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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know if that has been discussed before ( I imagine it has), but there seems to be this perception that Poodles are easy to keep, train, own and that any little old lady can do so....when I (after having owned breeds from almost all other groups - Maltese, Neopolitan Mastiff, Doberman, GSD, Vizsla, Pointer, Dalmatian) am of the opinion that my 11 pound Mini is one of the most challenging dogs to own period. He is immensely smart, super driven, 100% convinced that he is the smartest being in the galaxy and therefor never wrong and that everything revolves around him (at all times preferably). It has taken all of my 50 years of dog smarts to keep him in line (in a positive way of course) and although we love him to bits, at times I do feel that I was not quite ready for this much dog (which is funny given that he is the smallest dog I have owned since childhood). He is the first dog breed that I did not choose myself (I had lost both my previous boys 14 days apart - super well bred Dalmatian from uncontrollable seizures at age 4 and his equally well bred Pointer brother because he refused all food after losing his buddy just 3 months prior) when my husband decided that I needed a dog and fast and he had owned Poodles in the past. Part of it was probably my grief that made me unready for this 3 pound Poodle shark that entered our life, but now with Louie being 4 and a half one thing is for sure - easy he ain't! He is half Rambo half Klingon with a soft spot in his heart. Opinionated to a fault (I know I am projecting - it is meant in a humorous way) and very well versed in the English language - we find ourselves speaking German and Spanish if we plan the day and don't want him to know. He truly belongs with the terriers - if you look up any terrier trait and why they are hard to keep - that is what Louie is like - minus the aggression towards other beings and minus the digging, but his character is so not what he looks like. So much so that I know have him in a Jack Russell-esque cut and his look finally fits his personality (I will take a pic soon and post it when I finally snap a good one - he is so fast). And just so there is no confusion - Louie was bred by an excellent hobby breeder, raised under foot, has stellar lineage and is well trained - so none of these are the issue here - I just think going by Louie's traits he is a challenge. Thoughts? Did you think Poodles are easy before you had one? Do you still consider it an easy breed - compared to others?
 

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They are among the most difficult dogs I've owned, and we have owned numerous mixes, golden retrievers, Old English Sheepdog, Maltese, Yorkie, silky terrier, Shih-tzu, etc. Frosty is definitely easier than Maizie and always has been, but he still needs a lot of mental stimulation and is a very sensitive dog to everything in the environment including humans' feelings, noises, body sensations (does not do well being sick!), other dogs around him, etc. Maizie was the biggest handful ever, as anyone knows who knows her story, and although she has a lot of health challenges, she has settled down a lot in energy and mischief. I would say poodles, at least standards and minis, are for experienced dog owners. They are just way smarter and more energetic and needy than most breeds.
 

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I loved reading this and can’t wait to see a photo of Louie in his JR ‘do.

Poodles are not easy dogs. The only thing “easy” about them is the lack of shedding, but we all know this comes with serious grooming requirements.

Of course, this isn’t to say someone can’t end up with an unusually easygoing poodle. My last girl was half poodle and in many ways a super easy keeper...providing she had a job to do. But those smarts really can complicate things. 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Surely some of this comes down to the dog/human personality mix. The very traits that I love in my dog would perhaps drive someone else to despair.
Yes indeed! That is a good point! My sister is a judge for terriers (and also a breeder) and yet I have always said I am so not equipped to be a terrier owner - and here I am owned by a terrier in Poodle clothes...
 

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Surely some of this comes down to the dog/human personality mix. The very traits that I love in my dog would perhaps drive someone else to despair.
100%. During Peggy’s first year, I regularly researched “least intelligent dogs” so I could fantasize about my next puppy. :LOL: Now I honestly can’t imagine having a dog that didn’t have Peggy’s smarts.

And all of our persistent challenges with her are because we want to take her everywhere with us. Someone with a different lifestyle or different expectations of their dog would have none of these difficulties.

Then again, she would probably be climbing their walls with boredom, which would create a whole new set of challenges.
 

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No! I do not think poodles are easy. Not. At. All! Their love and intelligence are next level, but that intelligence also makes them so much harder as young dogs, I think. It’s funny you mention the terrier thing. Phoebe reminds me so much of my late JRT, and it’s not just me! My husband constantly accidentally called her Zoe (the jrt’s name) when we first got her. I’ve accidentally called her Zoe when she is at her naughtiest, and this past weekend my FIL was over and when he came in he kept saying Zoe! Zoe! They are the same dog in completely different form, almost 20 years apart.
Interestingly, I think Starla was much like Peggy Sue: very delicate and couldn’t take any discipline - a firm no would send her running like a scared bunny (only made that mistake once!) Phoebe is opposite, I’ve had to be more firm with her than our past dogs, but she also responds to the “mom-look”, almost better than my human kids do!

I’m looking forward to my less intelligent, easier, but same amount of stubborn bull terrier next year!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also something that should be mentioned - Poodles are by far the most "keyed in to human emotional states" breed I have ever had. In other words if I am about to have an anxiety episode it is preceded by one in Louie. He is the champion of the group hug and initiates them - he needs everyone to get along! That is actually the trait I love the most in him - my son calls him "the group hug retriever". I love it when he joins in my nightly yoga sessions because it feels like some days we both need it - truly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I can't always tell the difference between a poodle trait and a teaching failure. For example, we had a lunch guest today that Normie was convinced had come just to interact with him. I assume that poodle excitement and human failure to teach a firm Stay collided.
Yep "who is training who" is often heard in our house, because turn your back and this little goblin plays the long con on me. Perfect example he truly gets most things within 1-3 repetitions but of course he knows the longer he plays "dumb" the more the treats keep flowing....When my grandson teaches him something - much shorter attention span and likely to throw in the towel quicker and thus end the treat flow - he will perform pretty much anything my grandson can think of within 1 repetition, but if I take over we are back to "how many treats can I convince you to dish out"...
 

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My parents (who have had dozens of dogs from all sorts of breeds between them ranging from terriers to LGDs to herding breeds and mastiff breeds) regularly say Annie is one of the most difficult and needy dogs they have ever met and it's a very good thing that, as a first time dog owner, I had lots of dog experience before getting her. She is an awesome dog - but a ton of work!

She is smart, fairly high energy, needs to run regularly to keep her brains, gets excited easily, needs both brain work and exercise and lots of interaction to be happy. She doesn't adore me and look for guidance the way herding dogs do. She also has very little frustration tolerance which sometimes makes training difficult. And yes, she is very aware of my moods and feels like any unhappiness from me is her fault! She does not like to be alone, either, she strongly prefers we do everything together.

I am sure some poodles are great first time dogs. Annie would not be.

Let's ignore the whole grooming thing when it comes to difficulty!

I do think she would be an easier dog to manage in a different environment. A large country lot with a fence to patrol and squirrels to chase would be right up her alley. Or going to work every day with someone outdoorsy. But that's probably true for most dogs.

When I take her back country camping she's chill and almost supernaturally well behaved. But she has plenty of mental stimulation, plenty of freedom, plenty of attention, and plenty of exercise!
 

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Easy? Depends upon your idea of easy. Certainly poodles cannot be put out in the back yard and expected to thrive. They do require grooming by either a professional groomer or by an owner who has taken the time and energy to learn how to groom. Their intelligence and activity level are too much for some people.

On the other hand, they are clean, free from odor (unless it was acquired by rolling in something delicious), intelligent and easy to train, generally healthy (especially if purchased from a reputable breeder), and sensitive to their person(s) moods.

It's nice that they come in a wide range of sizes and colors.
 

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I think the perception that poodles are easy because little old ladies own them is an indication that people seriously underestimate little old ladies.
Best answer yet!
My favorite little old lady had a poodle mix until recently, that dog was great.
She sure knew a thing or two about keeping people in line, including people in fur suits lol. Plus she walked around 5k daily in all weather!
 

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Maybe he’s the exception but I find Nano to be the easiest dog ever. Polite, well behaved, chill, not super high entertainment/exercise needs, good with every creature. All he wants to do is hang out whether it’s playing fetch or sleeping on the couch. I take him everywhere, my coworkers adore him and are amazed at how good he is in the workplace.

I did have a puli mix previously, I guess most everything is easier than that. And I did put a lot of time and energy into training and socializing Nano (still do some training for fun) but he was never hard.

He is definitely smarter than my previous dog though and likes to bend the rules in a cheeky little way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My parents (who have had dozens of dogs from all sorts of breeds between them ranging from terriers to LGDs to herding breeds and mastiff breeds) regularly say Annie is one of the most difficult and needy dogs they have ever met and it's a very good thing that, as a first time dog owner, I had lots of dog experience before getting her. She is an awesome dog - but a ton of work!

She is smart, fairly high energy, needs to run regularly to keep her brains, gets excited easily, needs both brain work and exercise and lots of interaction to be happy. She doesn't adore me and look for guidance the way herding dogs do. She also has very little frustration tolerance which sometimes makes training difficult. And yes, she is very aware of my moods and feels like any unhappiness from me is her fault! She does not like to be alone, either, she strongly prefers we do everything together.

I am sure some poodles are great first time dogs. Annie would not be.
Yep same here. Louie would be a disaster as a first time dog and would probably end up in a shelter as a biter. He has such clear rules about his quiet time or how he likes to be held/not held at times I shudder if I think of him in a busy loud family with young kids. His stimulation would be so over the top, the lashing out and severe punishment following would be a given. Sad to think how many dogs do end up in shelters do to a mismatch of what they are capable of and need and what is offered to them. I always say it is truly a wonder that there are not more dog bites - a true testament to the forgiving and patient nature of dogs.
I also feel that the grooming issue is overblown. Anyone with a clipper and 20 minutes can give a fairly decent close groom.
 

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I think Starla was much like Peggy Sue: very delicate and couldn’t take any discipline - a firm no would send her running like a scared bunny
Unlike adult Peggy, who looks absolutely mortified if someone shouts at her, puppy Peggy would air snap and throw a big fit. I still remember giving her a firm “NO” when she tried to climb into the bath with me. An epic temper tantrum ensued, while I sat helpless—and naked—in the tub. :LOL: That’s when I learned to turn into a boring statue and just drain the energy from the situation instead. That lightbulb moment changed everything.

Some dog owners I imagine would have doubled down on their forcefulness, insisting their dog “listen” to them and not realizing their dog has no idea what they’re saying. Those are the people who probably shouldn’t have poodles.

Whatever their temperament, I believe poodles require finesse and creative thinking. If something doesn’t work—even if it worked on their last ten dogs—they need to be flexible enough to switch things up.

Parents of gifted or extra sensitive children can probably relate to this.
 

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I think the perception that poodles are easy because little old ladies own them is an indication that people seriously underestimate little old ladies.
This is a really good point. I also imagine life “with a little old lady” means no alone time for a poodle. They get to be a true life companion, which I think is what a poodle should be.
 
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