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Cockapoos are really popular dogs all over the UK, but they can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety. If you own a Cockapoo or are considering buying one, it is important to be aware that you might have to deal with separation anxiety, and have a plan for preventing and managing it.
In this article we will talk about separation anxiety in the Cockapoo in more detail, and provide some tips on avoiding separation anxiety developing, and how to resolve it if it does.
A Cockapoo is a cross-breed dog with one poodle and one cocker spaniel parent – or a dog produced from subsequent generations of the same crossing. Whilst the Cockapoo is not a pedigree dog breed and so, is not eligible for Kennel Club registration, they’re really popular nonetheless – being the fourth most popular dog type in the UK, and by far the most popular hybrid crossing.
Cockapoos possess a range of really great traits that make them very versatile and popular with people from all walks of life, including a great personality, a low-shedding coat, high intelligence and bags of energy. They are also very personable and loving dogs that tend to have excellent temperaments and that aren’t prone to being unpredictable or snappy.
Separation anxiety is a behavioural issue that can develop in any type of dog at any age, and the Cockapoo is no different. A dog that suffers from separation anxiety won’t tolerate being left alone for very long – if at all – and will only be happy when you are with them, even potentially going as far as following you around the house for constant company.
Separation anxiety in the Cockapoo can manifest in a wide variety of different ways, which may include:
By no means all Cockapoos will suffer from separation anxiety, but a reasonable number of dogs of this type do – and the problem often develops subtly over time, so that by the time you realise that something is amiss the issue has already become well established.
All dogs are highly social animals that like company (human and canine) but some dog types are even more social than most, and the Cockapoo is one of them. They are very friendly, personable dogs that simply like having someone around.
Cockapoos are also very intelligent dogs, which means that they tend to get bored easily, and a dog that doesn’t have anything to occupy themselves with is exponentially more likely to become upset and frustrated. Coupled with this, they’re a fairly high-energy breed that needs a lot of exercise and something to do, and if they don’t have their needs for both physical and mental stimulation met, they are apt to become unhappy.
Cockapoos thrive within a family environment where there is someone else around with them for most of the day, but all dogs need to learn to be able to spend time alone happily and without becoming upset and destructive – even if they have company most of the time.
From the first week when you bring your new Cockapoo puppy home, it is important to start setting a routine and introducing boundaries. These things will help your Cockapoo to feel secure and know what to expect from their lives and their owners, which they need to thrive.
It is important to spend lots of time with your pup and not to leave them alone for too long, but from the very beginning, you should also start getting your dog used to being left in one room while you go to another, and being left on their own at home while you pop out without making a fuss.
Begin by leaving your Cockapoo for short periods of time and gradually increase them – don’t try to leave them for long periods of time at the outset, and remember that no dog should be left alone for more than around four hours at a time, even if they behave impeccably.
It is also vital to give your Cockapoo something to do while you are gone – something to play with like an interactive toy, or a treat that they have to work to find or earn. Providing your dog with something to engage their mind and concentrate on can help to prevent them becoming bored and upset.
You might also want to leave the TV or a radio on to provide a little background noise and reassurance.
Dealing with a Cockapoo that is already showing signs of separation anxiety is more challenging than preventing it from developing in the first place, but there are a number of things you can do to retrain your dog to accept being left alone with less fuss.
First of all, ensure that you’re not expecting your dog to stay on their own for too long at a time. If your dog expects to be left on their own for most of the day when you go out, they are likely to start making a fuss almost as soon as you leave – even if you will be back fairly soon on that occasion.
Ensure that your dog has all of their needs met – that they get plenty of attention from you when you are there, and that they get enough exercise. A dog that is walked sufficiently will be calmer and more settled, and less prone to acting out.
Also, provide plenty of opportunities for the dog to do their business – if your dog is busting for the loo and has to hold on for too long, they may toilet in the house as well as being distressed about needing to toilet.
To resolve separation anxiety in the adult Cockapoo, you may need to go right back to basics. This means retraining your dog from scratch as you would with a new puppy, beginning by introducing a routine, rules and boundaries so that your dog knows what to expect.
You then need to begin leaving them alone in the house after they have exercised and with a toy or something to do while you leave them for a short period of time – potentially just a few minutes.
Gradually, increase the length of time that they stay on their own for, but don’t try to rush the process as this my take several weeks or even months.
Reward and praise your dog every time you come home, and never try to leave them for too long at a time.
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