How Do I Stop My Cockapoo Puppy From Biting?

red cockapoo

My Cockapoo Puppy bites – what can I do?

 

If you have spent some time reading dog forums you will know the subject of puppies biting is often bought up.  On one hand it’s to be expected but on the other… IT HURTS!

New owners are quick to question their Cockapoo puppies temperament but this really is not necessary. All puppies bite. But a sensible owner will teach their puppy soft mouth behaviour a long with other essentials like toilet training. As a puppy grows up you will find that they learn bite inhibition naturally as they notice that their playful bites cause pain and draw a negative reaction from their owner. After all, all  puppies are looking for signs about how to please their owners.

So teaching bite inhibition is doing what most owners do in an accidental way by withdrawing when the bite becomes painful. By making the process into a intentional structured program you can encourage soft mouth behavior to happen sooner rather than later.

Why wait for your Cockapoo just to grow out of biting? What if there are children at home?; what if those sharp puppy teeth break the skin and a dressing needs to be applied?

Early Socialisation

If your puppy has had a normal start to life early experiences naturally teach bite inhibition while the puppy is nursing from the mother. If the puppy sucks too hard and uses teeth by accident the mother will push the puppy away or get up and leave. Also, when puppies begin to play with their litter mates, they learn to use their teeth softly or their play mates soon stop playing with them.

For this reason if your puppy is an orphan it may have a harder bite than other puppies who have had normal socialization with the mother and siblings. Also, for puppies that have not had this normal early socialization they don’t have a “tolerance for frustration” since they are not used to having to wait when siblings compete for attention.

Another factor that makes the cockapoo a good candidate for teaching bite inhibition is that genetically it has not been trained to bite down hard like some breeds. However, if you find your cockapoo puppy is biting down harder than expected you need to begin the process of teaching him/her self restraint straight away.

You can start lessons as soon as you like in fact after 5 months your puppy will start to grow adult canine teeth and have a stronger jaw so that is another incentive to start training early.

Anyone can teach their puppy bite inhibition

Start the process  – The 4 Rs

Remove – When you are bitten severely enough, let him/her know it hurts and say “Oowww” as calmly as possible. Take your body part (hopefully just a figure) out of its mouth and look away. This is showing your puppy that biting hard means he/she will lose your attention and of course that is not desirable for any puppy.

If he/she keeps wants to continue biting move to a different room until the puppy is calm. Then re-engage their interest.

Repeat – This is a process but keep being consistent and you will begin to notice that the bite intensity becomes less hard.

Your puppy won’t stop biting. They have such a strong urge to bite and chew you won’t cure this. But repetition will lead to increasingly acceptable bites over the coming weeks and months.

As the bite intensity decreases you can increase your sensitivity to the bite. Still  “Oowww” and remove. This will encourage softer and softer bites that slowly shape the puppies bite inhibition.

Reinforce – As with most training positive reinforcement is key. Softer bites should be rewarded with praise but keep withdrawing yourself as a negative consequence for harsh bites. Eventually soft mouth behaviour will be more common.

Redirect: You will probably notice times when your  puppy is just in a rambunctious mood. Spare yourself some pain and have some chew toys to hand and leave the training for a calmer time.

How not to do it

Physical punishment is not the way to go. Firstly because it won’t achieve your goal. Hitting a dog on the nose with a rolled up newspaper will just make your dog cower and suppress anger. This suppression can then come back at stressful times and result in severe biting. It’s also worth saying that it’s never a good idea to push your dog’s patience level to the point its good behaviour is stretched to the limit. Dogs growl for a reason, it’s their way of saying, enough is enough please don’t continue annoying me or something worse might happen. This is a particularly good point to teach children  as they love play with puppies but do not always understand where the boundaries are. (See “The Gift of Growling,” Whole Dog Journal October 2005.)  For a full discussion on physical punishment read this discussion thread.

Teaching bite inhibition to an adult Cockapoo dog

Teaching bite inhibition to an adult dog is much harder as we all know old habits are hard to break. You can however, use this variation of the “Oowww” remove technique.

Have a treat in your gloved hand and only open it when your dog starts to bite more softly. Gradually they learn hard bites mean no treats!

Thick gardening gloves are recommended if you are teaching adult dogs bite inhibition. Be careful, an adult canine jaw has much more strength and a harder bite than a puppy!

Wrapping it up

With puppies and adult dogs you will find that biting down hard comes back at times of high emotion but gradually this will lessen if you keep on with positive / negative reinforcement.

Do continue to reinforce bite inhibition with your adult cockapoo dog, and guard against putting your Cockapoo puppy in stressful emotional situations where his/her tolerance might be tested. A dog is an animal and biting is natural to them even when they are part of a human family. It’s rarely a questionable temperament cockapoos have but environments that cause anxiety or over exuberance owners need to be mindful of.

 

Source: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_6/features/Bite-Inhibition_16232-1.html?s=ShareASale

bite inhibition video (not a Cockapoo) but still useful to watch

 

Cockapoo Temperament- What You Need To Know

cockapoo rescue puppies

Understanding the Cockapoo temperament

Cockapoos love people. This particular hybrid dog has an outgoing happy disposition that makes them the perfect family pet; its no wonder the cockapoo temperament is so desirable.

Their playful personality has made them one of the most popular mixed breed dogs, and they engage old and young alike with their intelligent and playful nature. Coupled with a forgiving disposition they make the perfect child-friendly household-pet. Their compact size has made them an ideal apartment dog but they are just as happy exploring the great outdoors or having fun at the beach.

Their parentage (cocker spaniel and poodle cross) ensures they are easy to train but because they are people orientated they should not be left on their own for long periods.

The companion dog

cockapoo aggression

Understand from the beginning that Cockapoos have a reputation for being needy. Crate training is recommended to deal with their bouts of separation anxiety. If not addressed, this anxiety can manifest in very destructive chewing and digging. This trait does not reflect the current reputation in the majority of English-bred Cockapoos however, especially those that have been professionally bred and have had a normal early socialization period with their mother and litter mates.

To properly understand the Cockapoo temperament you need to understand the nature of parent breeds. Poodles and Cocker spaniels are regarded as among the most intelligent of all dog breeds so it should come as no surprise that Cockapoos are very clever.

Beyond buying from a responsible breeder, all Cockapoo owners agree that their dogs have a unique temperament and personalities that can be a little eccentric, even comical.

If you want to make sure your Cockapoo is born healthy, only buy from a registered breeder.  The Cockapoo Club GB maintains a list on its website and we also have list here. The America Cockapoo Club maintains a list as well.  These breeders will have had their premises inspected and subscribe to a code of ethics which will include rigorous health checks before breeding.

Whether a breeder is registered or not they should all aspire to standards that address the concerns of prospective dog owners. A Breeding Standard for all dogs has been published by the Dog Advisory Council (DAC).

If a Cockapoo is not kept happily engaged intellectually and is allowed to become bored, they will soon find mischief. While aggression is not at all common with Cockapoos, they will come up with highly inventive and occasionally destructive ways to keep themselves entertained. These can range from barking and jumping, to chewing furniture and at worst self-destructive scratching.

Agility

cockapoo temperament health

It is imperative that a Cockapoo not be asked to just hang around all day doing nothing. Being a couch potato does not come naturally to them. These dogs excel at negotiating obstacle courses and are prime candidates for agility training. They love puzzle toys and are surprisingly powerful chewers, requiring the strongest synthetic bones available. There is a positive to this fact, however, since constructive chewing relieves stress and is excellent for the animal’s teeth and jaws.

You will often find the Cockapoo copying your behaviour – if you are on the sofa, they want to be there with you; if you are at the computer, they are underneath your desk; but if you pick up a leash – well, all of a sudden they are jumping up and down saying, “great, it’s my time for exercise!”

Friendly & Intelligent

So long as a Cockapoo has adequate physical and mental stimulation, you will be hard pressed to find any dog that is more consistently friendly. They are ready to play at the drop of a hat and get along brilliantly with other dogs at the park or at meet ups. Often a buoyant Cockapoo takes the lead in getting quieter dogs in the middle of a game, rather like a four-legged activity co-ordinator.

Loving

cockapoo temperament problems

Cockapoos also have a charming reputation for their intuitive natures. They don’t just pick up on your daily routines, but also on your current emotional state. This sensitivity makes them excellent therapy dogs. If you are crying, expect to have a very concerned dog at your side licking away your tears and trying to address and help with the problem.

While this is a sweet and endearing trait, in some instances it works to the detriment of the dog’s well-being. In the presence of long-term anxiety on the part of their owner, Cockapoos can dissolve into a state of nervous collapse themselves.

Certainly you can’t always control what life throws at you, but realize that your dog will pick up on your state of mind and react accordingly. If you are calm, your dog will be calm. If your excited your dog will be excited and it is always best to steer clear for pro-longed periods of over exuberance as this can test any dogs good behaviour.

Sociable

A lot of Cockapoo owners enjoy the social aspect of being a part of a community of dog owners that appreciate the breed. Below is a video that shows Cockapoos enjoying themselves at the beach. There is a strong community of Cockapoo owners enabled by the internet age that has  meet ups all over the UK. This is also the case in other countries where the Cockapoo is popular such as USA, Australia and Sweden.

Cockapoo Puppies Temperament

 

black cockapoo puppies It’s not uncommon for all new dog owners to think from time to time their puppy is a devil dog. Getting a Cockapoo puppy is no different. Don’t judge your Cockapoo’s temperament by it’s puppy behaviour. This is just a phase that they grow out of. Raising a puppy is a challenging, time intensive part of your life and the best way to combat this is a basic training programme. The three essential programs I recommend starting immediately are house training, crate training and bite inhibition or “soft mouth behaviour”. A Cockapoo’s temperament is not discernibly different from any other dogs temperament that has had a normal socialization period with its mother and litter mates. Ideally all puppies should not be re-homed until about 7-8 weeks. Taking away these early socialization experiences is harmful to the development of a healthy puppy.

Any more questions about Cockapoo temperament?

There are couple of good forums where Cockapoo owners would be delighted to answer questions and generally be helpful about breed-specific information: Cockapoo Club of Great Britain or CCGB and I love my cockapoo are a good place to start.

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