Are Standard Poodles Aggressive?

Are Poodles Aggressive?

Poodles are one of the most recognizable dogs in the world, especially with their unique haircuts. Another well-known fact about Poodles is that they are highly intelligent dogs. But looks can be deceiving; they are also known to be quite mischievous. So what about aggression? Does this trait come naturally to the breed or are there any triggers that can set them off? Here is what you will want to know.

why are poodles so aggressive
why are poodles so aggressive

So, are Poodles aggressive? Poodles are not generally aggressive, although they can display acts of aggression in response to certain events and actions. For instance, out of fear. Thankfully, poodles are a highly trainable breed and aggression can typically be prevented or trained out of them through appropriate positive reinforcement techniques.

Signs of aggression include barking, snarling, lunging, and as a last resort and in worst cases, biting.

So, you’re going to recognize aggression if it were to arise.

Thankfully, this trait is rare to the breed.

And if it were to arise, the sooner you can proactively put in place a plan and strategy to overcome it, the better.

Thankfully, in most breeds, bad and unwanted behavior can be corrected, stopped, and prevented from happening again.

And with the Poodle you do have a higher chance of success due to their intelligent nature.

With this in mind,

Let us now take a closer look at the average Poodle temperament.

We will then look at some of the potential triggers that can cause aggression in this breed.

Lastly, we will be covering the best proactive approach to preventing this behavior. So be sure to keep on reading!

Do Poodles Tend To Bite?

  • Poodles do tend to bite, more so than other breeds. For the most part, when they bite it’s for a reason, however, it is in their instincts as well. The toy version of the Poodle tends to bite more than the Miniature and the Standard Poodles.
  • Poodles who are not trained properly will have more of a propensity to bite.
  • This is one of the reasons that it is vital to get your puppy into training and socialization as soon as possible.
  • As previously mentioned, Poodles are easy to train due to their intelligence, though you may get a nip or two as they try to assert their dominance.

Average Poodle Temperament

  • Poodles are known to be playful, active, alert, and high-strung. They were initially bred for hunting according to the American Kernel Club (AKC), so it comes as no surprise to learn of these characteristics and their instinctual desire to retrieve.
  • Thankfully, while Poodles like to present themselves as proud and dignified dogs, but they love to please their owners.
  • They are known to be quite affectionate with their family members and can also get along well with other pets in the household if properly socialized with them.
  • This said, Poodles are also very intelligent and can be stubborn, with a mind of their own.
  • This mind sometimes gets them into trouble, thinking they’re in charge or becoming destructive when bored or full of energy.
  • Of course, this needs to be managed with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation. This is not the breed to leave lying around the house for hours on end.
  • Poodles do have a tendency to become aggressive, especially if not properly trained and allowed to continue with the unwanted behavior.
  • How a Poodle lives, their environment, and how they are raised, can strongly determine how their temperament will be.
  • Poodles in a loving home, with a strong and loving owner, will less likely become aggressive.

What Can Make Poodles Aggressive?

There are several factors that can make a poodle aggressive and the aggression can show up in different ways. Poodles can show one, or multiple behaviours that are considered aggressive.

are toy poodles aggressive
are toy poodles aggressive

Reasons for Aggression

The top ten reasons, in no particular order, are:

  • Breeding – A Poodle’s environment, especially when young, can play a huge factor in their aggression. If they are weaned from Mom too soon, or are born to aggressive parents, than their propensity for being aggressive will be higher
  • Anxiety – Genetics ties into this factor, as well. As a breed, Poodles are more anxious than other dogs and anxious dogs will react before they think.
  • Fear – Strong emotions can cause dogs, as well as humans, can react first and ask questions later. Much like anxiety, fear can make Poodles snap out.
  • Behavior – Without training or socialization, especially from a young age, a Poodle can be aggressive as they don’t know any better and will continue with the bad behaviour as long as their getting away with it.
  • Genetics – Poodles, like some other breeds, just happen to be a breed that is more susceptible to being aggressive.
  • High Energy – This seems counterintuitive to the point above, but if they have too much energy, and no healthy way to release it, Poodles can get cranky.
  • Territorial – Poodles are used as guard dogs as they can be territorial and will often act out against strangers.
  • Health Problems – If a Poodle isn’t feeling good, they can be aggressive, and it can also be tied with fear.
  • Stimulation – If a Poodle isn’t stimulated, both physically and mentally, they can act out. They are highly intelligent, and they need something to do or else they will take out their frustration in a destructive way.
  • Exhaustion – Just like people, Poodles can get nippy when they are exhausted.
are poodles aggressive chewers
are poodles aggressive chewers

Aggression in Poodles can come out in several different ways.

Below are some of the warning signs you should look for.

Don’t just put them off as “dogs being dogs”, if your dog is showing aggressive behavior, you should try to put a stop to it as soon as you can.

Signs Of Aggressive Behavior

The following are ways in which you may find your Poodle being aggressive:

  • Growling – In almost all cases, growling is a form of aggression, it is your Poodle’s way of giving a warning.
  • Barking – Dogs bark, but it’s how a dog barks that makes it aggressive. You’ll be able to tell the difference in your Poodle’s barks and what they mean.
  • Lunging – This is another behaviour that your dog will do in which you need to differentiate from playful, excited, or aggressive lunging.
  • Snarling – Similar to growling, snarling is a progression and is when your Poodle shows their teeth while growling.
  • Marking Territory – If you notice your dog marking their territory more often in one area, or more than normal overall, then this can be a sign of aggression. Your Poodle can be trying to assert their dominance.
  • Biting – This should be no surprise that this behaviour is considered aggressive. There’s a difference between puppy nipping and biting. This is one behaviour that you really want to nip in the butt before it gets worse.
  • Yelping – If your Poodle is yelping and you know they are not in pain, it could be that they are frustrated or mad, and are about to snap. It could be for reasons such as a lot of arguing going on in the household, or other loud commotion.

How To Prevent Aggression In Poodles

The number one way to prevent aggression in Poodles is also one of the easiest. Training and socialization for your Poodle puppy are imperative. If possible, having a trainer who is familiar with Poodles will help tremendously.

Provide Love And Attention

  • Providing your Poodle with a loving home, one where they are mentally and physically stimulated can prevent them from being aggressive.
  • They are an affectionate breed and want to please their owners, so if you show them love then they will want to do whatever makes you happy.

Don’t Adopt Too Early

  • Dogs learn from other dogs, including their mothers, about certain ways to act. If they do not receive these teachings, it could become a problem.
  • Ensuring that they stay with their mothers until they are old enough to be weaned and having interaction with other dogs can help with aggression.
  • Ensure that you don’t take Poodle puppies away from their Mom too soon.

Train Them

Behavioral Training from a young age is highly encouraged. Below is some training that can specifically help with social situations, as well as help with aggressive behaviors:

  • Behavioral training can be started at any age. This type of training is based on a pet’s behavior in many situations, including socialization. In fact, it is commonly focused specifically on social situations, and, as these are the most common times your poodle may be aggressive, it can be the most effective form of training they can receive.
  • Obedience training may also help your poodle. A highly trained dog, not just in behavior, is more likely to allow you to remove them from a bad situation. A pet who is highly observant, such as most poodles are, are going to read their owner’s reactions to situations. If they give them signs or commands to sit or otherwise be calm, the outcome is much more likely to be positive.
  • Distraction training can fall under obedience training but also applies to more specific situations. For instance, learning how to distract your dog from their initial reactions to visitors or encountered pets on walks can lead them to remember the praised behavior they exhibit afterward. Once they’ve learned the positively reinforced good behaviors, they are much more likely to do them, as their nature is to make us proud.
  • Stay consistent. Don’t act upset one day because your dog is kindly socializing with an animal, then reprimand them the next day for being aggressive about them. They take their cues from you most of the time. If you aren’t consistent, you can’t expect them to be, either. If your reactions aren’t reliable, it will often stress them out, and those situations will cause anxiety and aggressive behavior.

Keep Them Occupied

  • Boredom and pent-up energy can be prevented by taking your Poodle for a walk, playing with them, and giving them mental activities to occupy their time.
  • This will help keep them from being destructive as well, saving your furniture and belongings in the process.

Adopt From A Reputable Breeder

  • Also, ensure that you get your Poodle from a reputable breeder.
  • Check out their kennels as well as their other dogs so that you can see the environment that your puppy will be born into.
  • Stopping a behavior right away can help Poodles to learn what is expected of them.
  • Since they are highly intelligent, they learn quickly, and unwanted actions can be stopped and prevented.

Ensure They Are Healthy And Well

  • One other thing to consider is that dogs may act out aggressively when sick or injured.
  • They may be trying to protect the wound, injury or not show any signs of weakness and vulnerability.
  • This usually comes about all of a sudden, or what appears to be randomly or when they are touched.
  • So, if you notice or suspect they are suffering, you should contact and consult a vet.
  • With some medication or other modifications you may find that any acts of aggression naturally subside.

Talk to Your Vet about Your Aggressive Poodle

Your poodle may be sick or need medicine for their anxiety. Humans sometimes need a doctor’s help, so why shouldn’t our beloved pets?

  • Make sure to give the vet all the information you have about how your pet is behaving, what situations cause the behavior in your dog, and what you’ve done to try to correct it, if anything. If you have a specific health worry, don’t be shy about presenting it to the vet. We know our animals in ways vets can’t because bonds have been formed, and trust has been established. Your pet may not act the same way in front of a vet as they will with you.
  • Be sure to pay attention to any advice your vet may give you. There could be something simple going on with your pet, or it could be something more serious. If they suggest a medication for an illness, be sure to follow the directions for the medication and be aware that change in behavior may take time. Expecting results isn’t fair to your poodle, nor is it logical.
  • Talk to your vet about what you can do in the future, and what you should have done already, should it be a preventable ailment. If they are not sick at all, ask your vet for advice on the root of the aggressive behavior and what they feel would be best in order to rectify it.

Poodle Aggression and Your Home

  • Your home is your poodle’s sanctuary. Make sure your pet’s environment is safe and healthy. If your household is loud, rambunctious, and full of happy activity, your poodle is going to act in accord with it.
  • However, sometimes animals get overwhelmed as humans do and need some quiet time. Giving your poodle a calm place just for them to escape to can help them considerably.
  • If you’ve welcomed a new person into your home and your poodle is aggressive only to them, and this is abnormal behavior, consider that your loyal canine has sensed something dangerous or unwanted. However, don’t jump to the conclusion that he or she is an inherently bad person. They could also be covered in animal hair from their homes.
  • You should make sure your poodle has some comforts, but most of all, make sure their needs are met. This means proper bedding, high-quality food, unlimited access to water, toys, and consistent potty breaks. If your animal isn’t comfortable, safe, or well cared for, their behavior is going to show that.

Tips For Exercise and Preventing Aggressive behavior in Poodles

For pets who act aggressively due to lack of exercise, attention, or intellectual activity, exercise can be most rewarding. A dog walker while you are away for work, or even doggy daycare, are possible solutions. However, you may not need to take them away from home or hire someone else to take care of them in order to help them.

  • Take them away from the neighborhood as regularly as possible. This can be one a week or once a day, however, your schedule will allow. Taking them to a dog park, a walking trail, a field, the beach, or even your local swimming hole will not only allow them to exercise, but it also encourages them to socialize regularly.
  • Take nightly walks before getting ready for bed. This expands their amount of energy released and also allows them to have an adventure before calming down for the night. Getting away from home isn’t just about exercise, either. It allows them to inspect the world around their homes. Poodles, who are naturally observant, will benefit greatly from consistent walks.
  • Consider setting your alarm clock earlier in the morning to allow for a morning walk together. Not only does it allow them to release energy at the start of the day, but it is also healthy for you to get exercise in the morning and a great way to bond with your poodle. It’s a win-win.
  • Have company over and let them bring their dogs. Having new people in their home, and new animals around can be beneficial. This allows them to be in the comforts of their own home with their humans and will let them socialize at the same time. It is also a way for animals to form stronger bonds with animals and other humans. Consider how you feel with your closest friends and offer the chance for your own pet to feel the same with another animal.

Related Questions

Why Is My Poodle So Mean?

Poodles are likely to be mean as a learned behavior. They may have recognized that displays of aggression get them what they want. They may also have inherited this trait from their parents. This is why choosing a reputable breeder and training/socializing them around many people is so important.

Is A Poodle A Good Family Dog?

Poodles are good family dogs, if trained and socialized from a young age. They are generally great with children; being affectionate, loving, and gentle. They have a keen desire to please their owners. They are also hypoallergenic and do not usually cause issues with allergy sufferers. They do require a lot of attention, as without it they will become lonely and may begin to act out.

Final Thoughts

Poodles are mostly known for their intelligence and the haircuts that are unique to their breed.

They are often portrayed as smart, proud dogs who can do no wrong. The reality is a little different.

While intelligence and pride are both true characteristics of Poodles, they also can be temperamental and rather aggressive.

Their aggression comes through in a variety of ways, which include biting, sniping, and snarling.

There are several factors that can lead a Poodle to become aggressive, but thankfully with proper training and attention, this behavior can be corrected.

Poodles are a smart breed and are easy to teach, so your efforts will not be in vain.

But remain vigilant.

Poodles can show more than one form of aggression and the more they are able to get away with the behavior, the worse it can get.

At the same time, providing sufficient exercise and mental stimulation is essential for keeping bad behavior at bay.

Along these lines, your Poodle should receive at least two exercise periods each day.

Walking and playing are both acceptable forms of physical activity and keep things interesting for them.

Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.