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We got a 4 month old standard poodle two days ago! His previous owners got him on Valentine’s Day of this year and could not keep him. I do not know his history before then but I assume he was still at the breeder. So far he is thhe BEST dog! He is very timid acting and has been startled by me walking into the room where he is laying and starts barking and growling. He also did this to my three year old child as she ran into the room once. Is this a normal temperament? Something we should be really concerned with or just guide him?
 

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Congrats on your new spoo!
No that is not normal temperament for a spoo. I would say that he is possibly under socialized so try puppy classes. Others here can offer more advice on that as I am not super familiar with that aspect of training.
I hope everything works out.
 

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We got a 4 month old standard poodle two days ago! His previous owners got him on Valentine’s Day of this year and could not keep him. I do not know his history before then but I assume he was still at the breeder. So far he is thhe BEST dog! He is very timid acting and has been startled by me walking into the room where he is laying and starts barking and growling. He also did this to my three year old child as she ran into the room once. Is this a normal temperament? Something we should be really concerned with or just guide him?
Hi and welcome. This unfortunately is not normal...could be bad breeding, could be lack of socialization, could be health problems. A few questions to start- has he been checked out by your vet? What did the previous owners give as a reason for giving him away? Did they have children? They also should have given you the name of the breeder, because you might need to contact that person.

Because you have a young child in the home, the behavior of this dog is concerning. It will be very important to monitor your child closely around this dog, and please do not leave them alone together.

It could be that your puppy is just scared and adjusting to the new environment. However, if everything checks out at the vet, I would suggest reaching out to a trainer who can work with you in the home to asses the dog's behaviors. Some dogs, unfortunately, due to socialization and temperament are not a good fit in a home with young children. I wish you luck with your new pup.
 

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Hi and Welcome!

I'm a mini owner so I'm not a good source for spoo specific behavior but I will say that it sounds like he's already been thru much change and upheaval in his short life. It sounds like his prior history is more of a mystery than not.

On that basis, I'd look at him as a rescue and would basically be starting over with anything missing from his training, as EVp and D4L suggested above.

"It’s called the 3-3-3 Adjustment Period. It takes roughly three days for a new dog to simply get over the shock of moving homes. It takes about three weeks for a new dog to get used to his new home, all of the people in his life, and his new routine, rules, and boundaries. Finally, it takes somewhere around three months for a dog to fully and truly settle into his new life."
If you don't mind giving a bit of background on you and your family's experience with dogs in general and poodles in particular, we can get a better picture.

What's his day like at your house? Is he on a routine? Restricted or full access in the home? A crate or ex-pen area for a safe, quiet space? Did the other family say why they couldn't keep him after such a short time? Often the breeders will ask for a pup to be returned to them if the new family find they can't keep the pup. I'm guessing there wasn't anything like that but asking just in case.

We've had a few members writing in with similar concerns on a new pup or rehome, so you're not alone there. If you haven't already try the Search (I usually use Advanced Search) for key words like new puppy growling, something like that.

I hope some see your post and stop by with their experiences. I will say that it certainly can work out happily for all, but a bit more info will help.

Write again when you can!
 

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Hola. My second "son" Sherlock was a very frightened spoo when I got him. He separated himself in a corner and avoided me and my other standard Shasta. And he came from a well know breeder. His father was frozen sperm flown down from Canada to mate with a grand-daughter of Mikimoto on the Fifth. So, it was't a question of bad breeding. His breeder also owned about seven other standards so he had plenty of time with dogs besides his mother and seven siblings. As I know children who have come out of the womb jumpy and highly reactionary, I have written it off to being his natural temperament. And, that he was traumatized by being separated from his siblings and old "pack." As pointed out above, the 3-3-3 is a good guide. Like humans, with time and work, stressed out pups can become the best ever. I use to have a temper as a child. Now, I feel sick to the stomach if I even have to raise my voice to the dogs to get their attention. It just took a lot of love and support to get me to that point :)

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My situation was different than your though as I did not have a child to worry about and could focus 100% on his fears (including butterflies and plastic bags.) I didn't work so I could keep him with me and introduce him to a lot of new situations one at a time. I made sure he got a lot of safe socialization with both people and other animals. He would actually go to a wine bar with me a lot where the owner let him hang with me at a corner booth where he could see the whole room but people couldn't approach him without bending down and crawling under the table a bit. There was always soft jazz playing, his corner was dark, and he had his "blankie" to lay on. Anyone who noticed and came over to pet him got the explanation of his fear of strangers and instead were allowed to take one of his treats, hold it under the table and talk to him, but then drop it and stand back up so he could get the treat and smell their feet (he has always had a foot fetish.) This worked. After a bit, he claimed the whole place as his and loved the the patio where anyone walking by would stop to reach over to pet him.

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Now at five he demands everyone look at him. He is the biggest show off and a clown. I thank every day I have him although I still remember when I first got him how concerned I was that he would never fit in or if I had the ability to help him.

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So, my suggestion is have someone do a temperament test on him, if you can, to first figure out if this is because of his transition to your home or a solo situation causing his behavior, or if he is just more on the skittish side (remember growling doesn't mean anger - it means fear.) Breeders of any breed of dog should be able to do this, or contact your local shelter pet adoption people to ask if someone there could do this for you. There are also people with pet therapy organizations who can assist in evaluating a dogs temperament. They mainly do this with matured adult dogs, but are skilled enough to give you a good opinion on a puppy. Here is the link to what organizations may be in your community.

AKC Recognized Therapy Dog Organizations – American Kennel Club

After having the puppy assessed, ask yourself the hard questions of if you have the time and desire to correct needed behaviors and get the proper socialization - if there seems to be any issues at all other than just initial transition problems. If the answer is no, that the steps to find the puppy a home better suited to his needs. And don't feel bad about it. It is just as important for the dog's happiness to find the correct setting as for you to find the correct dog. It may cause short term stress on you and the pup, but long term it is 100% the thing to do.

Because you have reached out here, it is obvious you have a caring heart and want what is best. There is a good possibility that what is best is your love and attention for this dog. It may also be a possibility that at no fault of yours or the puppy's, this was not the correct placement.

Regardless, keep us posted and don't feel afraid to ask anything. I don't know how many times I have asked poodle people a poop question and they still are happy to answer. Best wishes in your journey.
 

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Congratulations on your new addition!

Only two days with you and three homes in his very short life? I'm not personally surprised he's not yet comfortable with your household's noises and routines.

Does he bark and growl as he hears you coming, but then stop when he sees who it is?

If so, I think that's completely normal as he adjusts. There are plenty of folks with lovely poodles who nevertheless alert them to every little noise.

What would concern me more is if he is overly shy even when you're handling him gently and appropriately. For example, I don't think a 3-year-old should be rushing into his space. I don't consider that appropriate if he's never been around children before. You need to start slowly and keep all interactions positive.
 

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It sounds as though the poor pup has had too many changes in his short life. Does he have a safe place to call his own? Perhaps a blanket-covered crate with the door left open during the day?
 

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I wouldn't view that as normal behavior for a spoo that went from its breeder to its forever home at about 8 or 9 weeks old, but without knowing why his first people gave him up I wouldn't be surprised by much of that behavior. This little one has been shuttled around from home to home in just his first four months. I would recommend a good vet health check and getting some stable routines including good training (ideally in a class) on board ASAP. For my club he is too old for a puppy class, but you can find beginner classes that will help build obedience with confidence. Use the AKC search tool to find a sanctioned obedience club.
 

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Peggy is almost 9 months, also a spoo, and still startles fairly easily, but only if one of us is with her. For example, if my husband's been very quiet in his office for a few hours, and Peggy and I are relaxing on the couch, she might wake from a deep sleep and bark a few times if she hears his office door open down the hall. Or she'll let out a low rumbly growl. But it immediately turns to quiet, happy wiggles as soon as she sees him. And she never alerts to these sorts of household noises if she's alone in her crate or pen, which makes me think she's trying to "protect" me. :rolleyes:

It's certainly not desirable. I wish she'd just look up sleepily and trust I've got it under control. But my last dog was also a protective barker and I never considered it a temperament flaw. Maybe I should have? I never did figure out how to train the behaviour out of her. It just eventually stopped in her senior years, when her hearing started to go and she was finally able to sleep deeply. Such a peaceful time. :)
 
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