***Anyone own a cockapoo?***

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Suz, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I've had sweet Chloe for a couple of years now. I call her my FattyPattyChunkyMonkey. She's 15 stocky pounds, all white, and I had her clipped yesterday so that she looks like the cocker part with shorter ears.

    She is a puppymill rescue that I adopted from the rescue that rescued her. (say that 3 times fast!). Poor honey is so afraid of EVERYTHING...well, except Chelsea and me.

    I guess I'm wondering if this is residual stuff from the puppymill or if all cockapoos are afraid of the sound of plastic bags, people in the house, people on walks, .... Believe it or not, she's actually gotten better but socializing her will be a lifelong process I'm afraid.

    Home with Chelsea and me, she is full of bravado, has a delightful sense of humor, is an IMP, and is easily the most affectionate fuzzbutt I've ever had. She ADORES me. It's really cute.

    Are yours like this? Any suggestions for socializing her? I now give visitors food to feed her and toys to toss for her so that hopefully she will see that outsiders in the house are a good thing, not something to be afraid of.

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I haven't had a cockapoo but have had several rescue dogs and several poodles. Poodles by nature are not that skiddish and since cocker spaniels are known for being such good family pets (when not inbred or from puppy mills), I tend to think it is the rescue aspect. I had one rescued poodle and know of a poodle that was from a puppy mill- both had trouble with socialization. Other pets- well, I've only seen issues like that from rescue or puppy mill situations. If she's only skiddish with sounds, I'd try making more noise (without being frightening) while it's only you and her at home. Then when you have a friend or someone around that she might be warming up to, start with a little more that she's been skiddish with. Also, maybe let her see you and someone else play with your other dog with noisy stuff around and make sure she sees that everyone is happy and playful. Oddly enough, sometimes they learn to feel safe by seeing other pets feel safe, in my humble opinion.

    The two I have now are very bad about company/visitors. But it isn't because they are skiddish- we just never had much company so until they get used to a person, they are way to yippee and it drives everyone nuts.

    Your Honey sounds adorable!
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My aunt had a cockapoo years ago and the only thing I really remember is that he would go into the neighbor's yard and bark at the neighbors on their own deck. :rofl:

    It might have to do with the puppy mill situation, or it might very well just be her personality. Just like people, they have their little quirks.

    I think you're doing the right thing with having visitors give her treats. I don't know what you do when she becomes fearful, but I wouldn't coddle her when she does. I know often our nurturing instinct takes over and we want to reassure them, but that actually rewards the behavior. So, for example, when you're making noise with the plastic bag just act like it's no big deal. Kind of ignore her. When she's settled, then give her attention and a treat. Just do your normal routine, though....I wouldn't go out of my way to make noise, etc.

    We adopted Jewel (a whippet mix) from the humane society 3 years ago. She obviously had come from a good home - she was spayed and in good health. She had been picked up as a stray by the dog warden and the humane society saved her (dog warden only keeps them so long, then they euthanize). She has a lot of anxieties and fears. One of them was garbage bags - how you whip them out to open them to put it in the bin. I just went on about my business and didn't make a fuss. It's still not her favorite thing in the world, but she doesn't shake and cower anymore.

    You probably know all this, but thought I'd throw it out there. They take their lead from us.

    Jewel is still afraid of the laminate floor in the kitchen. And I have a huge kitchen. I hoped she would get used to it, but after a year she hadn't, so I bought a runner to go from the entrance to her food dish. She really likes it because she likes to be in the same room with me and now she'll lie on the runner (my desk and computer are in the kitchen).
  4. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    My neice has one. Not real skittish but very noisy about people she isn't familiar with.

    I do have a rescue poodle and he was a wreck about everything. We have had him several years and though he isn't nearly as bad he is till a chicken liver about most things. So my guess would be a lot of it is the rescue part. I mean the little guy is pacing right now. I hate to see the anxiety but I try not to feed into it. Hope things continue to improve.

  5. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I had a cockapoo when my boys were little. I've had lots of dogs over the years but she was definitely the best dog ever! The skittishness was not part of her personality so I suspect you may be dealing with something from her specific background. But be patient....they are absolutely wonderful dogs and I'd like to have another one.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do *I* have a cockapoo???? See my avator!!!! That's my Prince, my favorite dog of all time. He's a larger cockapoo though.

    My cockapoo is a pretty calm dog. He's friendly with people and other animals and noise doesn't seem to bother him. Remember that puppy mill dogs are often bred for the convenience of the owner, plus being abused affects dogs. I often volunteer at our shelter.

    I also have a cocker spaniel who is VERY hyper and barks at everything. Since a cockapoo is poodle/cocker, maybe your little guy is more cocker-like than poodle-like plus the poor thing was abused. Every time I go to the shelter I always leave feeling a little depressed at all the poor dogs and cats who were abandoned or mistreated by their owners :(
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    She must be a cutie.

    Take her to the park and let her interact with other people and dogs on walks. Better yet, do you have a dog park nearby? Hold her on your lap and rustle a bag to show her it's ok. Put the bag on the floor and let her investigate.

    I watched a breeder introduce umbrellas and vacuum noise to his puppies and it was so interesting, letting them smell the umbrella and putting it down for them to walk around. Running the vaccum every few days near them to show them it was ok, letting them come up to the vacuum and explore.

    I like to say I rescued my shih-tzu from a place that rescued her from a puppy mill. Yeah I got her from a pet store, would never do it now but ten years ago she looked like she needed rescuing from that cage. She is very afraid of thunderstorms and anything that beeps. She has panic attacks and shakes violently. I take her outside in a thunderstorm when I can and hold her to show her it's ok. She's fine when she's outside but when she comes back it she's terrified again. When we get a text message on our cells she goes nuts.

  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Thanks gals, I appreciate the input. I like to watch Victoria Stillwell's "It's Me or the Dog" and she chastizes owners of little dogs who dress them up and coddle them and feed into their neuroses so I've tried not to over-nurture/mother her.

    When I first got her I talked to a PetSmart employee and she told me I would be doing her a dissservice to enroll her in obedience classes because it would scare her too much. Now I'm not so sure that was good advice.

    With warmer weather we'll get out more and maybe I'll try the dog park one of these days. I think the more situations she's exposed to the better.

    Thanks again!