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Jan and I have rescued a 3 year old Toy Poodle (female) and have decided - very quickly - that she is now our Forever dog. We both have had dog family members before - from Labradors to Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (including German Shepards).
It became very obvious that 'Penny' hadn't had any life outside her cage - doesn't know how to play even - we had to teach her how to chew. She had some hip surgery done at 14 months old - we've yet to get the records to find out full details - and has had two teeth removed along the way. At rescue she weighed 1.2kgs - 8 weeks later we had her up to 2.2kgs (Finally fully groomed with full face shave - eye irritant problem from fur) and looking heaps better. She has completely bonded with Jan so has her as her security safe pack member. (I'm being patient......)
1st thing we need to know is why ( I feed her every morning ) she has recently taken to bringing one piece of her chopped up food, back inside to me and dropped it on the floor at my feed and backed off a couple of steps - with an alert expression - and looks straight at me. (NB: We have yet to bond fully as she seems a little 'put off' by the resident male. Something else we're trying to get the history of.)

So - what's she trying to tell me????

Thanks for reading all of this - greatly appreciated.
 

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Jan and I have rescued a 3 year old Toy Poodle (female) and have decided - very quickly - that she is now our Forever dog. We both have had dog family members before - from Labradors to Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (including German Shepards).
It became very obvious that 'Penny' hadn't had any life outside her cage - doesn't know how to play even - we had to teach her how to chew. She had some hip surgery done at 14 months old - we've yet to get the records to find out full details - and has had two teeth removed along the way. At rescue she weighed 1.2kgs - 8 weeks later we had her up to 2.2kgs (Finally fully groomed with full face shave - eye irritant problem from fur) and looking heaps better. She has completely bonded with Jan so has her as her security safe pack member. (I'm being patient......)
1st thing we need to know is why ( I feed her every morning ) she has recently taken to bringing one piece of her chopped up food, back inside to me and dropped it on the floor at my feed and backed off a couple of steps - with an alert expression - and looks straight at me. (NB: We have yet to bond fully as she seems a little 'put off' by the resident male. Something else we're trying to get the history of.)

So - what's she trying to tell me????

Thanks for reading all of this - greatly appreciated.
My dog is a poodle as well and they have a tremendous herding instinct and a tremendous "retrieving" instinct. My dog brings me toys in this way when he wants to play.

I'm thinking that when it involves food that the dog is expressing a herding/pack instinct. My knee-jerk reaction (disclaimer: I am NOT an expert) is to assume that the dog is expressing either comfort with being part of your "pack" or that they want to express that they feel safe with you. It's a gesture that indicates belonging.

BTW I put the word "pack" in quotes because a lot of people have an allergy for that word and for some reason it's anathema to say the word "pack" on a dog forum. The point is, however, regardless of what label you give it that dogs naturally live in "packs" (or whatever label you give it) and that sharing behaviours in packs are normal social indicators of a group dynamic. This isn't limited to dogs. Rats, apes, lions, hyenas and many other animals that live in social groups (including humans) display a similar behaviour and evidently for similar reasons.
 

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it's anathema to say the word "pack" on a dog forum
It’s not exactly that - the problem is partly the language, yes, but the term was poisoned a lot when old fashioned trainers tried to promote the idea that dogs were trying to rise to pack leadership status and had to be shown their place by humans exerting dominance. We now know that theory to be a load of baloney but the terms ‘pack’ and ‘leadership’ have become flash points because they have been so badly used in the past.

When we use ‘pack’ to mean a social group, and ‘leader’ to mean someone who guides, encourages and inspires followership rather than forcing it by wielding power just because they can, that’s great. The problem is if we mean that; but someone confuses our meaning with the old fashioned theories, it could end up being very messy and it’s the dog that gets damaged.
 

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I'm thinking that when it involves food that the dog is expressing a herding/pack instinct.
Just a note here: Poodles were initially developed as hunting dogs and retrievers, not as livestock dogs, and do not have natural herding instincts like dogs that are in the herding group of dogs. They have never been used for herding livestock typically or historically, so any behavior that looks similar to herding behavior in those dogs is not going to be herding instinct, but rather something else.
Even in the case of actual herding dogs such as border collies or Aussies, much behavior that is attributed to "herding" is actually not that.
There is nothing in the OP's description that sounds to me even vaguely like "herding" behavior.
Stockdogs don't bring a piece of food to the sheep.

So - what's she trying to tell me????
My guess is that she is simply trying to make connection with you. Maybe this is like taking a toy to another dog and offering it, in a spirit of play. What I would do is pick the piece up, look at it, say nice things to the dog, and then offer it back. If the dog doesn't take it, I might pretend to eat it. The main thing here is to acknowledge this as a friendly gesture and respond in kind.

Good for y ou for taking in this little dog. It sounds to me as if she came from a puppy mill or from an equally bad situation, but is coming around nicely to being in your home. Best of luck with her. She sure is a lucky little girl to have come to you.
 

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Just a note here: Poodles were initially developed as hunting dogs and retrievers, not as livestock dogs, and do not have natural herding instincts like dogs that are in the herding group of dogs.
Madra, I grew up among packs of dogs, including collies, shepherds, wolf-dogs that were crosses of herding dogs and wolves and a vast array of mongrels. My current dog is a poodle and can I tell you without any hesitation or doubt whatsoever that it's most definitely a herder.

I will fully agree with you that they do not have this reputation and only a few poodles have become "certified" herders but I can tell you that the ones I've seen in recent years have the basic instinct of "keeping the group together". My particular dog may have this impulse more than other poodles (perhaps much more so) but even if he was bread as a bird-dog, and "fetch" is far and away his favourite game, he's also very much the dog that will not let anyone get more than 5m away without "fixing it".

This has the benefit, BTW, that he also never gets more than about 5m away from us when walking off-leash.
 

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Madra, I grew up among packs of dogs, including collies, shepherds, wolf-dogs that were crosses of herding dogs and wolves and a vast array of mongrels. My current dog is a poodle and can I tell you without any hesitation or doubt whatsoever that it's most definitely a herder.

I will fully agree with you that they do not have this reputation and only a few poodles have become "certified" herders but I can tell you that the ones I've seen in recent years have the basic instinct of "keeping the group together". My particular dog may have this impulse more than other poodles (perhaps much more so) but even if he was bread as a bird-dog, and "fetch" is far and away his favourite game, he's also very much the dog that will not let anyone get more than 5m away without "fixing it".

This has the benefit, BTW, that he also never gets more than about 5m away from us when walking off-leash.
That's a great trait your dog has, and I can tell you enjoy it! Poodles are typically very intelligent dogs, and definitely like to be with their "pack", whether human or animal. They have many allealing characteristic and I personally like them a lot, especially standards.

But that is not herding. Keeping the group together does not constitute herding and is only a very small part of what the actual herding of stock animals entails.

Many breeds of dogs want to keep their people and other pack members together. I have known a beagle who did this, a labrador, mixed breed dogs of uncertain heritage, and even a saluki who wanted to keep the group together. None of these dogs were herding, they were just keeping an eye on their group, and none of those breeds or individuals had "herding instinct".

Actual herding instinct is entirely different, as is the actual work of herding of livestock.

I am not telling you that you cannot call what your dog does anything you like. I am only trying to clear up misconceptions about what herding is. Many people misunderstand what herding actually is, just as they misunderstand what protection work is, and other kinds of canine work are misunderstood as well.

It is like the difference between saying that a professional ballerina who is dancing in a ballet performance is dancing ballet, and saying that a four year old girl dancing around the living room in a pink tutu is "dancing ballet". Call it that if you want...if it makes you and the little girl happy, why not. Just don't confuse it with the real thing.
 

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That's a great trait your dog has, and I can tell you enjoy it! Poodles are typically very intelligent dogs, and definitely like to be with their "pack", whether human or animal. They have many allealing characteristic and I personally like them a lot, especially standards.

But that is not herding. Keeping the group together does not constitute herding and is only a very small part of what the actual herding of stock animals entails.

Many breeds of dogs want to keep their people and other pack members together. I have known a beagle who did this, a labrador, mixed breed dogs of uncertain heritage, and even a saluki who wanted to keep the group together. None of these dogs were herding, they were just keeping an eye on their group, and none of those breeds or individuals had "herding instinct".

Actual herding instinct is entirely different, as is the actual work of herding of livestock.

I am not telling you that you cannot call what your dog does anything you like. I am only trying to clear up misconceptions about what herding is. Many people misunderstand what herding actually is, just as they misunderstand what protection work is, and other kinds of canine work are misunderstood as well.

It is like the difference between saying that a professional ballerina who is dancing in a ballet performance is dancing ballet, and saying that a four year old girl dancing around the living room in a pink tutu is "dancing ballet". Call it that if you want...if it makes you and the little girl happy, why not. Just don't confuse it with the real thing.
I love these kinds of debates.

So let's go. What are the 5 most important characteristics of herding dogs that other dogs don't have?
 

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I love these kinds of debates.

So let's go. What are the 5 most important characteristics of herding dogs that other dogs don't have?
Dogslife, although your question is posed with absolute politeness, I am not interested in debate. It just is not something I enjoy doing, let alone love. I understand that some people love to debate, and there's not a thing wrong with that, but while I am always happy to give my opinion and offer what knowledge and experience I have, I prefer to avoid argument. Beyond a certain point, which we have reached in this discussion, I think it's better just to drop it.

And to me this is not a debatable topic in any case, any more than debating whether or not the four year old is a ballet dancer. If you want to call it that, you will, since you get to define things any way you want to in your world. There isn't really any harm in that. I won't call it that, or define things that way, because I know there's a huge difference, and I am a bit of a stickler for being precise in my use of terms whenever possible. Not everyone has to be a stickler like me.

I am only trying to give information that may be useful to some people, and maybe even spark an interest for someone in finding out what stockdog work is really all about (it's pretty fascinating). There's no requirement that anyone believe me if they choose not to.
Best wishes, and have fun with your dog!
 

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@snapafun I hope you are not put off by the fact that we veered significantly off your topic and original question.
We on this forum tend to do that at times. ;)
But mostly we are all here to do our best to help each other, and if you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. We like photos, too!
And we will try not to wander off from your topic too badly..................😄
 
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