In the last 5 years there has been a boom in poodle crosses, they are everywhere and are of every variety! They are the new age dog and they have allowed people who previously haven't been able to have a dog, perhaps due to an allergy, know the pleasure of dog ownership. It has also brought about another type of owner who didn't have dogs because they shed and are generally dirty. It seems perfect, right?! Labradoodles, Cockerpoo's, jackapoo's, everything else apoo's!! I understand these dogs can seem like the answer to all your prayers and the breeders are having a field day!! I have known these dogs to fetch in excess of £1000; breeders must be laughing all the way to the bank for what is effectively a mongrel!! The issue is that a lot of these dogs are very...I’m not sure how to describe it…...Poodle!! The poodle is a lovely breed, very intelligent (only second to the Border collie, who I also don't believe make a good pet) and are of course a working dog. They are a highly active breed that thrives on mental stimulation. The problem with super intelligent dogs is that they are too intelligent for their own good; they also have the ability to rule inexperienced owners. I always say to my clients that the dog’s greatest skill is manipulating our behaviour; dogs are selfish creatures by nature and will do whatever they wish unless we train them otherwise. The poodle is extra good at this and therefore I've seen big problems in these types of dogs that are less common in more averagely intelligent dogs. One of the most disturbing behaviours is aggression toward their owners; it’s a testing type of aggression where they are trying their luck at getting their own way. Things like, not wanting to get off the sofa, and even just moving the dog around by its collar. These behaviours often occur during adolescents but can happen at any time, experienced dog owners will deal with this situation early and never have any further issues but most people unfortunately don't and then it spreads like a virus. Before you know it the dogs becoming aggressive toward the owner every time it wants its own way! Other common issues revolve around erratic recalls and general "I'm going to do whatever I like" attitudes. I'm not saying these dogs cannot be great because in the right hands of course they can be, the simple fact is though that people are getting a labradoodle and expecting a lab and getting a poodle. There are of course lots of poodle crosses that are more true to their original breed than the poodle but you can never tell until it’s too late. Those of you who know me will know I'm a bit advocate of the Labrador as a family pet, to me they tick all the right boxes for size, temperament and intelligence. Most people when looking for a dog get carried away with their looks and uniqueness rather than thinking about its temperament. A similar phenomenon happened a few years ago with the husky, everyone got one because they looked like wolves and they expected them to have a Labrador temperament. They are nothing like Labradors, the only thing they have in common is they have 4 legs and a tail! What ended up happening are lots of these dogs came up for rehoming as their owners couldn’t deal with them. We are fairly new to the poodle crosses but I’m sure the same thing will be happening in years to come. I want to stress that every dog regardless of breed can be excellent and you get lots of variations of temperament in all breeds, you get mad labs and quiet spaniels! If you put the required time in with dogs you will get results and dogs can be trained to do amazing things, I just want people to think twice about this new phenomenon and really research the poodle breed before making a decision. Don’t just choose a breed because it doesn’t shed you want a cleaner home or because it’s the new kid on the block. Too many people are being caught out with a dog they don’t understand and didn’t expect. Get the help of a local trainer early on to guide you through any issues you have and give your dog the best chance to be great. For those of you who have a Poodle cross and are struggling to occupy its mind, teach them tricks, it’s the simplest way to challenge your dog each and every day. I will be writing a further blog on this subject.
Until next time, enjoy your dogs, because in the end that why we have them :)