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Hi - I'm finding myself waivering back and forth on whether to get a male or a female standard poodle. I'm wanting the dog as a companion pet, but since I'm also a psychotherapist, I'm thinking it would be nice to certify my dog as a Therapy Dog for my psychotherapy practice, where I work with high functioning individual adults and couples. There would be no tasks for the dog to do, just to be available for snuggles and comfort to clients who'd like that. I'd also like a spirited, playful dog who'd like to play, retrieve, train, go for walks and hikes, and go swimming at nearby dog-friendly beaches, when the time is right for play. In terms of temperament, I've read that girls love you, while boys are in love with you - that boys tend to more affectionate. In that sense, I'd love a boy. But I'll admit, from my readings, I'm also a little nervous about marking, humping, and for the boys who squat to potty, hitting their front legs and needing to do a clean up after every potty outing. For the breeders out there, and folks who have a standard poodle as a therapy/ service dog, could you weigh in on whether your boys or your girls have gone on to become the therapy/ service dogs? And for everyone else, could you weigh in on your experience of temperament for your male and female standard poodles, and whether some of the male behaviors are bothersome? Many thanks!
 

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I don’t have a spoo. But I had a female tpoo years ago who enjoyed humping our cats. Humping may be more common in males but it’s also a potential problem in females. It’s not about sex, it’s a power move.
 
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Hi Lila, I enjoy your reading your posts since I'm just starting my journey to become a psychotherapist as my second career!

Okay, so with a male spoo, you have nothing to worry about as long as you neuter your boy. Even some intact males are fine. Frosty has never humped, but he did mark a bit when he was still intact and I had another male dog in my home. Just keep baby wipes on hand, but you're not going to need to constantly clean up a boy.

Maizie is registered with Pet Partners as a therapy dog and she's fabulous with multiple people. She is very, very loving to me, but she can share her love with others easily and she's bombproof in nearly any therapy dog setting. She does hump pillows and our golden retriever :lol:

Frosty is a mama's boy--lives to please me and is incredibly loyal! He would be much more reserved and nervous if I took him to the typical therapy dog settings. However, he would be absolutely fine if I had him in my office in private practice. He's very friendly one on one. He is my introvert, whereas Maizie is my extrovert.

This is just the case with my dogs. Male and female poodles can make exceptional therapy dogs. It's all about the individual temperament and early training. I'd look for a dog that gets mostly 4's, or a mix of 3's and 4's on the Volhard. If you want a natural retriever, look for a dog that scores 3 on the Volhard on retrieving. I'm so glad both of my dogs retrieve, because they are able to get so much exercise that way!

Remind us where you're located and what your time frame is if you need help finding a breeder. Good luck :)
 

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Thanks, Zooeysmom. That's helpful. I'm in the Bay Area, also, and have just started reaching out to some breeders, mostly in California, but some out of state. I'm thinking Spring will be the earliest I'll have my pup, but will wait for a good-fit collaboration with the breeder and a healthy, health-tested dog.
 

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I have a male standard poodle who just turned 1. He has never humped anything, squats to pee but never gets urine on himself. He is still intact but will be neutered probably next month. He has not exhibited any bad male behaviors. My wishes were to have him trained as a therapy dog, basically just to visit nursing homes for cuddles. He is extremely bonded to me, loves me most, lol and will do most of what I ask. He is not as good for other family members nor does he like strangers. I am working on that but as of now I don't think he will be more than my companion. I am at fault that I did not expose him enough to outside people noises at a young age. He was so wild I was afraid he would hurt someone and he was a big puppy. We are still training and I am taking things slow with him as he adapts. He is getting better so who knows where we will be in another 2 years. I don't know how female stpoo's react, I imagine they to be a bit more independent but would make good therapy dogs also. I am sure you will hear from more experienced people than myself, as though I am a long time dog person I am a new to poodles.
 

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Like zooeysmom we have two standards. Lily is ten and spayed. Javelin is 3 and not neutered. As a youngster Lily spent a lot of time humping Peeves (our 10 year old GSD). It was excitability not sexual behavior. She has long since stopped doing it. Javelin tried to hump Lily exactly one time. She had a bit of hematuria because of bladder crystals so she smelled attractive to the one year old Javelin who came up behind her on the bed. I knew what he was going to do and I knew how it was going to end. As soon as she realized he was hovering over her she turned around snarled at him and bit him on the face. He jumped off the bed and has never given that a second thought to try again.


Both of our males are intact (there is not such clear evidence medically to neuter so the reason to do so in my mind is more behavioral). They both mark outside and Lily does too. She will pee over the males by only squatting part way or even slightly lifting her leg. None of our dogs would ever dream of urinating or eliminating inside any home or business place unless they were sick.


Both of the poodles work with me in obedience. Generally I think Lily does things I ask for what's in it for her more than to please me although if pleasing me means she gets a special reward and our interests coincide she is a very smart and excellent partner. I also have used her as a neutral dog for CGC tests and training reactive client dogs. In both of those settings I hand her off to someone else and she is happy to work with other people if I tell her to do so. Javelin definitely loves his obedience exercises but I do think he is less concerned about what he will get from me aside from praise than Lily is.



Both of them have tremendous poodle smarts, but the quicker learner is definitely Lily. We took 4 runs on the same rally master course at a match on Sunday. By the third run she clearly knew lots of what was coming on the course. Lily will pick up the appropriate leg if her leash is tangled when she feels the pressure of the leash and then I can easily pull the leash out from under her. Javelin, nope doesn't get that at all and usually tangles himself up more if I try to pull on the leash to get him to move a foot. Lily learned quickly to drink from a water bottle being tilted to run water and also to use a water bottle that has a licker top like a hamster water bottle. Javelin just doesn't get that either. Last night I was pouring him some water and he got freaked when some water splashed on his muzzle. He has some dopey aspects to his thinking.
 

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I’ve had males and females of different breeds and they’re all individuals. My male toy poodle is very clingy, he would be near me, touching me all day if he could. It’s a bit too much.

My female is affectionate but she will do her own things, which is a lot healthier. She is sleeping on my foot as we speak.

I’ve had strong bonds with both males and females and I don’t think ypu can go wrong with either.

The «*pee on their leg*» concern is very legitimate. We regularly see members on the forum asking for advice on the subject. And you can’t know in advance if a male will do it or not, it will have to be a surprise ! My male doesn’t because he lifts his leg high and the stream goes straight. But it is not always the case.

So for that reason, I say go for a girl ! Buy yourself peace of mind.
 

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A male might pee on your office furniture.

If you wait until he is 14 months old to neuter him (that's the approximate age for bone growth development to be nearly complete), he may also hump your clients. This won't fly well, particularly with your survivors of sexual abuse or rape.

My last poodle was a toy, but he didn't do any of this. However, the toy I got for my kids after he passed away did both. It's a roll of the dice with a male.

Females menstruate usually 2x/ year, but you can keep her at home.

Make sure your clients lined up for a particular day are all okay with you bringing your dog to the office. Also find out first if a client has grieving issues related to a pet. They could be coming to you for very different issues, only to have your dog trigger feelings of loss, and get off-tracked from they want from your services.

Make sure your professional insurance covers dog bites.

Do not bring your dog to couples or family sessions where there is likely to be heated arguing. The dog may not like it, and it will be a distraction for your clients.

All things considered, having a calm, well-behaved dog in your practice can work very well with the right mix of clients.
 

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Hi, I have a male standard, age 4. He is very loving and kind. Gets along with most people.As I have mentioned in other posts, I have bipolar disorder and even tho Asta was never trained as a therapy dog, he is my emotional support. He just seems to know when to cuddle, how to help me around other people, when I need to get out of the house for a long walk.

He was neutered at about 16 months. He lifts his leg to pee, so never a problem with urine. Never marked and has only tried humping a few times with his giant LambChop toy - guess he didn't get much satisfaction I guess - he has pretty much given up trying.

The only girls I have had were another breed - English Springer spaniels who excelled as hunting dogs but were also very loving.

All in all, I don't think you'll go wrong with a standard poodle, male or female.
 

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3 yo intact male spoo here. No humping ever, or marking inside. Both of my dogs—other is a 10 yo spayed beagle-rat terrier-X—will mark on each others urine outside. My spoo will hit his front legs with urine. I have homemade ‘chaps’ (to go along with the homemade snood, and homemade belly band for when I trained barn hunt, no longer needed).

He is a momma’s boy through and through. He is good with friends and strangers alike. It amazes me that my 55# dog is more interested in lap sitting than my 25# dog.

I agree with others that it is the temperament of the individual dog that may be more important than the gender. The reason that I have a male is because my female is part terrier and it was advised to get the opposite sex. It is possible to have a dog who will play as you’ve described, and then calm down for snuggles. Some people refer to this as having an off switch.

Depending on the breeder, this is not too early to get on a list for a spring puppy. But there are many responsible breeders out there so it will depend on your criteria e.g. gender, color, location.
 

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I agree with others that it is the temperament of the individual dog that may be more important than the gender.
I agree. Pay no attention to people who say a male or a female is thus and so. (Even to some extent breed).

Go by temperament. Go see the dogs mom and dad, and how they behave (especially the mom). Find a breeder who breeds for temperament.

There still won't be a guarantee that you will get the dog you really want for both your clients and your own peppy joy. In some ways those may not coincide, but awesome training will certainly help.

Have you considered contacting really reputable poodle rescue groups? They may have the perfect poodle, or be willing to watch for one for you.
 
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