Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas from Poodle Friends

  The children were nestled all snug in their beds.........
 All our good wishes for a Merry Christmas & a Happy, HEALTHY New Year!!!

These wishes are brought to you from my friend Jeanne Haight, her Poodles Katie and Morgen and... Himself!! 

Himself is the Santa behind the scene who supports all these lovely girls.

Thanks Jeanne, for best wishes to all readers of the Poodle Blog!

ps to Himself....these girls are expecting a BIG bag of toys this year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All is not what it seems!

Doesn't my friend's dog Morgen have an elegant, almost regal expression in this photo?

But the story behind this photograph is something entirely different. Morgen's Mom, Jeanne Haight, shares with us:

There is a story behind this picture Mellie. It is my favorite photo of Morgen but I laugh when everyone who sees it mentions how elegant and ladylike she looks.

To get this photo, I had to lay on my belly in the grass. Now, for a 75 year old lady, that is no mean feat! It is not the laying down that gets you, it is the getting back UP!

Morgen was only about a year old in this picture but she had already graduated from Basic and Advanced Obedience classes. Morgen even earned her Canine Good Citizens certificate, so she was well versed in knowing what I meant when I was saying "Morgen, watch me Morgen...Morgen...Morgen!"

She was totally ignoring me and that regal look was actually Morgen's "I don't feel like watching you" expression!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift?

Most Poodle people just love to take photos of their dogs! I wanted you to know about a unique new way to showcase your favorite photos that I recently discovered, so I am sharing with you an interview with Amy Meissner, co-owner of

Amy, what is the primary product offered by K9 Collage and how is it different from just taking a few photos and putting them together in a frame and calling it a collage?

K9 Collage offers a unique way to display a large amount of pictures in one setting. What we create is called a photo mosaic, and is a collection of photos arranged in a way that when viewed from a distance they resemble an overall picture. It differs from the traditional collage of where you might only have a few photos arranged on a page. Our photo mosiacs look like one photo from a distance, yet as you approach it you see that it is made up of hundreds of photos.

Could you explain to our readers a bit more?

Yes, a photo mosaic focuses on one main picture (the main background image) which is made up of lots of little pictures (the tile photos). The tile photos can be any photos you choose. So as an example, you would pick your main image; the picture you sent me of you and your poodle Lizzie. This is now set as the main background image. Then you would upload anywhere from 36 to 500 tile photos of your choosing. Most customers upload anywhere from 50 to 75 photos.

Do most people send photos of the same dog? I know I used various Poodle photos.

No, the tile photos can be anything, but most likely you would pick photos that go along with your main image in some way. once you have completed uploading all of your tile photos you simply submit your mosaic for processing, and we take over from there.

This seems like a really unique thing to do to preserve the memory of a special pet, or as a special gift for a friend.

Yes, it is a beautiful way to preserve a memory. A photo mosaic makes a unique and personalized statement and can be used in a variety of ways to mark an occasion such as capturing your dog's final Championship points in conformation, an awesome agility run or a day at the beach. Photo mosaics are nice for capturing everyday moments too. They make a great impression and are a fun conversation piece. 

 So will I be able to see all the photos in the finished product? 

Yes, that's the beauty of this, when you look up close you will see all the tile photos you submitted stitched together. When you take a few steps back you will see the one image that you chose as your main background image. As an example I've attached a small area of the mosaic we created for you. This is what you would see when looking at the mosaic up close. Although your mosaic is made up of almost 3,000 tiles it was created using only the 47 unique photos you sent us. They are duplicated in different areas on the main background image in order to fill in the whole picture.

I actually found the process very simple and easy, does everyone feel this way? 

YES! After you register with us, it is as easy as uploading your photos and clicking submit.

What sizes are the finished prints and could you give me an idea about price ranges?

There is NO CHARGE to create a mosaic. After the mosaic has been created you have the option to purchase prints, canvases and other merchandise from our store. prints start at $24.99 for an 8 x 10, however our most popular size is the 16 x 20, which runs $49.99 and is a good size for viewing all the individual tile photos that make up the mosaic. We also offer gift certificates starting at $25.00.

We hope you'll visit us at try it out. Right now we are offering a holiday discount. Enter coupon code HOLIDAY10 to receive 10% off your purchase of prints, canvases and other merchandise.

Thank you so much Amy. I would also like to thank Chris L'Abbe and Rick Miles, both of whom shared some of their beautiful Poodle photography with me for use in this memory mosaic of our sweet Lizzie (Wildgayle's Elizabeth).

Thanks Melanie for this opportunity to share K9 Collage with your readers.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who says Poodles are not a working breed?

These three are obviously busy keeping up with the landscaping in the Trebert's yard! 
Seriously, Poodles excel at all types of dog sports, including but not limited to obedience, rally, tracking, agility and hunting. Keep in mind that they were originally developed to be water retrievers, so a Poodle jumping into the water to retrieve a duck is actually work they were bred to do.  Many Standard Poodles love to do any kind of work their owner wants them to do...including posing for photos like this one, or even acting in the movies.  Some of the most amazing work I've ever seen  Poodles do involves being trained for behaviors that are put together for Poodle movies. You can read about this, see movie star Poodles owned by Charlene and Glenn Dunlap and read about their film work, even see clips of them performing, on Charlene's website at  

Many thanks to Donna Trebert for sharing this wonderful tractor photo with us!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sydney and the Newton's Cradle

Many thanks to my friend Charlene Dunlap for this article about her movie work with Poodles!
My Standard Poodles are veteran movie actors having starred in numerous movies that my husband and I produce. We recently finished videoing Act 1 (of a three-act story) of Jyah and Sydney’s first mystery.  At Jyah’s detective agency on his office desk, there is a Newton’s Cradle. I trained Sydney (who plays a Dr. Watson type to Jyah’s mysterious “J.D.” character) to use the device. 
Newton’s Cradle Multi-Ball Pendulum (named for Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) is a classic desktop executive toy that demonstrates Newton’s principal: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The device consists of a series of identically sized metal balls suspended in a metal frame so that they are just touching each other at rest.  Each ball is attached to the frame by two wires of equal length angled away from each other.  This restricts the pendulum’s movements at the same place. If one ball is pulled away and is let fall, it strikes the next ball in the series and comes to a dead stop.  The ball on the opposite side of the series acquires the momentum of the first ball almost instantly and swings in an arc that one would expect of the first ball.  The intermediate balls appear stationary.  What actually happens is that the first impact produces a shock wave that propagates through the intermediate balls.  This continues until, toward the end of oscillation, even the intermediate balls jiggle a bit and they all come slowly to a stop. 
In the scene, Sydney goes to the desk, picks up and pulls the first ball, and then lets it drop, starting the momentum.  For her to understand how to correctly use this device, there were nuances she needed to be aware of: 1) pick up and pull only the outside ball - which isn’t easy because each ball is the size of a marble and lies against its neighbor, 2) pull the ball back without displacing the cradle itself, and 3) let the ball go so that it hits the next ball with the correct amount of force.  The degrees of distinction in accomplishing this are rather complex for a dog to understand.   
So, how did I teach it?
Some things seem to take forever to train, and I thought this might be one of them . . . even though Sydney is very good with "front teeth" behaviors -- holding a pencil to type on a keyboard or to dial a phone, picking up quarters to put in a small-mouthed jar, etc.    
The behavior turned out to be one of the easiest I have trained.  Why?
Since puppyhood, my Poodles have been taught to use learned behaviors in different contexts.  I simply called Sydney over to the desk, showed her how the toy worked, and then held out the first ball asking her to “take it.”  When she did, I clicked (with a reinforcement clicker device) and she dropped the ball. (The click ends the behavior.)   Next, I asked her to “get it” (the first ball) . . . which wasn’t simple because her nose didn’t fit easily into the cradle without getting tangled in the wires.  It took only three tries for her to understand the concept of what was expected, and she could do it perfectly every time. 
Newton himself would have been proud of this Poodle!!      
Charlene Dunlap

Friday, November 26, 2010

Come When Called

     If your dog does not come when called, you don’t have a dog...
                                                                                 Author Unknown.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to chase a dog that plays “keep away” when you are calling it to come to you.  Here are a few tips on improving your dog’s response to the come command (also commonly called a “recall”.)

Real World Versus Show Ring

Show Ring type of Recall, dog comes "front".
 In the show ring, the dogs sit quietly, totally intent on watching their owner, then fly toward them when they hear the command “come” or “here.“ They then sit beautifully straight in front of their owners, and even swing around to heel position when asked to do so.

These perfect “recalls” rarely exist in real life, even when a show dog is called outside of the show ring. Why?  First of all, the conditions are rarely the same. When we are calling our dogs to come, in the real world, they are usually busy doing something else, not sitting, waiting patiently for our command.

How can we improve our dogs compliance to this most important of requests?

First, consider what the word “come” now means to your dog. Have you called him to you when you are going to do something unpleasant to him, such as clean his ears or poke a pill down his throat? We have all done this, but unfortunately, this is one reason that some dogs hesitate before coming when called, and sometimes will not come at all.

Three Easy Rules To Remember

The number one rule is…your “come command” should always mean something wonderful is about to happen. If your dog has already decided that coming is optional, why not change the word you use? The word “here” is a very good one, and most of us cannot say this word without a cheerful tone to our voice.

Speaking of which…rule two is…always call your dog in an upbeat tone of voice, even when you are panicked because he is darting away in a dangerous place. If you yell like you are furious, he may be afraid to come to

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

What is this Poodle thinking about?  Maybe he is looking up and thanking his Creator for all his many blessings....during this Thanksgiving season, let's do the same!

Wishing you and yours special moments this week with your friends and family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Favorite Poodle products

Yikes!  Amazing is rotating Poodle items automatically for me, but they seem stuck on costumes (and I don't even like Halloween)! However on my Knowing Dogs Amazon store, there are many hand selected Poodle items that you will love!  Maybe not anything as fun as Poodles in canoes, but close!

Thanks to Chris L'Abbe for this photo.  More of Chris' photos can be found on my dog training blog,

Cephira the Gorgeous!

This is Cephira, owned by Bruce Swift.  Isn't she gorgeous?  Bruce says even though she is the youngest of his Poodle crew, she is the most fearless, never meets a stranger, loves to play fetch, and is outgoing and stunning in the show ring. Bruce mentioned that Cephira has recently been put in the Continental trim for her adult show career--hopefully he will keep us updated on Cephira and will share more photos in the future!  I recently met Bruce and Cephira on Sherri Regalbuto's The Standard Poodle Facebook site. It is a great place to meet other Poodle people.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Poodle Health Issues - A Personal Story

Isn't this a lovely trio?  These are three dogs that have been owned and loved by Donna Trebert (Teddy, Tyler and Mickey).

I became acquainted with Donna through a Poodle e-mail list, and have gotten to know her better because she has been incredibly kind to share photos of her gorgeous Poodles for my Poodle blog site.

Donna has, unfortunately, experienced first-hand many of the health problems we have in Standard Poodles. I have asked her to share some of her experiences for our readers. We can talk all day about health issues in our breed, but  personally experiencing life threatening illnesses with your own beloved dogs is what makes one realize how critical it is that Poodle breeders get serious about health clearances, and working together to outcross to produce healthier dogs.

Many people who have loved a Poodle and experienced the
health issues will never choose to have another Poodle. Donna is not one of these people...she is very dedicated to this breed and the dogs she has loved, despite the health issues.  Click "read more" to read my interview with Donna and see more photos of her beautiful dogs.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tricks on Using Treats in Training

Years ago, when I first started training dogs, food treats were absolutely forbidden in obedience classes. Many of us used treats at home while working with our dog on certain exercises, but we were not allowed to use them at class. I admit though, some of us had treats in our pockets , a little bit of cheating in class to keep our dog’s attention!

The tide changed, and in the 1980s, “positive reinforcement” became the buzzword, and the motivator of choice became food treats. This had both good and bad consequences. Good in that dogs who love treats became very easy to motivate with cookies, but bad in that many dogs ended up working only for cookies. In this article, I’d like to give you some hints on how to use training treats effectively, as well as when to choose not to give your dog a food reward. These tips apply to training companion dogs and many competition dogs, but please note that food is used differently to “bait” a conformation show dog in the ring and may also be used differently for training dogs for other disciplines.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Well Socialized Pups - The Rules of Seven

Easy Steps to Well Socialized Pups - The Rules of Seven
                                                                               author unknown

Here are the Rules of Seven:

By the Time a Puppy is Seven Weeks old he or she should have:
Walked on 7 different types of surfaces: carpet, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, wood chips, plastic tarps, etc.

Played with 7 different types of objects: big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, fuzzy toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard items, metal items, sticks or hose pieces

Been in 7 different home-based locations: front yard, back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room, bathroom, workshop or rec room.

Met and played with 7 new people: include children and older adults, someone walking with a cane or stick, someone in a wheelchair or walker, tall people, short people, men with beards, people who smoke (or people who do not smoke if you do), people in yellow rain slickers, people with an umbrella over their heads

Been exposed to 7 challenges: climb on a box, climb off a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence, ride in a child’s wagon

Eaten from 7 different containers; metal, plastic, cardboard, paper plate, china, pie plate, frying pan

Eaten in 7 different locations: crate, yard, kitchen, basement, laundry room, living room, bathroom

During the next 7 weeks of pup’s life (ages 8-15 weeks), he should experience at least 7 of the following things every week:

Car rides (preferably 2-3 times a week)
New people (preferably 2-3 times a week)
New locations off the premises (at least twice a week - Grandma’s house, the park, Lowe's, Home Depot or other stores that allow dogs, friend’s homes, puppy classes, quick visit to the reception area of the vet’s office just to get a cookie from the  employees)
New toys and novel noises (dishwasher, child’s fire engine toy, vacuum,  CD of baby noises if you don’t have an infant, various noisemakers)
Children of all ages (never allow pup to jump up or nibble on them, keep pup under control on leash)

As with all socializing, it is important not only to expose your puppy to new things, but to set things up so that each experience will be a positive one.

If you have followed the “rules of seven”, then by the age of 16 weeks, your pup should be ready for formal training, he should have very little fear of anything novel because he is feeling confident and ready to face the world!

Photo used with permission, may not be reproduced in any form or fashion.  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Searching for a Poodle puppy?

It is rare to find Poodle puppies coming into rescue organizations or animal shelters, so most likely if you have your heart set on a puppy, you will be purchasing a dog from a breeder.
A link at the bottom of this post contains a list of Poodle breeders for your reference.  We do not know these breeders personally, so it is very important to ask the right questions when you make contact with the breeder. An ethical breeder will have a lot of questions for you as well, because they want their dogs placed only into homes with purchasers that are well-matched for them.

If you are considering becoming a breeder, please make  that the breeder breeds  only dogs that have had all genetic  health clearances  recommended for that variety of Poodles (Toy, Miniature of Standard) by the Poodle Club of America. Also, ask for a written contract and make sure you understand exactly what the breeder will offer you if your dog does develop a hereditary health issue.  Will they offer you a replacement puppy at no charge or at a reduced price?   If yes, will you be allowed to keep the original dog or would they expect it to be returned to them?  No one wants to return a beloved canine companion to the breeder a year after they have purchased it, so make sure if a replacement is offered, that you will still have the option of keeping your original pet.  Of course all companion Poodles should be spayed or neutered, so the contract you sign with the breeder will also be likely to specify a date by which you should have this done.

When purchasing a Poodle puppy as a companion, make sure that good health and good temperament are your priorities.  All Poodles are pretty, so don't choose your puppy based on the colors a breeder might have, choose based on the soundness of that breeder's breeding stock. It is human nature to be drawn to certain colors of dogs, so I am not saying give up the desire of your heart, just don’t agree to buying a certain pup too quickly simply because of color. Wait until you can have an apricot colored puppy who comes from an ethical breeder. 

Health screening tests have been developed to help Poodle breeders screen for certain problems in hopes of eradicating genetic diseases.  
Here are some of the health issues commonly encountered in Poodles:
Addison's Disease, Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Gastric Torsion (Bloat), Cushings Disease, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Neonatal Encephalopathy, Patellar Luxation, PRA, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Juvenile Cataracts, Sebaceous Adentis (SA) and Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD).

So get ready to do your research, and have fun looking for that new curly addition to your family!  Here are a few places to start you on your search:
Poodle Club of America Breeder Referral:
Mutli-Colored Poodle Club of America:

But in regards to ethics, a breeder does NOT have to be a member of PCA or MCPCA to be ethical!  Some people simply don’t enjoy being members of organizations, plus, all dog people (people who have been “in dogs” for a number of years) can tell you stories about people who were even board members of national breed clubs, who in their dealings with unethical.

This article is primarily to give you an idea about health problems, so you can ask the right questions when you call a breeder. Expect that they will ask you a good many questions as well, because ethical breeders want to make sure their dogs go to good homes.

Last but certainly not least, ask how the puppies are being kept. Ethical breeders may have any number of set-ups, from an exercise-pen with potty pads down in the bedroom or kitchen, to indoor/outdoor runs in a fancy kennel building, to a stall in a stable. Sadly, so can unethical breeders and puppy millers!  Ask how many dogs they keep, and if they keep more than a dozen or so, ask if they have kennel help.  Ask if you can come visit, even if you live so far away that you know you will need to buy a puppy and have it shipped to you---because if the breeder never allows anyone to visit, they may have something to hide.

Most of the tips are simple common sense. But…Poodles and Poodles mixes are both so endearing, especially as fluffy puppies, that sometimes we allow our heart to rule instead of our head!!  So before you take that leap, read back over this article and sit on things a day or two. If you are a praying person, pray about it.  If not, at least think about it in your quiet moments.
Best wishes for a long and happy life with your new pup! 

Thank you, Rick Miles, for use of photograph, and to Melanie Schlaginhaufen, who wrote the original version of this article.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Paint Me Politically Incorrect

Parti-colored Poodles have been around since the very beginning of the breed.  The most complete information we have found on the history of the parti-colored Poodle has been compiled by Poodle trainer and film maker Charlene Dunlap:

For many years, it was almost impossible to find a quality parti-colored Poodle. For whatever reason, the Poodle Club of America, in putting together the AKC Standard, decided against allowing anything other than solid colors to be shown in the conformation ring (towards AKC championship titles). Parti-colored Poodles have always been registerable by AKC and could be shown in performance events, such as agility, obedience and rally, but could not be shown towards conformation championships.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No More Jumping Up!

Jumping up is one of the most common problems people have with their dogs. Dog trainers see this misbehavior in all dogs, even the Poodle!

It is actually rooted in social behavior, in the way our dogs relate to people. The start of the problem goes all the way back to our habit of carrying puppies around, instead of putting them on leash as soon as possible and making them keep all four feet on the floor. Hence they get used to the feeling of being up close to our face, and still long for that type of contact even when they are older. Jumping on favorite people is very common in all types of dogs. Jumping up to greet visitors is more common in highly social breeds, such as retrievers. A more aloof type of dog, such as an Akita or a Chow, is usually not tempted to jump up on strangers.

Standard Poodles Anyone?

Standard Poodles...not really dogs, but people in a curly body?

I confess. I love Standard Poodles. I mean I really, really adore them. When people ask me what type of dog might be best for their family, I almost always start with mentioning Standard Poodles. 9 times out of 10, they confess that they are "not Poodle people".

That's okay. Crazy, totally unbelievable, but okay.

And why do I think it is crazy not to love Standard Poodles? Because they can be anything you want in a dog. Get them groomed by the best groomer in town and they will look like an elegant aristocrat. Buzz them down and they are happy to masquerade as a "real dog". A Standard Poodle from working lines can even impress you with what the breed was originally bred to do--be a water retriever. A Standard Poodle is capable of learning all types of tricks to entertain your friends, as he is a true "clown at heart". Excellent therapy dogs, they love to bring happiness to nursing home residents, or help you educate special needs children. Standard Poodles are pure gold in the agility, rally or obedience ring, and tons of fun for those interested in dog sports. It sounds a bit silly, but the truth is...Poodles are really, truly FUN.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I love Poodles.

I’m talking about all Poodles--big curly dogs, energetic water dogs, little lap dogs, flying leap agility dogs, groomed-up-to-look-ridiculous show dogs and just plain simple Poodle dogs. If it is Poodle-ly, it is, in my book, fascinating.

I’ve been known to drive around in my husband’s construction truck with a Standard Poodle in show coat who has their hair up in colored papers and rubber bands. Why? Just to irritate non-Poodle folk I guess.

Although I have trained and shown other dogs for many years, I don’t have any Poodles in show coat anymore, in fact, never even had a Poodle “show dog” turn out to be of show and breeding quality, so they have all retired to be beloved housedogs and training demo dogs. My first Standard Poodle became an excellent therapy dog at nursing homes, but another Poodle that came to me at a late age after his owner passed away never did anything more exciting than play a little tennis ball with us and make the neighbors smile at his clownish ways when we took him on walks. But each one of them, each curly dog that has ever ventured into my life, has been worth their weight in gold.

I hope never to be without at least one Poodle dog. There is just something about these creatures, these people in curly dog suits. If you feel the same, this blog is dedicated to you….to Poodle lovers everywhere. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Did you know that the original Poodles (Pudels) were water dogs? Yep, and many of them still enjoy a good swim, as Scout and Murray L'Abbe (above) can attest!