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Does anyone else’s non-hunting poodle point? I know standard poodles were originally bred as “duck dogs,” but I thought they were waterfowl retrievers, hence the haircut commonly associated with the poodle to keep their joints warm in cold waters. Our 3-lb. toy points at her squeaky toys, squirrels, rabbits, any small thing (organic or not) that moves or makes noise. She holds her point for quite a long time before the “flush.” I find it hilarious that the pointing instinct still exists in our girl especially when some of her “prey,” like the rabbits, are bigger.
 

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My minipoo pointed for a long time. Took me awhile to break that. I had to break it because going for a walk or out to potty took forever because she was pointing to birds, rabbits, dogs, other animals and even an airplane in the sky which I realized resembled a bird. I wanted her attention on me and not on pointing.
 

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Gracie doesn’t point, although she does have a high prey drive. She has brought down a couple bunnies in the yard, not a pretty sight. Our drop it training is not totally proofed, and it took some finagling to get her to drop them.

The retrieving instinct is strong in her. When I brought her home at 8 weeks, the breeder told me she liked to retrieve a ball. I looked at the 3 lb ball of fluff and thought “sure she does”, but I dutifully bought a small ball. Sure enough, threw the ball and she brought it right back, no training needed. Fast forward ten months and she has a variety of balls, and looks for them first thing in the morning, bringing them to us to play fetch, over and over again. It’s very cute, but she is a little obsessive about it!

Would love to see a video or pics of your girl pointing.
 
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Zoe loves to retrieve. We buy small yellow tennis balls at Petsmart for her. She starts every morning with "Please throw the ball" and would keep it up indefinitely. She has also retrieved one small bird - completely unharmed. I presume it was a fledgling who did not succeed in its first flight. I put it on a high planter box and after a few minutes it flew away.

She is always on the lookout for birds. When we play ball with her she focuses intently. She can grab a ball out of the air in a game of catch or can catch it midair on a bounce. Her ability to track and grab are just amazing.

I had a standard poodle who pointed, but I can only remember that one particular dog doing that.
 

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Yes, both my toy poodles point at some birds sometimes, especially Matisse. It's not all the time though. I had a lab mix when I was a kid and he (Bruno)stood watching my parakeets and pointed. I thought that was so cool.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Everyone, thank you for the replies! Skylar, your poodle pointing at the airplane is so cute and funny! Carolinek, our toy does not retrieve at all. She never learned to, which is strange because I thought poodles were bred as duck retrievers. She has no retrieve ability, but she has the pointing instinct. She doesn't always point with her paw up, sometimes she fixates completely still with all 4 paws on the ground.
 

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Very cute! Such a tiny thing she is, adorable.
 
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That is so cute. Sometimes dogs lift a paw as an appeasement gesture, which could look like pointing. If my dogs are unsure about something, they may lift a paw. But if you see a bird or something of equal or like interest, maybe that squeaky toy, your dog may well be pointing. It's an instinct in dogs, to one degree or another but sometimes not shown by all of them. It is tracing back to the wolf. Wolves have all the predatory motor patterns; orient, eye-stalk, chase, grab, bite, kill-bite, dissect, consume. And dogs, depending on what humans have selected artificially to make different breeds, will demonstrate some of the predatory motor patterns, some stronger than others. Sometimes some of those are all but vanished. They will show up but usually weakly or non-functionally. It is highly rare for a border collie to kill a sheep for instance. That's on account of domestic dogs' juvenile brains. They're neotenic versions of wolves. Because of their smaller brains and higher levels of happy hormones, even as adults, dogs won't have those predatory patterns nearly as strong or functional as wolves. (long story) But you see border collies herding quite naturally. You see that strong orient, eye-stalk, then the chase but the sequence stops there. They don't go on to grab, bite, kill etc etc. Even my Doberman herded quite strongly, as that breed is made of of many breeds and a few of those are herding breeds.

Anyhow, thanks for bringing this up. That pointing must be part of the beginning of the sequence perhaps.
 
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She is very cute ! I find she looks unsure in those pictures. I wonder if she is pointing or wondering what to do. When you look at dogs pointing, their bodies are very stiff, tail straight, head forward.

In any case, the cuteness factor is definitely high ! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That is so cute. Sometimes dogs lift a paw as an appeasement gesture, which could look like pointing. If my dogs are unsure about something, they may lift a paw. But if you see a bird or something of equal or like interest, maybe that squeaky toy, your dog may well be pointing. It's an instinct in dogs, to one degree or another but sometimes not shown by all of them. It is tracing back to the wolf. Wolves have all the predatory motor patterns; orient, eye-stalk, chase, grab, bite, kill-bite, dissect, consume. And dogs, depending on what humans have selected artificially to make different breeds, will demonstrate some of the predatory motor patterns, some stronger than others. Sometimes some of those are all but vanished. They will show up but usually weakly or non-functionally. It is highly rare for a border collie to kill a sheep for instance. That's on account of domestic dogs' juvenile brains. They're neotenic versions of wolves. Because of their smaller brains and higher levels of happy hormones, even as adults, dogs won't have those predatory patterns nearly as strong or functional as wolves. (long story) But you see border collies herding quite naturally. You see that strong orient, eye-stalk, then the chase but the sequence stops there. They don't go on to grab, bite, kill etc etc. Even my Doberman herded quite strongly, as that breed is made of of many breeds and a few of those are herding breeds.

Anyhow, thanks for bringing this up. That pointing must be part of the beginning of the sequence perhaps.
Poodlebeguiled,
Thank you for such a detailed explanation of the predatory sequence! Fascinating. I would love to learn more. Poodlebeguiled and Dechi, I understand what you mean about being unsure or appeasement. Our toy does that, too, but the unsure or appeasement paw lift is a very different paw lift than the pointing paw lift. She only does the former when she is trying to prevent us from doing something she hates, like bath or getting picked up (she anticipates both). She only points in the "predatory" way when she's after a squeaky toy or sees a rabbit or squirrel or lizard, she freezes in place with muzzle and nose toward the direction of the toy and holds completely still for a long time, sometimes up to a minute, until she feels like pouncing on the toy. The only part that doesn't look like most pointing dogs' postures is her tail, it's neither straight up nor straight out.

I should explain how this "pointing" evolved. She's 6 now, and she didn't always point as a puppy and younger adult. She did what I think would be the "eye-stalk" instead. When our furniture was arranged differently and my husband tossed her squeaky toy down the hall, she chased in a nonlinear direction, "hid" behind the couch, and "eye-stalked" her toy with her head forward perfectly still until she was ready to pounce. When she pounced, she would try to chew her toy, still does. It finally occurred to me that this was her version of chasing "prey." I wish I had some videos of this. I've had several breeds and never paid so much attention to canine body language until her. Thank you again for the replies and reading!
 
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