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Discussion Starter #1
Okay here's the deal. Jasper is very very soft in temperament. I don't know if that's just him or how he was socialized as a puppy and I don't know how to work with him. He gets afraid easily and will shy away and run when he doesn't want to do something or if he's unsure of the situation. Harry wasn't like that. He has his own issues but overall at least he's always been a very outgoing and confident dog. Do you think that this is how Jasper is going to be for the rest of his life or as he grows he'll just gain more confidence? Is this just a puppy thing?
 

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Dodger has a personality like that, she's very skittish and if people are yelling or being loud around her it makes her very uncomfortable even if its not at her if people are just loud in general it makes her very uneasy. Kids screaming bothers her quite a bit although she actually loves kids and will go up to them without hesitation.

I know she was never socialized as a puppy and was basically just a in-house couch dog until she came to live with me..she's still a spoiled rotten brat but she gets a lot more social interaction going with me to the grooming salon, to the park, out jogging, etc.... so she has slowly but surely started coming out of her shell more and more.
 

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Okay here's the deal. Jasper is very very soft in temperament. I don't know if that's just him or how he was socialized as a puppy and I don't know how to work with him. He gets afraid easily and will shy away and run when he doesn't want to do something or if he's unsure of the situation. Harry wasn't like that. He has his own issues but overall at least he's always been a very outgoing and confident dog. Do you think that this is how Jasper is going to be for the rest of his life or as he grows he'll just gain more confidence? Is this just a puppy thing?
That is Ponki's personality.... I don't think you'd be able to change that, dogs are born either dominant or submissive - that is just how mother nature designed it. That is why it's very important (IMO) for breeders to know how to select puppies and should be able to help and educate buyers on buying the right dog to suit their family.

You can however influence it slightly by either doing activities that boosts their self confidence and desensitize them to things that they are scared off or control their dominant behaviors.

Ponki is 3 now and she is very social. I don't force her into situations if she shows signs of fear. I usually introduce her very slowly to things she are afraid of. But she is a very sensitive girl, sometimes she still tries to climb under my skin when the dobes bark at something.
 

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Right now Olie is neutral for the most part, I still am unsure as he is young also, but he acts pretty much the same way. If he is not interested he will turn the other way. He seems pretty independent.
 

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How are you training Jasper? It could be a little bit of his age right now. It might get worse though depending on how you handle it now. Are you doing any training exercises with him? Teaching him some commands or things he can do will help up his confidence. Praise him alot when he does them. Be Very careful on how you train them though! NO corrections or anything, and always end on a positive note! Take him out busy places and just sit/stand and feed him treats. Associate noise/busy with treats/fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's impossible for me not to correct him ever. I mean he does make mistakes and I have to correct him. Also I groom him myself for showing and I have to be firm with him or he will move and I'll cut him or cut the hair where I don't want it. I don't overcorrect him in grooming but I have to get a firm hold on him and he doesn't like it.

As far as the training goes, I've done leash training and down and back training with food. He likes food. I use a positive voice and reinforcement and no corrections. I've done the command "stand" with food and only corrected if he jumped up on me but just the nooo in a soft voice.

The problem with my situation is that I chose him based on his looks for showing and not his temperament to fit in with me and my family. That's the biggest issue.
 

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I wouldn't say you shouldn't make any corrections, but I would suggest you do soft corrections. (as you mentioned, you don't over correct - which is a good thing) But you also don't want to correct in a way that is hard or harsh - a soft "no" always works with Ponki, without creating a submissive behavior. And when I say soft I mean I do a soft but firm, low-toned "NO"
Or just a firm poke with 2 fingers. (You might use your hand to poke and redirect attention, as you have a bigger dog?)
(by using your hand to poke, I mean make kind of a tiger claw using your hand and poke with your fingers LOL ;))
 

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The problem with my situation is that I chose him based on his looks for showing and not his temperament to fit in with me and my family. That's the biggest issue.
What does this mean?

I'm sure there wont be drastic changes.... This may not fit your needs.
 

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Of Primates, Canines and Communications . . .

KPoos,
I can share my experiences and others that are far smarter than I am on this matter - your mileage may vary! . . . From questions last to first . .

  • Is this 'just a puppy thing' - yes and no.
    • Yes, normally very brave boisterous puppies will go through a couple of "I'm jumpy and afraid of everything" phases during their growth spurts. It is theorized that calcium ion deficiencies in the brain (or something like that) modify behavior temporarily. No change in your treatment towards them during this time is a good idea - see below.
    • No, some dogs have a genetic pre-disposition to shyness. Your can remove a lot of this, but a little bit will always be there if this is the case. Your persistence and early intervention is key.
    • How to solve this? Under no circumstance should you pay more attention to your dog when they engage in an avoidance behavior or act in a shy, withdrawn or nervous manner. You must absolutely avoid the primate tendency to hold, cradle, hug and protect your dog when shows a startle reflex, shies away and etc. In this case, you are are positively re-enforcing bad behavior and your dog will forever be stuck in that behavior - a pity. Your must positively reinforce brave, assertive (NOT aggressive), and friendly behavior and ignore or scold (NOT punish) all others - no matter the source. If they act in a negative manner, first scold and then totally ignore them until his/her behavior changes in that situation. Dogs are very smart, and will act in the way that gains them the most attention with the least amount of effort.
  • Do you think that this is how Jasper is going to be for the rest of his life or as he grows he'll just gain more confidence?
    • See above related answers. You have a huge influence on how your dog turns out. Our girl, Samantha, still shows from time to time 'surface weirdness' tactile sensitivity from time to time in that she'll 'high step' through tall or wet grass. We don't miss an opportunity to scold her and ensure that she spends extra time on that grass when she displays that behavior. She used to do it for cement, tile, carpet and other strange surfaces. She showed fear of cars (parked) garbage cans, etc. We walked her up to the fear source and forced her to touch it with her paws and praise her during that time. At no time did we ever ever wrap our arms around her and croon . . oh poor baby . . I'm so sorry you are afraid . . blah blah . . that just continues to encourage that behavior. Never do this - you have just doomed your dog to not being able to socialize.
  • Okay here's the deal. Jasper is very very soft in temperament. I don't know if that's just him or. . .
    • Poodles, by nature, like most other working dogs ( I believe that poodles occupy a unique niche as both sporting and working dogs) have a soft temperament. Mastiffs (think very big) are notoriously soft, and will act as if you destroyed their world if you yell at them! Poodles aren't much different(except a whole lot smarter - i know - I've owned both).
    • Soft temperament does not mean fearful or shy - they are very different things.
Your attitude should be that whatever your puppy shows fear of, they get more of it - not less! If s/he backs away from parked cars ( like ours did ), an hour walk each day right next to parked cars and forcing her/him to touch that car with a paw. This puppy should socialized like mad, more pet smart, petco, walking, public places, air shows, loud noises and suprises. Bang two pots together in the morning time right before meal time, have small children crawl all over them(figuratively - not literally), randomly hold on to their tails and praise their nonchalant attitude towards it (don't pull hard!) . . . De-sensitize! Inspect his/her teeth, ears, between their toes and tweak the nose! (gently!) This will build confidence, and of course you'll be praising him/her like crazy while your pup is doing the right thing and not acknowledge anything that smacks of a fear/nervousness/shyness/indecision/etc. Some might claim that this is cruel, but I believe it to far crueler to deny your dog proper socialization that will doom them to being unable to interact with or people, dogs and places.
Our Samantha seems to know what is coming next when she tries her little 'high-stepping' tactile averse routine - she'll be playing there for quite some time! Her face will fall and kind of get that 'oh damn' look when she realizes what she's done. If you're afraid of it - you'll get more of it! They know that fear and inappropriate behavior is NOT rewarded and we will act accordingly.
Also, don't underestimate the value of nutrition and its relationship to behavior. If the first ingredients on your food is corn or wheat - find another. You will never see a wolf in the wild grazing amongst the corn and wheat fields . . . they eat and need meat! Avoid food with sugar beets in the ingredients - it makes their poop 'look better' than it really is. Monitor your dogs 'output', does it look normal? Try 'free feeding' (food available all day long), this might discourage gorging. Praise them when they belch! Poodles are susceptible to bloat, and if they belch - they probably aren't bloating! Don't change food very often, dogs are conservative by nature.

Good Luck!
You have a lot of (enjoyable) work ahead of you! Socialize Socialize and when they (or you!) are about ready to drop dead with boredom - socialize more! Early intervention now will make the difference while they are still young. Do more research and see what others might think as well . . . I can only relay my experiences . . .

Warm Regards,
Mark, Jamie and the Poodle Gangsters . . .

Okay here's the deal. Jasper is very very soft in temperament. I don't know if that's just him or. . . Do you think that this is how Jasper is going to be for the rest of his life or as he grows he'll just gain more confidence? Is this just a puppy thing?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What does this mean?

I'm sure there wont be drastic changes.... This may not fit your needs.
It means that out of the litter, I didn't go there looking for a specific temperament for our family as a family pet. I wanted the best structural dog that I could have for showing. I didn't think of temperament at all for some reason. I guess because the puppies were so young and because I just assumed that any dog could be shown, I didn't talk to the breeder about temperaments. I just assumed she'd know temperaments that were acceptable and ones that weren't since she knew my situation.
 

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Mark, thank you for your response. I have started some of the desensitization with him by pulling on parts of his body that cause response. If he's grabbed, he screams. So I've kind of tugged his ears (not hard) and grabbed his side (biggie with him crying and again not hard) and played rough with him. So far all that's done is create more fear in him but I've only been doing it for a couple of days. Today I went to pull him out of his crate and he bit me out of fear response because I had a hold of his front legs to pull him out. I thought he had gotten a paw caught or something so I let go and looked and no there was nothing caught or wrong with him, he was just afraid of being pulled. He doesn't like rough firm handling at all. He will cower and cry even when it's in play. He's started not following me and won't come to me when I call him. I've become the source of his fear now. He doesn't like me picking him up and he's pretty difficult on the grooming table because he wants to get away. I know that this is normal behavior but if I have to get a firm grip on him he gets more afraid.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do. I don't think he's afraid of new people or situations but I'll start taking him out more and exposing him more to different people and hands and handling classes.

I wanted to also add that what I've read about standard poodles is that because they are a sporting breed they tend to be more independent and can bond closely with their families, almost too close. I have found Harry to be the ideal example for that definition.
 

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Start small . . . little victories are sweet!

How old is your pup? I'd take him/her to the vet immediately for a complete screening. I'm far from an expert, but I believe that thyroid issues can affect behavior. Make sure you tell them the behavior you've observed - including the bite. I hope it didn't' draw blood . . . Try this ( assuming he's physically healthy):

* Don't reach into the kennel to remove him - just open the kennel and let him come out on his own. If it takes an hour - it takes an hour. Hunger/thirst and a need to relieve himself will help with this.
* When you release him from the crate, do not even acknowledge his prescense until he comes up to you first. Just open the door and walk away into the kitchen. If he follows, then proceed with feeding and tell him how good he is. Or maybe he goes outside first? Totally ignore him and act if he is not even there until he comes to you. You control the food . . . . water should always be available. Again, ignore misbehavior - read a book, watch television - whatever. If he poops/pees in the house - completely ignore it - just clean it up and make no comment about it. Ensure that no one in your family interacts with him in any way except through your explicit permission - everyone is to ignore the dog until you say otherwise. Warn them of the consequences of not doing so. If you have to purchase welders gloves for protection , then do so.
* When you put him in the crate, make sure that he goes in on his own accord - don't place him in. Use treats ( hamburger meat, frozen liver cubes from petco/petsmart will do nicely). If you have to do it 'bread crumb trail' style - then do it. Never place him in the crate when something is wrong/bad - always with a cheerful voice does the dog go into the crate
* While up on the grooming table, talk nice to him and ensure that lots of good treats are constantly being shoved in his mouth! Don't give him time to complain! Cut up lots of hot dogs in thin slices. Maybe don't groom for a while . . . just get him up on the table and feed him treats and tell him how good and handsome he is! You might have to shave him to keep him from being matted, but far better that than to not have a dog that you can work with.
* For now, your only 'negative' re-inforcement should be the sound 'aaahhh' or 'hey'! in a sharp tone. If he screams - too bad - he'll get over it. Don't use the word 'No' except in very dire situations (being bit is one!). That word should be reserved for situations that involve danger to yourself, others or the dog.
* Let him cry, when he does - get up and ignore the dog. This is VERY tough to do Do not interact anymore with the dog until he comes up to you. Do not have any food out for him to eat. When comes to you, he eats. Always keep fresh water available. Remember, he is a canine and not human - he doesn't need food 3x a day. That's a human feeding pattern - not a canine one. I don't suggest that you starve your dog into submission, but he needs to know where the buck stops - you.
* Do not let your other dog interact with or play with him for now - your puppy must bond with you first!

Good Luck!
Mark, Jamie and Poodle Gangsters!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, this dog is my show prospect so constant grooming is a must. I don't have a choice he has to be crate trained and he has to be table trained and trained for grooming. Normally he comes jumping out of the crate in a wonderful mood ready to go to the door for potty time but for some reason today he's been weird. I almost feel like there is something physically wrong with him because he's acting so off. He's always been shy but never so fearful that he'd bite me as I picked him up. I think I'll call the vet tomorrow and see what they say. I always offer treats to go in the crate and usually he runs to it to get his special treat. When I open the door for him to come out like I said, he usually runs to get out. On the table he's hesitant usually but good for the most part as long as say "quit" he'll quit pulling a foot away or moving his face. Today though he wouldn't quit. He also wouldn't come in the house with me when I wanted him to. He normally follows me everywhere and he wouldn't at all. I don't know what's wrong with him but this has gone beyond his normal shy behavior and into something else.
 

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Crates, tables and grooming . . .

Great!
Here's an opportunity - when he is up on the table and acting good, treat him and tell how good he is and etc. Once he starts bucking, and acting anti-social, immediately either leave him alone by himself up on the table (properly and safely attached to the arm) or on the floor in an xpen behind closed doors with noone to interact with. Just scold and leave. Leave for a while . . .15 or 30 minutes . . . . come back - and repeat. If whines and cries - too bad - he'll get over it. Make the table the high point of his day!

'Gee, if I'm on the table getting groomed, good things happen! Hmm, I wonder where I want to be?'

Good Luck!

Mark
 

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It means that out of the litter, I didn't go there looking for a specific temperament for our family as a family pet. I wanted the best structural dog that I could have for showing. I didn't think of temperament at all for some reason. I guess because the puppies were so young and because I just assumed that any dog could be shown, I didn't talk to the breeder about temperaments. I just assumed she'd know temperaments that were acceptable and ones that weren't since she knew my situation.
I think temperament plays a huge role in how the dog will show. If he remains shy and does not enjoy being shown and won't strut his stuff, no matter how gorgeous or structurally correct he is, he may not do well.

Here is an excerpt from the poodle breed standard:

Temperament:
Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself. Major fault: shyness or sharpness.
 

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Yes so if he's shy and I work with him on it, is that really correct temperament for showing? Showing is basically for breeding rights and why would I want to breed an extremely shy dog? It's not correct temperament. He'd make a great pet dog for someone that wants to work with his shyness and the issues that come with that but if I want to breed him some day, I don't feel right doing that knowing that his temperament is herditary.
 

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Anything could have happened....It could be something that Jasper seen or heard. Although my poodle is not like this, Aoki is and just being honest here my BF and I had an arguement that she heard (a little yelling from one room to another) and everytime we carry on she will bark!

She is starting to catch back on to things. Also a vet visit a while back turned her world upside down for all of us for weeks, still we are not sure why. She stopped listening, starting crying very loud if I tried to pick her up, and would back up as if I had done something to her. My vet tech told me that this happens in dogs and they usualy work through it in a matter of days or weeks. They told me not to "pamper" her, distance myself and my daughter as it was both of us - be firm and allow her to "come around" and she really did, kind of strange because I like you was worried. I'm just a person that loves dogs not a show person, learning and maybe someday but this is what I went through - not sure this fits. Good luck.
 

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Temperment, and other inconvenient truths . . .

I think temperament plays a huge role in how the dog will show. If he remains shy and does not enjoy being shown and won't strut his stuff, no matter how gorgeous or structurally correct he is, he may not do well.

Here is an excerpt from the poodle breed standard:

Temperament:
Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself. Major fault: shyness or sharpness.

I agree . . . i know of a number of judges that will immediately dump the dog, no matter how nice the conformation, if any temperament issues surface during the examination. I wonder about the sire and dams temperament? Grand dad and mum? There's no guarantees for sure, but you can try to minimize the chance of getting pup with a non-showy temperament. My hope is that she can intervene so that he can at least be a productive family member . . . and if we're lucky it was a learned and not a genetic disposition.:smow:

Mark
 

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Most puppies go through a develpmental period where everything scares them. New things scare them, old things scare them. Weeks 12 thru about 18 are THE most critical period for socialization. This is when they need exposure to new things, new people, new sounds etc. Puppies that do not receive adequate socialization during this period have a very hard time adapting to the unknown later in life. It is very normal for puppies to be fearful during this phase in their lives. Some puppies are more fearful than others, but most will go through this stage. New pet owners often hold breeders responsible for the behavior problems that surface later in their puppy. The reality is that you as the owner have much more influence on how your puppy develops than the breeder ever had (outside of the breeding genetics). Up until a puppy is 12 weeks, their needs are basic and if they are kept healthy and happy with their mother and siblings, outside socialization has little impact until they are older when the magic window opens. When the magic window opens, they are little sponges and like wet clay.

Puppies learnn through repeated exposure in pleasant situations. They are not to be expected to behave perfectly on the grooming table at this age. Each time they are put there it should be pleasant, and each time they grow more comfortable. Forcing a puppy to be perfectly still while you work on them is not natural. Your grooming does not have to be perfect at this tender age. If you get one foot shaved, you get one shaved. You quit before the dog becomes scared. Little bits of work every day are much more productive than an extended forced grooming session. Little by little the dog will learn and by the time they are old enough to be shown, they will be champs on the table. Forcing them to do these things will only cement fear in their memories and they will loathe the grooming process.

It seems like you are trying to dismiss this puppy way too early. There are so many temperaments in the show circuit. There are strong willed outgoing dogs, there are lazy dogs, there are shy dogs. As long as they are trained to do what is required there is no reason to dismiss a dog for not being "showy". Of course a dog that is fearful and cowers will not show well, that is why you train them. The "showy" personality is something that is more important in specials, but even here, you find dogs of all temperaments. This is why it is important to socialize the puppy now, during this stage. Whatever you do during this phase of the dogs life will make it or break it. Most judges go above and beyond in effort to properly evaluate a dog.

Dogs pick up our stress levels and can heighten their anxiety. I hope you are not transferring your inner anxieties to your puppy and stressing it out more than it needs to be. You have received excellent advice from some of the previous posters. I notice that you tend to respond to the advice given in a consistent pattern of why you can't do what they are suggesting. It sounds like you have already dismissed this dog in your mind, and I would wonder why.
 

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KPoos, this is just my amatuer opinion, but I think you need to give him some time. Work on making everything fun. Maybe put him on the grooming table a few times during the day and give him some love and/or treats, then put him down. I think dogs need corrections (JMO from working w/ my two) but you have to make sure you're also rewarding the behavoir you want too. Work a little on obedience and reward him big time when he does what you want. He's still to young too go out and socialize, right? When he is old enough take him everywhere. I think genetics plays a role, but there's still a lot you can do to boost his confidence. Someone else mentioned that dog's can pick up on our emotions, so work on that too. I tend to be overprotective of my two guys and I have to work on it constantly b/c hovering over them makes them more anxious.
 
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