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Hi fellow poodle people! Long story short, I'll be in the market for a standard poodle puppy in a few years and was wondering about docking. Generally, I'm against all forms of cosmetic surgery in dogs for obvious reasons, but my search for a reputable non-docking breeder near me has been much harder than anticipated. Many non-docking breeders either don't health test/don't do enough health tests, have less than desirable looking dogs, or just don't have the colors I like (Doevalley and Propert's Way have nice dogs and health test enough, but I'm not a fan of blue and red poodles)

I've recently been looking at some of the recommended breeders on this sub and completely fell in love with Oakridge Standard Poodles. Their beautiful dogs, emphasis on health and diversity, and good reputation made me extremely happy, but they are, unfortunately, a docking breeder.

I was looking on this forum for past discussions about this, but it seems like it's just considered an aesthetic thing? A lot of the breeders on here seem to compare the procedure to circumcision, which I guess I can understand? And other people just suggest asking the breeder to leave one puppy natural, but that prevents the puppy from being temperament tested an matched to me.

So in short, does docking actually hurt the puppy? Is there a long recovery time? Are their tail tips permanently scarred? What's the actual point in docking vs not docking?

Also, if anyone has any suggestions for good non-docking breeders near the South East, let me know! Thanks!
 

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My poodle has a natural tail, but my other breed is a docked breed (Corso). I also work at a vet clinic and have assisted with tail docking.
Tail docking is mostly cosmetic, done to fit the breed standard or because of its original purpose. Some breeds, like my Corso, do have a strong, whippy, easily damaged tail if left undocked (but there are other breeds with similar tails that are not docked so...).
It's hard to tell for sure how much they feel, but it does not seem to affect puppies long term if done correctly by three days old. They usually start squawking as soon as they are held in position, and stop as soon as you hold them normally. They typically heal in a week and nurse and move around normally immediately after the procedure.
Ideally a local anesthetic (lidocaine) will be used, but not all vets do.
I know that some people use the banding method, which cuts off circulation so that the end of the tail dies off. I've never seen that done well, and personally prefer having it over and done with instead of drawn out.
There could be scarring if it's not sutured properly, or it comes open or gets infected; but otherwise it heals over smoothly.
 

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I raised poodles for quite a few years and have probably done tails and dewclaws on at least 200 puppies. Some puppies do not seem to feel it at all. Removing dew claws does seem to be hurt, but the primary reaction seems to be that the puppies do not like to be restrained. My procedure was to pick up a puppy from the whelping box, do the tail, then the dewclaws, apply antiseptic powder to the dewclaw wound, and put the puppy back in with its mother. They would just go back to nursing without any complaint. There has never been a need for sutures because the wounds are so tiny if the job is done properly. Never had any scars or infections.
 

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A lot of the breeders on here seem to compare the procedure to circumcision, which I guess I can understand?
I would never compare tail docking or removing dewclaws to circumcision. Circumcision takes a few weeks to heal and needs daily attentive care. It is painful for the baby if not cared for properly.

As Joanna said, puppies go back to nursing without even crying after the docking and dewclaws removing is done, so I would say pain is very minimal, if any.
 

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I have had similar experiences to Johanna. My parents raised Dobermans. I have assisted in the docking, dewclaw removal in Dobies, Schnauzers, Poodles, Boxers, & others. I have not seen pups in crisis or trauma from docking or dewclaw removal. I have seen pups really irked by how they're held. As a general rule, if I can I hold the pup until it's fallen to sleep & I've had pups that don't make a sound through the whole thing other than maybe a peep when a dewclaw resisted. But these are done between birth & 3 days old. I do not like to wait til the 3rd day. I like to give the pups 24 hours & then do tails & claws. What I have seen were some pups very upset because they want to nurse & you're in their way. I have seen pups who did not like being held like that. I have not seen pups who were bothered by the procedure. Sometimes the dewclaws seem to be a bother but very minor. They heal quickly. Honestly I've seen less drama over docking & dewclaws than I have with vaccinations or nail trimming from pups. And I can promise that it's a lot less at 1-3 days old than it is for your pup to catch a dew claw on cloth & tear it or rip the thing out. That's a mess & takes a lot longer to heal.


My SPOO is docked & no dews. If/when I get another it will be docked, no dews.
 

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All of my poodles (Standards) have been docked. All but my first had dewclaws removed. I will have docked tails and dews out on any future poodles I have.

I got my first Standard from a pet store when I was 16 before I knew any better and she had dews. She ripped one 3/4 of the way off when she was around a year old and it was a mess. Had to have surgery to take the rest of it off properly (cartilage is firm by that time) and I had the other one removed at the same time. I know a lot of people say dews give them traction, etc. but I do multiple performance venues with my dogs, especially agility, and I have never had issues with them with traction, slipping, etc. on multiple surfaces - grass, matting, artificial turf, etc. Same with tails..some people say the tails help balance them when working, but again, I have never had issues with docked tails.

Many years ago I worked for a breeder for a while and assisted with docking and dewclaw removal and 99% of the pups were back nursing as soon as they were put back in the box with their dam and seemingly oblivious to what had just been done to them. Of course, this is when they are done at 3 days old or so....
 
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I got Buck from a US show breeder, and I was spared an ethical dilemma, due to my ignorance. I thought that’s the way they came. (Yes, I know it’s not a defense.) I knew Dobermans, Great Danes and boxers had their ears docked, but that was the extent of my canine plastic surgery knowledge. Now that I do know about dewclaws and tail docking, the absolute ban of it in Europe, training my eye to a new profile like my crush, Ricky, Crufts BIS❤, I’m glad to have been spared any angst with Buck because I was new to poodles. Unless the AKC changes it’s standards and US judges’ eyes, show breeders will continue to remove and dock. How can they determine the next BIS in three days?
 
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