Why Are Poodles So Mean? (Experts Answer)

Categorized as Poodle Behavior, Poodle Breed Information, Poodle FAQs
Are Poodles Mean?
Closeup Portrait of Shaggy Hair Poodle Dog Squinting Looking in Camera Isolated on Black Background

You may have heard that poodles are mean dogs, but that’s a big ol’ lie. The truth is that poodles love nothing more than being around their human family members. They might seem high-maintenance, but they just need a little extra attention to be happy—and they sure do love getting it!

While some poodles do have a reputation for being aggressive or mean-spirited, it’s important to remember that all dogs have different personalities. And just like with humans, there are good dogs and bad dogs out there—it’s all about finding the right match for you!

There are a lot of reasons why people think poodles are mean. In this article, we’ll discuss all of them and see if any of them have any merit.

Are Poodles Mean?

A White Miniature Poodle Looking Mean
A White Miniature Poodle Looking Mean

Are poodles really mean? Well, that depends on who you ask. If you’re talking to someone who has never owned a poodle, they might think that these dogs are mean.

But if you’re talking to a person who has had one or more poodles in their life, they’ll tell you that poodles are some of the most intelligent and well-behaved dogs around.

The intelligence of poodles often leads people to believe they are high-strung. But the truth is that those poodles are showing contempt because of their intelligence and a good understanding of human nature.

Many people believe that poodles are dumb dogs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Poodles are actually one of the smartest breeds in the world!

This matters because it means that poodles are not actually bad-tempered, they are just very intelligent and understand human nature well.

This has implications for how we should treat poodles, as they deserve to be respected for their intelligence. We should also care about this because it means that poodles make great companion animals and can be trained to do many things.

They are often seen as aloof or even snobby by other dog owners, but the truth is that they are just extremely intelligent. Because they understand human nature so well, poodles can often be seen as judging us humans – and sometimes they aren’t wrong!

Poodles Either Like Your Or They Don’t

If you want a poodle, be prepared to treat them as the highly intelligent animals they are. They’re not dogs that will just follow along with whatever you say—you have to earn their trust and respect.

If you don’t do that, you’ll find that they either ignore you or actively dislike you. Poodles are sensitive dogs, so if you talk down to them or treat them like they’re stupid, they won’t be interested in spending time with you.

A White Poodle Being Displeased
A White Poodle Being Displeased

You should also remember that poodles aren’t just about looks—they’re smart and independent animals who need plenty of room to run around and play. If your home isn’t set up for that sort of activity, then a poodle might not be the best choice for your family.

Poodles are stubborn, too; once they’ve made up their mind about you, it’s hard to change. And since poodle pups love treats like any dog breed would—even if the treat-giver is someone they aren’t wild about—they might take advantage of your generosity anyway and continue to ignore you afterward.

Let us now look at some reasons why one might think a poodle is mean, and how to avoid those situations.

Use Different Training Methods

Poodles are very intelligent animals. They want to please their owners and this is often reflected in their training.

However, if you do not change your poodle’s routine or keep it interesting for them, they may become bored easily with repetitive tasks and start ignoring you altogether!

A mixed-breed dog not wanting to play
A mixed-breed dog not wanting to play

Instead, try changing things up by varying your training routine and making sure there is always something new for them to learn during each session.

This will help keep them interested in learning new things as well as prevent them from becoming bored easily with repetitive tasks!

As an owner, you can keep your poodle’s interest in learning new things alive by varying their training routine and making sure there is always something new for them to learn during each session. This will help prevent boredom from setting in as well! Poodles are very intelligent animals who want to please their owners. As a result of this desire, they often excel at obedience training.

Don’t Let Your Poodles Get Bored

If you have encountered a mean poodle, it is possible that the dog may have been bored, untrained, under-exercised, or neglected.

A bored standard white poodle lying on the floor
A bored standard white poodle lying on the floor.

The poodle may have been raised with a lack of socialization and therefore does not know how to behave around other dogs or people. A poodle that was abused by a previous owner is also likely to be mean and skeptical about everything.

Poodles are very intelligent and require a lot of stimulation to remain happy. If they’re bored, they can act out in ways that mirror the symptoms of frustration or crankiness as seen with humans.

If your Poodle acts like he’s angry at you, it’s often because he has nothing to do. If he has nothing to occupy his mind, he will look for something else to do. Unfortunately for you, this usually means destroying your favorite pair of shoes or chewing up an expensive power cord.

The best way to keep your Poodle happy is by giving him plenty of mental stimulation. This doesn’t necessarily mean training him; it means teaching him new skills and keeping him active.

Don’t Leave Your Poodle Alone

Poodles are some of the most adorable and loving dogs you can have in your life. They are loyal, affectionate, and eager to please their owners. If you leave them alone for long periods of time, however, it is possible that your poodle may develop separation anxiety

An anxious poodle waiting for their owner to return
An anxious poodle waiting for their owner to return

This type of anxiety is not just bad for your poodle but also for you as an owner. A poodle with separation anxiety can act out in ways that they previously would not have if they got the attention and time with you that they need and deserve. 

These behaviors can be anything from snapping, destroying your furniture, chewing your shoes, or simply being mean to you or others. 

The best way to prevent this from happening is by making sure that when you leave your poodle alone that they have something to do so that they don’t get bored or anxious while alone. 

Also, make sure that there are no hazards around that could cause injury if the dog gets too excited when playing with toys or chewing on something like a bone!

Talk to Your Poodle in a Confident and Authoritative Tone

A Poodle’s intelligence is often mistaken for meanness or aloofness by those who don’t know any better. But what’s really happening is that poodles are just confused by your lack of intelligence.

Before we go any further, I’d like to make something clear.

I’m not assuming anything about how intelligent you may be; all I’m saying is that people tend to speak in a high-pitched tone, almost as if they were talking to a small baby when addressing their pets.

A poodle owner talking to their poodle in an authoritative tone
A poodle owner talking to their poodle in an authoritative tone

While many dog breeds enjoy being talked to in a high-pitched voice – many poodles prefer a more mature or authoritative tone.

When people talk to their pets in high-pitched tones like they’re talking to small babies, many dogs enjoy this kind of treatment—but not poodles! Poodles prefer a more mature or authoritative tone when being spoken to by their owners.

If you’re not careful, your poodle may become frustrated with you and start to ignore you. It’s important that they understand there is a hierarchy in the household and that they are not at the top of it. If they feel that they are in control of situations, they will often act out.

Talking to your poodle in a higher-pitched, cheerful tone all the time will not make them respect you or obey your commands.

They will just think that you’re happy to see them and they’ll be too distracted to listen when you’re trying to train them or give them basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “down”.

In order for your poodle to obey you, it’s important that you speak with authority. If you want to be respected by your poodle, then you need to be respectful toward them by speaking confidently and using commands instead of treating them as if they were a puppy who is still learning how the world works.

Establish Yourself as the Alpha of the Poodle Pack

If you establish yourself as the “alpha” of your poodle’s pack, she will be less likely to act out with inappropriate snappiness and general nastiness toward other people.

It’s important to know that dogs are social animals who need to feel they are part of a group. This means they look to the “alpha” of their group for guidance and direction on how they behave around others.

Your dog will naturally want to be your “pack leader,” but in order for that relationship to work properly, you need to let her know what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t by establishing yourself as the alpha of your pack.

If you want your pup to be more polite and well-behaved when she meets new people (or just around strangers), then you should start acting like her alpha. This isn’t about being mean or bossy; it’s about showing her that you’re confident in yourself and your relationship with her.

If she senses that she can trust you to take care of her needs and protect her from danger, then she will feel safe enough to not act inappropriately around other people.

It is pointless to have a dog as a companion who will only be available when they feel like it and be too snobbish, mean, or snappish when it comes to spending time with you or listening to anything you have to say when they don’t feel up to it.

Poodles Are Highly Emotionally Sensitive

Poodles are highly emotionally sensitive, which means they pick up on the moods of their owners and other people around them. This can be a good thing—if you’re feeling down and your poodle comes to you for some affection, it’s a sign that he or she knows how to comfort you.

But it can also be a bad thing—if there is conflict in your household, then your poodle may pick up on that vibe and act out.

Acting out may include being mean to you or others. A poodle who feels threatened or scared will lash out at those around him, whether it’s by biting or nipping at people or just being generally aggressive.

Poodles can become anxious if there’s too much activity, conflict or roughhousing in your household—they like peace and harmony.

Poodles thrive when they receive praise and physical attention from their owners, but these dogs are sensitive and should not be scolded or yelled at in a harsh tone of voice.

Poodles are intelligent and tend to pick up on their owner’s moods, so being nice but firm in tone is a must when training.

The best way to keep your poodle calm and away from conflict as much as possible is to provide him with lots of love and attention when there is no conflict happening in the house. Poodles thrive in peaceful households where they feel safe and loved!

Socialize Your Poodle From an Early Age

If you do not socialize and train your Poodle from puppyhood and take the dominant role, the dog will become a mean or bad-tempered Poodle. The dog may then be given up to a rescue, put down, or simply kept away from visitors or the public.

The worst-case scenario—and, sadly it happens often enough to merit discussion—is that such poodles will be euthanized or abandoned.

Because poodles are extremely sensitive to anxiety, they will not be socialized as easily as some other dogs. It will take time and patience to socialize with a Poodle, but it is worth it in the end.

A poodle in a park with other dogs
A poodle in a park with other dogs

Some specific examples of how not socializing and training your Poodle can lead to a bad temperament include: the poodle being mean biting or snapping at visitors or strangers, the dog growling or barking excessively, and the dog being anxious or scared around new people or situations.

If you do not take charge and work on socializing your Poodle from a young age, these behaviors can become ingrained and extremely difficult to change.

Puppy Mills and Mean Poodles – What’s The Relation?

Well-bred Poodles are highly intelligent, affectionate, and loyal dogs. They make excellent family pets and are great for people with allergies or those who live in apartments.

Unfortunately, small Poodles in particular are popular—and this means that they are also popular with puppy-mill operators and backyard breeders. These unscrupulous people breed Poodles in poor conditions, without regard for temperament or health.

Poodles being kept in cages in a puppy mill
Poodles being kept in cages in a puppy mill

If you have encountered a poorly bred Poodle, you may have noticed that they are not properly socialized and may exhibit fearful behavior, aggression towards strangers, or just be a big meanie. You may have encountered one of these poorly bred pups at a pet store or on Craigslist.

Well-bred Poodles have stable temperaments, which means that they are safe around children and other pets. They can be trained to do tricks like fetching balls or performing tricks on command—something that many dogs aren’t capable of doing!


Poodles are not mean dogs, they are friendly and loving dogs that make great companions and family pets. However, they can be mean if not given the proper attention and care they need. Training your poodle using different training methods and using a calm, confident and authoritative tone while giving them commands will yield the best results.

Poodles are highly intelligent dogs which means they can be trained easily if you train them at an early age. They need to be socialized with other people and animals so that they grow up to become well-behaved adults. If you don’t train your poodle early in life, then it may become an aggressive dog as it grows older.

By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!

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