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Hi

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading through the forum and now I’m scared - almost terrified to bring home our standard poodle puppy in two weeks.
Prior to finding the forum, I thought standard poodles were supposed to be good with kids, trainable, and generally amiable dogs (similar to labs).

From what I’ve been reading, I feel like they shouldn’t be trusted with my 7 year olds. Is he ever going to be able to be a trustworthy family dog? I’m just finding so many threads on aggression and issues. I’m also just surprised that they should not be left alone with kids. Our prior dogs were trustworthy and I didn’t blink an eye with them in the room with the kids, and I thought that was a normal expectation.

For what it’s worth, my “ideal” dog was a Boston terrier. We can’t have another Boston due to allergies, so we had settled on a poodle. We also had a Brittany for six months - prior to discovering the dog allergy. He was a great dog, and now I’m wondering if they are also just friendlier dogs.

I guess what I am asking is - what is a reasonable expectation of a standard poodle for a family pet? Is he ever going to be able to hang out with the kids while I’m outside, or cooking, or am I constantly going to need to be on guard?
Please feel free to talk me out of the poodle if I’m making a huge mistake.

My Boston was a super sensitive emo dog, so I understand that aspect of poodles. At the same time, if he wanted someone out of his face, he would lick them. Not an aggressive bone in his body. I understand what goes into training a dog, especially a puppy. I’m more concerned with the temperament in general and also wondering if you consider poodles for an experienced dog owner. I’ve had two dogs and neither one was in any way difficult to live with or train. I didn’t feel like I needed to walk on eggshells around them. They had very stable temperaments. But I don’t feel like this made me prepared enough to be owning a poodle.

I hate that I’m doubting my choice, and I feel like Covid is a contributing factor as I’ve had no contact with the puppy or parents. So am I wrong? Am
I biting off more than I can chew here?
 

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I think there is some selection bias in what you find in this forum. People post for advice so you get a lot of posts where people are having trouble with their dogs. There are many folks on here who have poodles as family pets and whose dogs are good with their kids. My adolescent poodle, Oona (8 months) is on the shyer side with strangers and strange kids, takes a bit to warm up, but looooves my almost 10 year old daughter. I don't leave them alone unsupervised for more than a few moments because Oona's still got obnoxious teenage behaviors like jumping, mouthing, and barking. My daughter doesn't have the skills yet to consistently de-escalate the dog when she's overaroused and even if she's not going to get hurt, I don't want her to let Oona rehearse those behaviors. But they are practicing training almost every day, and I think by the time Oona has matured I won't have trouble leaving them alone. By that time my daughter will be 11-12 and bigger, so maybe she'll even be able to walk her on her own. At this point Oona's leash walking isn't solid enough and she's too strong for my daughter if she is pulling. Poodles are challenging puppies (like most) and seem to have a long adolescence, but I think if you put in the time you can wind up with a great family dog.
 

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If you have described your household to the breeder they should have chosen or helped you choose a dog with a temperament that will be a good match. Additionally your children are old enough to learn how to behave around a bouncy puppy and to participate in puppy training which will help them to develop good relations with your pup. I suspect you are noticing posts that are about problems because at some level you "need" ro be allowed to change your mind. Lily was the first dog who was truly mine since my childhood beagle died while I was in college. I just knew I wanted a spoo but that I also did not havethe right circumstances for any dog since I lived in an apartment with no fenced or even open yard. I also had a pretty strange work schedule. I waited a long time to get Lily. She was a pretty crazy puppy but she grew up to be a great dog (sleeping on the sofa next to me right now). Javelin (now five and sleeping near me on the floor) was a super easy puppy. Both of them have nice temperaments and are great adult dogs.

If it reassures you in any way I had been out working with a client a couple of weeks ago. I have been taking lily to this client to help with counter conditioning reactivity with the client bernedoodle (a COVID pup). She is a hugely good neutral dog who sends really good calming signals. I also often use her as the neutral dog for CGC tests. When we got home from my client's place our across the street neighbor, her mom, her two little girls (2 and 5) were out front with their 6 month old bernedoodle. I crossed the street to chat since it was the first time I saw this puppy. He is super bouncy and it was actually very quickly that the girls came to see Lily and give her some pets. They were super polite and followed my instructions about how to pet her. They came back over and over to see her. She was marvelous, loved the attention and kept four on the floor the whole time.
 

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Whether or not any dog can be left alone with a child depends on how well mannered each of them is. Training for both is the key.

What threads are you referring to? Is it possible they relate to poorly bred pet store/puppy farm dogs? Reputable breeders focus on temperament as well as conformation and health.

Most of us find our poodles to be easy to train and many of us trust our poodles enough to sleep alongside us.

Keep in mind that people with various issues find their way here in hopes of help.
 

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In these two weeks, a strong suggestion to dive into Ian Dunbar's Before and After You Get Your Puppy books (available in print as a single edition and in freely downloadable pdfs from dogstardaily.com), and Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash. They will help you get off on a good start with your Poodle.

Poodles are different in a good way, and rather sensitive. Not dogs to drill like some breeds seem to thrive under, as a trainer here has so aptly said. Lily CD RE, apologies if I've misstated 😊.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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No, I would not recommend Peggy for your household. Yes, I would recommend some of her littermates. No, I do not think poodles are easy. Yes, I think they are fabulous. :)

Poodle intelligence and sensitivity can both be double-edged swords. If you try to train your poodle the way you’d train a lab, for example, you will likely both be miserable. They require a gentle hand and a flexible approach. Puppy Peggy didn’t seem “trainable” until I realized she neither needed nor would tolerate multiple reps of new commands. Once that clicked, we were unstoppable.
 

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Benjamin Franlkin - Senior Tpoo, Apple Butter - mpoo puppy
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I've met some great standard poodle family dogs! If you're upfront with the breeder about what you want in a dog and she is a good breeder, she will help steer you right. Your kids are old enough to put up with a standard poodle, I'd think.

They are A LOT of dog as puppies though. Like any puppy, they will need lots of training but they tend to be more emotionally sensitive and that can be harder for some people. The thing I've seen are mostly just... bouncy happy energy in a big dog package! I haven't known poodles to be mean.

I'd say if you're committed to training and socialization, a standard poodle could be a great fit for your family. :)
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I suspect you are noticing posts that are about problems because at some level you "need" ro be allowed to change your mind.
I agree that if your heart is yearning for a Boston-esque puppy, you may be subconsciously gravitating to negative poodle content. And the nature of social media algorithms is that they’ll keep churning up more of the same. So if you’re reading about resource guarding, for example, Poodle Forum is going to keep recommending more and more resource guarding content. Suddenly it will seem to you that poodles are universally terrible resource guarders! (Not true, by the way. Even my girl, who is prone to resource guarding, demonstrates incredible self-control.)

Read about how standard poodles make excellent big spoons—and little spoons!—while napping.
Read about trick training and see these delightful dogs in action.
Search boating, cottaging, and swimming, and discover the joys of owning a fabulously outdoorsy breed.

There’s just as much good out there as bad, I promise you. :)

(One word of caution, though: If allergies are your primary motivator, know that poodles can still trigger terrible symptoms in some people. I think the term “hypoallergenic” can be misleading when applied to dogs.)
 

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You'll be fine. The poodle will grow up with your child and learn to love them. I get that you're nervous but the breeder should be focusing on good temperament. There are poodles out there who are therapy dogs for children, go and visit people at hospitals, and are service dogs for children and adults with disabilities. People on here are looking for advice as others have said. You are going to see more posts about people who are experiencing behavior issues with their dogs than those who are not because people just aren't going to be posting about dogs they have no issues with. Why seek advice if you don't need it?

I'm excited about your new house member in two weeks!! Practically all puppies, poodles or not, are nippers when they're young so be prepared to do lots of training and know that's a normal thing for puppies.
 

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No dog should be left alone with children, IMO, but in terms of being GOOD with kids it's a 50/50 shot with any dog regardless of breed. It totally depends on the individual animal's personality - and the kids behavior around and handling of the dog, of course.

I've seen some "great for the family" dogs that are HORRIBLE with children. And i've seen some "i would never have this breed around kids" dogs be great family pets. And as much as that can be the dog's personality (some just DON'T like kids and that's not something you can really predict/control - this goes for ANY breed of dog) it can also depend on the dog's upbringing, training, socialization..... and the family/KIDS in question.

A lot IS going to rely on your kids - how they treat the dog, them learning how to play with THIS particular dog, and so on. And on YOU - how you supervise activity, how you direct both the dog and the kids, and so on.

Poodles overall are very versatile - they can be worked (hunting dogs), they're great for therapy/service work, they can be great family pets. They're eager to please and very people oriented. They do NOT need a firm hand with training, though they can be too smart for their own good at times.

Honestly? My Spoo is the biggest clown ever. He has his durhp moments, but he's a great dog overall. He does great with my cousins (they where 11 and 8 when he was a puppy) and he does great with most other kids. He's a bit head shy about strangers - he prefers to sniff first, save the head fluff patting for later - but once he warms up he's a total ham. That's just his personality - one of the Spoos i groom is the exact opposite and would walk off with anyone without a second glance.

Your kids are old enough to understand that the new puppy isn't like any of the dogs they may have grown up with or around - this is a new puppy with a new personality. You, and they, will have to figure out what sort of play/handling this puppy enjoys. Trustworthyness around the kids comes with TIME. This, again, goes for any dog. You don't just automatically trust any new pet with the kids.

With the right guidance i have very little concern in regards to a Spoo around kids. If it's a huge concern, reach out to the breeder. Ask about the parents' temperaments. Were either of them CGC or TDI certified? Are there kids in the home that the breeder will expose the puppies to? What are their raising practices?
 

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I think it depends on the temperament of the specific dog. I grew up around standard poodles and they were always the most gentle dogs.
 

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My dogs breeder has two kids under 10 and a host of even younger kids belonging to relatives running around. My poodle would love to have kids at home.

Are poodles easy? No. They are DOGs. Unlike a Boston Terrier, or similar breeds, they are not dogs that have defects (smushed in faces, short legs) that render them unable to run for long periods and limit their stamina. They have energy - and lots of it.

If you choose a good breeder, have realistic expectations (puppies WILL bite - and will start nipping again in adolescence. Puppies need naps. Puppies will chew things. Housetraining will take time ) And provide adequate daily exercise and mental stimulation, you should be fine.

As for 'aggression' - Teach your kids to respect dogs - I would give this advice to someone buying any breed. No bugging the dog while eating. No pulling tails or ears. No bugging the dog while sleeping. No bugging the dog in the crate (make sure you have a safe place for the dog to retreat to). Teach your kids the signals that a dog is uncomfortable. Let the kids know if they bug the dog and ignore warning signals - a bite is their own fault (this goes for adults too, and any breed). Never punish a warning growl.

And throw any ideas of 'dominance' and 'punishment' out of your head. Training needs to be fun. I highly recommend Culture Clash and the other resources mentioned - look for the Pandemic Puppy Primer.

Think of your poodle as more similar to a field bred lab than a show line, mellow lab. Find them a job, keep them busy, and you will have a lot of fun.

I should add - my poodle doesn't have a mean bone in her body. But she is smart and athletic. She does get wild without adequate exercise and mental stimulation - which needs to include offlessh running/play. I can see how that need for mental and physical work could be translated into aggression or other undesirable behaviours if that boredom was not addressed or if it was met with a heavy hand.
 

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One word of caution, though: If allergies are your primary motivator, know that poodles can still trigger terrible symptoms in some people. I think the term “hypoallergenic” can be misleading when applied to dogs.)
That is very true. I’ve had 3 Boston terriers and 3 toy/mini poodles and the Boston terriers gave me more allergies, but I am allergic to both my toy poodles.

Unlike a Boston Terrier, or similar breeds, they are not dogs that have defects (smushed in faces, short legs) that render them unable to run for long periods and limit their stamina. They have energy - and lots of it.
Don’t believe what you see. Boston terriers are very, very energetic and unstoppable. Most of them are really energetic and some are the energizer bunny itself ! I would say more than most poodles. I had one BT that loved water and would swim for hours at a time. I had to force her to rest once in a while or I’m sure she would have drowned...
 

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I agree with others that you should be fine as long as your breeder is reputable and breeds for good family dog temperament and will also pair you appropriately with a pup based on temperament. Poodles can be rough in the puppy stage. But it's a stage. They grow out of it. They're smart and have a human-like quality that can be challenging. But as long as you are on top of training and the family is all on the same page, poodles generally make lovely family pets. I also agree there is a bias here where people talk about issues they're having with their dogs and don't talk so much when they're not having issues. Within every breed you will have easy puppies and difficult puppies. Same for poodles. You see way more posters with difficult puppies because they need more help. But difficult puppies usually grow up into amazing dogs with the right guidance.

My poodle had many typical puppy and adolescent issues. I would say he was a difficult puppy. He took a long time to potty train, he was a terrible mouther, he was a terror on a leash, he went though humping phases, he went through marking phases. But he overall has an extremely stable and confident temperament and is a great dog. Nothing he went through was atypical for puppies of any breed. He has some minor reactivity in certain conditions and we've been managing separation anxiety brought on by covid. But overall he is a fairly easy dog to live with. He would have been a bit too much for a family dog due to energy and mouthing, but that's why he was paired with me. He does well with children that are respectful of his space and don't constantly force interaction on him. I would have no issue trusting him around dog savvy children as I am certain he would never harm them other than accidental play scratches. Children at the park know how he is and always run to find a branch to give him so he will play keep away with them. He is always a favorite of children because he's always up for a game.

I would not leave any dog alone with very young children that do not yet understand the rules of dog interaction. But older dog-savvy children should be perfectly fine. Puppies may be overwhelming for children due to their toothy nature, but that is not specific to poodles. Children will do best when they are involved in the dog's training and are taught to respect a dog's space and interact on the dog's terms.

I have met some bostons that I really adore! They can be very athletic as well.
 

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I've only had mpoo's but as a breed, poodles are very intelligent, very sensitive and empathetic, possess great comedic skills and timing, athletic given the opportunity, and loving, to name some qualities.

From my perspective, some of the members posting about "aggressiveness" are often inexperienced and assume growling, excited nipping and the like are "aggression" when it may be no more than "poodle puppy who hasn't learned the ropes yet". We don't call the young'uns Land Sharks for nothing :).

If you and the breeder have had conversations about your family and lifestyle, general dog experience, personality of a poodle to fit your family, and the breeder has been exposing the pup to life with humans (aka socializing), as much as covid allows, that's a very good start to a lifelong relationship with your spoo.

As another perspective, the standard poodle of one of our members was attacked unprovoked just yesterday, an experience more than a few of us have been thru. How often do you read in the news or see on The Peoples Court a story of a poodle attacking unprovoked?

As mentioned by several, the recommended reading algorithm is biased. People in over their heads seek help and like advertising that follows you everywhere online, that's what you'll see.

The happy members post other content :). See the 52 Week threads and the other threads of pictures and videos for more suggestions of happy postings.

"Poodles are Labs with a college education. My Poodle will do anything your Labrador will do. After a day of retrieving in the field, your Lab wants to curl up and snore in front of the fire. My Poodle wants to be a fourth at bridge and tell naughty stories."
Anne Rogers Clark, the famous handler, all breed judge and Poodle breeder.
 

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My twins are 6 and were almost 6 when Starla came home to us, and we have a 3 year old as well. She was the nippiest puppy I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of puppy experience. Other than that, she was like any other puppy. My kids were very involved with her. She listened to the one most interested in her almost as well as she listened to me. I am so impatient to have another spoo because Starla was overall so good for our whole family.
 

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I have a Boston Terrier and a poodle, so I get where you are coming from. My Boston is an active clown who wants to chase balls in the yard for hours and hours. She makes me laugh and is a delightful friend. My poodle is nothing like my Boston, in every good way possible. Our Boston's nickname is The Everlasting Gobstopper. Francis doesn't have an off switch. My poodle has an off switch. Noelle is equally ok with playing ball in the yard, and being a potato on my bed. Noelle is not busy like Francis is. There's a frantic energy about Francis that Noelle doesn't have. It's nice. If I want to be active, Noelle wants to be active. If I want to watch TV, Noelle wants to watch TV. Noelle is more adaptable than Francis.

I had both Francis and Noelle as puppies at the same time, so I was able to notice the differences in the breeds from the start. The terrier was more interested in frolicking and playing than learning. The poodle was the opposite, far more interested in learning than playing. If you make the way you interact with your poodle puppy about training, you'll have a fantastic time because they take to training so naturally.

Dog aggression, and many negative behaviors in any dog, can be prevented by taking your puppy to a well run puppy class. Remember that people on the internet are more likely to write about the problems they are having than the successes. If you're worrying about what poodle reality is like because of anything you read on this forum, take a deep breath. That's like assuming what you watch on the news reflects everything about a community.

If your poodle is raised with love and affection, rules and consistency, you're about to enrich your life with a fluffy friend. Set the tempo in your home and your poodle will follow along.
 

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I understand your hesitation. Personally I don’t think I would be getting a Standard poodle puppy if my boys were still small and being a person that suffers from allergies to dogs I would pick a smaller Hypoallergenic breed. A lot less dander in a smaller size dog. I love poodles although they have energy and a lot of free thinking that gets them into mischief. I have two miniature poodle puppies 6 and 8 months old. During the day I find myself having at least one tied to me to stop the mania. They are quick learners although don’t like to use what they know. My husband’s friend brought home a Standard poodle puppy and his wife couldn’t handle the puppy so their Daughter took the puppy home.
Best wishes making the right decision for your family..👏😊
 

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I got a nine month old female pup that the breeder had kept for showing. The dog did not have a show temperament. My kids were 6, 9 and 15 and the dog was fine with the younger two... she would however punch the teenager with her front paws if he made his sisters squeal. What a power trip she was for the girls, ha-ha! The girls took turns using her as a pillow when they watched cartoons. I will say that my girls were already used to being around our German Shepherd and small pets. They did not do much running and screaming, more singing and dancing. I highly recommend getting a slightly older pup, especially if it has been well socialized. Our next poodle we got at eight weeks. By then, the kids were older, but he was a lot more rambunctious. By six months he was also fine. My third poodle (they are all spaced 8 years apart) was full of beans, but he was with his brother for the first three months and they wore each other out. Do not get two pups, there were two experienced trainers in our house and the pups benefitted by being separated at 12 weeks..
 
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