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Quick – when you think of a poodle, what sorts of images pop into your mind?  What are you picturing right now? Now pull a few friends aside and ask them what they think of when they hear the word “poodle.”

Chances are, the majority of people you ask will pull up some stereotypical image of the poodle, such as a white poodle with an outrageous haircut.  Perhaps the words “spoiled,” “high-society” and “high-maintenance” come to mind.  Perhaps you envision them walking with wealthy, well-dressed women, or perhaps sitting in their homes with a butler attending to their every need.

But is that really what poodles are like?

Yes and no.  And that’s because it largely depends on the person who owns the poodle.

Some owners prefer to pamper their poodles, which includes having their hair cut into stylish trims and adorned with bows, painting the dogs nails and so on.  The smaller poodles get to ride around in baskets.  And every single one of them look like “high society” spoiled dogs what with their jewel-encrusted collars and all.

But for every pampered pet you have out there, you can find a poodle who’s rough-housing with the kids, acting as a watch dog, or out by the lake retrieving ducks.  Thus the impression you get from a poodle mainly deals with how the owner relates to that dog …and looks alone can be deceiving.

So let me ask you this: What sort of poodle do YOU want?

Do you want a poodle with a topknot so high others think you must use hairspray?

Do you want a poodle who’ll spend the day hunting or even hiking with you?

Or do you want something in between?

Guess what? The choice is yours. If you treat your poodle like a fragile baby, you’ll have a poodle baby for life.  If you treat him like the hardy dog he is, you’ll have a great companion who’ll enjoy endless rounds of fetch and other games.

Or you can be like me and find a happy medium.  My mini poodle doesn’t get fancy haircuts.  When I go hiking, he happily comes along (and jumps down rocky hills like a seasoned mountain goat).  But when it’s time to relax, you can find him curled up in my lap, fast asleep…

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