Keeping in mind that all possible health issues should first be ruled out, these are the most common reasons why a Poodle may be acting moody:
1) Less time with owners
– Dogs are creatures of habit, very well aware of when they are expected to be with their humans. If there has been a major change to the Poodle’s schedule in which he is spending more time alone, this can lead to a depressed mood. And particularly, if a Poodle already struggles with separation anxiety
What to do:
The best way to help a Poodle that is having to spend more time alone, is to reassess if all steps are in place to combat separation anxiety. This includes having a comfortable set up (not too confining, a properly sized canine playpen or gated off area for Toys and a gated off area for Mini’s and Standards.
It’s suggested to experiment with a window/door view vs non-view to see which one the Poodle does best with. Leaving on lights and having background noises (TV or radio) often helps. Providing interactive toys (those that speak/make noise), great chew and treat-release toys and companion toys can help greatly as well.
If your Poodle is moody because he does not have your companionship as much as he used to, do make the most out of the time that you do have together. Go out an explore! Take him to a new park, change up the walking route, take him out with you when you run errands, work on a new puzzle game together, etc.
2) Change in environment
A move to a new house is a common trigger for moodiness, as is a change in the household (either missing or adding a member). This can even include the sudden disappearance of a dog that the Poodle played with on a regular basis. While most dogs will eventually adapt, some really struggle with making a transition.
What to do:
If a Poodle is moody after moving to a new house:
It's best to plan for this before it happens. If possible, you will want to visit the new residence before the actual move, taking time to walk through the house and surrounding yard. It can also be advantageous to take walks in the new neighborhood a couple of times each week, well before it is the only choice.
In any case, it is suggested to keep things as similar as possible. For example, the food and water dishes to the left of the fridge, the Poodle’s bed to the right of the sofa, toy bin to the side of his bed, etc. Make sure that your Poodle has a good sense of his ‘den’ by walking the perimeter of the property often. In time, the puppy or dog will gain a better sense of his surroundings and feel at home.
If a Poodle is moody after the loss of a pet or family member:
A disturbance to a dog’s ‘pack’ such as this is expected to bring out mood changes. Any time that a connection is severed, a dog will react as he feels the pain of the loss and works to accept the new household status. While cliché, it is true that this will get better with time, as a dog needs to move through the mourning process much the same as humans do.
However, it is not uncommon for a Poodle to take such a thing really hard and end up in a slump that seems impossible to get out of. In these cases, moodiness can grow into depression. For this issue, it can help to give the dog a couple of weeks, allowing him to feel as he naturally should, and then to introduce a new activity of interest.
This would be something that the Poodle has never experienced before, as this will often ‘awaken’ the dog to focus on something new. This may include an outing to a beach or other shoreline, a trip to a new pet supply store or even a play-date with another dog.
You may need to try a few different things to see which one(s) help to bring the Poodle out of his slump. If you do find something that perks him up, try to make an effort to repeat that event or activity a few times a week. This will give the dog something to look forward to, which always brightens a dog’s overall mood.
If your Poodle is very sad over the loss of a pet and you are wondering if you should get a new puppy, we do suggest giving this some serious thought. The relationship between a Poodle and a new pup will never be the same as the previous relationship. And the introduction of a new pet done too early can add stress to an already difficult situation.