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Poodles are not generally aggressive dogs. They can be protective, but training your poodle to halt all forms of aggression should not be problematic. They are usually well-behaved if given proper training and guidance.
There can be times, though when our good intentions of training our pup fail, and this is when extra professional training may be needed. Whether you get your poodle as a puppy or an older dog from a shelter, both need to be taught basic manners but may also need some extra teaching for problematic behavior such as biting.
Poodles can be nippy, and as a responsible owner, you need to make sure they are trained otherwise. Aggressive behavior may seem harmless when they are little, but a poodle that bites when they are small will bite as an adult, and that means they are a danger to other people and themselves.
Reasons Poodles Bite
Poodles are said to be predisposed as being nippy through genetics. Most dogs nip and bite to try to settle themselves in their pack and biting can be part of sorting that out. However, that is problematic in a household not only for humans but other animals. If your poodle is allowed to bite, then they consider themselves the Alpha. You need to halt this behavior early on, so they become obedient to you as the pack leader.
Poodles will also nip if bothered repeatedly. They do it as a warning when they are getting annoyed or frustrated, but it can be a terrifying and painful experience for a child or adult who doesn’t understand their aggressive response.
To avoid this happening, responsible dog owners will never leave even the most well-behaved dog alone with children or people who may torment the dog. It is a bad situation waiting to happen for both the individual and the dog.
Training Your Poodle not to Nip or Bite
All sizes of poodles are very smart and should be able to learn not to bite if their training is firm and positive. The early you begin this training, the easier it will be for your poodle to learn and understand. Socialization is important after they leave the litter so they can learn puppy manners and appropriate behavior. Not biting is part of that.
If you have a new poodle puppy, they will have learned in their litter that the others do not appreciate the biting and will bite them back when needed. This learning curve needs to continue once your new dog comes into your home to join their new pack. This does not mean you touch them negatively or respond in kind but start training verbally and positive reinforcement and meaningful eye contact to stop any biting or nipping.
Treats such as Zukes Mini Naturals Peanut Butter Treats are good for praising good behavior and reinforcing what they are learning. Keep them on hand for when you catch your puppy behaving appropriately.
Starting the Training
Training needs to happen as soon as you arrive home with your new dog. Your poodle needs attention and love but also needs to understand that you, their owner, are the one in charge.
Poodles need security and to be comfortable because if your pup is anxious, neglected, or mistreated, they will have a higher tendency to bite. Mistreatment can’t do anything but heighten the probability of biting and nipping. This includes abuse from children, both big and small.
You not only have to train your puppy to behave appropriately but your children as well. A child that does not know or understand boundaries with your dog can be in danger as the dog can nip if annoyed or perhaps bite hard if startled, scared, or hurt.
Training your young poodle is not complicated. If they nip or bite as a puppy, give a sharp yelp, so they know their biting hurts. This is what a canine sibling would do as a warning. Make sure they are kept busy and not bored. Distraction and exercise are great tools as they burn off energy that might otherwise be directed at playful nipping, chewing, and biting. Keep them busy, tire them out, and have chew toys, so they take their chewing desire out on appropriate toys. Good chew toys should:
- Be sturdy enough for strong bites
Older Dog Training
As many people are starting to look at shelters to get their poodles, this means the dog they adopt may be older and have a mixed or unknown history. If your adopted dog has had no training or was allowed to bite in the past, then this needs to be addressed. Its harder to train an older dog but not impossible.
You need to assert your role as their pack leader and train your pup to obey. Give them lots of structure with meal and play times set by you. Keep them busy, but all under your leadership. Offer chew toys and reinforce good behavior with praise and treats.
Do not reward bad behavior with attention or physical repercussions as this will only encourage their biting. Do not allow aggressive play since that is what you are trying to change. It may be necessary to go to a professional dog trainer if basic training isn’t working. Your poodle is smart, so shouldn’t take long to understand that biting and nipping is wrong.
Poodles are wonderfully smart and trainable dogs with great potential to learn. They are not naturally aggressive but may like to nip. Whether you have a new puppy or have adopted an older poodle, they not only need to know their basic doggie manners but more importantly need to understand that aggressive behavior such as biting, and nipping are unacceptable.
Your poodle needs to be trained either by you or a professional trainer that they can not put their mouths on anyone or any animal. Training your poodle not to bite is an important part of having them enjoy being part of your family and keeping both them and others safe.
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