If you have adopted a Whoodle or are thinking of adopting one, you are probably looking up the breed, figuring out what sizes and colors they come in, their behavior and characteristics, how to feed them, care for them and train them. You’re also probably wondering: Are Whoodles Good Guard Dogs?
The short answer? Most Whoodles are not instinctive guard dogs. Theirs is a breed that is known to be loyal, family-friendly pets. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are merely fluffy lap dogs.
They are brilliant, just like their parent breeds: Poodles and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers. Whoodles are social, intelligent, and are energetic. So, while they are not necessarily great guard dogs, they are, however, great watchdogs if trained effectively.
Read on to find out more about what qualities and traits Whoodles possess that determine just how efficient they are as guard dogs.
Why Whoodles don’t make great guard dogs
1. Separation Anxiety
Whoodles are great family dogs, sociable, and attention-loving, with a friendly nature towards humans in general. They are quick to bond with people, are playful, and crave human companionship. However, they do not like to be left alone.
Like other small dogs like the Yorkshire Terriers, the Maltese, the Shitzus, and Chihuahuas, to name a few, Whoodles can be prone to severe separation anxiety from their human family.
If you own a Whoodle, you will have noticed how he follows you around your home, from one room to another. Unless they are trained early on, they are likely to develop a marked aversion to being left alone for long periods of time and won’t be much in the way of guard dogs.
2. Not aggressive by nature
Whoodles are also not aggressive by nature. While they are protective of their human family, they are also very friendly, curious, and playful. They are affectionate pups that grow into well-socialized adults that are great around children.
Unless they perceive a direct threat, they are relatively passive. Their size and weight are also not very likely to make them a real threat to intruders.
How Whoodles can be effective protectors
While they are not overly aggressive, like Poodles, Whoodles are considered one of the most intelligent breeds and are very trainable. Poodles are quick to bond with their families. So while they might not be guard dogs, they are great watchdogs.
They are extremely territorial and are suspicious of strangers who come near, of new smells and sounds. They are constantly aware of their territory, and it is in their nature to be protective of said territory, which includes their human family.
Curious by nature, Whoodles are already highly sensitive to sounds and smells. They are constantly checking their territory for new smells and are alert to any sudden movements or sounds, and are quick to react.
Whoodles, while sweet-natured and largely non-aggressive, are very energetic and love to move around. They are constantly trotting around the house, and if properly channeled, this energy can be used to protect both themselves and their family.
The importance of training
Now, this is where it is of the utmost importance to note that without proper training, all their protective instincts, their alertness to noise and smell, and even their territorial nature will not have a proper outlet, nor will they be positively and effectively channeled.
As a result, your Whoodle might very well take to excessive barking, become overly sensitive, and even develop neurotic conditions. An untrained or badly trained Whoodle will prove to be more harm than good when it comes to protecting itself and its family.
Luckily, Whoodles respond well to training. A properly trained Whoodle, along with its friendly and eager nature, is the perfect combination of a family-friendly dog and a protective watchdog, if not guard dog.
So, how do you train a Whoodle?
1. Start early
If you adopted your Whoodle as a puppy, that would be the best age to begin his training. When he is a puppy, he is more receptive to commands, and his behavioral development can be monitored and guided. An older Whoodle, as in the case with most other breeds, will be harder to train as he will be quite set in his ways. So keep in mind that you must start his training as early as possible.
2. Positive reinforcement
Your Whoodle, much like the Poodle and the Wheaten- Terrier, will not react well to harsh yelling or forceful commands. They require consistent and firm yet positive training methods and reinforcement to teach them how to be well behaved and alert. By nature, they are yippy dogs and need to be taught when it is ok to bark. Being aggressive or any form of negative reinforcement will only make them overly sensitive, neurotic, or excessively aggressive.
Remember, your Whoodle is loyal and loves you unconditionally. He will be confused if you, as his family, use negative reinforcement or punishment to train him. Keep in mind that you are training him to recognize threats and protect your family from that threat. If you are perceived as the actual threat, this will greatly affect your Whoodle’s connection and commitment to your family, not to mention confuse him.
3. Train them to be Watchdogs, and not guard dogs
It would help if you taught your Whoodle to play to his strengths. While Whoodles might differ in size and weight, your average Whoodle will be medium-sized and weigh between 20-35 pounds. Unlike other, larger breeds, you Whoodle is not big enough to physically over-ride a threat. So, it is vital to train him to alert you and your household of the threat rather than combat it.
Often, the indication of a dog’s presence and his barks are primary methods to warn intruders away. So training your Whoodle to recognize familiar sounds, smells, people, and even other animals will help him determine whether there is an imminent threat. For most Whoodles, this is instinctive, so the purpose of training is to enhance and channel it properly and positively.
A Whoodle is a much more effective watchdog, and sometimes, that can prove to be more effective than an aggressive guard dog.
To reiterate, a Whoodle is not an instinctively aggressive breed, nor are they born guard dogs like German Shepherds, Bullmastiffs, or Doberman Pinschers. How well a Whoodle can function as a protective dog depends on the individual dog’s temperament and character.
The training you provide your Whoodle will greatly help him alert and watch out for signs of threat or danger. But, at the end of the day, your Whoodle will make for a better watchdog than a guard dog, so it would be more prudent to train him accordingly. You can also talk to professional breeders and trainers on how best to assess your Whoodle’s temperament and train him accordingly.
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2) Whoodle. Whoodle Complete Owners Manual by George Hoppendale and Asia Moore (PDF)