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CONTENTS Poodles: An Introduction Origin of the Name The Origin of the Poodle Clip Poodles? Functions Adaptability Beautiful and Elegant The Real Dog Inside the Perceived Poodle Disposition Intelligence The Perfect Dog? Advice for Potential Poodle Owners Understanding the Poodle Characteristic Poodle Behavior Poodles as Pets Poodles as Show Dogs Poodles in Obedience Work Poodles as Retrievers Other Poodle Contributions Sharing Your Home with a Poodle Poodles? Coats Smart Dogs Need Smart Owners Poodles and Children Poodles and the Elderly Poodles and Other Pets Keep the Poodle a Real Dog Caring for Your Poodle Housing a Poodle The Poodle and Exercise How To: Traveling by Air with Your Poodle Traveling By Automobile Leaving Your Poodle Home Less Than Obvious Needs Before You Buy A Poodle Making the Right Decision Selecting a Puppy Your Poodle?s Documentation Christmas Puppies Bringing Your Poodle Home Be Prepared The Trip Home Introducing the Pup to its New Home HOW-TO: Poodle-Proof Your Home Helping Your Poodle Adjust First Night Blues Starting Your Poodle Off Right Feeding Your Poodle Balance is Everything Special Poodle Feeding Considerations Building Blocks of Good Canine Nutrition Commercial Dog Foods Types of Dog Foods Table Scrapes Homemade Diets Treats Feeding Young Poodles (Under One Year Old) Feeding Adult Poodles (Over One Year Old) Feeding Older Poodles (Eight Years Old and Older) Training Your Poodle Your Poodle and Pack Behavior Using Pack Behavior to Make Training Easier Understanding Training Concepts Housebreaking When to Begin Training Training Equipment for Your Puppy Some Additional Training Hints The Five Basic Commands Obedience Classes and Obedience Trials Grooming An Overview Before You Start Professional Groomers Poodle Grooming Tools Bathing Poodle Clips Groom Early and Often Indirect Factors Affecting Grooming Medical Care Keeping Your Poodle in Good Health The Health Team Concept Preventive Care Parasites Other Medical Problems Special Health Concerns for Poodles Giving Your Poodle Medicine Health Areas to Watch Preventive Maintenance As Your Poodle Grows Older Euthanasia Useful Addresses and Literature Index POODLES: AN INTRODUCTION Everyone knows the "French" poodle, don't they? Not necessarily! One of the most popular breeds in the all of the world, the poodle has often been cursed by the misconceptions that such popularity can bring. People have neatly filed the concept of "poodle" into classifications of superfluous, dandified, even useless as a real dog. This is far from the truth! Origin of the Name The poodle is the national dog of France, but the breed isn't actually French. The dogs we know as poodles (which the French call caniches) come from early German retrievers, which came to be called the pudels, taking its name from an Old German word for "puddler" or " to splash in or into water." Caniche, the French name for their adopted favorite comes from the word canard, or duck. This made the caniche a "duck dog." Thus, in both their home country and in their adoptive land, poodles are known, by name, for their ability to retrieve downed ducks or geese for hunters. Origin of the Poodle Clip This early poodle was a stockier version of the standard or large poodle of today. What many experts believe was a fortunate genetic mutation gave these tough retrievers a dense and tightly curled coat which made cold water retrieving less chilling. Even the haircuts or clips that have contributed so much to the impression of the poodle as a dandy, or a pampered pet, originated with hunters. Even before the 1300's duck hunters began trimming away some of the poodle's heavy coat to assist the dog in swimming after downed waterfowl in rough water. Thus, the easily recognized "lion clip", which left the poodle with a full mane in front and shaved hindquarters, began as an effort by duck and goose hunters to cover the areas of the retrieving poodle that would be most sensitive to cold, while freeing up the rear of the dog to aid it in swimming. The puffs of hair left on the legs were not decoration but insulation to protect the dogs' joints from cold water. The oft-ridiculed pompon on the dogs three-quarter-length tail was left to serve as a type of rudder. It also made a useful signal flag that let hunters know the location their dogs was in choppy, rolling waters. Poodles? Functions The poodle is one of the oldest distinct dog breeds. From the first century, Greek carvings depicted dogs that greatly resemble poodles. European art work and texts from the fifteenth century clearly show and describe poodles in a variety of settings from a working "water dog" to a popular pet portrayed in paintings and portraits of the time. As retriever, early poodles spent a lot of time with humans. Hunting was a very serious endeavor which brought needed food to the table. Lost waterfowl were regarded as a great waste. Not only did the poodle need to be obedient to the hunters' commands, these dogs also had to be "soft-mouthed" so that they would not tear or bruise the flesh of the ducks or geese they retrieved. Poodles also had to be tough enough to bring in a large duck or goose that was only wounded and which still could put up quite a fight. Poodles had to be patient as they waited, hidden with their owners. They had to remain motionless to not frighten away incoming waterfowl. They had to remain in place until the command to go after their owners' kills was given. Sometimes a poodle would be required to swim long distances, against the current, in turbulent water, towing one or more ducks or a large goose. Obedience, especially to shouted commands and hand signals was a must. The poodle could not be quarrelsome with the other hunters' retrievers, but it had to be strong enough and have enough endurance to make repeated retrieves before accompanying its hunter/master on the long walk home. These hard working poodles had to be able to survive on the sometimes meager fare they shared with their owners. Unlike hounds and other types of hunting dogs that were kept, often in kennels, for the chase or to attack and bring down game, poodles usually became beloved family pets and actually lived with the hunter and his family. Companions Poodles served as nursemaids for toddlers, family watchdogs and protectors, and sturdy companions. Sometimes the poodle would have to pull a cart to market for the hunter's wife. Some poodles helped herd cattle. Poodles had to be courageous enough to battle predators intent on killing livestock. The poodle, that would be later viewed by some as a soft pet dog, handled all these chores and more. Beginning as early as the thirteenth century in Germany, France, and other parts of Europe, the poodle was recognized as the ideal combination of a hunter/worker and family dog. Their long years of closeness to humankind (and their owners' subsequent selective breeding of the smartest, most obedient, and best retrievers) made an indelible mark on the form, structure, and personality of the poodle. Adaptability The poodle gained adaptability during the many years that it served as a companion. As much as any breed of dog, the poodle was able to adjust to and for people. Adapting came early for poodles, but it also meant filling new and vastly different roles. Gradually, beginning in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, poodles came to be treasured by more than hunters and their families. Their pet qualities and unique appearance began to attract non-hunters, the wealthy Europeans and, even royalty. Poodles began to move from the modest, rural homes of waterfowl hunters, to city houses, and to castles. By the 1600's poodles had become a regular fixtures in many portraits done of the landed gentry, wealthy merchants, and various royal families. Poodles had to adapt in size in order to fit the needs of their new masters and mistresses. To the standard poodle was gradually added *two smaller versions. This was largely accomplished by breeding smaller and smaller poodles together. Decreasing poodle size soon became a major dog breeding goal. The miniature poodle and the early toy poodle were already clearly known by 1600. The standard poodle continued bringing in waterfowl, but even this largest poodle was becoming more popular as a showy pet. At about this same time, the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, poodles became popular as performers in the traveling shows, circuses, and carnivals that provided much of the entertainment of that era. This role, one that continues for poodles today, helped poodles to become widespread over much of Europe and the British Isles. Capable and bright, seemingly pleased by the attention and applause, poodles learned a wide range of tricks and routines that amazed and pleased audiences. Beautiful and Elegant The poodle is more than a mop of curly hair perched on the arm of some socialite or mincing along a boulevard at the end of a leash. The poodle is more than a clever performer or statuesque show dog. Most poodles still show the athletic build of their retriever ancestors. In very harmonious terms, the poodle has long legs attached to a short body with a broad, full chest. The head of the poodle is well-shaped and placed atop a fine, but muscular neck. Seen without the solid-colored, tight, curly coat, the standard poodle would physically resemble a number of other working bird dogs or water spaniels. Sizes The standard poodle, shorn of coat, is actually about the size and overall shape of some of such continental hunting dogs like the Weimaraner, the German shorthaired pointer, or the vizsla. The Standard poodle of today is above fifteen inches in height at the shoulder (generally well above this limit). The miniature poodle is under fifteen inches but above ten inches in height at the shoulder. The height, at the shoulder, of a toy poodle must be ten inches or below. Coat The poodle's coat attracted the eye of the dog owner and the dog fancier who fashioned the poodle's natural outerwear by trimming it, clipping it, plucking it, shaping it, and even dying it into a number of dramatic outlines and appearances. Another variation on the poodle theme, the corded poodle, whose uncut coat falls in rope-like spirals instead of tight curls never was as popular in the United States as it has been in other parts of the world. The Real Dog inside the Perceived Poodle The poodle has been relegated by some into the unfortunate status of a living, breathing fashion accessory. This attitude does both the dog and the dog's owner a real disservice. The poodle, even in its toy variety, is much more than an adornment or an ornament. An ornament can be taken off and put away when not in use, but a dog needs consistent care, affection, and attention each and every day. The poodle owner suffers most when he or she fails to really know the poodle for the versatile dog that it can be. A person who purchases a poodle solely for the visual impact the dog will have on passersby is getting a pet, and especially a poodle, for all the wrong reasons! The poodle is a very devoted and trusting canine whose pet Disposition Well-bred poodles are usually happy, confident dogs. Poodles have been associated with humans long enough to fit in well in almost every kind of lifestyle. The standard poodle can grace a stroll with its owner in a city park, patrol a suburban backyard, or function in a duck blind. The miniature poodle can be a child's best friend, a family's furriest member, or a hardworking obedience trial dog. While equally at home in suburban or rural settings, the toy poodle can be just the right dog for the individual or couple bound by space constraints in a small apartment or for a retiree needing companionship. Poodles star as therapy dogs, bringing smiles to sick children, happiness to disabled older persons, and unreserved affection to the developmentally disadvantaged. The poodle has proven many times over that a friendly dog can be medicine of a very special kind. Intelligence Poodles are quick to learn and slow to forget. A poodle owner must learn to be consistent with his or her dog. A poodle that has been allowed on the couch at one time will not understand being banned from that same couch later. Some poodles react to such inequities with resentment Poodles, like their circus-dog ancestors, are usually easy to teach both commands and tricks. They learn from a variety of teachers and learning situations. The Perfect Dog?. Is the poodle the perfect breed? Of course not! The poodle, as a breed with three varieties, is beset by some of the most serious genetic health problems in purebred dogs. There are great poodles, but they don't come from casual sources (mass puppy-breeding facilities or haphazard backyard matings) and they don't come cheap or without responsibilities. Each size of poodle has its own special needs and issues. Standard poodles are large dogs with all of the concerns that go along with active, bigger dogs. Whether clipped for a dog show or in a more utilitarian style, the standard poodle is still a big dog and must be treated as such. Standard poodles are probably the most adaptable of the three poodle sizes. Miniature poodles can often be dedicated to one person. This penchant for being a "one person dog" is one of the reasons that minis often excel in obedience work. Miniature poodles should always be safeguarded from situations where their "bigger than I really am" attitude could get them into trouble. While the standard and miniature poodles are members of the American Kennel Club's Non-Sporting Breeds group, the toy poodle is a member of the AKC?s Toy Group. The smallest poodle has become a very popular pet, an able competitor in the show ring, and no disgrace to its larger poodle-kin in achieving obedience titles. Toy poodles, in the opinion of one breed expert are somewhat like cats, "Toy poodles can take you or leave you." Small the toy poodle may be, but it still shares much of the versatility and adaptability of the standard and the miniature. Both the standard poodle and the miniature poodle are much older varieties than the toy poodle of today. Much of the knowledge and skill that went into developing and improving the bigger sizes definitely helped to create and establish the modern toy poodle. Even though poodles under 10 inches (25cm) have been known for centuries, the toy poodle we have now is really a creation of recent decades. Toy poodles, prior to the 1920's, were usually quite inferior to the standards and miniatures in quality and consistency. American poodle breeders, working with some excellent miniatures, gradually produced a toy poodle of much better quality than the odd looking assortment of so-called "toy poodles" of earlier years. Achieving small size without sacrificing the unique attributes of the true poodle, a group of dedicated breeders literally recreated the toy poodle in a smaller image of the stately standard and the popular miniature. Drawbacks to Poodles Poodles in all three sizes will have their lives controlled in part by the breed's most visibly obvious, outward characteristic - their coat. In every situation the curly poodle coat must be considered. An ungroomed poodle is very different from an ungroomed cocker spaniel, ungroomed schnauzer, or even an ungroomed beagle. Without regular attention a poodle's curly coat can become unsightly, unpleasant to be around, and even unhealthy and unsafe. Poodles also suffer some of the drawbacks that often come with being popular over a long span of time. There are more potential health problems involving the poodle than plague many other breeds. The poodle must be purchased from a reputable, knowledgeable source to increase the odds on getting a quality, healthy pet. Because of poodle intelligence, owners must become competent and consistent dog trainers. Poodles absolutely cannot be sometime pets relegated mainly to the backyard. they must be allowed to share in the lives of their humans. Advice for Potential Poodle Owners 1. Be absolutely certain that you want to own a poodle. Treat the purchase of a poodle as an investment, a labor-intensive, time-consuming investment that will only pay off in direct proportion to the amount of hard, smart work you put into it. The poodle coat alone will require a good deal of time and work to keep your potential pet looking and feeling good. Invest only in a healthy poodle from breeding stock known to be as free from inherited diseases and defects as possible, and that have test results to prove it. 2. Go places where quality poodles are. Visit as many dog shows as you can. Sit back and watch how the judge decides which poodle wins. Try to understand what makes one poodle better than another. Try to gain the mental image of what a good poodle should look like. 3. Don?t fail to check out animal shelters and poodle rescue organizations that might have just the right pet for you. 4. Find yourself a poodle mentor, a respected breeder, exhibitor or poodle rescue person who will commit to be your teacher, advisor, and friend. 5. Find a poodle-knowledgeable local veterinarian to advise you about poodles and their health management.
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