Why Cockapoos Bite (And How To Stop It)


If you own a Cockapoo, you would probably agree that one of its most annoying traits is its tendency to bite. Cockapoos, a hybrid pup, combine the trainability and humor of Poodles with the sweet nature of Cocker Spaniels. However, despite being intelligent and charming, Cockapoos have one weakness: they like exploring with their teeth through biting.

Cockapoos often bite as a result of illness, excitement, teething, or boredom. Employing proper bite inhibition techniques, early socialization, and distraction can help to curb biting in Cockapoos. In puppies, Nipping can be suppressed by limiting foot or hand movements after your Cockapoo bites.

If you’re looking for tips to stop your Cockapoo from biting, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss everything related to your Cockapoo’s biting habits, including the top reasons why they bite, when you should be concerned about your dog’s biting, and some helpful tips to stop this behavior in its tracks. Read on to learn more!

Why Do Cockapoos Bite?

Before beginning your journey to curb your canine’s biting behavior, it’s essential to understand why he may love biting in the first place. Generally, a Cockapoo will not bite you without reason — your dog’s biting will always involve triggers of some kind. Luckily, if you have a close bond with your canine, it’s pretty easy to discover what may be causing the biting with a little time and loving patience.

The ten most common reasons Cockapoos bite include:

1. Self Defense

If your pup feels like he’s in danger, his most likely reaction will be to bite.

For example, if someone screams at your Cockapoo or runs towards him in a threatening manner, he’s likely to feel nervous or frightened, and there’s a high chance he’ll react by biting. You really can’t blame your canine furball in this case — even humans tend to be aggressive when responding to a threat.

2. Excitement

When Cockapoos feel excited, they tend to jump on their owners and may end up biting from sheer exuberance. In this case, he may be sharing this enthusiasm with his owner without the intention of biting or injuring anyone!

3. Exploration

Sometimes, Cockapoos — especially puppies — use their teeth to explore the world around them. When Cockapoo puppies are in the learning stage, they and are highly curious and investigative about everything. As a result, you may find them biting or nipping people and other objects in a bid to learn more about them.

4. To Protect

Cockapoos are affectionate and possessive of their owners. They see their owners as the leader of their pack. Whenever your dog feels you are under threat, he’s likely to do anything within his power to defend and protect you, including biting.

In a bid to keep you safe, you may find your Cockapoo biting even innocent children when he spots them playing with you. It’s essential to train your pup bite inhibition, as he may harm unsuspecting children in the future.

5. When Teething

Your pup may also bite when teething. The teething process usually lasts between two to three months, and during this stage, a puppy tends to suffer discomfort, which they often relive through biting or mouthing.

Teething is a crucial phase in your pup’s life that you can’t avoid. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the signs your dog is likely to show when teething. 

Signs of teething in Cockapoos include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Bad smelling breath
  • Chewing and gnawing

6. When Startled

If you suddenly wake your pup from their slumber or make a loud noise, they’re likely to get startled. Startling often triggers biting.

7. To Seek Attention

Cockapoos may occasionally bite if they’re desperate for their owner’s attention. Since these dogs crave constant attention from humans, they may nip on an exposed part of your body anytime you divert attention elsewhere.

8. Boredom

In some cases, Cockapoos bite out of boredom. When your dog has nothing to do, he may bite objects and people as a way of keeping himself busy and entertained.

9. Sickness or Injury

When your pup is sick or in pain, he may bite you in an attempt to express his feelings. Therefore, if your canine companion has begun biting randomly, you might want to take your pet to the vet. 

10. Natural Instinct

Cockapoos, just like other dog breeds, trace their origin from the lineage of wild dogs. And although they’re domesticated and raised as pets alongside humans, you can’t eliminate all of their natural instincts — for example, their desire to chase prey.

If your Cockapoo notices a toddler running or a toy moving across the room rapidly, his instincts may kick in, encouraging him to chase after the child.

Should You Be Concerned if Your Cockapoo Puppy is Bitting?

Generally, most dogs — especially puppies — love biting. Luckily for puppies, this comes as a phase during their early months of development, which they soon outgrow. Therefore, if your Cockapoo puppy bites a lot, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be aggressive, full-grown adults.

However, there are a few things about their biting that you should be wary of, which might turn into untamable problems in the future.

You should be concerned about your Cockapoo puppy’s biting if:

  • His bites are sharp and strong enough to break through delicate skin.
  • He growls, snarls, and bites whenever you reach for his feeding bowl or if anyone walks past them while he’s feeding.
  • He growls and bites kids.
  • Your pup growls and bites new people coming to your home.
  • Your Cockapoo first stares and stiffens before biting.

These biting habits can grow to become undesired aggressive behaviors in your adult Cockapoo if not appropriately controlled at a young age. Therefore, if you are unable to get your dog’s biting behavior under control, it’s best to consult a professional vet to help you.

Should You Punish Your Cockapoo for Biting?

Admittedly, anytime your dog bites, one of the first thoughts that cross your mind is to punish them. Some dog owners believe that punishing their canines will reduce their tendency to bite — however, this isn’t always true.

Under no circumstances should you punish your Cockapoo for biting. Harsh punishments such as slapping or yelling often increase biting behaviors in dogs by encouraging aggressive behavior. Saying ‘NO’ or clapping when your Cockapoo bites train him to associate these actions with not biting.

In this case, it’s a better idea to use the reward-based training method to help your pooch learn that biting is bad.

You can also try saying ‘NO’ in a high-pitched but calm voice or clap whenever you spot your pooch biting. By doing this, your pup learns that whatever they’re doing isn’t acceptable.

Immediately after your pup stops biting, give them chewable toys to divert their attention elsewhere. Once they’re distracted, offer them a reward. This whole process (commanding them to stop biting, distracting them with toys, and offering them a treat) should happen within a very short time, maybe even seconds.

By doing this repeatedly and consistently, your pup will learn to associate the positive reinforcement with not biting. This may go a long way in stopping your Cockapoo from biting. Therefore, not all undesirable behavior, especially in canines, requires harsh punishment. Whenever possible, look for alternatives.

How To Stop a Cockapoo From Biting

Generally, it’s far easier to control biting in a Cockapoo puppy than an adult dog. That’s because puppies are still in their early years of growth, and it’s easier to curb undesirable traits while they’re still open to training. However, negative biting behaviors can become ingrained in adults, making them harder to eliminate.

Owners can help stop a Cockapoo from biting by:

1. Socializing From a Young Age

Poorly socialized Cockapoos tend to bite more than the socialized ones. This is probably because Cockspoos see other pets and people as threats or intruders.

It’s a good idea to enroll your puppy in socialization classes or introduce him to the real world starting at a very young age, even as early as seven to eight weeks old.

However, it’s never too late to begin socializing, even your adult dog. In addition to registering your adult dog for socialization classes, it’s also a good idea to take him to public places where he has the chance to interact with other dogs and people.

Although socialization may take longer than you expect, your patience and diligence will be rewarded as your dog enters adulthood.

Introducing your puppy to other dogs at a young age provides an opportunity for him to learn boundaries, tricks, and other desirable behaviors.

Additionally, if possible, introduce your canine to children early enough to help the duo create a strong bond. This allows your Cockapoo to see kids as friendly creatures rather than threats. However, always supervise your Cockapoo’s interactions with children to ensure your kids are safe.

Through early socialization, your pup learns to coexist with other pets and humans. Your dog will become accustomed to other creatures and humans and may no longer view them as strangers or feel compelled to bite. Therefore, socialization reduces your Cockapoo’s chances of biting other people or even object in the home.

2. Using Bite Inhibation Training

Training is vital for every dog, giving them the chance to learn new tricks and commands. Training helps canines develop desirable habits and makes them more obedient toward their owners. When training your Cockapoo, be sure to teach them commands such as ‘No,’ ‘Stop,’ and ‘Sit,’ among others that you can use to redirect their attention while biting.

Anytime your dog bites you, or you spot him chewing on your furniture in the house, quickly use these commands to alert them that whatever they’re biting. If your dog responds positively and stops biting, reward them.

Practice this consistently, and with time, your pup will start associating rewards or treats with not biting and will respond to the ‘No,’ ‘Stop,’ or ‘Sit’ commands.

However, don’t expect your canine companion to acclimate to your training techniques overnight. It may take a few days, weeks, or even months before you start seeing any significant changes in your dog’s biting behavior.

Consistency and perseverance go a long way in making bite inhibition training successful.

If you need some help training your Poodle bite inhibition, there are plenty of online courses that can assist you as you teach your dog new things at home.

I found the Brain Training for Dogs online training program to be extremely helpful when training my dog, Angus. I really liked the private member’s area where I was able to connect with other dog owners to get solutions to issues I had with his training. I would highly recommend this course and I know it can help you too! Check out their website here to see if this course is right for you.

3. Using Sounds/Signals

Besides the basic training commands, you can also use signals and sounds that tell your Cockapoo whatever he’s doing isn’t okay. Here, you can develop a sound (high pitched but not harsh) that you make when your dog bites your feet or hands.

The point of the signals or sounds is to let your pup know when something hurts. If possible, you can imitate the sound that puppies make when playtime goes too far. But you can still come up with a unique sound that all members of your family can use whenever your Cockapoo bites them. For example, ‘Ouch.’

Anytime your pup nips or bites your skin, use this sound. Over time, your pup will learn that you make this distress sound only when they bite you and will likely begin to understand that biting makes you sad or causes you pain. Since Cockapoos love to please, they’ll eventually stop biting.

Like all other commands, avoid using a distress sound for more than one purpose because this may confuse your furry canine friend. Only use this sound when your dog bites you, not when they nibble on the couch leg. However, you can develop a unique sound to stop your Cockapoo from biting and chewing the furniture too.

4. Distracting Your Cockapoo

As we already mentioned, distracting your dog can go a long way in curbing biting behavior. Distraction is best employed immediately after you’ve used commands and signals to stop the biting.

As soon as your Cockapoo stops biting, distract them with dog-friendly chewable toys. This action alone may stop your dog from biting you or your furniture again while he’s still excitable.

Distracting your pup with the right toys directs them to a positive form of biting and chewing, which keeps him from gnawing on furniture and your soft limbs. Therefore, always ensure that your pup’s toys are within arm’s reach. 

Once you make it a routine, your pup will understand it’s okay to bite and chew toys but not people and furniture. When distracting your canine, you can even hold a toy using your hands to teach them the difference between toys and hands when biting.

5. Avoiding Movement in Hands or Feet When Your Cockapoo Bites

Not moving your hand or feet away after a dog bite sounds counterintuitive, right? However, doing this can help stop your Cockapoo from biting. 

Let’s find out how.

Generally, anytime a pup bites, the first thing you want to do is move your hand away from the pain. However, you should try overriding this instinct because, after all, your pup won’t bite you that hard; it’s often a quick little nip.

Any time you move your hand or feet away after a bite, you make your dog even more curious. Puppies especially feel the urge to explore more by biting again and again. This also mimics fleeing prey.

The best bet here is to ignore the biting behavior. If your pup bites, just ignore them — don’t punish or reward them.

Finally, your dog will realize that he isn’t earning attention when biting, and since dogs love attention from their owners, your Cockapoo will catch the hint soon enough. It’s also important to tell other family members and guests to do the same (ignore the bites).

6. Making Use of Crate Training

Some dog owners see crate training as a cruel dog training method, regarding it as a harsh punishment. However, if properly implemented, it can be one of the most effective ways to correct your pup’s undesirable behaviors (like biting)

Anytime you catch your Cockapoo biting, place him in the create immediately. Since crate training keeps a dog locked and reduces their freedom to move around the house, most dogs will learn their lesson pretty quickly.

Your Cockapoo will begin associating being locked in a crate with their biting. The only way they can stay out of their lonely crate is to stop biting in the first place.

Conclusion

Biting in Cockapoos can be a nuisance if not addressed early enough. However, with the right tips, patience, and consistency, you can stop this undesirable behavior before it transforms into adult aggression.

Understand that training is a long-winded process that may take weeks and even months before you start noticing positive changes.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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