Poodles and Poodle crosses (such as Cavapoos, Cockapoos, and Labradoodles) are incredibly popular breeds. Prospective owners will be keen to know if the Poodle is a dog that barks a lot.
Poodles are considered moderate barkers. Some will be relatively quiet while others can develop excessive barking habits. Thankfully this is a behavior that can be rectified with the right approach and correct training.
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Do Poodles Bark a Lot?
Most breed experts and vets would agree that the Poodle is a moderate barker. Some poodles will be relatively quiet, while, for others, the barking may become problematic.
Keep in mind that one person’s definition of ‘a lot’ will be different to another’s. I’ve had owners tell me their dog never barks when, in fact, their dog will bark whenever they are provoked to do so. What the owner really means is that their dog doesn’t bark without good reason. Realistically, this is what we should be aiming for.
Normal vs Excessive Barking
Some degree of barking is completely normal. The vast majority of dogs, including Poodles, will naturally bark in response to certain stimuli. Your Poodle will probably bark if:
- Another dog barks at them
- They are left alone for a prolonged period
- A new person comes to their home
- They hear a noise that startles them such as a firework or mail coming through the post box
- They get really excited about something
However, when barking occurs for no explicable reason or when it is ongoing, this is classed as ‘excessive’. Most Poodles who are well socialized and confident will not exhibit excessive barking.
Interesting read: Poodle lifespan: Facts, Figures & FAQs
7 Reasons Why Your Poodle Is So Vocal/Noisy
There are several reasons why your Poodle may be a ‘nuisance barker’. Rather than blaming them, we need to assess the situation and determine what is triggering them.
- Over-excitement. An enthusiastic and hyper Poodle is much more likely to bark. This can be out of a dog’s control as their emotions get the better of them. This may be seen in situations that overload a dog’s senses, such as when in a dog park or when greeting a favourite person they haven’t seen in a very long time.
- Boredom. This is one of the most common reasons a dog will ‘nuisance bark’. Poodles need to be kept occupied. These dogs thrive on being given tasks to complete and on participating in engaging training sessions. They love to interact with humans and to be busy. The typical bored Poodle is one who is left alone all day while their owner works away.
- Anxiety. On another level to the above, some Poodles will suffer from separation anxiety. This can make them overly sensitive when their owner leaves and they may panic. Their high cortisol levels can mean they bark incessantly, frantic for their owner to return.
- Loud Noises. As the Poodle is a hunting dog, they will be less reactive to loud noises than some other breeds. However, some individuals get frightened by unexpected sounds and may react by barking. For most, this is a temporary response and they settle once the noise has stopped.
- Greeting. Whether a Poodle is greeting a stranger or someone they know, they are likely to get vocal. Their bark can be quite yappy and some may find this a little intimidating. However, for most, there is no aggression involved.
- Fear. For some Poodles, they will display their anxiety through their voice. As barking can be a sign of stress or worry, this is one good reason why we should never punish a dog who barks. For these fretful Poodles, any form of punishment will make things a lot worse in the long-term.
- Canine Dementia. If your Poodle used to be a quiet dog and has become loud in their old age, we may be dealing with ‘doggy dementia’. These dogs can bark for no obvious reason for prolonged periods. Other signs can include restlessness, pacing and staring into space.
Recommended read: Poodle Tail Styles (Complete Guide)
Can a Poodle Learn To Be Quiet?
Poodles are renowned for their intelligence and most can be trained to a high degree. This can include teaching them a ‘quiet’ command and preventing excessive barking.
With the right input, almost every Poodle can become a quiet one. However, one who has been a nuisance barker for a long time may take a long time to come round.
How to prevent excessive barking in my Poodle?
The first thing to do is to ensure all of your Poodle’s needs are being met. A content dog is far less likely to become excessively vocal.
- If you cannot be with your dog for most of the day, consider hiring a dog walker or sending your Poodle to doggy day care. How long they can be happily left alone will depend on their age and personality type. However, more than a few hours every day is not advised.
- Spend time actively engaging their brain. This will mean a variety of training sessions, puzzles, interactive toys and games. Poodles love to learn new tricks and to make their owner happy. Don’t forget to reward them heavily with lots of vocal praise and tasty treats, keeping them on your side.
- Provide your Poodle with plenty of exercise. Your Poodle’s specific exercise requirements will depend on their size and age. For most healthy adults, we need to offer at least an hour of interesting exercise on a daily basis.
- It is critical that your Poodle is socialised from a young age. Up to 16 weeks of age, it is developmentally important that your Poodle has plenty of positive experiences involving people and animals. These meetings should be calm and relaxed, so your Poodle understand that others pose no threat. It can be useful to organise meet-ups and walks with local well-behaved, confident dogs.
- If your Poodle has developed a behavioural issue such as a noise phobia or separation anxiety, address it early on. You will likely get the best results from consulting with a canine behaviourist. They will determine what is triggering your Poodle to bark and help you make a tailored plan to combat the issue.
- Consider investing in a reflective sheet or blocking your dog’s view of the window if they are constantly barking at passers-by. This is a common issue as dogs are ‘rewarded’ for their barking when the stranger walks on by. Due to this, it can be a tricky one to resolve.
Interesting read: Male vs Female Poodles: The KEY Differences
Tips to Stop Your Poodle From Barking
The first thing you need to do it so to determine why your Poodle is barking. Once we have this figured out, we are far better placed to address the issue. When your dog is barking, it is all too easy to get upset and shout at them. Rather, have an action plan in place.
- Ignore, ignore, ignore. Ignoring the barking can pay off. If you know your dog has no need to bark and is simply attention seeking, disregarding their behaviour may help. This means we don’t reassure or address them. However, it also means we don’t tell them off. It can actually be very hard to completely ignore a dog. We should avoid eye contact and make sure they know their behaviour is not affecting us. For some Poodles, this is enough for them to tire of the barking and to find something else to do.
- Consider using a ‘Quiet’ command. We can usually teach a ‘speak’ command first. When they naturally stop barking, issue a ‘quiet’ command and quickly reward them. A ‘quiet’ command is very useful for a quick fix but won’t have much impact on a nuisance barker.
- Answer their ‘call’. The barking is often a way of your dog letting you know they need something. Don’t assume their bark is them being bratty, they may actually need something. If you can provide them with what they need, the barking should stop. So, if they bark because there is an alarm going off, go ahead and turn that alarm off!
- ‘Capture the calm’. Your work doesn’t stop once they’re finally quiet. It is all too easy to ignore your dog when they’re behaving well and are being quiet. This is the time we should praise our Poodle, letting them know we are happy with them when they relax.
The Take Home Message
Nuisance barking can be an issue for some Poodle owners. Try not to despair as there is nearly always something that can be done to help. We must always try to determine what is triggering our Poodle. It is also important we ensure all of their needs – physical and mental – are being met.
Non-stop barking is often a Poodle’s cry for help and it is our job to assist them. If you feel unable to tackle the issue at home, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. They will be happy to help you and your Poodle.