Cockapoos are a highly trainable breed, with their Cocker Spaniel and Poodle parentage being among the most intelligent dogs.
Their sensitivity and attentiveness to vocal intonation make them poor candidates for negative reinforcement and heavy handed training methods, but they respond well and effectively to positive praise and learn quickly when they get lots of love and attention for doing the right thing!
While the basics of training are pretty much the same across all breeds, some practices and short cuts are best for Cockapoos, with their high sensitivity. Trying these tips will yield results leaving you and your Cockapoo all the happier for it. The Cockapoo will be happy to please the most important person in their life: you!
Your Cockapoo is happy when you are happy. Whether you’re housebreaking or teaching commands, when they do something correctly, it’s best to act as if that just made your day! They will respond to the tone of your voice, but body language and your pitch will be picked up on as well. Smile, give enthusiastic praise with your voice, and get down to their level and pet them lovingly. Give them treats such as chunks of chicken and they will be very happy!
One of the most important things to do when house training a Cockapoo is understanding when to take your puppy outside. You can start house braking as early as 8 to 10 weeks. A dog is only physically able to hold their elimination for so long. To ensure that your dog understands that the only acceptable bathroom is outside, you have to take charge. Take your dog outside when they first wake up, and in the very early days every hour thereafter. Your pup should also be taken out after each meal, and in the evening before bedtime.
One method is called the “tether method”, which involves a leash that you hold, allowing you to see your dog at all times. Each time they make a potty motion, bring them to the area you would like them to go. You may choose the broader area, but you must give your Cockapoo the freedom of choosing the exact spot. Allow them to sniff and find the spot. If this is done consistently, your dog should be fully housebroken very quickly.
Training for basic commands is a great way to teach your dog what you are communicating, and eliminates potential stress. If your Cockapoo does not know what you want from him, he will not be able to please you, and that will distress him. At first, dogs will obey commands to receive something, whether it be your praise or treats. After some time, obeying will become automatic.
Beginning at 8 weeks old and beyond, you can teach your dog to Sit, Stay, Come, and Heel. By the time your Cockapoo is 1 year old, he or she should have a clear understanding of these basic commands. You can add some advanced commands afterward. Training should ALWAYS be conducted in a calm environment with lots of patience and love.
Teaching your Cockapoo tricks can begin at the one-year mark. This doesn’t aid in your dog’s emotional health or development; it is simply amusing. Some dogs enjoy performing these amusing feats, as the praise, smiles, laughs, and treats make them happy.
It is 100% true that positive reinforcement works and that punishing a dog for doing something wrong works 0% of the time. It is okay to be frustrated some days, but yelling, acting upset, or even hitting the dog will do nothing, and hitting a dog is frankly, unacceptable. Puppies are NOT born knowing how to be housebroken or to listen to commands. Owners need to make it clear when they are pleased with their dog! Praising good behaviours and simply ignoring the bad, is the quickest path to success.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!
When we learn something, we do not immediately retain it. It is the same with your Cockapoo, who needs to be told and shown what to do many times.
Being shown something once is random. Being shown the same thing 4-5 times incites interest, and being shown constantly and consistently for several weeks creates a routine, and communicates what is expected of them and what is not acceptable.
The other side of repetition is consistency. This is very important when it comes to housebreaking. Dogs are very intelligent and clever creatures, however, if an owner is giving mixed signals, they won’t know what to do. This is why, at bathroom time, ONE area should be chosen in which the Cockapoo may choose just the right spot. Stand in the middle of the area with your dog on a harness or a leash, and allow them to walk the diameter until they are ready.
Consistency involves mindful planning. Will tyour dog’s ‘spot’ be accessible in the winter, or will it flood in heavy rains? Is it close enough to the house that you won’t need to shovel a long path to it when it snows? Think of all possible scenarios.
Understand Your Cockapoo
Can you program a computer? Cook a gourmet meal? Juggle? Everyone has the things they can do and the things they can’t, and dogs are no different. Just like you, a dog usually is not able to fetch, come, sit, or lay down until they are taught the basics.
It’s important to note that puppies will not have developed full control over their bowl and bladder muscles until they are about 8-months-old. Until then, they can only hold on for so long and it’s up to you to train them and take them out regularly so that they know the correct place to ‘go’. Every Cockapoo of any age has to go first thing in the morning and the last thing before bed.
You Are A Team!
When training, think of it as something that you and your Cockapoo are doing together as a team. He is looking to you for instruction and guidance. He looks to you to see if he’s done the right thing the right way. Your dog wants to please you and make you happy, and if you take the time, with consistency and patience, this training schedule will pay off and you will have a well-trained Cockapoo!