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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! My name is Alex and I'm a 23 year old female from Wisconsin. I recently had some bad life circumstances mean that I had to take my rat terrier, Oliver James, back to his breeder. I'm completely heartbroken, and I've been considering trying again with another dog.

Sorry for the long story, but I figure I would provide as much information as possible to get the best advice:

I live with my parents, and my father recently started his own business with a close family friend which has turned out to be EXTREMELY successful. I had been thinking about a puppy for a while and (with my parents permission) had contacted a breeder. I later decided to wait, since we still had an elderly dog, but after his passing I asked if I could contact the breeder again and they said yes.

They also decided to get their OWN puppy. I asked them to please NOT do that as we couldn't handle two puppies and to just have mine for the time being, but as we had gotten two puppies at the same time in the past, they said it would be fine. It was not. With the massive stress of having two puppies, my mental health went down the drain. My parents were also stressed, my dad is overwhelmed with work and my mom was stressed about everything too.

I struggle with various different mental illnesses (Depression, Anxiety, OCD, ADHD, my brain is a dumpsterfire basically) and also have Autism and it was just extremely mentally taxing for me. Me being constantly anxious and stressed would then cause my poor puppy to get anxious and stressed, which would make me MORE anxious and stressed... You get the idea.

I loved him more than anything in the world, but I just couldn't handle his quirks. He refused to go outside during the winter to the point you would have to crawl under the table to catch him and take him outside, and when it warmed up he would refuse to come in. He was also extremely reactive and would SCREAM at other dogs on walks and pull on his harness to the point he would wheeze and gasp.

It was extremely painful but I made the decision to let him go home to his breeder. She's an absolute angel, her friend drove her to our house with one of his brothers from another litter and his uncle to keep him company on the ride home. She always sends us pictures and updates to tell us how he's doing, and I'm extremely grateful for everything that she's done.

He's doing a LOT better now, she says he's getting better at walks and gets along great with her other dogs, and her friend is looking at adopting him. I'm so happy for him but at the same time I miss him so much and it hurts going to bed alone without him and not having him here to cuddle with me and play with my parents puppy.

Their puppy is a smooth collie named Maxwell, he's about 10 months old now I think. I love him but it's just not the same without Oliver. Maxwell doesn't want to cuddle like he did and he also weighs 55lbs which means it's quite painful to have him crushing all of my organs when he steps on me! :LOL:

After Oliver had to leave I was so upset, I was terrified that I was the cause of his issues. His breeder says I did a great job training him and none of it was my fault but still, I told myself I would never get another dog again.

And now of course I'm considering a dog again...

I don't know if it would be any time soon as I'm very wary about trying a puppy again, and my dad is going to be merging his business with a friends so we'll be moving around 2 hours away, but with him earning even more money my mom will hopefully be able to retire soon or at least work even less hours, which means she'll be home more often.

I'd love to get a miniature poodle that's around a year or so old but it seems pretty much everyone only has puppies or waiting lists for puppies. I saw one breeder, Amity Kennels, says on her website she has some older puppies but my mother enquired through email and she said she didn't. Although my mom of course asked for "large poodle" and "standard" which is not a miniature... :rolleyes:

Amity also makes me kind of uncomfortable to be honest, it sounds like she's quite short with a lot of people and some of her business reviews were quite disturbing to me. Lots of mentions of being rude to customers, yelling at dogs to shut up, not letting customers see where they're kept, dogs acting different when they came home and even being covered in urine.

Other breeders on my list of considerations are Adelheid Poodles and Havanese, Allure Poodles, Horizon Poodles, Snowbound Poodles and Safranné Poodles.

Part of me would love a dog of my own but another part of me feels like I'm too mentally ill and anxious to be able to handle raising a puppy again... I don't know, I'm very conflicted. But I still wanted to make an account here since this seems like a very nice place.

Anyways, I know he's not a poodle but here's a picture of my parents puppy Maxwell to lighten the mood a bit.

476307
 

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Evelyn, sable standard poodle
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Hello! The people here are both well intentioned and helpful and many will give you better info that me. I am mostly a lurker, but trying to engage more where my own idiosyncrasies allow. I think that with the right supports and a well selected puppy even those of us with mental illnesses can successfully raise a puppy.

I was very lucky to be able to get an older puppy who's personality was very obvious when I picked him and has not changed at all. I think the right breeder could help you select a "bomb proof" puppy that could suit your needs. Although I'm sure Oliver was a lovely puppy, terriers are generally considered a more difficult breed and some of the things you list as problems seem pretty typical for the breed. Although every dog is an individual, I think it would be easier to find a poodle who suits you. Most aren't terrier stubborn or terrier vocal.

Also, although this isn't the most pleasant thought, I have a feeling there's going to be a surge of dogs getting returned to breeders and turned in to shelters soon if you're set on an older dog.
 

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If you have the resources and are going to be committed to the dog, by all means get one. At 23, and still living with your parents, it may be difficult to look far enough ahead at some considerations that should influence your decision. A mini poodle can live 15 years plus or minus. Are you prepared to care for him for his entire life? Vacations away from home will be limited to places you can take him with you, or you'll need to put him up for care somewhere. There will be expenses for doggy daycare or the likes. A poodle will need physical and mental exercises every day, several hours would be best. Can you provide this? When/where do you work? Can he come with you? What happens to him when he can't? Can you afford vaccinations/medicines, vet expenses, health insurance, food & treats, daycare lodging, etc?
My advice is to make sure you really think this thru. It's truly a life changing event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello! The people here are both well intentioned and helpful and many will give you better info that me. I am mostly a lurker, but trying to engage more where my own idiosyncrasies allow. I think that with the right supports and a well selected puppy even those of us with mental illnesses can successfully raise a puppy.

I was very lucky to be able to get an older puppy who's personality was very obvious when I picked him and has not changed at all. I think the right breeder could help you select a "bomb proof" puppy that could suit your needs. Although I'm sure Oliver was a lovely puppy, terriers are generally considered a more difficult breed and some of the things you list as problems seem pretty typical for the breed. Although every dog is an individual, I think it would be easier to find a poodle who suits you. Most aren't terrier stubborn or terrier vocal.

Also, although this isn't the most pleasant thought, I have a feeling there's going to be a surge of dogs getting returned to breeders and turned in to shelters soon if you're set on an older dog.
Thank you <3
Oliver was lovely, there's so much I miss about him but he was VERY hardheaded and stubborn LOL. I suppose I'll have to pick a breeder and either see if they have a bombproof puppy or see if they end up with an older dog, even though I hope no one would have to take their puppy back to the breeder like I did. :(

If you have the resources and are going to be committed to the dog, by all means get one. At 23, and still living with your parents, it may be difficult to look far enough ahead at some considerations that should influence your decision. A mini poodle can live 15 years plus or minus. Are you prepared to care for him for his entire life? Vacations away from home will be limited to places you can take him with you, or you'll need to put him up for care somewhere. There will be expenses for doggy daycare or the likes. A poodle will need physical and mental exercises every day, several hours would be best. Can you provide this? When/where do you work? Can he come with you? What happens to him when he can't? Can you afford vaccinations/medicines, vet expenses, health insurance, food & treats, daycare lodging, etc?
My advice is to make sure you really think this thru. It's truly a life changing event.
As much as we would love to vacation, we never really get around to it and I'm 100% fine only going places that a dog can come. Most of my "dream vacations" are pretty much places that I can go do wildlife photography LOL. I'm 100% able to provide exercise and enrichment, we've got a huge yard right now and plenty of places to go on outings, and as soon as we move I'm sure we'll be building a fenced in yard if the property doesn't already have one.

I don't work and I'm home almost 24/7, although I do occasionally make and sell art. I've been trying to figure out how to sell my photography but still working on that. My parents are extremely generous and pay for pretty much everything to do with the dogs, even if one of them is "mine" they're still the family's pet.


Thank you both for all the input!
 

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Poodles are emotional barometers. My dog mirrors my stress and anxiety. I love my mini poodle, but when my life is going down the tube, he does not make things better. He becomes part of the problem.

I wonder if a calmer less reactive dog would be more enjoyable for you.
 

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Hello from a former Wisconsinite :) There are a few cautionary flags. At only 10 months old, Maxwell is still a puppy, and many people here recommend waiting until the first pup is at least 2 years old before bringing home a second dog. As said above, poodles are extremely sensitive to their owners' emotional states and can easily become neurotic and reactive. Lastly, I'm curious about what led you from a JRT to a mpoo. It seems like an even-keeled, easy-going dog would be a better fit, and minis are dervishes who need a tranquil, stable household and loads of guidance, training, and stimulation.
 

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I would wait until you can move out or the older dog is at least 2, and perhaps consider a calmer breed. Have you looked into Havanese and Maltese? I love them and they might be more in line with what you are looking for. Bright, happy, cuddly little dogs with not too high exercise needs.
 

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Have you considered looking for an older dog from a reputable rescue? Raising a puppy and making it through puppyhood in general can be a big challenge (especially with a poodle). I would suggest searching for a calmer breed or consider looking at rescues that foster dogs locally before placing them in new homes.
 

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I've also experienced the pain of having to let a dog go to a better-suited home. It was emotionally devastating and the only thing worse was the prospect of trying to make things work keeping her when she was so ill-suited to the life I had planned for us. I think it's an experience that teaches you a lot.

Personally I suffer from anxiety as well and, though this may be an opposing viewpoint, I find my miniature poodle is not tuned in to my anxiety the way that herding breeds are. He is an extremely confident bomb-proof dog that has been a positive presence in my life even on the darkest day. I know herding dogs are not recommended for psychiatric service work because they are sooo tuned in to your emotional state. Poodles do pick up on emotional state, but are considered more stable than herding dogs in this regard. I wouldn't say that anxiety should sway somebody from having poodles, but it does mean you want a very confident dog.

I think there are a lot of well-meaning comments here and I hope you take them to heart while also realizing that you know your situation better than we do. Personally I think I want to hear more about why you want a dog. So far you've told us you want a snuggly buddy and that you miss your previous dog. What draws you to miniature poodles? They may be more than you want to handle currently as they are a lot of dog in a small package. There are other breeds that may be easier and fit the bill for what you want to do with a dog.

I also think that waiting until you are on your own (assuming that's a goal in the near future) is good advice, though having parents around to help can also be nice. It's so tough when you first start out on your own and having a young dog can make things difficult, so it can be nice to make sure your life isn't in flux when you get a dog.

I do also think it is also important to look at things that went wrong with Oliver and be able to plan for how to prevent them from happening with a future dog. Every dog will deal with behavioral struggles and need training, so it's something you just have to prepare for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh dear that's a lot of comments, I'm gonna try to reply to every topic that's been brought up:

Calmer breed: As much as I like poodles my heart isn't 100% set on one so I'm totally open to other recommendations. The problem is when looking up calm dog breeds everything seems to be WAY too large (I'd like a dog under 30lbs), too small (I'm worried Maxwell would accidentally injure them when playing or it would get snatched by a hawk), known for severe health issues, or just not something I find interest in. I don't necessarily mind if a dog is hyper and likes to bounce off of everything in the house, but I wouldn't really enjoy having to walk miles every day.

Maxwell's Age: We definitely will be waiting at least a little while before getting another dog, at least until Maxwell is trained better and probably not until after we've moved. I have no plans to move out into my own house so I'll be with my parents and Maxwell permanently.

Rescue: I'm not entirely opposed to get a dog from a rescue but I'd much rather get a dog from a reputable breeder so I know the dogs family history and know the parents have been tested for all relevant breed-related health conditions. I mainly just want a happy, healthy dog that won't be prone to any particular health issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've also experienced the pain of having to let a dog go to a better-suited home. It was emotionally devastating and the only thing worse was the prospect of trying to make things work keeping her when she was so ill-suited to the life I had planned for us. I think it's an experience that teaches you a lot.

Personally I suffer from anxiety as well and, though this may be an opposing viewpoint, I find my miniature poodle is not tuned in to my anxiety the way that herding breeds are. He is an extremely confident bomb-proof dog that has been a positive presence in my life even on the darkest day. I know herding dogs are not recommended for psychiatric service work because they are sooo tuned in to your emotional state. Poodles do pick up on emotional state, but are considered more stable than herding dogs in this regard. I wouldn't say that anxiety should sway somebody from having poodles, but it does mean you want a very confident dog.

I think there are a lot of well-meaning comments here and I hope you take them to heart while also realizing that you know your situation better than we do. Personally I think I want to hear more about why you want a dog. So far you've told us you want a snuggly buddy and that you miss your previous dog. What draws you to miniature poodles? They may be more than you want to handle currently as they are a lot of dog in a small package. There are other breeds that may be easier and fit the bill for what you want to do with a dog.

I also think that waiting until you are on your own (assuming that's a goal in the near future) is good advice, though having parents around to help can also be nice. It's so tough when you first start out on your own and having a young dog can make things difficult, so it can be nice to make sure your life isn't in flux when you get a dog.

I do also think it is also important to look at things that went wrong with Oliver and be able to plan for how to prevent them from happening with a future dog. Every dog will deal with behavioral struggles and need training, so it's something you just have to prepare for.

Thank you for the input, and I'm so sorry to hear you had to let a dog go to a different home :(

My parents puppy is definitely tuned into my anxiety! One day after Oliver left I was crying on the couch and, fascinated by the noises I was making, he stood up and stared at me for a moment before forcefully jamming his nose into my eye. It did at least make me stop crying! :LOL:

I think the reason I want a dog is mainly for the companionship and enjoyment. I've had dogs for so many years and unfortunately in 2019 two of my dogs passed away, and then our third and final dog had to be put down in 2020. At first I enjoyed the sudden peace and quiet, but after a few days it just felt... Lonely. There was no barking or licking or playing, it was just quiet.

The things that draw me to miniature poodles are their size, beauty, intelligence and the variety of ways you can groom them. I don't have any dog allergies so I don't care that they're hypoallergenic, but after owning three long-haired dogs I'm very tired of pulling disgusting long hairs out of my food.

For some reason I was under the impression that mpoos were more... Relaxed, I suppose. I mainly want a dog that would enjoy spending time with me, going out hiking and running and playing in the yard with our other puppy, but not something that would require multiple mile-long walks.

Thank you everyone for all your input and advice, I really appreciate everything you guys have said to help me <3
 

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Based on further info, I do see one point here I'd like to comment on. A miniature poodle is probably not the right dog if you don't want to walk miles every day. I don't know how far I walk with mine but we're typically out walking/hiking for 1.5-2 hours. I think even a low energy mini will need at least an hour of dedicated activity every day plus training. Intelligent dogs tend to require a lot of work. Intelligent dogs are great if your relationship will involve a lot of training them to do complex things, but there is a cost to that intelligence. It's hard to stay one step ahead of them.

I would look into lowchens. They're the size range you want and I think they are less demanding than a miniature poodle would be. Bichon frise as well. Havanese or shih tzu could be good. Tibetan spaniel is another option. Maybe even a Boston Terrier. Cavaliers would be my #1 suggestion except that their health can be poor.
 

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Evelyn, sable standard poodle
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he things that draw me to miniature poodles are their size, beauty, intelligence and the variety of ways you can groom them. I don't have any dog allergies so I don't care that they're hypoallergenic, but after owning three long-haired dogs I'm very tired of pulling disgusting long hairs out of my food.

For some reason I was under the impression that mpoos were more... Relaxed, I suppose. I mainly want a dog that would enjoy spending time with me, going out hiking and running and playing in the yard with our other puppy, but not something that would require multiple mile-long walks.
From what I've read here and elsewhere minis tend to be the more energetic of the three sizes and standards tend to be more laid back comparatively. But every dog is an individual so breed tendencies only take you so far.

I'm with Raindrops on the anxiety. Evelyn has never been any more tuned in to my anxiety than any other dog. He seems to try to comfort me when I'm sad, but if I'm honest he does this by trying to cuddle which is what he wants to do 80% of the time anyway. He's sensitive, but I'd say he's more sensitive to whether his needs are being met. But that's Evelyn. I picked him because he was low key, highly tactile, and seemed like he'd be easy to live with. Which he luckily is.

Looking at a map I'd say I usually walk Evelyn about 2 miles at a leisurely pace (for me anyway) it takes us about an hour. We play fetch indoors throughout the day and do short drills a few times a day for a few minutes. Not sure if that's low exercise for a standard or not though, the walks aren't really for him though. They're for me.
 

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My Asta is my psyche service dog - I have bipolar disorder. He is trained in many ways to help me. As a puppy he was confident and full of himself. Thought he may be too much for me but has grown to be a wonderful dog. Puppy adolescence was a challenge. The first few years are crazy dog. You have to be truly commit to your dog and be patient.
Sounds like you too may be needing a dog to grow into a service dog. My poodle is a standard around 50lbs - there are smaller standards. Asta is a velcro dog and is always near me. He doesn't seem to have a problem of tiring him out. He is a love, cuddly poodle.
You need to fully research to find a breed that truly is a good fit for you and your family. It might not be a poodle. Before getting into poodles, I had springer spaniels. Lovely breed, but might be too big for you - but maybe a breed to consider.
Keep us posted on your research. And I hope you will find the dog of your dreams.
 

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Ok I'll put in my 2 cents for whatever its worth.. One of my children who is now 36 has many of the conditions who have including bp disorder. She lives at home and can share whatever dogs I have. I don't think her having her "own" dog per se is the best for her as she is not always responsible . Mostly yes she is but she does have an off day here or there and a puppy may be too much. We have 3 dogs at present, she was always good with a cat, but then again she likes the playing and cuddling part of ownership not the vet visits or cleaning up issues. You may be different. Our one older dog a cairn terrier, who basically was my husbands pal is now smitten with her. The dog literally cries and howls for her when she leaves the house and insists now on sleeping in her room. For my daughter this is perfect as she has "her" dog without all the responsibility. She walks her, takes her out to potty but frankly when she is too busy or sleepy there is another person in the house that assumes the responsibility while the dog and she still get to cuddle and spend time together. Now you may be totally different than my daughter and I should say she is responsible for the most part, she works, and is totally reliable but she does have off times at home. Its like all she does everyday catches up to her and she just needs to switch off, she really needs this time to herself to regroup. I think and I could be wrong that having a puppy of her own could be too much of a burden unless I was willing to step in and help. Perhaps helping train your parents collie would be helpful to you at this time. I bet they would be willing to let you help with this current pup, just as if it were yours. Then when it reaches 2 an age of maturity if you still feel strongly about having another and your parents sound like they would be good with it, you will have some time with the collie under your wing and will be in a better position to have our own dog. At that time looking breeds that are quieter and are not as high strung as poodles are. They are great dogs but they require a lot of time in nearly everything from training to grooming. This is a great forum and I feel everyone would welcome you here whether you have a poodle or not. Anyway for what its worth these are my thoughts and since we are all so different from one another I never really know if how I feel works for another. I think you are wise as you are thinking ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just want to thank you all again SO MUCH for the advice and suggestions. I'm now looking more at other dog breeds including havanese, shih tzu, and bichon frise. I still adore poodles but I have to really think about it and maybe talk to a breeder about what their dogs are like personality-wise and what they enjoy for exercise. Are toy poodles more relaxed than miniatures or is it about the same?

Also, have you guys found that smaller dogs are okay with larger dogs? I've never had a really large dog with a really small dog before and I'm just so worried my dog will get trampled and injured by my parents puppy. Oliver did great with Maxwell and even if he got run over, as scary as it looked he always popped right back up and kept running but still, I don't want anyone getting hurt.
 

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Evelyn, sable standard poodle
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so, have you guys found that smaller dogs are okay with larger dogs? I've never had a really large dog with a really small dog before and I'm just so worried my dog will get trampled and injured by my parents puppy. Oliver did great with Maxwell and even if he got run over, as scary as it looked he always popped right back up and kept running but still, I don't want anyone getting hurt.
A small dog can do well with a large dog, but it requires training on both ends. The large dog has to have impulse control and boundaries, and the small dog needs to be trained to have appropriate ways to enforce their boundaries. You don't want the small dog to be bullied, trampled, or treated like the bestest toy mom ever brought home. But you don't want to raise a little tyrant either. Oliver being a terrier was probably very much in play when it comes to resilience in the face of a much larger rambunctious puppy. Most terrier breeds don't back down for much. (Love 'em, don't know if I could live with 'em.)
 

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Depends on the personality of the dog, but, having raised a toy puppy with a large breed dog, and a large breed puppy with a toy dog, I consider it far easier to have a small breed puppy with a large, mature dog than a large exuberant puppy with a small, timid dog!

Expens and crates are your friends.

Have you seen this link?


It says for Pandemic puppies, but it's got a ton of good resources on puppies in general. A lot of people especially recommend reading the free Ian Dunbar books. It took me about 5 years between when I first started desperately wanting a puppy and when I brought one home. Lots of reading and research really helped bridge the very long gap.
 

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Toy poodles are easier in exercise needs for sure, though they are built quite lightly and are more fragile. Perhaps when Maxwell is 2 yrs + and has calmed down and knows how to interact with small dogs, a toy poodle could be fine. I would just be hesitant with a large breed young dog that is very boisterous.
 
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