Poodles are beautiful dogs that emit elegance and confidence, but even the most confident black poodle can become anxiety-ridden.
Understanding Poodle Temperament
The first thing a poodle owner should know is that their energy can cause them to be more antsy and anxious than your average canine. Learning how to manage black poodle anxiety begins with identifying and understanding it. Poodle anxiety can have many root causes, some of which may be from your actions.
Poodles have a fantastic reputation of being receptive to training and are highly intelligent. Unfortunately, their intelligence does not always translate to them being intuitive with their emotions. When a black poodle doesn't have a grasp on their emotions, they're more susceptible to feeling anxious, unlike lower energy counterparts.
If a black poodle doesn’t receive proper training, they misdirect their anxiety in the form of destruction and soiling. Destruction doesn’t necessarily mean hostility or aggression towards people, but poodles tend to take out their energy and anxiety on easy targets, such as toys, clothes, shoes, and even furniture. However, poodle anxiety can turn into aggression towards people when they aren’t adequately socialized during training.
Poodle anxiety can manifest in the form of being jumpy and shy towards people, so when a human oversteps their boundaries, a dog may seem “aggressive” in the way they respond. It’s essential to adequately socialize your pup as soon as you can to avoid this type of poodle anxiety outburst. A great way to socialize your dog with other humans and canines is to take them to pet socialization events. These pet events are often full of adequate trainers and employees to help keep dogs of all sizes safe while they play together.
Dog parks are wonderful socialization areas, but unfortunately, they often lack helpful staff. Not all dog parents keep a responsible eye on their dog, and you don’t want to be left arguing with another angry dog owner. Opting for a social event with professional supervision is a safer option for dogs that are more anxious and reactive towards hyperactive canines.
Identifying Poodle Anxiety
Once you’ve read up on how to identify poodle anxiety, observe your poodle in their daily routine. There are many ways you can pinpoint poodle anxiety just by their body language. When they’re tenser, their eyes will become rounder than usual. If your poodle is showing the exact opposite, with more sclera showing, they may be experiencing another type of emotional distress.
Squinting eyes may be a sign that your dog is feeling calm. However, if your dog is panting rapidly or their mouth appears tighter, the opposite is true and you may want to remove them from their current situation. Poodle anxiety triggers may include strangers, loud sounds and light, or new objects in a familiar place. Just as poodle anxiety can be triggered, it can be lessened as well. Buying a comfortable bed for your dog's favorite corner is just one of the many ways you can create a secure, stress-free space for your poodle.
Another way poodle anxiety presents is through separation anxiety. Does this ring true for your pet? Set up a pup-cam at home or have your neighbor listen in while you’re gone to see if your poodle is experiencing separation anxiety. You may even hear a snippet of your poodle whining as you shut the door to your house. When this happens, crating them may only lead to more destruction and poodle anxiety. One way to reduce their anxiety in their den is to ensure they’re comfortable.
Poodle anxiety presents itself in other unique ways, including urinating and soiling. No matter how many times you take your dog out, it may never be enough for an anxiety-ridden Fido. If you find that they only go to the bathroom in the home when you’re not there and are otherwise fine to go to the bathroom outside when you are home, you may have an anxious dog on your hands.
Howling and barking are other common ways anxiety can present itself within the average black poodle. They may be hoping someone hears them and comes to save them from their separation anxiety. Unfortunately, it often only upsets neighbors and does nothing to relieve your black poodle from stress.
Partially eaten feces is another unfortunate sign of poodle anxiety. When a black poodle defecates due to stress, they often eat their excrement to hide the incriminating evidence. When this happens, some anxious dogs go into panic mode. This behavior is known as “coprophagia." While not uncommon for anxious dogs, it can be quite unsanitary and make them sick if their immune system isn’t the best. If your black poodle isn’t the panic type, it may just be something they find fun when you’re not home. Since they can’t hang out with friends whenever they want, or have hobbies like humans, they must find something to do!
Reasons Your Poodle May Have Anxiety
Have you recently gone back to the office after working from home and fear that your black poodle may have become too clingy during quarantine? Did you see a decline in their anxiety when someone was home with them all this time? If so, you may want to investigate getting your black poodle a confident companion. Being alone all day, every day, is never good for anyone.
If you find yourself adopting another anxious dog, you’re only going to add to your problems. Finding another dog or cat that works well alongside your poodle, one that’s confident, will allow your poodle to be more comfortable, following the example of the new pet. Doing so will reduce poodle anxiety, along with destructive and harmful behavior that comes with it. Adopting another dog may not be a feasible option, but hiring someone to look after them while you’re at work may be your best bet.
Hiring a professional dog sitter or asking a family member to look after your black poodle will reduce the time they’re bored. They won’t have to wait to play, go to the bathroom, or snack, thus lowering anxiety. Incorporate other people into your training routine so your black poodle can become better socialized with humans. This will reduce reactivity towards new people.
Purchasing a black poodle from a reputable breeder is another way you can reduce anxiety. Although it may feel like ages ago, think back to when you first adopted your poodle. Were they a bit too young when you brought them home? If so, their age at adoption may have kickstarted their anxiety. When taken away from their mother too soon, poodles can naturally develop increased levels of anxiety.
Too much pent-up energy can be harmful to a dog that doesn’t get out enough. You’ll want to set aside at least a half-hour each day for your black poodle to ensure they’re receiving proper aerobics activity. This can be in the form of fetch, going for walks, and swimming in the summer. Doing this before you leave the house is a great way to reduce separation anxiety when you leave for work.
Black Poodle Anxiety Due to Existing Health Problems
Before anything, make sure that your black poodle has a healthy and balanced diet from a reputable food brand. When they aren’t receiving the proper nutrients and lack probiotics, your poodle's mental health may suffer. Digestive issues can be from poor nutrition and are just one of the reasons your black poodle may become destructive.
Additionally, if your dog eats their feces, they may suffer from diabetes or anemia. While often it’s because of anxiety, this can be an underlying health issue making its way to the surface. Incorporating probiotics like BC30 will improve digestive health and provide bacteria that your black poodle will benefit from. Always make sure to do your research and discuss any planned dietary changes with your veterinarian before implementing them into your dog’s diet. If they have underlying health issues, there may be better probiotics out there for them.
Maybe your dog’s diet is incredibly healthy, and they’re already on the best training program. Where is this anxiety coming from? Underlying health issues may be the reason for your poodle anxiety. The endocrine system can cause hormonal imbalances within your pup. When this happens, it causes their thyroid and some of their organs to function a bit differently. Fluctuations in hormonal levels can cause aggression, anxiety, and even sadness. Vets can prescribe medications and run diagnostic tests to ensure your black poodle doesn't have hormonal imbalances.
When our hormones, as humans, are imbalanced, we won't feel the best and our personalities can change, just like our canine friends. Just because your black poodle is on all fours and can’t speak English doesn’t mean they can’t struggle from the same biological concepts. Once your black poodle has their hormones in check, finding a reputable trainer can help round off their poodle anxiety.
Treating Poodle Anxiety
Before picking a treatment type for your poodle, you should first successfully identify the cause for their anxiety. There’s no umbrella treatment for poodle anxiety, and you’ll want to understand why they’re feeling the way they are. If someone new has come over or something new is in your home, try removing the person or object to see if there’s a change in your dog’s behavior.
Sometimes identifying poodle anxiety is all about control groups and pinpointing small changes. While you may have a million things on your plate, your dog has a routine and notices more than you think if this routine is interrupted. Even a new lamp in the living room can make them upset! If you remove people and items from your home, and your dog still seems to be generally anxious, incorporate new and engaging toys.
Instead of giving them the same type of toy they always play with, buy one that is more challenging for them and makes them focus on what they should be doing next. Complex reward toys can make them work for a half-hour at a time for just one treat!
If you fear that your dog has separation anxiety, there are quite a few tricks you can implement daily to reduce this. A soft, fuzzy bed will remind them of their mother’s womb, which will increase serotonin levels and reduce stress. If you still don’t feel comfortable buying a softer bed for them and their crate, start with a plush toy and utilize calming sprays or holistic medicines. Before incorporating holistic medicine, make sure you’ve spoken to your veterinarian to see if their health is cleared for the medicinal ingredients.
Putting on dog-specific noise or music on TV may also decrease their anxiety levels. With DogTV-styled videos, your black poodle can fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the sea or bright, jungle-toned foliage. Combine this background noise with a comfortable, womb-like bed and calming sprays, and you’ll have a pup that falls asleep within minutes.
Destruction is by far the most dangerous outlet for a dog’s anxiety; not only can they choke on what they’re breaking, but they can also injure teeth, cut their gums, paws, and more. Often, this behavior manifests when the parent isn’t home. If you find that they’re destroying objects when you are home, though, your dog may not be anxious; they may just be bored. Utilizing tough, engaging toys can assist you in reducing this behavior when anxiety isn’t present.
Unfortunately, defecating and urinating are normal outlets for dogs with anxiety. What’s even more absurd, yet normal for them, is that some poodles even eat their poop, as mentioned earlier. How you react to your dog defecating is also why they see coprophagia as a “good thing.” When you rush to pick up the feces from the floor, they see you going fast and trying to remove it. For those friendlier pups, a quick and sudden action like running for paper towels and picking up poop signals “fun time!” to them.
Instead of running around and rushing, calmly order them to sit and train them with the word “no." Then, walk calmly to grab paper towels for cleaning. When it doesn’t seem fun and fast, your dog won’t associate it with a “game.” Another way you can remove temptation is to ensure that their bathroom area is clean. If your dog goes on a puppy pad inside, cleaning it immediately can remove the urge to eat their feces.
Desensitize Your Poodle
Dogs are incredibly smart and black poodles are some of the smartest! When they hear your keys clamoring or see you putting on your shoes, their anxiety levels will rise quickly. They’ll start to associate this with sadness and being alone. To stop their anxiety during normal leaving tasks, you can wear your shoes all the time, or put them on at random times during the day. By not leaving when wearing or using these items, your dog will start to relax a bit more and realize that they’re okay.
If you don’t think you can do this all at once, start small and then work your way up in increments. Wear your shoes for 20-30 minutes at a time or clip your keys on your belt for a short period. When your dog starts to calm down, wear them a bit longer during the next increment. You don’t want to overwhelm them during desensitization, or else you’ll begin to lose their trust.
Beyond home training and desensitization, finding a professional that can work with your black poodle may be something you want to venture into. Some offer private sessions, group classes, and board-and-train programs. A black poodle that needs socialization may do better with group classes after they’ve passed their basic training. While we wish we could be the perfect trainer for our dogs, a professional may have years of experience and thus be a better option.
If none of these treatments are working for your black poodle, you may simply want to exercise your poodle a bit more unless there’s something more serious going on. Seek options from your veterinarian, as they may suggest medicine or a behavioral therapist to work with you. When a hyperactive black poodle doesn’t release their energy every day, they tend to become more anxious since they’re cooped up. Instead of 10 minutes a day, try letting them run for 20 minutes a day while also playing with an engaging toy or a frisbee to keep them moving.
Poodle anxiety can be tough to pinpoint. If the treatments above aren’t helping, you may want to consult your vet to see if pharmaceuticals or underlying health problems may give you the answers you need. Dogs can’t talk, but their actions speak louder than words. Lethargy, along with anxiety, can show that your dog may not be physically feeling well, and their psyche is suffering.
Finally, make sure that you’re spending ample time with your black poodle. While dogs can be independent and sometimes find their own thing to do, you’re their adoptive parent after all. It’s your responsibility as a pet parent to ensure they’re receiving the right amount of love and care. Interaction with dogs can lessen human anxiety levels as well, so make sure to set a little more time daily to play or snuggle with your black poodle.