A properly trained and socialized Poodle makes a wonderful pet. They are considered to be one of the most intelligent breed of dogs, even possessing a sense of humor. The Poodle was bred to work closely with humans, originally in the capacity of a water retriever and subsequently as a herder, hunter and guardian. They can be easily trained and have an overwhelming desire to please their owner or owners. Many of their characteristics have made Poodles into very efficient watchdogs.
Poodles are quick to bond to their family members and those bonds are strong and long-lasting. They are very loving pets, pouring out affection for their family members and animals they've grown up with; and while they're not aggressive to strangers or other animals, they are wary of anything new in their environment and will alert their families when they see, hear or smell something new. And they are very good at sensing new things, as they are extremely alert dogs, in tune to their surroundings. Their heightened sensitivity also helps them detect when something is wrong and they are very obvious in communicating this sensation to their owners. They are also prone to barking and easily trainable, so owners can get their Poodles to bark in certain situations in order for them to announce new developments around the house and yard.
Their instinctual behavior is particularly developed, and their history of hunting and guarding is often visible. They are extremely territorial dogs and are wary of any unrecognized individuals that approach their homes; given their high level of intelligence, they are able to tell who does not belong and won't be silent about it. If an owner rewards his Poodle for sounding an alarm, that Poodle will immediately pick up on his owner's satisfaction. Again, Poodles are very eager to please their owners and will repeat any behavior that gets a positive response. If not trained properly, however, the Poodle will take to excessive barking and may become a nuisance. This is to be avoided as it will quickly become unpleasant; consistent, firm, positive training is needed to make sure the dog knows when it is acceptable to bark. Never use harsh punishment on Poodles as they are very sensitive and neurotic behavior will arise if punished too hard.
The Poodle's guardian qualities also include a very strong sense of protectiveness towards his owners; the female tends to be somewhat more protective compared to the male as her maternal instincts to protect her family are transferred onto her human owners. The Poodle's lack of aggressive behavior prevents it from being an effective guard dog; indeed, though Poodles will sound an alarm, they tend to be polite with strangers. This aversion for aggression, though, also allows them to be a safe family pet, good around children.