Maybe you are considering adding a little Cockapoo to your life. You have done your research; you have trawled the forums and you start to notice a common theme. Most owners profess undying devotion to their Cockapoo’s exalting their sweet natures and adorable appearance but frequently and in equal measure, they lovingly call them bonkers, mildly neurotic, and crazy!
The good news is almost no Cockapoo can maintain that mile a minute puppy enthusiasm forever. While he may still outstrip other breeds in the puppy-like enthusiasm stakes well into his first and second year, by the time he reaches three he should be considerably calmer.
So just what are you getting yourself into? Or maybe it is too late you have already got a little firework of fluff careering around your apartment and you are wondering if you are ever going to get five minutes of peace ever again. In this article, we will delve into what to expect as your little Cockapoo grows and when, if ever, those energy levels will start to slow down.
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The Cockapoo is the offshoot of breeding two different but equally intelligent, high-energy, working breeds. The Poodle is famed for its intelligence and the Cocker Spaniel often brings a seemingly never-ending energy supply that was necessary for long days in the fields.
There is a reason this breed is so popular. The sweet and stable temperament of the Cocker can counteract the sometimes-anxious Poodle. While the Poodle’s desire to stay close with its human family can counteract the Cocker’s need to incessantly sniff and trail.
Ultimately the Cockapoo results in an intelligent, outgoing, loving, and active dog. It is the level of intelligence and activity can that also make the Cockapoo a bit of a handful. These traits mean your Cockapoo will need a variety of both mental stimulation and physical activity to meet its needs as it develops.
Can You Guarantee Traits from the Parent Dogs?
A good breeder will carefully select the parent dogs taking into consideration individual behavior traits but ultimately, as with any hybrid dog, there is no absolute guarantee.
Ensuring both parents exhibit desirable and complementary temperaments may give a better chance of a well-rounded pup but there can be variation in temperament even within the same litter.
Does Generation have an Impact?
In addition, the reason that the Cockapoo is such a successful match is due to the similarities in some of the parent breed characteristics. Both the Cocker Spaniel and the Poodle are smart and high-energy dogs so having more of one than the other is unlikely to massively change a Cockapoo’s energy levels or need to be mentally challenged.
As the Cockapoo has been an established breed for some time breeders have shown the ability to encourage favorable traits through subsequent generations. Be that by crossing a Cockapoo with another Cockapoo or crossing a parent breed with a Cockapoo.
A common example is where a Cockapoo retains some of the more persistent anxious traits of its Poodle parentage. A breeder may choose to breed this Cockapoo with a Cocker Spaniel. The resultant pups would be 75% Cocker Spaniel (F1b reverse) and potentially more inclined to display the more emotionally stable temperament favored in that breed.
Are all Cockapoos Crazy?
So, the million-dollar question – are all Cockapoos crazy? In a word. YES. Well perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration but essentially, they are all always going to be high-energy dogs, especially in their puppyhood. Like all breeds, there will be a spectrum and a huge component of a dog’s personality is a result of the environments and interactions they are exposed to.
It is best to approach the training of any little Cockapoo with the foresight to know that their desire to be your companion, please you and work out the world around them may make them come off a little bonkers. Understanding what your little buddy will need in terms of physical activity and mental stimulation will prepare both of you for success.
Are Cockapoos Hyperactive?
Many breeds display a level of excitability that generally wanes as they progress towards adolescence and adulthood. What about your Cockapoo though? Is it just a phase or are they hard wired to be unable to contain themselves at the sight of their owner or be overcome with delight with the prospect of a game of fetch?
Often people refer to their Cockapoo’s naturally high energy levels and excitable disposition as hyperactivity citing that they often zoom around the home or yard, jump up on owners and struggle to settle themselves.
Often the by-product of hyperactivity stems from the Cockapoo’s physical and mental needs being unmet. This is most prevalent in puppyhood where their little bodies just have not grown enough to sustain the amount of exercise, they would need to tire them out.
Gradually increasing their opportunities for exercise while also working on things that mentally stimulate them such as obedience training or puzzle toys can take an edge off the “crazies”.
Anecdotally most Cockapoo owners will report that one of the reasons they love the breed is the tendency for them to retain some of their puppy-like energy and enthusiasm well into adulthood. The positive of this is when combined with their intelligence this can be channeled into some great past-times for you both to enjoy such as agility training and developing a whole myriad of tricks.
Keeping exercise opportunities varied and often can stop the Cockapoo diverting its endless energy toward less favorable pass times like destructive chewing or anxiety.
Does Neutering/Spaying have an Impact on Behavior?
Many owners elect to neuter or spay their Cockapoo for several reasons such as to reduce the chances of some diseases and primarily to avoid unplanned litters. Neutering and spaying will inevitably reduce the level of sex hormones that your dog is exposed too which can reduce tendencies to some territorial behaviors such as marking or aggression. Many also report on the positive impact it can have on calming down their pup however the research remains unclear on this.
There are many variables such as when and at what age you choose to have your pup undergo the procedure and factors such as hereditary traits, training and environment can have a much bigger impact on a puppy’s behavior.
Many people will swear it made a marked impact on their dogs’ behaviors. However, it is always best to seek professional advice and understand that there is no guarantee that it will necessarily significantly change your Cockapoo’s temperament.
What can Cause the “Cockapoo Crazies”
In most instances, the number one cause of a hyperactive or crazy dog is a lack of regular and varied exercise. Cockapoos love to dash and take advantage of a large yard or regular trips to the park. If you cannot provide this, make sure the walks they can go on are stimulating and varied. Dogs experience the world through smell and the Cocker Spaniel in your Cockapoo loves to sniff out new places.
There can be a tendency for the Cockapoo to inherit some of the anxious traits of its Poodle parent and this combined with long periods alone without stimulation can quickly manifest as separation anxiety. Your Cockapoo is a companion dog and will not do well left alone for a long time.
Having two very intelligent parent breeds the Cockapoo can sometimes present as highly strung. This may make them particularly susceptible to startle in relation to loud noises. The other by-product of intelligence is that they can become easily bored. A bored Cockapoo often becomes a destructive Cockapoo and with a healthy instinct for mischief, this can result in a serious headache and repair bill for their owner.
How to Help your Cockapoo Chill Out
The good news is that the Cockapoo’s intelligence, boundless energy, and desire to please their owner makes them great candidates for training. Taking a Cockapoo to puppy socialization classes and obedience training from an early age is a great way to tire them out and build a rock-solid bond with their owner.
Crate training can also be useful for helping keep your little mischief-maker safe if they need to be alone for short periods and fosters your Cockapoo’s ability to settle as part of their evening routine. They are smart little cookies and often respond extremely well and quickly to positive reinforcement and structure.
Yes, your Cockapoo will likely display a healthy dose of crazy, but this is one of the traits that ultimately make them such endearing and prized companions. Establishing training early and incorporating plenty of exciting outdoor exercise opportunities means that you will have a true adventure buddy and faithful companion in your little Cockapoo pal.