Socialising Cockapoos


white cockapoo
Cockapoo puppies need to meet a range of different people during their ‘socialisation period’ (between about 3 and 12 weeks of age) to ensure that they accept contact with people as a normal and positive part of life. During this period, puppies learn what is ‘normal’ in their environment and what to expect in different circumstances.

It is therefore important for all puppies to learn that contact with all sorts of different people is a normal part of life. They also need to learn about the various types of interaction that people have with dogs. For example, they need to accept being handled all over, picked up, their feet being handled and cleaned, ears examined, coat groomed, and nails cut. They also need to learn about the various things that people do, for example, coming in and out of the house / kennel area. They also need to learn that sometimes people interact and play, but at other times they may be present but not interacting with them.

The aim of a structured socialisation program is to give puppies the best chance of coping well with the various types of people, circumstances in which they appear, and ways in which they interact with dogs, before they are homed to a domestic environment. In order to ensure they develop a positive perception of people, it is important for the introduction of new experiences to be gradual and controlled. It is also important that puppies are not already anxious or fearful when they interact with people, as this will increase the risk that they will associate human contact with a negative experience.


  • Plan in advance how you will ensure that puppies experience different types of people. All puppies should have contact with a minimum of four people. This should include at least one person of each gender. It should also include at least one person who is above retirement age. Puppies should also experience controlled contact with children. Ideally this should include at least one older child ( 8 years +), and also a baby or toddler
  • For safety, children should only have contact with puppies under the supervision of their parents or responsible adult. Where access to young children is not feasible, puppies should be exposed to the noises of babies and young children using good quality recordings
  • Prepare in advance any items which will help broaden puppies’ experience of people. For example, having a brightly coloured and rustling jacket (as worn by postmen or delivery people), a motorcycle helmet, a cap, a back-pack, a pushchair, a zimmer frame and an umbrella available will mean that puppies can people engaged in socialising the puppies can introduce puppies to items that they will commonly see associated with people as adults

Before you start

  • Make sure the puppy is in a place he / she knows well
  • Have plenty of toys and treats
  • You should be able to recognise signs of anxiety in a puppy before starting the socialisation sessions, so you can withdraw if the experiences you are introducing to the puppy cause him/her to be frightened

Socialisation to different types of people

  • Puppies should be familiar and confident with their main carer before the introduction of further people. This person should spend time playing and interacting with puppies until all of the puppies in the litter approach the carer voluntarily on entering the kennel / room. Where individual puppies show signs of fear or anxiety, such as cowering at the back of the pen, moving away, trembling, or pulling back on contact, they should be given additional attention. This should involve the carer being quiet and calm, crouching or sitting a short distance away from the puppy and encouraging the puppy to approach.
  • Approaches should be rewarded with food treats. Interaction with nervous puppies should develop with gentle stroking on the chest area: avoid putting the hand directly towards the puppy’s head as this may be perceived as threatening. With increased confidence, the puppy can be gradually stroked on the shoulder, back, flanks and head
  • Once all puppies in a litter confidently approach and interact with their main carer, a program of introduction to other people can be started. Puppies’ response to the introduction of one other person should be evaluated first. Signs of fear or anxiety in individual puppies should be addressed by the main carer. Once puppies confidently interact with the second person, further new people can be introduced. These should include adults of both gender
  • When puppies are confidently interacting with a number of adults in a familiar environment, they can be introduced to people in different circumstances. For example they should experience people coming and going through a threshold (e.g. door in a household), and meeting people when they are in an outside garden or run
  • The socialisation program can then be expanded to include contact with children where possible. Older children can interact with puppies, but should be instructed how to appropriately handle and play with puppies before the interaction begins. Contact with children should be supervised at all times to prevent the occurrence of negative experiences for either puppies or children. Where younger children or babies are introduced to puppies, they should be held by their parents. Should direct contact with children not be impossible, puppies should experience the range of noises made by babies and children through use of a good quality sound recording
  • Puppies should be given additional experience about the variation in the ways people might appear to them through the use of ‘props’. For example people can interact with the puppies wearing a florescent jacket, motorcycle helmet or backpack. They can also walk past the puppies using a ‘zimmer frame’ or pushing a push chair or trolley. These experiences will help puppies to learn that all these variations of how people appear are a normal part of life.


Many dog owners will think a puppy socialisation program is extravagant and not worth the time spent. It’s up to the individual how in-depth they want to make the program but at at the least, remember to introduce your puppy to people, noises, props, and new environments carefully and remember you have a delicate sentient being to nurture into the a very scary world!


Cockapoo Temperament- What You Need To Know

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.


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.


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.


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.


Cockapoo diet: are you making hip dysplasia more likely?

Hip dysplasia in cockapooMany Cockapoo owners are not aware that what they feed their dog can affect whether he/she will suffer from gets hip dysplasia. Three factors are known to contribute to the advance of this joint disorder: genetics, exercise, and nutrition. Your puppy’s genetics are not changeable, but the other two factors are still under your control.

To decrease the likelihood of your puppy developing hip dysplasia, avoid overfeeding and in particular over dosing their food with extra calcium, vitamin D.

Cockapoo diet

Excess calories promote rapid growth, which places strain on a puppy’s developing bones and joints. Excess calcium also interferes with normal cartilage development and growing bones.

Your dogs size is already determined by inherited genetics so your puppy will reach a full grown size whether you feed him rocket fuel or sensible portions.

A good way to prevent overfeeding is to be present when your dog eats so you know for sure what has been eaten. Leaving a dog bowl out that constantly gets topped up is an easy mistake that leads to canine obesity.

The factor is exercise. A small dog like the Cockapoo only needs light exercise, but that doesn’t mean no exercise at all. One session of 30 minutes is the minimum but two sessions are ideal. Cockapoos thrive on exercise and this will burn off extra calories just like in humans. Managing your dogs weight is key to preventing hip dysplasia.

To check your dogs weight, lay your hands on your dog with thumbs either side of the spine. If your puppy is at the right weight you should be able to feel the ribs without pressing. If you are still unsure ask your vet to check your puppies weight.

For more information on treatment of HD read here