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!