Resembling a cute stuffed bear with its characteristic ears, fluffy eyebrows, Doodle mustache, and glorious beard, this Doodle breed mix certainly creates an incredibly good-looking dog.
However, are you noticing the occasional growl, or snarl when you try to take something from him? Does he bark at other dogs? Have you seen him getting possessive over a toy with your other dogs? It may be that you will need to address some common dog aggression-quashing tactics to enable you to trust him again.
The Schnoodle has strong watchdog genes from their Schnauzer parent so can display territorial traits. With early socialization and a rigorous training plan, your Schnoodle will be a best friend to both your children and other pets. However, they can be prone to resource guarding.
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Schnoodles And Their Parent Breeds – Temperament
The Schnoodle is a cross between the Schnauzer and Poodle. As you may already know, Poodles come in different breed sizes, but what you may not know, is that so do Schnauzers. You can read all about the different sizes in our full Schnoodle size guide.
Historically, Schnauzers were bred to be ratters, guard dogs, and hunters. They were not purposefully bred to be aggressive, but an aggressive trait made them perform better in their duties, therefore, more litters were bred from the “better” workers.
Schnauzers are, in general, a very good-natured breed. Very affectionate, incredibly loyal, and totally devoted to their family and their home.
On the flip side, because of their guard-dog breeding, they will be naturally territorial and protective over their pack (you!). They may display mistrust in unfamiliar humans or display anger towards an intruder in their home or garden.
Poodles were originally bred as waterfowl dogs, trained to wade into lakes, streams, rivers, and marshes to retrieve fowl for their masters. They are very intelligent dogs and often get a bad reputation for being “aloof”.
The Poodle is loyal, alert, and affectionate. They love nothing more than a good romp off the leash followed by snuggles with their owners. Poodles love to be near their family members but are often very shy around new people. They can overstep the mark when it comes to vying for attention and can be disruptive and mischievous in order to gain the attention they crave.
It is because of this need to be at the center of everyone’s world, that their “aloofness” can come out and they will show displeasure at being ignored, even disgust at being left out of the circle.
The Schnoodle has got a very slight reputation for being one of the more difficult Doodle breeds to own. The Schnauzer territorial trait mixed with the intelligence of the Poodle will mean that bad habits are picked up and learned easily as they know how to get away with unwanted behavior.
They have a very deep bark that seems to echo incredibly effectively, inherited from the guarding Schnauzer, which even when coming from the miniature Schnoodle, can be very unnerving to a visitor. Also, because of their watchdog history through the Schnauzer, they will tend to want to bark at anything that is unfamiliar.
The Schnoodle will display incredible dedication to you and its pack. Also, the Schnoodle is unbelievably intelligent and therefore loves to solve puzzle toys and play hide and seek with toys and food.
Schnoodles get along amazingly with children if socialized correctly, and usually tolerate other pets, including cats.
If you have other dogs, this breed could potentially mix well, if properly introduced, trained, and socialized. Be careful with bones or toys, as the Schnoodle tends to be possessive and really does not enjoy or always understand the concept of sharing.
What Parent Breed Trait Will My Schnoodle Inherit?
Schnoodles often tend to inherit more of the Schnauzer traits than the Poodle ones and therefore can display guarding possessiveness, and loud barking.
The Schnauzer traits will not become evident until the Schnoodle puppy has matured. This is when they may start to display territorial instincts and a defensive nature.
Possible Causes of Aggressive Behaviour in Schnoodles
There are many causes of aggressive behavior that are simple to start training out, but not so easy to pinpoint. You may need to go through a long list of possible triggers before you find the one that is the actual cause.
- Health – Is your Schnoodle in pain? This may be the cause of his bad temper. You’ve heard the term “He’s like a bear with a sore head” – Well, this may ring true with your grumpy Schnoodle!
- Suspicion – Is your Schnoodle just a generally suspicious character? Is there something about a certain bush, for example, that you walk past that triggers a barking session?
- New Sensations – All five senses need to be effectively socialized. Think about touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. Is there something about what your Schnoodle is sensing that is causing some aggression through fear of the unknown?
- Possessiveness – Do you have another dog or a child who is constantly trying to take your Schnoodle’s toy away? Does your Schnoodle have a favorite toy that nobody can touch?
- Loud noises – This may trigger a fright reaction which may lead to aggression through fear.
How to Deal with Aggression in Schnoodles – Is There a Fix?
Yes! Train, socialize, repeat, be patient. No dog is born aggressive. This is a learned behavior that has been allowed to develop.
- Socialization – Every day! Take your dog to the park, do the school run with him, greet the delivery driver at the garden gate with your Schnoodle on his leash, take him to post a letter. Anything that gets your Schnoodle learning new things thus reducing the chance of reacting with aggression to something they feel is a danger to you both.
- Classes – Obedience and agility classes are amazing for Schnoodles as they are very athletic, clever dogs. These classes will also strengthen the bond between you.
- Patience – Never ever punish or shout. Your Schnoodle is a sensitive dog and will not react well to your displeasure. Schnoodles are pre-programmed to sense danger and guard against it. If you are perceived as a danger, you will never be able to repair the damage to your partnership completely.
Altering Your Body Language Towards Your Schnoodle
Believe it or not, your Schnoodle is so much better at reading body language than us mere humans. Humans tend to only read facial expressions, but the Schnoodle will look at the whole body to get an impression of what kind of threat you pose.
Things we do naturally human to human can be very intimidating to a Schnoodle with an aggressive disposition.
- Eye contact – Looking into a dog’s eyes is seen by the dog as confrontational. Try to turn to make eye contact into a reward-based game. Teach your Schnoodle that eye contact is a good thing.
- Turn to the side – Full on frontal approach is very disconcerting to the nervous or aggressive dog. Approach slightly side-on.
- Height – Towering over a dog is frightening for them. Crouch down to their level. Let them know you are not a threat and interact with them on their level.
- Slow steady movements – Try to keep hand gestures and sudden movements to a minimum. Move slowly and allow your Schnoodle to sniff you first. Erratic movements will trigger your Schnoodle to be on high alert.
- Keep calm – Your Schnoodle will pick up on your emotions and even a change in your scent when you are stressed. This will encourage your Schnoodle to go into guarding mode and see everything as a threat.
Aggression Signs to Look Out For – The Calm Before the Storm
Tell-tale signs that your Schnoodle is not comfortable with a situation and may go into “guard mode” are:
- Low hung tail, often in between their legs
- Fast twitching head movements
- Walking a few paces backward
- Licking lips
- Leaning away from a person
- Turning their head away
- Tense body
If your Schnoodle is displaying any sort of aggressive behavior, please seek advice from a professional, such as a veterinarian, dog trainer, or canine behaviorist to get help and guidance on how best to deal with their aggressive behavior.