Protecting You: Your Poodle, no matter which sized Poodle you have, will often be very protective. Barking at guests, cars and passing people is actually your dog's way of protection you from what they perceive to be a threat. The important element to remember is that even though there is no threat... to your Poodle it is very logical that these triggers are potential threats.
The key to stopping this type of barking is to show your dog that there is no threat. The best way to do this, is by your actions and your words. Poodles are very aware of their owners actions and words and will look to them to validate what they are doing...in this case barking. If an owner remains calm, this is the best method to show your Poodle that they also can be calm.
Very often, when a dog barks in these situations, owners pay quite a bit of attention to their dog. They may make actions to try to stop their dog from jumping, they may raise their voice to say "No!", visitors to the home may feel uncomfortable and begin moving around. These are cues that essentially tell a dog that they just may be right in barking "warnings".
Self Protection: Poodles can be very territorial..and this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important for a dog to know that certain items are their belongings. However, over protecting those items can induce unwanted barking. The most common reason for self protection is when a Poodle feels the needs to "guard" their food and water dishes (even if they are empty at the time) and to protect their toys.
Always keeping their dishes in a quiet corner of a room is important. When your Poodle eats, have all family members keep a distance. Owners are not even aware that they cause a Poodle to be protective of food dishes because this behavior is often mistakenly instilled when a Poodle is just a small puppy. New owners want to be close and take pleasure watching their puppy eat. Many take photographs. However, over time, this causes a puppy to feel as if they need to protect what is most important to them: their food.
A dog can live without many things, but they know that they need food for survival. For this reason, all family members should be sure to allow a dog to eat in peace...this means no picture taking and no giving praise for eating. Also be sure that even if their food dishes are in a corner of the kitchen, that their meals are not given when the kitchen is filled with people. This can be during dinner time when owners may not realize just how noisy the kitchen becomes or when an owner has arrived home after food shopping and the room is filled with bustling noise.
A Poodle may also be very protective of their toys. Many dogs enter phases of nesting and this includes male dogs. They may become very attached to a certain toy or even a group of toys....some dog owners are surprised to see even male Poodles take care of certain toys as if they are a "pretend litter". This is a behavioral issue and is often resolved simply by time and by allowing your dog to nest with their toys if they wish. However, it is not acceptable if a Poodle nips at people in their protective state.
Toys should be cleaned every 2 weeks and you may find it helpful to do so when another family member has taken your Poodle for a walk, or perhaps when your dog is sleeping. At other times, it works well to have a special area for your dog's toys, such as a canine toy box, basket or other. Family members, particularly children, should be taught that those toys belong to your Poodle. When you wish to implement certain toys such for playing fetch or playing games, it is suggested to keep those training toys separate from the "regular" toys.
Boredom: Another reason why a Poodle barks is boredom. Dogs may bark incessantly if they are not socialized at a young age and if they are not supplied with a variety of dog toys. Giving your Poodle lots of different toys is not spoiling them....Toys are very important to dogs of all ages. It works well to have 2 groups of toys, although always keeping any dog toys that your Poodle has become very attached to. In this way, you can switch toy collections every week or every 2 weeks, this essentially offers your dog "new" toys, without having to constantly buy new ones.
Toys should be colorful, have interesting textures and be interactive.
Excitement: Many Poodles bark due to excitement. This is very common with puppies...and some can get so excited that they loose control of the bladder. This is not a house training
issue, it is a behavioral issue and will ebb away as your puppy grows older. Older Poodles can become very excited when left home alone during the day...excitement over their owner's return can cause some Poodles to almost enter a stage of frenzied excitement.
For both situations, of a puppy or older Poodle, the way in which you enter the home can make a big difference. The action of you opening the door and entering is the trigger. The best treatment for this is to expose your dog to the stimulus that excites them, over and over until it no longer excites them.
This is achieved by ignoring your Poodle for a few minutes whenever you arrive home. While this is not easy and goes against the instinct you have to greet them, you will be doing your dog a great favor by helping them control their behavior. Arrive home and ignore your Poodle. Read your mail, check your messages, tidy up the living room...anything to keep yourself busy and pay no attention to your Poodle for at least 3 minutes, no matter how much your dog barks.
Keep doing this until you can see that your dog is not only unexcited, but is actually getting bored with the whole thing. When your dog has calmed down and is no longer barking and/or jumping around, then very quietly and gently say hello. Once your Poodle has calmed down, you can then give hugs, take them for a walk or whatever it is that fits your daily routine.