Poodle Terrible Twos: Dog Behavior Changes and Solutions

The terrible twos

The terrible twos. It's something we've all heard of, and when we hear it we envision these little human monsters, full of energy, cutely terrorizing our homes. But honestly for me, I love kids at two-- they're so darn cute and they're these little miniature humans who wear tiny versions of big people clothes. And they start saying the really cute stuff like, "I love you". And idk, it's always been an adorable stage in my personal experience.

Then I had a dog... of the poodle variety, and when he turned two it seemed like something just changed in him. He got all extra spunky and rambunctious, not in the cute "awww, he's doing tricks I didn't even teach him" way, it was in the "wait, he's being disobedient right now" way.

Having a poodle is pretty damn awesome, depending on their personality you barely have to "train" them. You can talk to them and they start picking up on stuff, they really are highly intelligent. And I must say, I totally lacked off after a couple months, I know I shouldn't have, but he was just so darn obedient and awesome and smart and cute that I, I, I... I just didn't really "need" to train him anymore.

I may look like a canine gentleman and where a bow-tie everyday, but I  began terrorizing my mom a few days after this photo was taken

Basically what I'm saying is that at age two, my sweet little obedient kid was getting defiant and low key "cray", lol. I didn't know where it was coming from, I usually google this type stuff, but I made my own conclusions and solutions this go round. After talking to a few other dog parents I learned that this behavior was common.

- At around age two dogs are growing into their own. And this may result in them retesting some boundaries. It may be earlier or later for some dogs, but for Hux it was literally in the age two range.

I live in a very dog friendly area, and mentioned this to another dog parent who lives in the condos across the street. He told me it'd get better around age five or so. Ummm, did he just say five?? Who has yearsss to wait for an out of control dog to calm down... I refused to believe this. I have a poodle after all, they're smarter than the rest... right???

Some of the specific Dog / Canine"Terrible Two" behavior changes:
- Snappiness
- Destructive
- Eating random things
- Barking

In this same time period I also started a new schedule in which I would leave in the mornings and come back in the evening. Huxtable had been used to having a mostly stay at home mom, so I believe this also played a role in his behavior change. (I'll also write a post on this later)

Easy to say I had to find a solution and had to find one quick. I found out that while at home alone Huxtable had been roaming the home, eating random things (like hair from a comb that may have fallen on the floor). This all resulted in him throwing up bile. In the past I could leave him home, and I would return to him virtually in the same place, well, not anymore... so my solution for this was crating him. I purchased, this Pet Crate , and began to use it. Crating him while I was out, and when I slept at night. He whined and fought it of course, but he eventually gave in since his food and water was in there (and I would sneak treats in there from time to time). This was dealing with his off eating behavior problem. So now what about the terrible twos behavior change?

I just had to "retrain" him. Well, not really retrain, but I just had to be stern on the rules. Rules that I had become very lenient and lax with. When he did something wrong, it was quickly met with stern "no's" and time outs. That in combination with the crating and praising him when he did things right got him back on track. It took a lot of patience, but time flies these days... In October I had a little monster on my hands, now its December and he's pretty much back to being the perfect poodle I know and love.

So in conclusion, The Solution to Canine Terrible Twos:

- Retrain them. You may have to go back to the basics and treat them like puppies, but it's well worth it. The quicker you do it the better. Just be firm with your rules and boundaries.

- Crate (if you don't already). I originally began to crate for one reason (him eating random things), but I strongly believe this helped in reigning in his wild terrible two behavior.

- Patience and positive reinforcements. Sometimes as a canine parent it's hard to be patient, especially when you already spent time training, but just like with human kids, dogs go through phases and we have to love them through it.

I should also mention Huxtable hasn't been spaded/neutered yet, so with his behavior change I assumed that could be the reason. Huxtable has never, never been a snappy dog, so I figured it might just be time for him to well, be without balls, lol. But I'm glad I was patient. These days I'm learning that patience is the answer to many, many situations. 

Every breed of dog is a little different. My pooch had only gotten better with age-- more dependable, more reliable... until age two, but in less than two months he's pretty much back to himself. The lesson I've learned from this is to continue to train, even after they've "got it". I won't know from personal experience until later down the line, but "training" to some degree will probably have to continue until age three or so. I do think or assume that if you put in a lot of training that first year, you can relax sooner.

I'll do an update of his behavior later, this posting could be premature, but I'm being positive and I think things are only gonna get better from here. 

Feel free to share your experiences below...

Dog Potty Training: Transitioning from Pee Pads to Outdoors

Dog / Puppy Potty Training

A fellow parti poodle mom asked me about transitioning from pee pads to outdoors. I figured it'd just be easier to post the question and answer. And I'll ad any extras afterwards. 

Question, Burt's Mom:  Burt finally has all his shots and can go outside for walks. I figured you went through this phase as well and wonder how you transitioned from the pee pad to the great outdoors for potty training. I am totally perplexed and everyone seems to have a different idea on how to do it but for some reason I thought I'd ask you.

Answer:   It happened pretty naturally. Thirty or so minutes after he eats, take him on a long walk. It might take awhile, but he will "go potty"-- and be sure to say "potty" when he is doing it so that he associates the action and word. In a way the dogs sort of indirectly teach each other especially if you live in the city, near the park, or in a neighborhood full of dogs. They can smell where other dogs have "went potty" and will often go in the same area.  Basically they can sense where the outdoor toilet is, lol. And be sure to give him a lot of praise when he goes in the correct place.  Just be patient, loving (keep in mind he's basically a baby/toddler), and consistent... lucky for you he's a poodle,  a parti poodle at that so he'll catch on pretty quick.

Huxtable going potty 
I usually hate it when people post pictures of their dog taking a dump, lol, but this was the one time I unintentionally did, so I figured I'd post it since its relevant to the post (plus with all his fur you can't see anything)

In addition to the answer above I'll add that Huxtable is trained to go both inside on a potty pad as well as outside. His preference is outside, but he will always go inside when needed. This may not work for some people, but this works very well for me -and- it's oh so convenient on days in which it's raining, cold, super late, or if you're visiting someone else's home.

There wasn't anything too special I did to achieve this. He learned to go on the potty pad as a young pup, then he naturally learned to go outdoors (as stated above). And I kept up both for well over a year. As of this year, and since I've been very health and fitness focused, he's pretty much gone exclusively outside. But him being able to go on potty pads comes in handy... this past week is a perfect example. It rained every other day, so I was able to whip out a potty pad, place it in the bathroom, tell Huxtable go potty, close the door behind him, then check on him a few minutes later and he's done his business. 

This may be easier for a small dog, but I would also try this for a large dog too. I have a friend who often works late, so he has to ask his dad to go to his house and let his dog out. His dad will do it of course, but he often complains about it. If his dog knew how to go on a potty pad he could leave that in his bathroom area on days that he knows he's going to be late.  Many people worry about whether or not this will leave the wrong impression on their dog, confuse their dog even, making them think it's okay to go anywhere inside the home. But no, this isn't the case. As long as you are stringent about them only going on the potty pad, having it in a set area, he (or she) will learn to go in that proper place. For some this may just take a few weeks, for other breeds it could possibly take months. But your patience and diligence will pay off in the long run. 

Depending on your dog's energy level you may come home to poop on your hardwood a few days here on there, lol, but just take them to that wrong spot say, "no bad dog". Make them watch you put it back in the right spot (then flush it). Maybe have them sit in the corner for a little while, and the process starts over. It's SO very important to give them the HIGHEST of praises when they do it right and go in the proper spot. I learned that positive reinforcements yield the best results. I know that everyone doesn't have the patience for this, and having them go exclusively outside is the easiest and best (because it keeps your house much more fresh), but having that option pays off. 

(I usually purchase my Potty Pads in bulk, HERE.)

Feel free to share your thoughts on transitioning and dog potty training. 

Cream and White Standard Parti Poodle

Look at this beauty. I'm really starting to crush on Cream Parti Poodles. Their coats just look so creamy and milky and they look like a beauty of a dog to have. Their pattern is so subtle, but that just adds to their style and charm. I would love to see one in a continental clip. 

I wish I could remember where I found this photo, but I can't, but I think I bookmarked it so I will update when I figure it out

Happy Birthday HUXTABLE the Poodle

Huxtable, toy parti poodle, turns 2 years old. 

I can't believe how time flies, well, yea I can, but you know what I mean, lol... Huxie is already 2 years old! So he's still a young pup, but he's definitely finding his voice. He used to never bark, now he's asserted himself my personal body guard, lol. 

Let's see, what else has changed in the last year of having this adorable toy poodle...

- He went through his coat change. I used to be able to skip some brushes, then brush him out before going to the groomer and everything would be fine and he could get any clip/cut of my choosing. Well, earlier this year I tried that method and the groomer had to cut him down. His fur grew back, but again we had to cut off a lot of fur (this time I actually wanted the clip though). So his puppy fur is pretty much gone, and now if I want him to sport the longer continental clips or saddle clips I'll definitely have to brush him daily and take extra good care of his coat because it's thicker and coarser (which is technically a good thing for poodles because it makes it easier to style them however you want)

- He's gotten more assertive. As I mentioned earlier he has definitely found his voice. Now it's just a matter of training him when to and not to bark. At first I really liked it since he wasn't much of a barker to begin with, but now he's doing it a little more than I would like so I'm finally trying to reign it in. But he's still really amazing about it because he's as quiet as a church mouse and very chill when I bring him into stores no matter the surrounding. He also doesn't bark when we're at events, I'm thinking he may just sense the need to be calm. 

- He communicates even more and makes new sounds. Sometimes the things that come out this dog's mouth amazes me, in a curious type of way. When he was a baby/toddler he pretty much signified his wants or needs by different barks and whines-- he had 3 main ones. Now, well, he has a whole host of sounds... different barks, different moans, different whines, and this very curious speech like thing he does from time to time especially if I'm about to go in the store really quick and leave him in the car (windows down of course, in the shade, and close to the front of the store).

If I think of anymore changes I'll add them, but those are the main ones for now.

So What Is Huxtable's Human Age?

In the past people said 1 year equals 7 human years for all dogs, but we now know that's not entirely true. It's sort of different for each breed to some extent, but it's definitely different for each size dogs. For a big dog 7 years, medium dog 5-6 years, and small dog 4 years. Which makes waaay more sense, especially in the case of toy poodles who live to be 20 years old or older (usually 18 at the youngest).

So for Huxtable at two years old, he's still in the young child phase at 8 years old, by the old standard he'd be 14 which is still young, but 8 or even 10 just seems more fitting especially in regards to his personality and changes. 

How Was This Year's Dog Party?

This year we didn't have the fully decorated dog party that we did last year, but he got plenty of toys treats and love and had a few photoshoots :-). I'll post more photos later.

Harlequin Dwarf Poodle in Scandinavian Puppy Clip

Harlequin Dwarf Male, "Happy Hippo"

I came across this gorgeous guy and had to post, his markings are beyond lovely. His markings may indeed be this perfect, but I suspect this awesome symmetry is also the result of an awesome groomer (in addition to great genetics of course). 

A true master of grooming will choose a clip style that best compliments your parti's marking as well as use little tricks to make their markings look even more symmetrical. But honestly, when you have a parti just about any clip will look great :-)


A Dreamy Poodle

A very fluffy Huxtable

I really do love the look of brown and white parti poodles. Their chocolate faces, amber brown eyes, liver colored noses, lips, and paws. Just so adorable, I can't wait to get another poodle. I think I'll get a girl, either parti colored -or- lately I've been considering a solid chocolate girl which would match Huxtable adorably as well. 

Outdoor Poodle Decor: Topiary, Statues, Door Knockers, and Planters

Two years ago I made plans to get topiary for my balcony. You know the attractive, classy swirly ones that are pretty expensive but add a hint of fanciness to your entrance. Well, during my search  I also ran across outdoor animal topiary and purchased two mini ones. Funny enough, the wind blew them both away, lol, and since then I've considered getting two matching poodle topiary figures to "guard" the door. 

Topiary might not be your thing, but you can still add some poodle to your curb appeal by styling your outdoors / yard with one of the items below:

1. Poodle Door Knocker, Brass

2. Poodle Topiary Filled with Sphagnum Moss

3. Poodle Garden Statue (Cast Stone)

4. Poodle Planter, Black or White

5. Poodle Dog Knocker, Bronze

6. Outdoor Poodle Statue, Stone

If you want a moss filled wire-framed poodle that gives your garden the added touch of having poodle topiary  check out one of the below:

1. 17inch Poodle Moss, $82.99, Here.  (same items can also be purchased from their sister site, Garden.com, which usually has more sales, Here.)

2. 17inch Poodle Frame (no moss), $75.95, w/ lights $77.95 , w/ moss 84.95, Here.

The 32 inch standard poodles w/moss  from both websites are about $200. You can use the same links above. The 32 inch really make a statement because of the size.

If you want more of a continental clip in the topiary, 18inch w/ moss, $119.95, Here. 


mesh wire frame for topiary; miniature moss poodle topiary

Parti Poodle Puppy Doll

So I ran across this adorable little hand-made parti poodle doll. I want to believe it was partially Huxtable inspired, lol... it looks like Huxtable as a young pup after he's gotten his hair washed and blown ;-).  Brown face, all white on front, brown on the sides, white legs, and brown tail :-) Adorable!



Would love for them to send me one, but if you want one you can get it HERE

Dancing Poodle: Huxtable Partying

Photo Flipbook Slideshow Maker
Huxtable doing the Tootsie Roll :-)

Here are the photos still by still of his little french circus dog trick :-)
The dancing poodle Huxtable, he's truly a "party" poodle!

Dog Carrier Review: Bark N Bag Monaco Tote

Huxtable tucked away laying in his "Hermes Birkin" inspired Monaco Bag

Huxtable is literally my co-pilot. He's my right hand man and since he only weighs 6-7 pounds and  is well-behaved there really is no reason why he can't come with me almost every where I go. 

As a 3.5lb puppy he fit my medium sized Louis Speedy with room to spare, at 5.5lb he fit perfectly, and now at 6/7lbs he can still ride along when needed, but his head definitely sticks out and his long lean poodle body can't quite "lay" in there like it used to.  I eventually moved him up to my larger LV Trevi (brown damier), but he (and I ) were putting too much wear on it so had to forgo that. 

Hux at about 4 months; Hux at about 1 year 2 months

So, for the past 6 months or so I've been planning to either get the LV dog carrier, sweet talk the BF into getting me a Birkin that I could use for both Hux and I -or- just purchase a carryall tote of whatever brand (LV, Michael Kors, Coach, etc) and just put a piece of cloth/fabric covered cardboard at the bottom to give him better balance and support. But I've been putting it off... and Huxtable has just been placed in whatever large purse I could get my hands on. 

You can imagine my happiness of running across an attractive stylish dog bag that looks JUST like a purse. Now I'll admit that I would like the purse even better if it was solid colored and didn't have tooled leather etchings on the front, but it's still an attractive bag all the same. 


The dog tote I discovered at TJMaxx HomeGoods

Huxtable fits in this bag perfectly! He can lay down, sit, and actually stand on all fours. I've been using it for a few days now and so far so good. I don't know how straps will hold up over time, but I'm hoping they can sustain his almost 7lb body for years to come. 

I've been thinking about changing my wardrobe to all black or maybe black and white for the summer (it's a minimalist creative type thing I may do), so I'll need a large black purse for my co-pilot Huxtable. I decided to search for the brand of my HomeGoods dog purse and low and behold they make this style dog tote in many different colors.... including black. 
The different shades of Bark-N-Bag

Bark'N'Bag is an affordable line of stylish dog carriers. All of their carriers are "inspired" by  many of the designer brands... this isn't on their website, but it's apparent in their design. And, I must day, I love them for it! I can't believe it's taken this long for someone to create a stylish affordable line of dog bags. I was actually make preliminary plans to create a line myself, but I can place that on the back burner now that I've discovered Bark'N'Bag.

DETAILED REVIEW:  So far my Bark-N-Bag seems right on par, if not better, for the price. It's a medium to light weight low sheen "leather". The mesh on the side is simple thick black mesh with large enough holes for your dog to breath, but not large enough for him to really tear, get his nose into, or even get his nails through. It zips on top, then snaps on the side-- allowing you more than enough room to comfortably get your pooch in. Pretty simple hardware on the front in keeping with the " Herm├Ęs Birkin" look. The bag is able to stand on its own because of the 4 bottom feet, but does have a slight lean because of the pliable "leather" and side panels-- this could be fixed by stuffing the bags with tissue during shipping to maintain the shape. There is one zipped pocket on the inside, so you could store small things (credit card/id/lip gloss/doggie poo bags/tissue). Overall the bag has a good weight, great style, quality construction from what I can tell, and could easily retail for $150. As long as your dog is 8lbs and under this bag should last awhile, if your pooch is pushing 15lbs then it might not stand the test of time. I'll definitely do an updated review within the coming months. 

FYI: "Bark 'N' Bag" is supposedly a play on the name "Birkin Bag", like, Birk-in-Bag hence the style of their main Monaco dog tote. 

Get the Monaco Pet Carrier Tote, HERE.
Get one of the other Bark'N'Bag styles and colors, HERE.

Huxtable at a French Cafe

Huxtable, the toy parti poodle

Huxtable looking up at me wondering why he couldn't indulge in the goodness mom and dad were eating, lol. But not to worry, I always bring him something when we go out to brunch on Sundays. Usually I'll bring a bone of some sort, this time I brought a few morsels of his food and a greenie :-)

More photos to come

Toy Parti Poodle

Toy Poodle

Poodles in Home Decor

Poodles will always be in trend ;-)

In my last post I discussed my ceramic poodle HomeGoods find. I am redecorating one of my rooms and will be using poodles as accents. The ones I purchased really are perfect, hmm... I might even paint them to match Huxtable's parti poodle markings

Animals in general have always been used to add style to a room when it comes to interior decorating. Over the past few years we have all seen the ever so popular deer heads, antlers, and many of the wild and gorgeous African animals (gazelles, antelope, rhinos, etc) being used in every type of decor style you can think of. More recently, many designers, like Jonathan Adler, and people of the posh stylish and dog-loving variety have been using solid colored ceramic dog figurines to add a pop of whimsy or character to a room.  You can see a few examples below: 

Huxtable's Pinterest Page is filled with more examples, check out some of his boards below:

Dog paintings are a tradition that date back to the beginning of time, but dog figurines have had their rightful place in art history as well. Nearly all of old Hollywood owned a poodle and many many MANY poodle figurines were made of both the American and foreign variety. I think there will continue to be a gradual resurgence of dog figurines for home decor over the next decade or so. But instead of the heavy multi-colored pieces of the 50s, they will be modern yet classic-chic monochrome pieces.... like the poodle pair I was so lucky to find. 

Sidenote: When dog/pet figures first re-hit the interior style seen a few years ago in 2010 they were on a large scale and were moreso floor pieces or quite frankly statues. Now they're becoming smaller which are perfect for bookcases, dressers, and/or console decor. 

Want the look? Get poodle pieces for your home decor below:
1.) White Ceramic Poodle Comes in Two Sizes, 18 inches ($44), here.  -and- 13 inches ($29), here. 
2.) Urban Trends Antique White Poodle ($53), here
3.) White/Black Poodle Lamps ($225), here
4.) Abigail Ahern Poodle Lamp (£195.00), here. 

Take it a Step Further: Purchase a can of spray paint to personalize one of the above ceramic poodles to match your space. I plan to either leave mine as is, paint parts of it brown to match Huxtable, or spray paint them yellow, gold, or silver to add a pop of color to my decor. Rustoluem is one of the more popular spray paint brands that gets high reviews, you can check out a wide selection of their spray paint colors as well as get low pricing and free shipping, HERE.  

Check out the Metallics (copper, brass, silver, and gold), HERE.

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