Despite what anyone says to the contrary, cockapoos make excellent pets. Whether or not they’re a “true breed” of dog makes no difference. A cockapoo’s mixed heritage gives them the best qualities of each breed. Some people, though, find them a little hard to bond with at first.
Cockapoos require socialization, playtime, and love in order to bond well with their owners. The best way to bond with a cockapoo is to reward his good behavior with praise, treats, attention, and toys. While cockapoos are loyal, lifelong companions, they tend to bond best with only one family member in the home.
In this article, I will give you my top ten tips for bonding with your new cockapoo puppy. Some of them are standard bonding techniques used with most dogs, and some of them (like number 3) are breed-specific to cockapoos. Hopefully, these tips will put you on the fast track to bonding with your four-legged friend.
Cockapoos – What You Need To Know
Sometimes known as “clown dogs” because of their lively, funny, playful personalities, cockapoos are now bred with other cockapoos to continue the line. However, they originally came from breeding poodles and cocker spaniels.
Cockapoos get their intelligence, alertness, and trainability from poodles and their affectionate natures and loving and playful personalities from cocker spaniels. Because of their intelligence, they need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, and they can become easily bored if they don’t get it.
Cockapoos are incredibly loving and loyal, but tend to bond most strongly with a single person, making them an excellent choice for companion animals and therapy dogs. Despite their tendency to get close to their favorite human, their kind, playful natures mean they get along well with everyone, including children, cats, other dogs, and the elderly.
Cockapoos are sociable animals and prone to separation anxiety, so you can’t leave them alone for extended periods of time. Doing so can stress them out and lead to many negative behaviors.
If you want to learn more about the cockapoo’s history, temperament, appearance, or anything else, check out this Youtube video from Smart Dog Lover:
For now, though, let’s look at ten things you can do to bond with your cockapoo to ensure you’re his favorite two-legged friend.
Simple Ways to Bond With Your Cockapoo
:Poodle mixed breeds, such as cockapoos, have become increasingly common because they include the best aspects of the poodle and cocker spaniel breeds. If you’ve settled on a cockapoo and are considering adding one to your family, it’s important to consider how to properly bond with your new pet longterm.
Here are ten simple ways to bond with your cockapoo:
- Spend As Much Time Together As Possible
- Make Eye Contact Regularly
- Speak to Him Using Baby Talk
- Cuddle Him
- Give Regular Grooming Sessions
- Have One-on-One Play Time
- Play With His Favorite Things
- Reward His Good Behavior
- Reward With Treats
- Teach Him Tricks
Creating a strong bond with your cockapoo will take time, but your hard work will be rewarded.
Let’s take a closer look at these ten simple, yet effective ways to bond with your new cockapoo:
1. Spend As Much Time Together As Possible
As I’ve already mentioned, cockapoos are social dogs prone to separation anxiety, so one of the most important things you can do to ensure your bond with your new puppy is to spend as much time with him as possible.
When you are home, keep him with you and pay active attention to him. Don’t just be aware of him and keep him from eating things he shouldn’t; actively play with him, talk to him, touch him, and love him. Whenever possible, take him with you when you leave.
For the most part, cockapoos do fine in cars and like to travel, so take him for a ride. Take him to the park. Get out in the yard and wrestle with him. Do whatever you want, as long as you’re there with him and paying attention to him.
Socialization Is Also Important
You want to bond one-on-one with your puppy and make sure he gets to know and trust you, but it’s also important to socialize him early in his life. Don’t overwhelm him with too many people or animals at one time; instead, keep him out around the other household family members and introduce him slowly but early to other household pets.
As he becomes more trusting of you, introduce him to more people and other dogs. (Make sure he has his vaccinations first!) Teach him to be around people; that’ll help him develop his loving, carefree nature. It’ll also take some of the pressure off you to entertain him all the time.
2. Make Eye Contact Regularly
I’m sure you’ve heard stories about how you should never look dogs in the eye because they’ll take it as a threat. We’ve all heard that piece of well-meaning advice, and when it comes to strange dogs you’ve never seen before, it’s good advice to follow.
However, looking your puppy in the eyes is a different story. A study conducted by animal behaviorist Takefumi Kikusui concluded that staring into the eyes of your dog could actually increase oxytocin (the “love hormone”) levels in both you and your doggy.
Dogs’ oxytocin levels rose by 130% while looking into their owners’ eyes, and owners’ eyes rose a phenomenal 300% while looking back at their dogs. In other words, occasionally love-locking eyes with your pooch is an excellent way to bond with him.
Making eye contact is a good way to learn to read his eyes and body language to understand his needs. All in all, eye-gazing is a very effective bonding tool.
3. Speak to Him Using Baby Talk
Another recent study conducted by the University of York in the United Kingdom discovered that cockapoo puppies love to be baby-talked. The study determined that many puppies enjoy this form of communication, but it was particularly effective with the ever-social cockapoos.
I conducted this experiment myself, and I found it to be 100% accurate. When I spoke to my sweet pup with my normal voice, he responded well enough. However, when I raised my voice an octave and talked to him excitedly, with a tone like I was talking to a small child, his tail started wagging, his eyes lit up, and he ran across the room to tackle me and cover me in kisses.
The difference in his response was incredible.
4. Cuddle Him
To a certain extent, all dogs, especially puppies, like to be cuddled. They may only enjoy it on their terms, such as when they are cold and sleepy and decide to snuggle up to you for warmth and belly rubs, but they all like it.
Cockapoos, though, seem to revel in cuddling. This goes back to their social, loving, almost codependent natures. Cockapoos can’t stand to be left alone, and I guess they feel like you can’t leave them if the are curled up on top of you in a big cuddle pile.
You can’t cuddle your new best friend all day, every day (wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could?!), but make sure to take a little time each day or night to give him extra special cuddles to show him how much you love him.
It shouldn’t take you long to learn where his favorite spots are. Maybe he’s a belly rub kind of puppy, or perhaps he prefers a good scratch behind the ears. Whatever the case, take some time to pick him up, hold him to your chest, and scratch his favorite areas until he drifts off into a blissful sleep.
The last thing he will see before his eyes finally close is you, devoting your attention to making him feel loved and happy. That’s a massive step in the right bonding direction.
5. Have Regular Grooming Sessions
This nearly 40-minute video shows you what a grooming session can look like for a cockapoo:
Cockapoos must be groomed. They have a unique coat that’s easily tangled or matted if it isn’t taken care of properly. For that reason, you must get your puppy used to being groomed while he’s still young.
Grooming is a fantastic time for you to connect and bond with your new pet, and it’s also essential training for puppies because they’ll be groomed both by you and possibly a professional groomer for the rest of their lives.
Now, luckily you won’t have to do everything in this video during your regular grooming sessions. Instead, you’ll want to brush your new baby and maybe trim his nails every few weeks once he’s old enough to need them cut.
I recommend starting with a brush like the PETPAWJOY Slicker Brush found on Amazon. It’s small and easy to handle. It’s also a good quality brush that shouldn’t pull or hurt your puppy’s hair. When your puppy’s old enough for a nail trim, I recommend the Shiny Pet Nail Clippers for Small Animals (Link to Amazon).
They’re inexpensive and low-tech, and there are many more innovative, high-quality nail trimmers and grinders out there. However, I’ve always had the best luck with these. They don’t look scary; they don’t make the loud noises that grinders make, and my boy lets me trim his nails without a fuss.
6. Have One-on-One Play Time
This one goes back to number one – spending lots of time together – but this takes it a bit farther. You want to spend as much time with your puppy as possible, but you also want to make sure some of that time is just the two of you playing together.
Cockapoos love being around people so much that they’ll sit with you while you’re watching television just to be near you. However, as I’ve already mentioned, they’re easily bored and need lots of mental and physical stimulation, so make sure you’re giving them plenty of one-on-one time actively engaging them.
You can spend this time training him, teaching him basic commands, playing games with him, walking him, or something else entirely. The important part is that it’s the two of you alone together and that he knows your attention is focused 100% on him.
I like using toys from this Zutesu 12-Pack Toy Set found on Amazon. I like that it comes with 12 toys because puppies, even small puppies like cockapoos, who are teething can go through toys quickly. I also like that I can use them to play with my pup instead of just giving them to him to play with by himself. (They’re good for that, too, though!)
7. Play With His Favorite Things
Again, this is kind of related to the last one, but it’s essential. As humans, we love when people take an interest in our interests. If we’re reading a great book, it thrills us to have someone ask us about it. If we love a new show, there’s nothing better than finding out our best friend started watching it, too.
We like it when people share our interests. Your cockapoo likes that, as well. Figure out which of your puppy’s toys, pillows, or blankets is his favorite. When playtime comes around, get that particular toy, pillow, or blanket to use in your games with him.
He’ll be so excited that he’s getting to play with something he loves a lot with the person he loves the most.
A Note on Resource Guarding
Some dogs are resource guarders. If caught early enough, this is a relatively easy habit to break. However, if it goes on too long, it can be difficult to deal with and may require a professional behaviorist intervention. If your new puppy is a resource guarder, he may not be as excited to have you playing with his favorite toys.
8. Reward His Good Behavior
Cockapoos don’t respond well to negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement usually has the opposite effect on them, making their bad behavior worse rather than better.
The best way to bond with and train a cockapoo is to reward his good behavior with praise, treats, attention, and toys.
When he does something bad, the best thing you can do is completely ignore him. The idea behind this technique is that puppies, especially friendly, somewhat needy ones like cockapoos, love attention – any attention.
If your dog starts barking and you yell at him to stop, all he knows is that you’re paying attention and making a fuss over him, even though it’s a negative fuss. If he starts jumping on you, and you tell him to stop, again, he knows you’re reacting to his jumping by giving him attention.
Instead, ignore him completely. Then he gets no response and no attention. He quickly learns that those behaviors get him nothing at all, while his “good” behaviors get him praise, treats, and affection. Cockapoos are extremely intelligent. They catch on quickly and will soon be increasing their good behaviors and decreasing the bad.
9. Reward With Treats
I’ve already mentioned that rewarding your puppy with treats and praise when he’s done something right is a good idea, but that’s not the only time for treats. In fact, in your new puppy’s eyes, there’s never a wrong time for treats.
Be sure not to overdo it, of course. You don’t want your baby to become obese or put him at risk for health problems due to too many treats. Still, rewarding your furry best friend with the occasional random treat is a great way to bond with him.
Hand-feeding your cockapoo treats will:
- Increase his focus, patience, obedience, and impulse control
- Teach him not to bite/appropriate bite pressure
- Help strengthen the bond between you
- Help reinforce his trust in you
- Teach him that you’re the boss and that you’re where his food comes from (dominance assertion)
- Can assist with breaking negative habits, such as resource guarding
- Increase your dog’s overall happiness and feeling of love
Additionally, it can be an excellent way to slow down puppies who eat too quickly (“gulpers”). Just remember: Moderation is key. Don’t overdo it.
10. Teach Him Tricks
I know I’ve said this a few times already, but cockapoos are super intelligent. They learn quickly, and they love intellectual stimulation. They really do enjoy things that test their brains. You can help keep your furry friend’s mind sharp by buying him a few puzzle toys he has to figure out to get to his food or treats.
These are my three favorite puzzle toys found on Amazon:
These are all wonderful ways to help keep your puppy’s mind occupied while you’re not able to play him one-on-one.
However, when you have the time, you should spend some of your one-on-one time teaching him tricks. Cockapoos are great at learning to do tricks, which is why so many people use them as show dogs. They like nothing better than to spend time with you learning a few new things to impress you. They may not know what they’re doing is impressive, but they know it makes you make happy, squealing sounds and that they usually get something good after doing it right.
That’s enough for them.
Seriously, though, teaching your cockapoo tricks is a great way to spend quality bonding time with him.
Because they are so intelligent and so active, cockapoos take a little work. However, they make excellent, life-long companions to the person willing to put in that work and bond with them. If you really want to bond with your new cockapoo, the main component is time. Your puppy wants your time – time to be with you, play with you, cuddle with you, and gaze into your eyes. If you are willing to give up your time, you will have a best friend for life.