, and got all of their crazies out outside. I wasn't sure that it was possible for there to be a breed of dog that was like that across the board. I figured it must be something that had to be trained. But it doesn't. It's been the craziest thing to me.

Jake will play fetch inside, and he does run around a little bit inside sometimes, but generally, when we are inside, he is laying down or asleep by my feet. Both at my house and at other people's houses. Now, if he hasn't gotten enough energy out outside, or he gets bored, you do have to watch him, because he WILL entertain himself, and it's pretty much a guarantee that what he entertains himself with will be exactly the opposite of what you would like him to do (and he has learned really quickly that if he brings me a toy and I don't see him, if he brings me a sock I always notice).

When we are outside- he's a completely different dog. He gets the zoomies. He races around everywhere. It's like he somehow came knowing that outside he's allowed to go absolutely nuts- and he does. As someone mentioned in another thread, this does make training outside very, very difficult (for example, he will loose leash walk like a charm inside- even without a leash- outside, not so much), because he just wants to expend energy when he's outside.

I do work really hard to make sure he has ample opportunity to get his energy out, but based on what everyone else has said, I was prepared for him to be much more of a challenge energy-wise than he has been. He's almost five months old now, though, and I will say that he is starting to hit adolescence. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that he has started to get mouthier again (we're working on it), and he also likes to pretend that he doesn't know what you are asking him to do. For example- he knows how to sit. If you have something he wants, he does it immediately. He went through a period where if you asked him to sit, he would just stand there and look at you like you were insane. We practiced sit often, and he eventually got over it. He's going through a stage now where he doesn't like to lay down. So we are doing tons of downs. I can tell adolescence is getting worse now because he "back talks" when you ask him to do something. I give him the down command. He looks at me. He thinks about it. Decides he doesn't want to lay down. Jumps up on my leg. Mouths my hand. Barks. (he does this especially when I have something he wants- like his toy or a treat- he wants it, but doesn't want to do what I ask to get it). I stand there. Eventually, he realizes that I'm not going to give in and he will lay down.

So overall, while he is energetic, it is managable energy. I know there are a few other people on this board who have poodles that are more high-energy than he is. I would say, though, that since you have a dog already, it should be easier. I say that because the dogs will play together, and that will help to tire both of them out. If Jake has lots of excess energy, we go over to my in-laws house, and he spends a few hours racing around with their beagles. Energy problem solved.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Such helpful information from you guys- thanks! I'm still on the fence and it's making me crazy. I have hooked up with a PWD breeder who understands the situationa and who does temperament testing- she claims she usually has 1-2 semi-mellow ones in her litter; but I dunno.

Another question- is it very hard to housetrain a toy? Harder than say, a standard?

Thanks again!
Terry
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You discription of your PWD sounds like my Poodle, Vinnie. He never slept as a puppy unless he was kenneled. Otherwise, he was on the go and got into everything. He was very VERY busy. He is much better now, but is still very busy (this is what I asked for from the breeder - I wanted a high drive performance dog and that is what I have and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it).

I have some experience with PWDs - several friends that have them and show in agility, water work, obedience, etc... Of the PWDs I have met, roomed with in hotels, had at my house, etc... none of them were like what you describe with the exception of one that the owner reports was a crazy puppy.
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