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Old 07-09-2019, 07:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Poodle the Pointer

This new pup of mine is a hoot. He's sooooo sweet. He's not really a cuddle bug but he has to have his time, loves ear rubs & scratches on his chest. He's definitely MY dog. He likes my husband a lot but he's My boy. He's very confident & some guardian skills are starting to show when I take him out at night. But his pointing skills are awesome.

A week or so ago he woke me up at something like 2 or 3 in the morning. I took him out for a bathroom break on leash. We have a HUGE fenced in yard but he's so young & I want to be able to encourage him or correct him (or save him if the problem was a rattler or cottonmouth snake). But I also took our Collie.

The Collie is a very keen patrol dog, nothing comes near our yard without a full alert & likely being driven off. She's reliable so off we went for a puddle break. Very quickly my Collie made her first pass around the perimeter fence. We were walking toward her & she came at us stiff legged & snapping, making this growling sound. (Okay, my Collie does NOT do this sort of behavior at me, so I knew immediately she found something dangerous). My heart goes into my throat every time this happens but my first Collie taught my young Giant Schnauzer who then taught my Collie when she was a teen. It's why I have some gray hair! Also why my Poodle pup is on lead out in the country inside our huge fenced in yard. You can't predict emergencies. Well this was one. I said to the Collie, "What is it girl?" She was all sharp eyes & made certain I understood not to move & when she turned back to the trouble, she went into what I call her cobra strike position -& I knew then. She struck swiftly & came up with a slithering thing (yuck)! She tossed it in the air & caught it in the middle & started head shaking. I was close enough to see she was using the fence as part of her weapon & was shaking & beating the thing on the fence. Mr. Layne had sat up against me & was taking this all in. By the time she was done & the snake slipped out of her mouth, it was not moving too well, but you could hear the zzzz,zzz,zzzz sound as it slithered for it's very life. Well the Collie doesn't lose to many & was mightily ticked that she lost this one. She came back & inspected the pup & I. Mr. Layne seemed to understand this wasn't a time to be playful.

I of course praised my Collie. Mr. Layne missed not a word, not a nuance of my attitude in all of this. I've been a farmer & I've been a soldiers wife of many years. I've had to handle a lot of things on my own since I was quite young.

Flash forward to the next morning. I'd taken Mr. Layne out to the bathroom & when we'd done a perimeter walk I turned him loose. When he came to the front of the yard, there is a stump with some tree saplings growing around it. It provides nice shade cover for the dogs & it has a type of grass growing around it that they like to eat so we leave it alone. Well when I started forward to check the area, Mr. Layne jumped in front of me & went on point. He growled with the biggest big boy growl he could manage. I said, "What's the matter?" & his eyes never left the spot & he did the most perfect point, his little tail was so stiff. If I went to move forward, even just leaning, he'd stop me by blocking me with his head, neck & muzzle around my leg but instantly went back on point & he grumbled, eyes sharp. I praised him, "GOOD watch" & petted him. I snapped his lead back on, all the while telling him of his brilliance. He heard it first, his little head tilting then I heard that zzzzz, zzzz, zzzz sound as the snake make his escape through the fencing & into the ditch on the other side. Anyone who thinks Poodles are all froo-froo & window dressing haven't seen one learn an important thing like that in ONE lesson.

On a less scary note, in the late afternoon a few days later, Mr. Layne went on point again. This was near the fence line inches from where I stood. My first thought was 'snake' but since no growling or grumbling, I decided it wasn't. I kept looking. I didn't see anything. Mr. Layne never dropped his point & he was so serious I had to check it out. I told him, "Well buddy, I know you know what's there but I can't see it." I guess his prey could stand it no more & he flushed up Quail. Oh that got him lavishly praised. Honestly, this boy's got some serious skills & has learned in record time how to communicate to me. There's only one thing. I've never had a dog whom I couldn't see him put up his hackles (during the snake debacle). Do Poodles have hackles???
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Old 07-09-2019, 10:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good boy Mr. Layne! That is amazing. Such a smart boy! Itís great that heís learned of threatening animals so quickly, and is ready to protect you. Canít say that Iíve seen a poodle point like that... I almost think Iíd die laughing if mine did it .

I donít think poodles have hackles, but I could be wrong. Iíve never seen them go up either. I know the first time my friend came in from out of state to visit me, she went in first and he was in full ďsecurity modeĒ before I could get in. No raised hackles then.

Help keep up the good work since he seems a natural at it and perpetuate the behavior. Lots and lots of praise and jackpot treats.


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Old 07-10-2019, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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check out louter creek poodles if you want to see poodles hunting/pointing/retrieving.
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You had a busy night. I’m thankful I don’t live where there are dangerous snakes.

My dog points too. She used to point to all kinds of wildlife such as birds, rabbits etc. which made leaving the house a real pain because she was doing more pointing than walking. I had to train her not to point and it took a lot of patience and time. I had to discourage the bunnies who made the hedges near my front door their home. I couldn’t move from my front door some days.

Poodles like all dogs have hackles but it’s so hard to see piloerection with their fur.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylar View Post
Poodles like all dogs have hackles but itís so hard to see piloerection with their fur.
That's what I wondered. Their hair type just seemed like it wouldn't give the normal 'hackle' warning. This ought to be interesting as it's the first dog I've had since childhood with no visible hackles. I keep his coat rather short but still...With his thick hair on top of his head you can't even see his head wrinkle up. But you can see his nose wrinkle. I'm gonna have to keep the hair on the face short enough to see the nose wrinkle.

I'm pretty impressed with him. His mother is a natural guardian. Without any training, she is a fireball. She is trained & obedient but not formally trained for protection work. If she had formal training, she's be a formidable dog. His sire is also a natural guardian but once his human says, "it's okay" he comes running out & checked me out close & personal, as in 2 inches from my face, he sat up on his haunches & exchanged breath with me. Never touched me with his feet. I've trained guardians for years. It shocked the owners. I told them all was well. The dog had already decided I was safe. Mr. Layne's Mom wasn't convinced but that's okay, it's natural for the females in most breeds to go at it this way. It was also funny that the parents of the pup were wholly focused on me. My husband was there but I was their focus. Very perceptive dogs.

I shouldn't have been surprised by the pointing. He seems to have two types of pointing thus far. The type that comes when the animal is in plain view. He will point but it's not as strong. As soon as I lock in on the animal he's pointing at he relaxes. The other type of point is when he knows the critter is there yet can't get eyes on it. That's a different kind of point. I rather like it. I've had to do work with herds of cattle where in a silent alert was critical to not alert the herd or set off a new Momma cow with a calf which can be brutal. This is far better than yipping, barking, bouncing. So it has merit for where & how we live. But I can see where it could be a pain if you just want to go for a walk. Over time I'll develop an 'all clear' command for him to come off point. So cute.

In these parts, the caution & care for alerting on snakes is very important. We have the coral snake, cotton mouth, copperhead, diamondback rattler, timber rattler, & probably a couple more I can't think of at the moment. That's not counting the non-venomous ones that may not kill you with their bite but they can make a mess out of you by popping out where you don't expect them. I'm not a fan of snakes. Yuck
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What a great pup! You sound like you enjoy him immensely! I have a mini mix and in her mix are all guardian/herding and hunt type breeds ( Kelpie, Koolie, Giant Schnauzer, Harrier, Bernese Mt. Dog)and even though the percentages are very low and she is only 11 inches at the shoulder, I am positive they influence her behavior. She points, she protects me from 'iffy' strangers when she senses what she thinks is a 'bad guy' and she hunts in a low & slow creep! She is persistent too! She once sat by a gopher hole for three days running, and finally caught it! She is also quiet.....only barks when someone is at the door and quiets when I assure her it's 'okay' I live in San Diego so I know all about rattlers...... "Leave it" is an important command here too!
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Big fan of Mr. Layne already and the collie too I am amazed how observant poodles are to any changes in the landscape or intruders. Buck was barking like mad this week and I couldn’t see any reason for it, until a giant hawk decided to take flight and perch elsewhere. He doesn’t bark without cause, unlike the neighbor's dog.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MollyMuiMa View Post
What a great pup! You sound like you enjoy him immensely! I have a mini mix and in her mix are all guardian/herding and hunt type breeds ( Kelpie, Koolie, Giant Schnauzer, Harrier, Bernese Mt. Dog)and even though the percentages are very low and she is only 11 inches at the shoulder, I am positive they influence her behavior. She points, she protects me from 'iffy' strangers when she senses what she thinks is a 'bad guy' and she hunts in a low & slow creep! She is persistent too! She once sat by a gopher hole for three days running, and finally caught it! She is also quiet.....only barks when someone is at the door and quiets when I assure her it's 'okay' I live in San Diego so I know all about rattlers...... "Leave it" is an important command here too!
Your dog sounds awesome. Mom had a couple of dogs that sound similar to yours. Tippy was an unusual dog that they never discovered his breed. He was an awesome squirrel hunting dog. Mom would take him & never have need of a gun. The moment the squirrel hit the ground, Tip had it & there was no fight. It was a good clean kill without ever breaking the skin on the squirrel. She also had an old fashioned Border Collie long ago who was much the same. He was gentle enough to carry baby chicks in his mouth but severe enough to kill the possum who killed the mother hen. Farm dogs are awesome.

Thus far Mr. Layne doesn't bark very much & I'm glad of it. When he says something I know it's time to look.

Mfmst,

They amaze me. I'd love to take credit for how wonderful they are but they came to me already brilliant.
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