Believe it or not, not everyone in the world is a dog lover.
I know, the mind boggles, right?
Many outside factors can determine if your dog will be a barker. The Poodle as a breed is generally thought to be a “moderate” barker. That is to say, they do not generally vocalize or bark without reason. However, they are naturally alert and intelligent dogs who may develop multiple bark triggers.
There can be a whole list of reasons that someone may not be canine inclined however time and time again a common key dog behavior is cited as the reason and that is barking. While most prospective owners will be prepared for a blast of their pup’s vocal range you cannot always say the same about your near neighbors who may despair with every yip and yowl.
Living next to a bark-prone dog can be an irritation to some right across the scale, to a cause for raising a noise complaint or even moving home for others. Responsible dog owners will always seek to limit the impact of their dog on the environment around them and while the occasional bark in response to a pesky cat, squirrel, or mailman is unlikely to offend, persistent or incessant barking is unlikely to get you on anyone’s Christmas card list.
To this end, it can be important to think about the possible barking behaviors of any dog you may bring home. In this article, we will look at the Poodle, in particular, to see where it falls on the doggy decibel scale and whether they have the potential to be deemed a menace to suburban tranquillity.
Table of Contents
Are Poodles Known to be Barkers?
Firstly, it is important to stress that while some general comments can be made regarding barking, these are only ever suggested attributes. Like humans all dogs are different and things like individual personality, environment and training can have a massive impact on the level of barking they may exhibit.
Triggers can be different for every dog, but common Poodle bark triggers can include the following:
- New or unexpected sounds (think doorbells, outside noise, bangs)
- New environments or people
- Other dogs/animals
Does the Poodle Size Impact on Barking?
The Poodle comes in three different recognized sizes. The largest is referred to as the Standard however they also come in a smaller size of Miniature and smaller again called Toy. As mentioned above the breed does have a propensity to bark, however, size can also have an impact.
There is a tendency for people to perceive smaller dogs as more frequent barkers or sometimes they are referred to as being “yappy”. However, this isn’t due to small dogs just being wired differently.
The tiny Toy Poodle for example stands at no more than 10 inches meaning they are not as readily visible as their large Standard cousins. Frequently the smallest of Toy Poodle’s may develop insistent or frequent barking as a means of communication and making their needs known. Barking may be your only option when you are a fair way below your human’s eye line and live in a world full of furniture and other obstacles that are significantly bigger than you.
Even the most careful owners will at least once, stumble over an excitable Toy Poodle that they did not realize was under their feet and smaller children may be rougher on small dogs resulting in the development of a bark both to alert others to their presence and also as a deterrent to injury.
Miniature and Toy Poodles were also bred specifically to be companion dogs and as a result, they can bond intensely and firmly with their families. The by-product of this means they can often become anxious when separated resulting in barking or conversely be particularly alert to any perceived threat to their people which again can yield a burst of barking.
Why do Poodles, or any Dog, Bark?
First and foremost, any barking by a dog is a means of communicating. Dogs fundamentally would bark as a means of communicating with other dogs, expressing emotion, alerting others to threats, and or concerning self-protection/ warding off other dogs or animals. It is completely normal dog behavior and to some degree part and parcel of your pooch.
As dogs have been domesticated over centuries barking was also selectively bred in some working breeds due to their need to alert their owners to their location or protect their families. In most non-working dogs, many will have developed barking as a means of gaining their owners’ attention at times.
Why is my Poodle Barking and What to do About it?
As the Poodle is a moderate barker most responsible owners will have an awareness of the need to train them regarding reducing the frequency or triggers to which they bark. The breed can have a natural pre-disposition to barking. It can be important, however tempting, not to encourage even cute puppy barking as this can become an ingrained behavior.
Identifying the reason that your Poodle is barking can be easier said than done and it will likely be for more than one reason however perseverance and observation can help you identify why and then work to support your Poodle. This will protect both your ears and sanity in the long run.
The Poodle forms meaningful bonds with their owners and/or family and their working history makes them hard-wired to be alert and observant. Often Poodles will bark to alert their owners to any perceived threats such as someone entering their garden or passing a window.
As bright as the Poodle is they generally can’t assess threat level too well as a result the well-meaning delivery man may get the same shouty greeting as a potential thief. The key is to expose your Poodle as much as possible to different environments to build confidence. Rewarding your Poodle for staying calm around routine things like the doorbell going helps normalize daily interactions while you can rest assured that if something out of the ordinary goes down your Poodle will ensure you are the first to know.
The good news is that while Poodles are alert and prone to barking, they are not naturally predisposed to aggression meaning that without provocation they will bark but will be unlikely to bite.
The Poodle is an extremely intelligent breed and no matter the size requires both physical and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy. A Poodle who has limited access to outdoor space or isn’t being given ample opportunity to play will likely exhibit more problematic barking as they can quickly figure out that it gains the attention they crave from their owner.
Although it may be frustrating it is important not to shout or become agitated with a barking Poodle pup. Raised voices and waving arms and finger-pointing can be stimulating for a young, bored Poodle who may mistake this response for play only to bark more.
Try re-direction to chew toys or games. It’s harder to bark with your mouth full after all.
Not having enough stimulation can make your Poodle shouty. However, conversely so can overstimulation. One of the delights of having a dog is the excited greeting they give you when you come through the door. When your young Poodle greets you with squeaky puppy barks it is easy to inadvertently encourage them with pets and cuddles but as that Poodle grows that bark gets bigger.
You can understand why your Poodle may become quickly confused at why he is now being told to be quiet, it’s easy to see where they may mistakenly think they are not being excited enough for you and that’s why they are not being fussed which in fact triggers even more barking!
It is the same dose of Poodle intelligence that can sometimes make them border slightly on the neurotic. Extremely observant and bright Poodles can quickly begin to identify minor actions that occur before their owner leaves the home. As they can quickly equate that this may lead to them being alone this can trigger your Poodle into hyperdrive.
All it takes is a few occasions where barking delays you leaving the home or prevents you from leaving altogether for these smart little cookies to realize this gets them what they want.
Barking is also commonly seen in Poodle’s who do not tolerate being home alone as they quickly perceive themselves to have been abandoned which is understandably distressing.
The key to tackling this type of barking is trying to encourage a well-rounded and confident Poodle. This means limiting the length of time they are left alone to reinforce that you return but also building in some alone time even just in a separate room in the house from a young age.
If your Poodle does exhibit anxiety this can be in varying levels and in response to many triggers. The key is observing your Poodle and noting what happened just before they started barking and what made it stop.
Some Poodles can be easily startled by loud noises while others can find being around other dogs overwhelming. This type of barking can be more challenging to treat as fundamentally it is your dog indicating fear. Plenty of positive rewards-focused training and working to have a healthy and supportive bond with your Poodle will make them feel safe and secure.
If your Poodle is a bit more on the shouty side than usual it is vital to consider a trip to the vets as increased barking can indicate the presence of pain or illness. A Poodle who barks in response to the touch of a certain area or becomes fearful of anyone moving to touch them is most likely exhibiting pain in that area.
Getting them down for a fresh health check is advised also if your Poodle is not responding to techniques or training to try and reduce their barking as often, they may be trying to communicate a health problem in the only means available to them.
When to Call in Reinforcements to Stop my Dog Barking and From Where?
So, your Poodle has a clean bill of health, you’ve tried all the advice online and they are still at risk of getting you evicted, what do you do?
Many owners can feel so overwhelmed by problem barking that they may even consider re-homing their dog. However, before any drastic steps are taken even a few sessions with a good dog behaviorist or trainer can make a massive difference. Online reviews and/or advice from your vet should help identify the right trainer for you.
There are a number of training tools on the market including collars that buzz or dispense unpleasant liquid when a dog barks as a deterrent. However, their use is fairly controversial with the general opinion being that understanding and de-sensitizing your dog to their bark triggers is a much more humane way to train. These are not something that we would advocate at KYD.
Finding online support from the plethora of online dog and Poodle forums can also help owners feel less alone when dealing with problem barking as it can feel isolating and embarrassing. Attending puppy classes even with different breeds can help with sharing hints and tips and also help orientate your Poodle to other dogs which can be a common barking trigger.
A Poodle who barks is completely normal and unfortunately, there is no way to completely determine to what extent they may flex their vocal cords based just on breeding. Even a Poodle who comes from very non-barky parents can quickly develop a barking habit if not trained and supported in their early months and years.
Smaller Poodles such as the Toy and Miniature may genuinely bark in response to risk as a result of their small stature while the Standard may be prone to barking for reasons of illness, boredom, or anxiety. There is loads of support out there online and Poodle forums may be a great resource, in particular, to help understand these bright, curly, and mischievous rascals.