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with Lisa Peterson
Lisa Peterson
Lisa Peterson with her Norwegian Elkhound Jinx.

Dear Lisa: Our Maltese has to take medication (a pill) for 4 weeks. We have tried putting it in a treat and he spits it out and eats the treat. We have tried the pill pockets also to no avail and when we force him to take it he growls and tries to bite us which is so out of the norm for him. He is a very calm and loving dog. Is there any thing else we could do? – Pill Poppin’ Problem

Dear Pill Poppin: Try as we might to get our dogs to take pills, sometimes we just have to think out of the box to get this one done. Here’s a simple solution that has worked for me in the past with those, “You can’t trick me with the pill in the treat” attitude. I actually borrowed this method from my finicky horse who managed to eat every last oat around the pill in the bottom of his feed bucket.

Lose the pill
Working with your vet, ask for a plastic syringe without the needle, a small one similar to one that administers liquid worming medication. Find a size that will fit in his mouth. Next, grind up the pill into a powder. A mortar and pestle works best for this, but I’ve used those wooden garlic crushers (looks like a mushroom) with great success. If the pill is in a capsule, just open it and pour the contents into a cup. Then fill the syringe with water and empty the water into the cup with the powdered pill. Then pour the dissolved crushed pill water back into the syringe.

Without much fanfare, walk up to your dog, slide the syringe under the dog’s cheek, tilt it’s head backwards and push the plunger to squirt the water down his throat. I found that it’s much harder to spit out water versus a pill! Also, you may want to ask your vet if the medication you are giving your dog is available in a liquid. Then you might even be able to administer the drugs with a dropper versus the syringe. Good Luck!

Dear Lisa: I want to get involved with Junior Showmanship and I am wondering if a Standard Poodle shown in Juniors would be allowed to have a Sporting Clip instead of the Continental or English Saddle clip? – Poodle Power

Dear Poodle: What a really great question! It took me much research and I learned a lot about the different Poodle clips along the way. My first step was to consult the Breed Standard from the Poodle Club of America about the proper coat clips since the idea behind juniors is to prepare them for competition in the breed ring. Here’s what it says:

From the Official Standard for Poodle:

(a) Quality – (1) Curly: of naturally harsh texture, dense throughout. (2) Corded: hanging in tight even cords of varying length; longer on mane or body coat, head, and ears; shorter on puffs, bracelets, and pompons.

(b) Clip – A Poodle under 12 months may be shown in the "Puppy" clip. In all regular classes, Poodles 12 months or over must be shown in the "English Saddle" or "Continental" clip. In the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes and in a non-competitive Parade of Champions, Poodles may be shown in the "Sporting" clip. A Poodle shown in any other type of clip shall be disqualified.
After speaking with some Poodle experts here at AKC, it’s my understanding that juniors exhibiting a Poodle in Junior Showmanship must show the dog in a clip as described in the standard for regular conformation class judging. So that would be Puppy, (under 12 months), Continental or English Saddle clip. The standard does not require a length for any of these trims. According to the standard here are your trim options:

(1)"Puppy" – A Poodle under a year old may be shown in the "Puppy" clip with the coat long. The face, throat, feet and base of the tail are shaved. The entire shaven foot is visible. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. In order to give a neat appearance and a smooth unbroken line, shaping of the coat is permissible. (2) "English Saddle" – In the "English Saddle" clip the face, throat, feet, forelegs and base of the tail are shaved, leaving puffs on the forelegs and a pompon on the end of the tail. The hindquarters are covered with a short blanket of hair except for a curved shaved area on each flank and two shaved bands on each hindleg. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven leg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance. (3) "Continental" – In the "Continental" clip, the face, throat, feet, and base of the tail are shaved. The hindquarters are shaved with pompons (optional) on the hips. The legs are shaved, leaving bracelets on the hindlegs and puffs on the forelegs. There is a pompon on the end of the tail. The entire shaven foot and a portion of the shaven foreleg above the puff are visible. The rest of the body is left in full coat but may be shaped in order to insure overall balance.

In all clips the hair of the topknot may be left free or held in place by elastic bands. The hair is only of sufficient length to present a smooth outline. "Topknot" refers only to hair on the skull, from stop to occiput. This is the only area where elastic bands may be used.

I would recommend that you aspire to show the dog in the Continental Clip. It does not require the hind pompons (optional) and the length of coat is not stated in the standard. In the beginning you can work your way up to a great looking clip. The Juniors’ rules state, “ . . . . Dogs should be groomed and trimmed as they would be for the breed ring. Judges will not evaluate the quality of the grooming and trimming, but Juniors should make an effort to prepare their dogs properly.”

So aim to learn and perfect that Continental clip as you progress in your juniors’ career since it will be what is required once you make that exciting jump into showing your Poodle in the breed ring.

Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions we cannot offer individual responses. Read previous columns here.