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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all know that toys, minis, and standards have the same sharp poodle brain. I'm just wondering if training goals are determined by the dog's size.

How large is your poodle?

And what are your training goals?

Are you training at home on your own, using online resources, and/or going to class?

Or is your poodle already accomplished in all ways that matter?

And what type of training has worked best for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Normie's an 18 lb mini. Since my husband and I are older, it's important to me that Normie be well behaved both for us and in case he has to move on to live with our grandchildren one day.

I've tried books (least successful for me), online (worked okay), and classes (our most effective choice).

Normie's currently halfway through an intermediate class. I'm not sure where we'll go from there.
It will probably be a class limited to two dogs with our favorite trainer.
 

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Galen is between 45-50 pounds right now. I took him to a teen dog class, but he hasn't been to any others due to the Covid situation. I'm interested in having Galen pass his CGC test (to prove he is a functional member of society) and possibly Novice and Intermediate trick dog (just for fun.) The CGC is my primary concern right now. He's not ready for it due to Covid related under-socialization. During autumn and early winter he went through a period where he was a bit skittish around strangers; fortunately he's improving now that he encounters more people on our daily walks. However, I think I'm going to need to take him to a formal training class to get help addressing some of his remaining training & socialization gaps.

I'm pretty sure he could pass Novice Trick dog if I bothered to sign up for the test, and he's about 2/3 of the way to Intermediate trick dog. We shall see after that. I stopped showing horses when I realized it wasn't fun for either me or the horses; whether I continue with any other titles depends on whether Galen seems to think it's fun.
 

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With Misha my advanced training goals haven't really had anything to do with his size. I do think smaller size makes some training a lesser priority though. For example, while his leash skills are okay, they aren't great if he's in a new exciting area. I'm okay with that. He pulls some when very excited. It's ok because he is small enough to easily control. If he was a big dog this would be much more difficult. Also he will still jump up on people when greeting. This has been so hard to work with because a) most people don't care or invite him to jump and b) he doesn't want to be pet so I can't use that as a reward. We're working on using treats to ask for polite greeting but the fact that we're still working on it at 2 years old is due to his size.
 

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It's not that the training goals should be different, but often they are. People will let a small dog get away with behavior they would never allow with a big dog. Jumping on people, not obeying so they have to be picked up, not fully housebroken, begging when you have food, barking at strangers, etc. A toy poodle should behave just as well as a Great Dane.
 

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I don't think training should be determined by size or breed. Some techniques may need some adaptations based on size, nut not very much. I also think basic goals should be the same. As Michigan Gall pointed out toy size dogs are often excused for bad behaviors that would never be tolerated in a large dog. That should not occur, small or large they are dogs and all should have nice basic manners.

I do a lot of training on my own, but I have maintained training with my private trainer as weekly one on one lessons after a stoppage of group classes last March. We work at her facility at other times on our own in addition to our private session. I also work at home and at the obedience club where i teach on Fridays.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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So true that littles get away with more. Peggy barked at our neighbour the other day, and I was mortified. When Gracie yapped at someone, it was just mildly irritating. I absolutely hold Peggy to a higher standard.

On average, I also see large dogs heeling better on casual walks than small dogs. This is probably partly due to littles getting away with more, but also it can be tricky teaching a small dog to stay close. It’s so much easier when you can pop treats directly in mouths. Plus, littles get stepped on a lot! Gracie was regularly scolded for getting underfoot because we didn’t want to accidentally crush her. We were happy when she kept a little distance.

There’s also the concern of damaging fragile tracheas, so small dogs get walked more frequently on harnesses, which can encourage pulling.

As for my personal training goals with Peggy, I hope to get her trick dog titles once she qualifies for a PAL number. (I had no idea she had to be spayed first. This stuff is all new to me.) I’ve also been chatting with our trainer about agility. I have no desire to compete, but there’s a local class that focuses primarily on distance handling, which seems very relevant to real life. Plus, Peggy loves doing very basic backyard agility. Would be fun to try some new obstacles.

Our regular classes (basic obedience, teen manners and socialization) were shut down by covid and haven’t resumed. But we still practise what we learned in those classes every day.
 

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Agility, competition obedience, rally etc all have accommodations for size. There are obvious jobs that toys and miniatures can’t perform, even poodles are not used as police dogs.

I strongly believe dogs of all sizes should have obedience training and be able to pass the AKC CGC or equivalent test. Most of us have seen poorly behaved, spoiled little dog tyrants.

I take classes but I also do a lot of follow up training at home, in stores, parks etc. I find I don’t do well with internet training. I also teach.

I don’t know if any dog, or human is ever perfect but I love how well behaved my dog is generally. We work on maintaining good behavior. Now I’m starting over with a new puppy and its quite a contrast between silly puppy running circles around my feet as I walk. I keep expecting him to walk nicely on my left.
 
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I am going to disagree that harnesses encourage pulling. If you look closely, you will see many dogs wearing training collars and dragging their owners down the street, in spite of the breathing problems given by the choke chain. It looks very much like choke collars encourage pulling.

It is not about the harness or collar, it is about training. You can have a wonderfully behaved and trained horse with only a neck rein, and an impossible horse with a bit. It is the training.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I am going to disagree that harnesses encourage pulling. If you look closely, you will see many dogs wearing training collars and dragging their owners down the street, in spite of the breathing problems given by the choke chain. It looks very much like choke collars encourage pulling.

It is not about the harness or collar, it is about training. You can have a wonderfully behaved and trained horse with only a neck rein, and an impossible horse with a bit. It is the training.
Can encourage pulling. Emphasis on the “can.” ;) I walk Peggy in a harness. We also do a lot of practising with no collar/harness/leash at all.
 

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Killa and Tekno
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I would like to do agility, rally, and obedience with Tekno, and I softness do envy seeing people with dogs that they can just talk to and feed without squatting lol but it’s also cool to be the only little dog pair in our classes and to get “ohs and ahs” when we’re out and about because he...um listens lol.
Im learning more every day about accommodating his size in training and fortunately Im pretty small too. With agility Im aware too that he may grow up to be too fragile for it but we’re going to play it by ear and pivot to other sports if it doesn’t pan out.

Tekno’s such a special little guy, I would like to see how far we can go and title as much as we can.
 

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I have short-term and long-term training goals for Topper, my miniature poodle puppy. For the short term, I focus on house training and management. I started an online course called "30 Days to Puppy Perfection" when I brought Topper home. The course focused on things like crate training, house training, sit, collar touch, and other basics. The title of the course seemed to instill some unrealistic expectations in my mind. I now prefer KikoPup and Susan Garret's online programs.

For the long-term, I want to shape an attentive, obedient and happy companion dog. We started in-person basic obedience classes at my local humane society in December, when Topper had completed his vaccinations. I volunteer in the training school, so I knew what to expect and had no issues asking questions and getting some individual help when I needed it. We have establish some great relationships with several of the trainers. They also offer a Pet Behavior Helpline, one-on-one and online (Zoom) classes, so they can help me with any training issue that comes up. We also take specialty classes for impulse control and jumping. At seven months old, Topper is now in Level 4. I would like to earn our CGC, and if Topper still enjoys the work, go on to more advanced obedience and Rally. Topper's grandmother is an agility champion, but I'm not so agile so I'm not sure we will pursue it. However, I have some agility equipment to "play" with.

We do nose work at the same training center just for fun - the trainer reminds us that the search area is an "obedience-free zone." We will start Level 3 in May. Topper loves it and is pretty good at it considering his age.

Topper LOVES training and seems to "ask" to play training games. That's why I want to continue our obedience training. I love having such a smart, trainable puppy!
 

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"I'm pretty sure he (Galen) could pass Novice Trick dog if I bothered to sign up for the test, and he's about 2/3 of the way to Intermediate trick dog."

Did you know you can do your Trick Dog evaluation by video now? The AKC Trick Dog website gives you all the info on how to submit your video.

Good luck on getting your Trick Dog degree with handsome Galen. I wonder if wearing a flower pot on his muzzle could count as a trick???
 
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