Standard poodles are friendly and relatively easy to train, but they do require some specialized care, particularly when it comes to grooming, because of their coat. Here’s how to care for a standard poodle:
- Feeding a standard poodle. Choose a high-grade dog food, or one with meat as a first ingredient rather than grain. Feed a standard poodle in two or three smaller meals per day rather than one or two large ones, because this breed can get bloated after a large meal. Never leave the bowl out all day long; many dog breeds, including the poodle, tend to overeat and will become overweight.
- Exercise. Your standard poodle needs daily exercise. They enjoy playing in the backyard, but do not need a great amount of activity every day.
- Grooming the coat. Grooming is, for many, the most difficult part of caring for a standard poodle. Their coat is beautiful but requires constant upkeep. The coat needs to be clipped every six to eight weeks, along with regular baths. You can learn to clip the coat yourself, or take your poodle to a groomer. There are several different cuts that are common to poodles, including the type that leave “pom pom” type balls of fur on the ends of the legs and tail.
- Other grooming activities. Although the poodle’s coat requires constant care, there are other grooming activities that often get overlooked. Trim your poodle’s nails every two or three weeks, and regularly check their ears for mites. Don’t forget about dental care. You should brush your standard poodle’s teeth regularly, at least twice per week, using dog toothpaste.
- Training. Start socializing your standard poodle as a puppy. Poodles are highly intelligent, and should receive obedience training that is firm and constant. A standard poodle can be taught many tricks; you can try this yourself, or contact a dog trainer. These smart dogs can learn almost any behavior you want to teach them.
- Vet visits. Your standard poodle needs yearly shots. Don’t forget about worming your dog or using flea control products, if necessary. An annual vet visit is always a good idea, even if your standard poodle seems healthy. Of course, always visit the vet at the first sign of illness or injury. Watch for health conditions common in poodles, such as cataracts and retina damage, allergies and skin irritation, hip dysplasia, and a bleeding disorder known as Von Willebrand’s. Particularly if your dog shows signs of eye problems or irritated skin, take them to the vet, because these issues are usually treatable.
The standard poodle makes a great choice for a family pet. They do require a little extra training and a lot of grooming, but otherwise are no harder to care for than other dog breeds.