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Is anything cuter than a Cavoodle? Read on to find the answer….
In my years as a Pet Sitter, and now offering elite dog accommodation at my Hound Dog Hotel on the Central Coast, I have cared for most breeds including many Cavoodles. And as beautiful little dogs, Cavoodles are wonderfully appealing. They’re not just exceptionally pretty, but cute and intelligent. Enchanting, it’s easy to fall under the spell of such adorable bundles of fur, especially when you get your new puppy.
But when a dog is tiny, cute and appealing - one problem is that it can be the hardest thing in the world not to spoil them.
With the best of intention owners heap love and fuss on these little fur baby dogs, yet just like chocolate, there can be too much of a good thing. What starts out as harmless can end up spoiling what can be terrific dogs.
Example, too much ‘protection’ (picking them up the second a bigger dogs comes into view) can create nervous dogs who have no confidence in social situations (see my previous blog on this here) and/or can end up developing separation anxiety.
But more common with Cavoodles (and other small dogs) is when there are no boundaries or rules and suddenly you have a monster doggie Diva on your hands!
You must have seen them, the dogs allowed to ‘express themselves’ in every situation. Their antics start out amusing and are labeled cheeky. But it's like an ill-disciplined toddler in a restaurant - running amok and not taking any notice of what they’re told. The centre of attention but not in a good way, they end up mini tyrants - ruling the roost whose every whim has to be obeyed by their staff who serve them.
Here are examples that are often considered normal or even cute in small dogs – but are simply signs of lack of appropriate training:
Jumping up/and or pawing at you for treats or their food
Not allowed – must sit quietly with all four feet on floor
Rushing around your feet and flying at their bowl as you set dinner down
Not allowed – must sit quietly with all four feet on floor and look you in the eye (not look at the bowl) and wait for your signal before they approach their bowl
Extremely common and very bad. I use various approaches to deal with this to find the one which works with each different dog
Allowed on the sofa or the bed (possibly refuse to get off without nipping)
Dogs inviting themselves onto furniture and Sofas = huge privilege. Dogs on beds think they run the world. I would not allow dogs on sofas until they know their place. Go down on the floor with them until they are trained and well behaved enough so you invite them up when it suits you
Rushing to the door and/or barking and/or jumping up when visitors knock
Introduce pre-emptive techniques to break the habit
When walking your dog zig zags all over the place when on the lead
Dogs should walk consistently on one side - takes time but can be achieved
Dogs following you to every room in the house
Sorry, but this does not mean your dog adores you so much it cannot be without you for a second! Allowing a dog to be with you constantly and never teaching them to be left occasionally is a contributory factor to Anxiety Separation. Dogs have to learn to be alone sometimes. Time Out technique helpful
Barking/whining in the house or in the garden. Barking at noises outside, or barking at the tv, or for food or treats.
An Airline pilot in the UK killed a small terrier. He needed sleep and had spoken to the owner and asked for their help to curb their dog’s continual high pitched yapping, but they ignored him.
This tragedy could have been avoided – a beloved pet was killed and the pilot lost his job. But this serves to demonstrate how much of a nuisance barking dogs can be.
I have very personal experience of the intrusion and stress caused by a barking dog. In the UK I had two German Shorthaired Pointers who were trained to be quiet. My neighbour seeing how good my dogs were fell in love with them and it lead her to buy a puppy. However, as it matured her Spaniel barked so much eventually I could take no more and spoke to her. Her reaction? To say it didn’t bother her!
To her credit after I spoke to her she probably realised that his barking was bad and she did start controlling him and the situation improved..
Basics of good manners in puppies
When a puppy of just 5 months old (Sparky, a very pretty Cavoodle) arrived for a stay his owners showed me him taking a treat – but the second he saw it coming he jumped up and pawed and then snatched the food.
This was not good, so I said to the owners I would work with Sparky over the weekend to get him to sit still with all four paws on the floor before he got a treat. (This is vital basic step as sitting and waiting is the basis from which many other behaviours are trained.)
When they collected Sparky they were delighted to see the change. Being a typical clever Cavoodle with the right cues he’d learned what I wanted in just two days.
That's the big plus about Cavoodles - they are smart. With me he learned fast that all the pawing and jumping got him nothing, only by sitting quietly did he get any reward.
There is so much I could write on this subject – but this is a blog and not a manual on 'How to Train your Dog' So now it’s time to answer the question:
Is anything cuter than a Cavoodle?
YES! A well trained and obedient Cavoodle!
Please take the time to ensure you have a companion who enhances your life not a despot whose every whim you have to obey! Here is a little help:-
5 RULES TO ENSURE YOUR LITTLE DOG DOES NOT RULE YOU!
IF YOU WOULDN’T TOLERATE IT IN A LARGE DOG – DON’T ALLOW IT WITH A SMALL DOG!
By age 6 months your dog should have good training in all the basics.
WHAT I WANT I RE-INFORCE, WHAT I DON’T WANT I IGNORE
Training is not quite that simple, but it’s a good place to start.
BE FIRM AND BE CONSISTENT
Key actions with every dog are an approach which is firm and consistent.
Firm does not mean physical punishment, it is about voice and handling and consistent means not just one person – but the whole family and doing the same things all the time, not just sometimes.
DON’T LET BAD BEHAVIOURS DEVELOP IN THE FIRST PLACE!
However, if they have then what has to happen is the cycle has to be broken.
DOGS SHOULD BE A PLEASURE TO ALL AND A NUISANCE TO NO ONE
The words of the immortal Barbara Woodhouse – words to live by as a dog owner.
Cavoodles are fearless and don't know they're small:-
I love it when Cavoodles come and stay at the Hound Dog Hotel. They can be relied on to be cheeky and fun - but I do reinforce the rules and ensure they are spoilt but also know there are limits!
Until next time, Maralyn