Cockapoos are excitable little dogs that can become fun, loyal companion dogs for the family once trained. The problem is that there is a common trait where overeager Cockapoos like to jump up and snap at their owners’ hands. Understandably, this can be very frustrating for owners and their families.
There may be no sign of aggression, but they still struggle to get the behavior under control. So, why do Cockapoos bite? How does this relate to Mouthing? Also, what can owners do to correct the behavior?
Do Cockapoos bite? Unfortunately, Cockapoos can bite. Dogs that come forward with their teeth may do so because they are afraid of a person or possessive of somebody else. There is also the risk that puppies that bite don’t learn that it is unacceptable and continue to bite as adults. Training is possible, and it helps to encourage socially-beneficial mouthing behavior instead.
Teething, Mouthing, or Biting?
To better understand why Cockapoos bite and stop them, owners need to appreciate the difference between three different behaviors.
All three can be instincts for pet dogs, depending on different circumstances and stimuli. However, only two of the three are acceptable within the family dynamic. Teething is sufficient for growing pups. Mouthing is a harmless way to explore and play.
Biting can be incredibly harmful and may come from a negative response from the dog.
Cockapoo Teething Problems
Typically speaking, teething isn’t a big problem and is an integral part of the growth and development of Cockapoo puppies. However, there will be times when teething turns into chewing and destructive behavior. That is where owners must allow Cockapoo pups to teeth on the right items.
Soft toys for tugging or fetching can offer a safe material that they will enjoy mouthing. It also allows for social play and stops them from getting bored enough to seek out shoes, wiring, and other items to gnaw on.
Mouthing is Standard Behavior With Many Puppies – Not Just Cockapoos
Mouthing becomes an essential part of playtime and social development in dogs, especially when interacting with each other. Dogs explore their world with their mouths as this provides a great deal of sensory information. They understand how things feel and taste and what is pleasant and unpleasant. Human babies are much the same.
When handled well, this is no problem for other family members. It is all about finding that balance where the dog is gentle and knows that it won’t harm its owner or the kids. The potential problem here is when Cockapoos bite down and use their teeth. Unfortunately, this can quickly evolve from mouthing, sometimes without the conscious effort to bite.
Cockapoos and Acquired Bite Inhibition
The difference between well-trained Cockapoos that no longer bite and untrained Cockapoos that do bite is the acquired bite inhibition.
Sometimes shortened to ABH, this term means understanding the dog to use its mouth correctly for the situation. Therefore, it knows to bite down on food to eat, or in times of danger, but to use a more gentle approach when interacting with toys and playing with the family.
Cockapoos are born with poorly acquired bite inhibition, and this shows in uncontrolled biting.
But, they can learn the skill with time.
Why Might Cockapoos Bite During Playtime?
For some Cockapoos, biting is a sign of love and affection. They want to have that physical contact and mean no harm by it. It just might take them a little while to realize that the biting isn’t a good thing for you. Dogs will often do this with each other as they grow up.
Play fighting is an excellent way to establish bonds and learn skills; it also allows them to appreciate boundaries with each other. The same works with their human pack. They need to know where that boundary is.
Still, there will be some Cockapoos that don’t seem to get the hint. It all depends on the reaction of the person bitten. Those that wince but continue to play suggest to the dog that it is still OK to interact in this manner.
That isn’t going to discourage the dog. All they want is to play and have fun with their humans – and they still get to do that.
Many Cockapoos are Simply Overeager
On top of all this, some Cockapoos are simply more excitable than other dogs. They get overenthusiastic about playtime and getting that chance to be with people that they take it too far. They might not be an intention to bite.
It might just happen by accident.
For example, a dog may be drawn to whatever is in its owner’s hands. This could be a piece of food, a toy, or something else they want to investigate. Their desire to play and learn more could cause them to go in with their teeth, leading to a bite on their owner’s hands.
Why Do Cockapoos Bite When They Greet Family Members or Strangers?
Then there are the cases where Cockapoos snap at people’s hands out of distrust or fear. For many, this will be a warning sign that they don’t want that person going near them. Perhaps a stranger is too close.
This is easy to avoid by ensuring that anyone who meets a Cockapoo puppy allows the dog to make the first move. In other situations, Cockapoos may exhibit signs of possessiveness.
These little companion dogs may get attached to an owner – to the point where they don’t like other people getting close.
This possessive tendency could manifest as biting.
Cockapoo Rescue Dogs May Also Bite Out of Fear or Trauma
Finally, there is also the possible issue of trauma in rescue dogs. So far, the points raised related to Cockapoo puppies and those that didn’t learn acceptable social behaviors.
However, owners that rescue Cockapoos from shelters could find that their dog harbors hidden traumas. The animal may have dealt with horrible past experiences where biting was an important defense mechanism.
If this is the case, training may be a harder process.
What Can I Do to Stop My Cockapoo From Biting?
It is vital that Cockapoos understand from an early age that biting is wrong. So, owners can’t begin to tolerate biting, even slightly, as soon as it starts to happen. The sooner the dog understands that they shouldn’t do this, the easier it is for them to revert to Mouthing and a more acceptable play form.
The same is true if Cockapoos bite out of aggression or fear when dealing with someone they don’t know. It is not right to let the first couple of times go without repercussions because the dog doesn’t know any better.
Again, the sooner they learn, the better.
It is also essential to take an unyielding approach here to ensure that a pet understands exactly what it is they did wrong. As soon as a Cockapoo bites or even snaps at someone with their teeth, that person involved should step back, hold a raised hand to the dog, say no, and then turn away.
The firm tone provides some authority when training. Turning away means that the dog no longer gets the attention they crave. Therefore, any puppy that bites in a possessive manner or out of boredom may soon realize that the action doesn’t yield the desired effect.
With all this in mind, every single member of the family must follow the same approach. Families can’t have parents acting strict about biting, and then the kids not following through – or the other way around. Regular, consistent efforts will make a big impression. This can be tricky when leaving a Cockapoo puppy alone to think about what it did.
But, the effort is worth it.
Encourage Mouthing Over Biting
Some Cockapoo puppies can struggle to let go of that instinct to use their mouth when interacting with people. So, owners can correct them when they use their teeth but then offer praise and interact with the playtime when they come forward with their mouths only. Eventually, the dog should recognize the difference between the two and see that Mouthing allows them to enjoy positive playtime while biting puts an end to it.
In short, Cockapoos do bite, and the problem can become a bit of a problem for a lot of owners. There are times where it seems that the animal won’t learn to stop or to mouth instead. Issues of distrust, overexcitability, and trauma could play their part.
It is possible to train Cockapoos not to bite with regular, firm, and consistent efforts. A firm tone and time out could be enough to show Cockapoo puppies where the boundaries are in social interactions.
With time, they will stop using their teeth.
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