Cockapoos are an adorable hybrid dog breed that’s a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. These dogs first appeared in the 1970s and have grown in popularity ever since. Cockapoos typically make excellent dogs for first-time dog owners because they love people and are eager to please them. They’re also very smart and easy to train.
However, one challenge that Cockapoo owners may face is excessive barking. While the Cocker Spaniel isn’t known to bark, the Poodle can be quite vocal when it’s feeling strong emotions, like anxiety, excitement, and aggression. So, some Cockapoos may develop an affinity towards barking. Here’s what you need to know about Cockapoos and how to address their barking.
In general, Cockapoos are joyful and playful dogs. While being a relatively small-sized dog, they can have a lot of energy, especially during puppyhood. Don’t be surprised if you’re lying on the couch, and your Cockapoo sees that as a signal that you’re available to play.
Cockapoos can get along with other dogs and pets, but they often prefer human companionship above all else. They love attention and are experts at figuring out how to get it. Cockapoos can become successful entertainers and learn new tricks fairly quickly, especially if they receive tons of praise, treats, and other rewards. They have an eye for what gets them attention, so some may quickly learn that barking is an attention-grabbing behavior.
Reasons Why a Cockapoo May Bark
There are several reasons why a dog may bark. Finding the cause of your Cockapoo’s barking will help immensely with addressing and preventing the behavior.
In the Cockapoo’s case, a common reason for barking is for attention. You may notice a pattern or consistent sequence of events that lead Cockapoos to bark. They may first try to paw at your or jump on you. They can also start to whine to get your attention. When these actions don’t work, they may resort to barking. Many people will usually respond to a dog’s bark as they’re extremely difficult to ignore.
Some Cockapoos may inherit the traits of the outwardly expressive Poodle. Poodles are also a people-oriented breed and are quite good at reading humans and communicating with them in their own ways. Poodles make it extremely obvious that they’re excited because many will begin to bark when their emotions are heightened.
Many different things can make a Cockapoo excited. You may notice that they’ll growl or bark when they’re playing tug or chasing a toy. As both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs, the Cockapoo may inherit a strong prey drive and get excited when they notice small animals, like squirrels and rabbits. Cockapoos can also get excited when they see people or other dogs and express their excitement by barking.
Some dogs develop separation anxiety when they feel upset about being away from their human companions. Different dogs will display different behaviors when they’re experiencing separation anxiety, but a common symptom is excessive barking and howling. You can also expect dogs with separation anxiety to engage in some of these other behaviors¹:
- Urinating and defecating
- Excessive chewing or digging
- Destroying household objects
- Pacing and restlessness
While Cockapoos aren’t known to be an aggressive dog breed, no dog is an exception to developing aggressive behaviors. Many dogs that feel aggressive may bark and display a few other signs¹:
- Attempting to look larger
- Baring teeth
- Weight shifted forward
- Raised hair
- Direct staring
How to Prevent Barking from My Cockapoo
While barking is a natural behavior in dogs, there are several things you can do to try to prevent your Cockapoo from barking excessively.
If you find out that your Cockapoo is barking for attention, the best way to stop the behavior is to not respond to it. This may be extremely challenging at first because your Cockapoo is already used to receiving attention through barking. So, it may try harder to get your attention.
If the barking is too much, you can calmly walk away to another part of the room without making eye contact with your Cockapoo. After your Cockapoo stops barking, you can calmly reward it with attention or a treat.
Another way to stop barking is to teach your dog a command to be quiet. When your Cockapoo is barking, you can calmly and firmly say a command such as, “quiet,” and then wait for the barking to stop. Once your Cockapoo stops barking, you can praise it and give it a treat.
When it comes to challenging behaviors like separation anxiety or aggression, it’s often best to work with a reputable dog trainer to develop a plan to address them appropriately. Challenging behaviors can often be complex and require a multi-step approach to resolve them.
Cockapoos aren’t known to be very vocal, but some may develop a habit of barking for various reasons. If your Cockapoo’s barking is causing too much disruption in the home, you can usually train it to stop barking for attention or teach a command to stop the barking.
If you don’t feel like you’re making progress with the barking, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can help you get a good treatment and training plan set up for you and your dog.