attitude makes them easy to train. Most performing Poodles are hams and will play to an appreciative audience. This sense of playing to an audience also makes them a challenge to compete with in formal obedience competitions where the dog is judged on their strict compliance with certain exercises. Many a Poodle has heard a snicker from the audience and gone on to try to further entertain the audience with spontaneous (and unapproved by the handler!) antics. Anything for a laugh for this fun-loving breed! But they are also capable of intense concentration and flawless performances as demonstrated by the many Poodles who have been top obedience competitors. Being an upright breed, Poodles have advantages and disadvantages when com- peting in the relatively new sport of agility. Dog agility competition is loosely based on horse show jumping with other obstacles thrown in (tunnels, a-frame, weave poles, etc). Poodles are agile and intelligent so teaching them the basics of agility should be relatively easy. They do tend to spring over jumps instead of just clipping them like a more “down” breed (i.e. Border Collie). But they can be taught a suitable jumping technique and their willingness to please lends itself to this fast-paced activity. Once Poodles are taught the proper jumping technique, they rarely knock and drop the bars like a more skim- ming breed and they can be just as fast and accurate. Many Poodles are also now being trained for Service Dog work. This includes seeing- eye dogs, hearing dogs and other various service tasks. The non-shedding coat and calm but active temperament of the Poodle lends itself nicely for this work. Poodles are also serving as Therapy Dogs and vis- iting nursing homes, children’s hospitals and schools to aid with reading programs for children. Their non-shedding coat and clean, non-drooly mouths make them ideal candidates for this work. Poodles, above all, are the ultimate companion breed. Serious breeders who breed to the standard will find that they have a dog suitable for any and all the above activities. Currently, Poodles are being bred and advertised that are spe- cialists in one activity or another. While individual Poodles may be more talented at retrieving, agility, conformation shows, etc., it would be a shame to see this ver- satile, wonderful breed be key holed into one activity at the expense of any other. The breed is historically versatile and the
“POODLES, ABOVE ALL, ARE THE ULTIMATE COMPANION BREED.”
a switch to conformation, she found field work about 15 years ago. Since her dogs seemed to love working in the field, she has continued training them as soon as they are retired from the show ring. Titles earned on her dogs include CH, NA (agil- ity), CGC, WC, WCX, JH and SH. Joyce has served as Recording Secre- tary of the Board of Directors of Poodle Club of America since 2010 and has recently assumed the role of Standard Representative on the Board. She is a member of Orlando Poodle Club, hav- ing served as President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer over the course of many years since 1980. She is also a member of Central Florida Hunting Retriever Club and Cherokee Foothills Hunting Retriever Club. As a past mem- ber of Orlando Dog Training Club, she taught weekly conformation classes for about 10 years with some of the class attendees achieving honors as high as Best In Show.
physical attributes that make up a Poodle serve it well in a myriad of activities. To ignore or exaggerate one physical or men- tal aspect at the expense of another only degrades the versatility that is inherent in this great breed. So you can readily see that Poodles are indeed a versatile dog for all seasons and all reasons. Whatever your chosen activity, even just as a cozy companion, there is a size and Poodle temperament out there to fit the bill. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Joyce Carelli got her start in dogs in 1980 with the purchase of a Standard Poodle as a pet. Her prior experience in showing horses led her to the world of dog shows, an area that she still loves and participates in actively. She has bred many Poodle champions in all size varieties over the years and has han- dled most of her own dogs to their titles. After a brief start in obedience and then
274 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015
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