Your Cavapoo is barking incessantly and growling at you and passers-by. Does this mean your adorable Cavapoo is aggressive or curious and playful? Genetics make the Cavapoo (Cavoodle) breed commonly accepted as both affectionate and gentle. Nevertheless, inadequate socialization, stress, fear, hormonal changes, injury, and neglect can all affect the behavior of even the friendliest of dogs, including Cavapoos.
Is the Cavapoo Breed Typically Aggressive?
Cavapoos are well-known for being family-friendly pets and are typically very good with children. You will not find the breed featured on aggressive breed lists or resources, but they can be frequently spotted on the friendliest dog breed listings.
The Cavalier King Spaniel and the Poodle are both affectionate, friendly, and gentle breeds, which increases the likelihood of the Cavapoo inheriting a similar nature.
This being said, all breeds have the capability of being aggressive. Past experiences, training, and socialization opportunities all play a part in your Cavapoo’s temperament.
Are Some Dog Breeds More Aggressive?
Some breeds are more likely to be aggressive or bite, especially those bred for or that held guarding, hunting, or protective jobs. Although no longer providing these functions, some breeds can still possess a hint of this DNA, making them more prone to aggression.
Although genes do play a part in the makeup of your dog, one cannot judge a breed by its history. Aggressive behavior is customarily easier explained by the individual dog’s experience with other animals, people, and surroundings.
Can Cavapoo Traits be Mistaken for Aggression?
Cavapoos are naturally curious dogs, and often their barking can be mistaken for aggression. Cavapoos are highly observant and alert and will notice distant movements or sounds that you may not.
Providing your Cavapoo with adequate exercise and stimulation will help keep them distracted and preoccupied.
Playing and spending time with people is one of the Cavapoo’s favorite pass times. Occasionally your dog may get overexcited amid a play and nip you playfully or grab your hand instead of the toy.
Although not aggressive behavior, letting out a firm ‘No!’ and walking away until your Cavapoo has calmed down will teach your Cavapoo that play needs to be calm.
If your Cavapoo is a puppy, chewing and biting is normal teething behavior, usually done to relieve mouth pain. These baby teeth are very sharp, and the biting can often be mistaken for aggression, primarily if the bites are directed at family members.
Providing your Cavapoo with lots of teething toys such as ropes, towels, or rubber will ease the biting and direct it away from your family.
There are many chew toy options available, but here are some favorites:
The Nylabone Puppy Chew Teething Pacifier has yummy bacon, chicken, and lamb flavors and comes in funky colors and textures, making teething more bearable for your pup.
The Kong Puppy Natural Rubber Teething Toy has soft, gentle rubber perfect for chewing with puppy teeth.
The Toozey Puppy Teething Chew Toys range is an excellent price and selection of chew toys for your puppy and what’s great is they are completely natural.
Identifying Aggressive Dog Behavior
This can be tricky, but the more familiar or in-tune you are with your Cavapoo’s behavior, the better you will be able to identify any aggressive behavior. Any uncharacteristic behavior of your Cavapoo in a specific situation should set off alarm bells.
There are a few behaviors that you can look out for which may give you a better idea of whether your Cavapoo is agitated, fearful, or scared.
If your Cavapoo is showing its teeth, becoming very still or rigid, and has a threatening bark or snarl, you may need to intervene. Although not noticeable in all breeds, Piloerection can signal that your Cavapoo is fearful. This refers to when the hairs on your dog’s backbone stand up for them to appear bigger or more intimidating to those threatening them.
Another sign that your Cavapoo is anxious would be if they drop their tails down low or run around excessively and hide.
- Further reading: Do Cavapoos Bark A Lot? Answered!
Aggression Triggers in Cavapoos
Understanding what can trigger aggressive behavior in your Cavapoo is the first step to helping them. Find out what motivates your Cavapoo to behave aggressively and what she gains from acting aggressively.
Here are some common aggression triggers that you may or may not have experienced from your furry friend. Some can be expected as standard behavior in dogs, whereas others require professional expert assistance.
Cavapoo Pain Aggression
Fortunately, aggression due to pain or illness is usually not permanent and can be quickly resolved. When your Cavapoo feels discomfort or pain, they feel vulnerable and weak. Even the friendliest and most gentle Cavapoo can become aggressive when touched and in pain.
Both older and younger Cavapoos suffering from arthritis or any painful orthopedic condition or infection can bite with little warning.
The best solution is to get your Cavapoo medical attention as soon as possible, refrain from overhandling your dog and respect their alone time.
Cavapoo Hormone Aggression
Predominantly in females and occasionally male Cavapoos, a hormonal imbalance can affect their behavior, making it more unpredictable. Females in heat can become moody towards their loving owners and animal companions.
The best solution is to give your Cavapoo space. If your female Cavapoo gets unbearably moody every six months, consider spaying them. This has been known to help with mood and reduce the risk of future health issues or pregnancy.
Neutering your male Cavapoo can also help calm them down and avoid unnecessary challenges or fights with other males.
Cavapoo Social Aggression
Inadequate training and socialization to new or unusual situations can lead your Cavapoo to become fearful. This excessive stress or fear can lead to aggression.
Socializing your Cavapoo at an early age by taking them to parks and exposing them to various people and situations will help condition your pup and make them less fearful of new experiences.
Training before the age of 3 months is recommended. And ideally training can commence as soon as you get your new Cavapoo puppy home. Efforts should be made to ensure that all family members follow any aggression at-home training tips for lasting, effective change.
Cavapoo Fear Aggression
Research your dog’s background before adopting or purchasing your Cavapoo. A Cavapoo from a neglected or abusive environment will need more socialization, time, and attention.
If you have children, adopting a Cavapoo from a neglected home comes with its risks and should be considered carefully. A dog from an abusive background could easily misinterpret your children’s rowdy behavior as threatening and react inappropriately.
Similarly, a Cavapoo that has had a bad experience with another dog or a specific situation could react aggressively in fear. Socialization and training to remove old conditioning and create new positive associations would be necessary. A good behaviorist or dog trainer can be extremely helpful in these situations.
Cavapoo Possessive Aggression
Have you noticed your Cavapoo protecting their food bowl with their life? Blocking or snapping at your children or other animals if they remotely enter the feeding area? This, although unpleasant, is a natural instinctive form of aggression where animals try to guard their possessions against others.
Your Cavapoo pup or older dog may try to guard its resting spot or hide or guard their toys or treats from visitors and family members.
Typically, food guarding is not a concern and doesn’t need to be remedied. Give your Cavapoo space when eating and provide sufficient food to make the necessity for food guarding less vital.
If you have children and your Cavapoo displays increased signs of aggression around food, it may be advisable to consult a behaviorist or dog trainer for assistance. Under no circumstances punish your Cavapoo when guarding their food; not only is this unnecessary and dangerous, but it can harm your precious relationship with your Cavapoo.
Cavapoo Protective Aggression
Your Cavapoo sees you as part of their pack, and if they feel that you are in danger, they may attempt to protect you. Although harmless, if your Cavapoo starts to view anyone or anything outside of your pack as a threat, this could pose a problem.
Protective aggression should not be a concern if your Cavapoo has been socialized from a young age and can generally be corrected with a few training sessions.
Cavapoo Puppy Aggression
Pups can be overwhelmed by children offering too much attention or handling them too much and can bite or snap if they overtire. This is not a sign of aggression but should be handled with care. You want to avoid your Cavapoo pup creating any negative associations with children from a young age.
Snapping or growling is usually your Cavapoo’s way of indicating that they need some space and are tired. Be sure to educate your children on how to handle their new Cavapoo puppy and encourage them to give their furry friends some time out.
What to do if your Cavapoo is Aggressive?
Never punish, shout at, or smack your Cavapoo, as this will only aggravate the problem of aggression. Primarily, rule out any medical conditions or health problems to ensure the aggression is not merely associated with pain.
If your Cavapoo is new to your home, allow them a few weeks to settle in and become more accustomed to you. Behavioral issues during this time should be forgiven, seeing that they are most likely anxiety-related.
It is essential to find out what is causing your Cavapoos fear and triggering the aggression. Once you can identify a reason for the fear, you are already one step closer to helping your Cavapoo.
Professional training and assistance from a behaviorist or dog therapist are always beneficial. Remain patient during this process and provide lots of praise and treats if you become aware of any progress.
Rule out any playful or overexcited growls and nips that may be mistakenly labeled as aggression. If energy and hyperactivity are the issues, provide your Cavapoo with oodles of toys and distractions.
Socialize your Cavapoo as much as possible and ensure they receive sufficient attention to avoid their continuous barking being misinterpreted as aggression.
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