How to Raise a Cockapoo

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The name says it all. A cockapoo is a hybrid dog that is a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle. The poodle parent can be a toy, miniature or standard poodle, so cockapoos can weigh anywhere from 2.72 to 8.62kg.

Cockapoos can inherit any combination of traits from their parent breeds, but they are typically easy-going and sweet tempered. Dogs bred with English cocker spaniels can sometimes have an aggressive side. Thanks to their intelligent poodle heritage, cockapoos are generally easy to train and eager to please. Cockapoos are healthy dogs. If you take the time to properly raise, care for and train your puppy, it can be your companion for up to 15 years.

Puppy-proof your house and yard before you bring your cockapoo puppy home. Cockapoo puppies are naturally curious and will investigate everything with their noses and their teeth. Clean up small, easy-to-swallow objects. Keep electrical cords and chemicals out of reach. Research the plants you have in your home and yard to ensure that they aren't poisonous.

Give your cockapoo puppy a space of its own. Provide a bed, a crate if you choose, toys, food and water dishes, bones and chews for your puppy. Having a place of its own will give it somewhere to go when it feels stressed, overwhelmed, or even just tired. Give it belongings of its own to help it feel welcome and give it something to do when it is bored.

Feed your cockapoo puppy dry puppy formula food for at least one year. Puppy formula has extra protein that your cockapoo puppy will need to grow. Feed your cockapoo puppy two or three times a day on a regular schedule. This will help its digestive system develop and make house-training easier. Transition your pup to adult dog food after a year by mixing the formulas together for several days, using less and less puppy food each day.

Brush your cockapoo puppy two or three times a week to keep its curly hair from tangling. Cockapoos can have dry skin, so the Cockapoo Club of America recommends bathing them no more than twice a month. Always brush your cockapoo's fur before bathing to prevent matting.

Give your cockapoo puppy rules to follow from day one. Choose whatever rules fit your needs, such as not jumping on the furniture or staying out of the guest bedroom. Enforce these rules consistently. Never allow your cockapoo to break them, or it will think it is OK to do so again. Cockapoos are intelligent and may try to take over your house if they don't have boundaries to follow.

Use treats and praise to teach your puppy basic obedience commands. This is known as positive reinforcement. Start teaching your puppy to sit, lie down, stay and come as early as possible. Never punish your cockapoo puppy for making a mistake. This can cause fear and aggression. Reward your puppy for obeying correctly.

Correct problem behaviour by interrupting it. Your cockapoo puppy will certainly cause mischief before it learns better. Reward your cockapoo for listening to you. Never punish your puppy for getting into trouble. It doesn't know any better. Reward it to teach it what to do instead of simply telling it what not to do.

Socialise your cockapoo puppy before 6 months of age. Take it to puppy classes, parks, city streets, a friend's house or anywhere else you can to expose it to other dogs, humans of all ages, types of transportation, smells, sights and sounds. Keep treats on hand to reward your cockapoo puppy for being curious and friendly. This will teach your cockapoo to enjoy new situations rather than fear them.

Take your cockapoo puppy to a veterinarian for a physical checkup and vaccinations. Your cockapoo will need rabies, distemper, parvovirus and bordetella shots, just to name a few.

Exercise with your cockapoo puppy every day. Take it for walks, play games together or spend time training. Your cockapoo needs this exercise to stimulate its mind, practice instinctive behaviour and release extra energy that can lead it to destructive behaviour.