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Why I Love the Toy Poodle

Updated on April 12, 2011

Sometimes, the addition of a new dog to the family brings into sharp focus the heretofore unappreciated qualities of your resident dog. It is in this spirit that I dedicate this hub to my nine-year-old toy poodle, Tessy.

Tessy
Tessy

Salutations

7:15 AM

Arf! Arf, arf! Arf arf arf! Arf!

I glance at the clock on the wall, turn over and mutter "Be quiet, Tessy." That's it. Not another sound from her. She's my little alarm clock, my rooster. Through many patient years of training, she has learned not to bark while I'm in bed. But I allow her the morning herald routine. It's somehow comforting. It's structured. And I know that if the situation ever warrants it, Tessy will revert to her excellent watchdog instincts. But for now, she snuggles up close to me for a few more minutes.

My toy poodle is my big baby. Like most poodles, she is utterly devoted to her owner. She wants to be with me all of the time. She likes to sit close to me or plop down in my lap. In fact, as I've worked with her in training for the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Award, I continue to see that she has trouble with the "stay quiet while the owner leaves the room" requirement. Only with a trusted, known person will she keep quiet and not whine. But despite her clinging nature, she has another quality.

My toy poodle is very accepting of people and other dogs. This seems to be typical of most poodles that I have observed. Toy poodles will go to anyone, and generally do not pick up on subtle signs of rejection or a less-than-positive welcome. My own poodle will settle down in anyone's lap and, with enough training, I believe she would make an excellent therapy dog.

flickr.com
flickr.com
Tessy and a girlfriend
Tessy and a girlfriend

Loves All Dogs

Tessy likes all dogs, and those she doesn't like, she tolerates. Some months ago, I rescued Meadow, my miniature schnauzer. Tessy rarely shows jealousy where another dog is concerned, though there seemed to be a short period of the two dogs working out their alpha order. Tessy had the attitude, "Take my toys? OK! Go right ahead, and help yourself!" But Meadow has a rough style of play, and I wondered if Tessy was really doing that well with the new dog. My worries were erased the day I took Meadow and went on a day trip of about seven hours. When we returned, Tessy was so excited to see Meadow that she ran around the yard, turning somersaults. It is so rare for my poodle to do gymnastics that I have never managed to catch them on video.

flickr.com
flickr.com

Best Qualities

My toy poodle is just one of the many breeds which do not shed hair, nor retain a strong odor. It is primarily for these qualities that my ex-husband and I originally acquired Tessy. The down side is that a poodle needs to be groomed every 4-6 weeks.

A good grooming job, though, shows off the poodle's best physical qualities. Poodles are noble, frisky, and graceful. Their easy, springy carriage makes them nonpareil in the show ring. They are stunning doing the weave poles in agility. They carry themselves with a grace that belies their eternal, youthful exuberance, yet they are athletic enough to withstand a fairly tough physical routine.

Vikki, Top Winning Toy

Behavior

At a top weight of about ten pounds, toy poodles are easy to catch and corral, one reason why their owners may let them get by with some nonsense. But even if they display naughty behavior at times, toy poodles are not stubborn dogs. If you can find the right training method, they will easily try to please you, even at an advanced age. For instance, it took me about eight years to figure out how to stop Tessy from getting in my face. "Getting in your face" without actually successfully licking you is a typical aggressive move from this non-aggressive breed, as I confirmed by watching one episode of The Dog Whisperer that featured a poodle named Lily. Poodles are not known as mean dogs, but they do tend to be a little pushy at times. It's their kinder, gentler way of manipulating you. Except now, I have stopped Tessy from doing it.

The acceptance of other dogs and people, the willingness to change routines and long-held habits - both are evidence of the toy poodle's flexible nature. And most toy poodles are intelligent and perceptive, with the poodle easily ranked in the top ten of the smartest dogs on the planet. A toy poodle learns tricks readily, and rates highly as a willing agility or circus performer.

Why Not the Best?

Toy poodles are happy dogs who maintain a steady, dependable mood. Their cheerful expressions and constantly wagging tails make them a pleasure to be around. They have the soul of youth. In fact, the people at the PetSmart where I train never guess that Tessy is a senior dog.

Toy poodles can bark a lot, and they have a perfectly shrill bark that annoys some people. But they have so many other fine qualities, like tremendous adaptability and intelligence. Just spend a little time with them. They can win your heart.

Closing

11:00 PM

We are all down for the night. Well, everybody but Tessy. She's got to go through the typical dog routine. Scratch at the coverlet, burrow under the sheets, turn in circles, find the perfect spot to lie down in. Finally. Ah.... that's just right.

I'll see you in the morning, Tessy. You are the queen of MY heart.

Photo Credits

Toy poodle with rubber chewie by Anita&Greg

Apricot poodle by deserttrumpet

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