Poodles do just fine in any type of home, from apartments to estates, so long as they have regular exercise and plenty of human companionship. They prefer to live indoors with the family, particularly the smaller Toy and Miniature Poodles, since they have no trouble getting their ya-yas out in the house.
This intelligent breed learns quickly, but owners should be careful: It’s as easy to accidentally teach your Poodle bad habits as it is to teach him good ones, so if you’re new to dogs, sign up for an obedience class with a skilled trainer. That goes for Toy and Miniature Poodles as well. Many owners of small dogs skip training, and wind up with a badly behaved dog.
Recommended daily amount: Standards, 1.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals; Miniatures, 3/4 to 1 cup; Toys, 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.
Like any breed, the poodle will pack on weight if he’s overfed, which can cause joint problems and other health woes. Limit treats, keep him active, and feed in meals rather than leaving food available at all times. Although many owners of Miniature or Toy Poodles in particular give their dogs table scraps, resist those pleading eyes — you’ll create a finicky eater. He’ll turn up his nose at dog food, which is healthier for him.
Keep your Poodle in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time. If you’re unsure whether he’s overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test. First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, he needs less food and more exercise.
For more on feeding your Poodle, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Poodle is a non-shedding breed, and a good choice for people with allergies. Many allergic people are able to keep a Poodle with no reaction.
The coat comes in many colors, including blue, black, white, gray, silver, brown, café-au-lait, apricot, and cream. The hair is curly, wiry, and dense, and this unique texture can be trimmed, clipped, groomed, shaved, and otherwise manipulated into all kinds of fanciful shapes. If your dog is going to compete in the show ring, however, you can’t go too wild with the styling; the American Kennel Club allows four specific clip styles for Poodles in conformation competitions.
Grooming a Poodle isn’t for the faint of heart. Poodles are high-maintenance dogs. He requires regular grooming, every three to six weeks, sometimes more often, to keep the coat in good condition. If you are considering a Poodle, consider the upkeep of the coat and expense of grooming.
Don’t be scared, though. There are many ways to style the coat for easier care. In fact, many owners simply shave it off.
That said, easy care doesn’t mean without care. Even when clipped short, your Poodle will need to be brushed, bathed, and trimmed every three to six weeks, sometimes more often, to keep the coat clean, short, and tangle free.
Most owners pay a professional groomer, but if you’re dedicated and have the time, you can learn to groom your Poodle yourself. You’ll need a good set of electric clippers and blades, a quality pair of scissors, brush, comb, toenail trimmer, and a good how-to grooming book or video — there are many on the market just for Poodle owners.
Even if you let a professional handle the complicated stuff, your Poodle needs daily brushing. Because Poodles don’t shed like other breeds, loose hair collects in the coats, and unless it’s brushed out daily, the hair will mat very quickly.
Many Poodles have weepy eyes that stain the hair under their eyes. The lighter your dog’s coat, the more noticeable the tearstains. To cut down on staining, wipe around the eyes and face every day with an alcohol-free pet wipe or washcloth dampened with warm water.
Be sure to check your Poodle’s ears often every week for dirt, redness, or a bad odor that can indicate an infection, then wipe them out weekly with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to prevent problems. Breeds with drop-down ears are prone to ear infections because the ear canal stays dark and moist. Also, hair grows in the Poodle’s ear canal. Sometimes, this hair needs to be plucked. Ask your groomer or veterinarian if it’s necessary for your dog.
Brush your Poodle’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and prevent your legs from getting scratched when your Poodle enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.
Begin accustoming your Poodle to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children And Other Pets
The Poodle is a wonderful companion for kids, although young kids who don’t know how to handle a dog could accidentally hurt a Toy Poodle, the smallest and most delicate variety of the breed.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Poodles who grow up with other dogs or pets in the house — or who have plenty of opportunities to interact with them in group training classes, dog parks, and the like — will enjoy their company. If your Poodle is used to being the only pet in the household, however, he may need some time and special training to help him accept a newcomer.
This article was originally published on Dogtime.com (source)
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