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Am I over reacting? Seniors and standard poodle puppy?(86 Posts)
Long time lurker but finally signed up to seek the support of the Doghouse!
To try and keep it short, DM and her partner have bought a standard poodle puppy. Both are in their mid to late 70s, neither are in particular good health (DM is frail with breathing issues and partner is overweight and not mobile) and neither has had a dog before.
They have been discussing getting a puppy for a while and despite all my poking my nose in and giving them advice (don’t do it, get a small dog, get an older rescue etc etc ) they have now bought a standard poodle puppy. The puppy has yet to come home and I am terrified of what will what happen.
FWIW we ourselves have had a small dog from puppyhood. She is beautifully trained when we are out and about but it took THREE YEARS to get her to that point and she can still be a nightmare when on her everyday walk as she has a strong prey instinct. I keep thinking of the poodle pulling DM over or she loses control and the poodle is off. Am I overreacting?! Will it all actually be ok?!
I don't think you're overreacting at all - sorry if that's not what you want to hear!
Standard poodles are big, strong working dogs. They need a lot of exercise. Yes, they're intelligent but if they don't get the exercise they need, they'll get bored and destructive.
Could you find out where it’s coming from and have a word with the breeder? Mind you if they’re daft enough to sell it to them in the first place they might not be willing to listen.
Thanks @vanillandhoney I really want to hear it will be ok but I know from our dog that puppies are mental and full on. And we could pick ours up and put in a pen!
It would take quite a lot for my DH to send a dog to rescue so I just know we are going to end up with it at some point.
Standard poodles are wonderful dogs but they are very energetic, and quite clown-like until they are at least 4 or 5 years old.
They are the second most intelligent breed after border collies, but unlike border collies they tend to be quite independent-minded.
Unless they have experience of the breed I wouldn’t recommend them for frail older people.
Tbh I would be preparing myself for the dog coming to stay with you. Even if they get through the puppy/teen stage standard poodles are pretty big dogs who will require lots of exercise and stimulation which doesn't sound like it will get.
My parents (early/mid 70s) Vizsla died recently and they decided not to get another larger dog mainly as although they are both in great health now they may well decline in the coming years. They already have two chihuahua which they adore.
Do you know anyone with a larger breed who could talk to them and let them know exactly what larger dog ownership is like?
No you are not overreacting. I too expect the dog to come your way very quickly
Pretty sure it won’t be a reputable breeder-a because they’ve let your parents have a puppy and b because I’ve been scouring internet for standard poodle puppies for months and the decent breeders have waiting lists into next year!
My parents have owned standards since I was about 5. As others have said they can be big loopy highly intelligent balls of energy. Having said that, my parents took on an 14month old a few years back and she is very observant of my dads condition (Parkinson's 20 years), but they've owned the breed for a while and like being out and about and organise "play dates" for her with doggy friends of a similar age and breed where she runs off her energy. Would I be worried if it was their first dog and a puppy? Yes. If they've got their heart set on a poodle there are a few poodle rescue/rehome organisations that might know of older, calmer dogs.
Coming back to say DH and I have discussed this in terms of our own old age in retirement and both agree we wouldn't take on a puppy that would probably outlive our active lives if not our life itself. An elderly dog yes but not a puppy.
My DM died early 70s. DH's DM is still alive but took on a puppy recently and we tried to get her to take an older dog. It now has behavioural issues that mean we won't be taking it on if
when she is unable to look after it along with it being a breed that does not fit in with our lifestyle. She won't even pay for a trainer or walker either because she doesn't see the issue despite admitting it often is quite a problem coping with the dog and all her other health issues.
I am sure there are active people in there 70s and 80s but I have seen how quickly being active can change later in life with my own family.
The problem is that you can't actually do anything about it but I suspect you might be picking up the pieces.
My mum has a standard and we had one as kids also. Big bouncy goofballs with high energy and prey drive. Our current girl does agility to keep her energy levels and brain ticking over. The coat also needs vigorous brushing daily between grooms, unless shaved off very very short, it will still need doing, not just wait for the next groom, which is also expensive. They are wonderful dogs but for older, 1st time owners? Im not so sure that's going to work unfortunately. Did they do any breed research before hand?
Never have a dog you're not capable of lifting. At 70 and in poor health- what happens if they need to get a 30kg+ dog in the car in a hurry?
Aside from that poodles are massively energetic, intelligent dogs that need a lot of work.
'Breeder' , yeah right.....
Thanks so so much everyone for your replies, glad (in a way!!) to see I am not overreacting.
@Gin4thewin I think the breed research they did was almost entirely to do with how much the pup cost. I checked the health issues for poodles and told them to check if the parents have been screened but given that they haven't taken any advice on board yet I have little hope they have done this.
@BiteyShark that is my concern, it sounds awful but I hope they get fed up sooner rather than later so we get the pup before any issues have managed to take hold.
@Girlintheframe re large dogs I have honestly tried all I can think of, pointed out people they know who have had dogs for years and either no longer do or have downsized that dog dramatically. They have one friend a bit younger that has a large dog but her daughter comes everyday and takes the dog out for a big walk. Unfortunately we are too far away to help on this front.
So sadly I think best case scenario is the partner gets fed up in early puppyhood (he is not v tolerant of reasonably well behaved dc interrupting his routine so this could happen) and worst case scenario they plough on and dm either makes herself ill or breaks a bone.
Best bit is dm kept telling the dc they really wanted a border collie but they needed lots of exercise and stimulation. Dh and I were !!!!
I feel like I am dealing with teenagers
If its cost theyre worried about, get a cost of injections, decent food (not bakers!!!) neutering and monthly grooming. Bloody breeders like that make my blood boil, i wouldnt even humour anyone coming over until id spoke at great length on the phone and if i didnt think you were suitable, id tell you that and it would be the end of it.
Maybe you need to send them all the videos of poodles, including standards, competing very successfully at agility on things like Crufts. See if they're up for some of that (obvs they're not). Here's one:
And yeah, ask them if they've budgeted for grooming bills as poodles will have a high maintenance coat and need regular clips, not necessarily in that typical poodle cut, but it will need professional clipping on a regular basis. The pup will need training to cope with that level of handling as well, groomers don't like being savaged.
Do they have any friends with large dogs?? Spending some time in their home with a standard poodle-sized dog might make them think, especially with no garden. Speaking of which - how are they planning on toilet training with no garden? Especially with limited mobility, there's going to be SO MANY ACCIDENTS.
They are going to trim the dog themselves...And train it to go on a puppy pad outside...
I can't even.
I mean it would be hilarious if it wasn't for the poor dog in the middle of all this.
I have suggested getting some turf and training it on that. But as I said, I have not been listened to so far.
I sympathise. It's a car crash waiting to happen.
Tbh, all the poodles I’ve met have been very boisterous indeed with a stubborn/independent streak.
I know everyone will go 😱 when I say it, but imo a border collie would have been a better fit!
They don’t tend have that independent streak/they live to please their owners.
As mature adult dogs, I have yet to meet a collie that desperately wants to bowl over strangers and make friends with every dog it sees (though I’m sure there will be some, somewhere, that break the mould), they are reserved dogs generally speaking.
I know a few border collies with elderly owners and I have one myself.
Standard poodles/labradoodles in contrast, all the ones I’ve seen have been rambunctious fruit loops hell bent on interacting with everyone and wild out about, pulling, zipping about and bouncing everywhere.
Though the best choice would of course have been a small breed or an older, calm rescue.
And I don’t think a big garden is a requirement.
I have a big garden and my dog is virtually never in it and when she is she is expected to rest or pootle about.
No racing on my lawn or digging in my borders thanks!
Plenty of opportunity to do that on a walk.
And no, I am not saying your parents should have bought a border collie.
Something like a papillon or bichon or Tibetan spaniel is what I would have suggested, something small and biddable.
But given the choice between the two breeds mentioned; a standard poodle or a border collie.
The collie would have been more sensible imo.
One of my dogs came to me in exactly this way from a neighbour. Frail elderly couple buy cute puppy. Cute puppy grows into a boisterous teenager and pulls owner over whilst on a walk leading to a badly broken leg for the owner and a desperate call to rehome the dog because they were not able to walk him.
I heard recently that they were thinking of getting another dog of a different breed. I hope it is not true as they are really not active enough.
So looks like the only thing to do is look into standard poodles and hope we get the pup before too much damage has been done. We are an active family so hoping the walks we can offer it and potentially training it to run with DH might make it a bit less mental.
Look out for the sequel thread 🙄
Oh and small dogs, which I was very definitely pushing, were a no go as partner only wanted a big dog.
our neigbours had a standard poodle it was a nutcase , bit arms hands regularly, couldnt take it anywhere as it pulled , barked at other dogs
stood on back legs and barked at anything that walked past the house