Poodle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just out of curiosity, does your poodle like or dislike head petting? Or perhaps your poodle doesn’t care either way. I’m just curious as Bobby does not like his head petted at all, never has, except from the people he knows and loves. While I used to be concerned about this and thought it could be a problem because almost everyone goes for the fluffy topknot pet, I decided to respect Bobby’s preference in this area and tell people how he likes to be petted which is his side and under his chin and the front of his chest. A good ear scratch, sometimes works too. If he really connects with a person he may allow more. Many folks are so surprised when I try to tell them. Head petting seems to be the norm and it’s like Bobby has a problem. I know head pets can feel like an aggressive move to some dogs but humans just, for some reason, love that head patting/petting and we all know a lovely topknot is so very inviting. 😉
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,713 Posts
Galen doesn't really appreciate people messing with his topknot either. He wouldn't even let me touch it for quite a while. It was a bit of a problem when I wanted to pull a leaf out of his hair or check him for ticks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Cody loves having the sides of his head/under his ears petted. He's okay with the top of his head if it comes after those things. I'm not sure about with strangers, b/c though he met a lot of people during his life, which has entirely been during covid, it's mostly been in "on the go" situations: walks, dog parks, meeting people in a fenced backyard where the dogs can play, etc.

As a child, I was taught to never approach a dog and try to pet the top of its head. Always let it smell your hand first, and then pet from the side behind the ears. Maybe it was just the more aggressive dog breeds I was raised around; is this not typical?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Oona also dodges direct head pats from strangers. She enjoys when one of her family members strokes her head and face though (not up and down pats). Her true love language is chest and throat scratches.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,126 Posts
Most dogs, no matter what breed, tend to dislike being touched directly on the top of the head. This is perhaps more obvious with poodles since it happens more for them. Most dogs don't like being hugged in a way that restricts their movement either. Polite dogs don't do either of those behaviors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,104 Posts
Most people don’t like their heads touched either. How would you feel if a stranger or someone you didn’t care for patted your head?

I ask people to pat my dog’s back after letting her sniff their hand. I know my dog would prefer scratchies behind the ears or under the chin but it’s easier to say pat the back than explain exactly what and where my dog prefers. It gets people to move to the side of her which is a better position to be to pet a dog you don’t know.

I watch my dogs behavior, not everyone who asks is allowed to pet, if she’s not in the mood or senses something I trust her judgment. It’s usually a child that she will back away from but some adults. As a trained therapy dog she mostly enjoys the attention and petting.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,039 Posts
Mine are selective as to whom are allowed to pet them and never when they first meet, I never force it. My dogs have their favorite people too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Like most dogs, Topper doesn't like having his head petted. The only exception is during quiet time, when I slowly, gently but firmly stroke his head from yes to the base of his skull. Eventually I get my fingers down to the skin so can detect any tangles or mats in his TK. He very deftly interrupts potential head pets from other people by taking his hands in his mouth. He doesn't bite down, but does communicate "don't go there." I coach people who want to pet him to stroke his back, chest or under his chin.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,045 Posts
Because reaching for a strange dog’s head is such a common move from well-meaning folks who don’t know better, I did teach Peggy to associate it with good things, using the clicker. I still do occasional refreshers.

My dad was bitten by a lab when he pet it on the head. Punctured his forearm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,421 Posts
Normie's trainer made me practice saying, "Yes, you may pet my dog if you let him sniff your hand and only rub him under his chin." He ducks and backs away from stranger's head pats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
741 Posts
To echo others here, Lacey hates being pet on the head by anyone including people she loves despite how short or long her topknot is. Im pretty sure most dogs find this intimidating from humans! It’s such a go to place for people to pet dogs. But people see Lacey’s extra long and poofy done up ponytail and don’t even go there. Adults dont let their kids approach my dog (I’d be totally fine if they did). It might have to do with her hair cut, I’m not sure.
I’m the only person who can massage her scalp, after I’ve taken her topknot ponytail off and am massaging in detangler. If you have long hair and you take out a ponytail and massage the scalp, ahhhhh. Feels so good. We have finally reached that level of trust.

She’s also very picky about where she’s pet/scratched by anyone otherwise. She shies away from the sides or top of body too. Only under her chin, front/sides of neck, chest, and whole underside is enjoyed. And she’ll want those parts scratched for hours if you’re willing. It’s really hard for strangers to understand that and Lacey does a good job of dodging touches she doesn’t want. People get the idea quickly. I don’t mind at all. Real dog people either don’t push it. Smaller dogs are harder to reach than spoos so that’s a factor.
my other mini poodle would tolerate head scratches from strangers and wouldn’t back away, but at least he loved those scratches right in front of the tail and at the hip bone sides area. His hind leg would start going like no tomorrow. Lacey doesn’t have those leg triggering spots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,745 Posts
Annie loves me massaging her head, especially the forehead. She begs to have my mother hold her forehead/eyes in her palm with the fingers/thumb in the ear and middle fingers over the top of the head. Weirdo.

Strangers? She ducks out of their way and dashes off. Not polite human behaviour to go for the top of the head. Bad human, no more poodle attention.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,104 Posts
Because reaching for a strange dog’s head is such a common move from well-meaning folks who don’t know better, I did teach Peggy to associate it with good things, using the clicker. I still do occasional refreshers.

My dad was bitten by a lab when he pet it on the head. Punctured his forearm.
That’s good advice to train a dog to accept head petting because you can’t always predict what some people will do.

AKC Beginners Novice (BN) title has a “sit for exam” where the dog has to sit while the owner is 6’ away. The judge walks 6’ to the dog and pats it on the head then walks away. Then you go back to your dog. Your dog can’t show fear or discomfort nor move from it’s sit position. I’ve started training Theo for this. Never considered how much this exercise helps in the real world .
 

·
Registered
Evelyn, sable standard poodle
Joined
·
25 Posts
Evelyn isn't particularly interested in being touched anywhere by strangers. But he has always enjoyed being stroked, rubbed, and pet on the head. He also likes having his chest rubbed. He doesn't seem to enjoy being pet anywhere else, but only actively dislikes having his butt, tail, and paws touched. He's very tolerant about his paws (except for groomers), but often moves away when you touch his tail and butt. He actually likes being held and will solicit it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It was reassuring to read everyone’s comments. I totally know most dogs don’t like head petting and I don’t blame them. But I really would like it if Bobby would “accept” it just a little as head petting sometimes happens and I still have hopes for him to be a library reading dog . He doesn’t growl or anything. He just backs up and moves his head away and gets a little jumpy if they keep trying (not everyone listens). Some people seem so offended or shocked by this. He just wants nothing to do with it except from “his” people. He does adore kids so maybe that may make a difference when the time comes for actual library dog training. So at least for now, I will just continue letting people know the best way to pet him which I will always do. I just want him to “accept” it when it inevitably will sometimes happen.
Bobby adores a good butt scratch but I’m guessing he doesn’t want strangers doing that either.😉
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
667 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
He’s an excellent “hand shake” and “pound it”
boy ( “pound it” is great with the younger set and kids are quite impressed) but I think that’s an excellent idea to do consistently with strangers. Starting out the greeting that way is not something I have thought of.
Thank you! 😊
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top