A Cockapoo is a mixed breed and a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Ideally, these dogs take the best from both sides of the family and are energetic, smart, and sociable. They are typically excellent family dogs, though smaller Cockapoos need to be protected from rough handling by young children. With their high level of intelligence and their playful, active natures, Cockapoos can get into mischief if you don’t train them and offer them alternatives to boredom.
Teach Cockapoo puppies basic manners starting from the moment you bring them home. Very young puppies shouldn’t go out around other dogs until they've had their shots, but you can teach them to be comfortable in a collar. Attach the leash to your Cockapoo’s collar and allow the puppy to drag the leash around inside the house. Keep your eye on your dog to make sure there are no accidents. This allows puppies to get used to the feeling of the leash in a non-threatening way. Spend time touching the Cockapoo puppy all over, especially around the ears, on the feet and around the tail. Pups that are used to being touched will not be shy about being handled later on, such as at the groomer’s, the vet’s or around children. If your Cockapoo is already grown up, remember that with patience and persistence Cockapoos can be trained and socialized at any age.
Cockapoos respond best to positive reinforcement, so never let your training get negative. This method involves rewarding dogs for making the correct response to commands, rather than punishing them for mistakes. Rewards may be small treats, such as cubes of cooked liver or chicken, verbal praise, or a chance to play with a favorite toy, depending on the command and on what best motivates your dog. Positive reinforcement teaches your Cockapoo that training is fun and enjoyable, making obedience a pleasure instead of a chore.
While you should aim to socialize your Cockapoo as a puppy, the young and old can benefit from a training class as both a training and socializing tool. While dogs can be trained to follow basic obedience commands at home, being part of a class lets them experience other places, people, and pets. Young Cockapoos can be enrolled in special puppy kindergarten classes where they will learn to obey commands such as "Sit," "Stay," "Come," "Down," and "Heel." Basic obedience training makes Cockapoos easier to live with and easier to take to the vet, but best of all, training builds a bond between the owner and the dog that your Cockapoo will remember.
While this hybrid breed is not accepted by the American Kennel Club, they are eligible to compete in various AKC events, including agility, rally, and obedience trials. If you love to be competitive or just find that you can’t get enough of working in partnership with your pal, join the AKC’s Canine Partner’s program to take your training to the next level. These sports involve owners and their dogs working as a team to complete various levels of agility obstacles, such as weave poles and tunnels. Other clubs, such as the United States Dog Agility Association, also offer trials in which your Cockapoo can compete. If you want to train your dog for competitive sports, join a local agility training club. There you can take classes, use the club’s jumps and obstacles and get help from more experienced club members as you move into competitive sports with your Cockapoo.
More on Training Your Dog
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