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Do Cavoodles Bark A lot? (Read this first)

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Barking is a Common Behaviour Problem in Cavoodles

But are all Cavoodles destined to be barkers? The answer to this question is no. Like humans, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross Poodle comes in a variety of personalities. According to the American Psychology Association, personality encompasses the characteristic patterns of how individuals think, feel and behave.

Some dogs are naturally more optimistic than others (less likely to see something new as a threat), some are better at generalising (scared by a black Labrador at the dog park and generalises that to being fearful of all black dogs) and others are more easily frustrated by life’s events. 

A common complaint among Cavoodle dog owners is that their dog’s barking is causing problems with their neighbours, particularly when barking at night.

Although we might view barking as a common behaviour problem among some Cavoodles – it is also a natural canine behaviour.

Like most annoying dog behaviour problems such as digging, chewing, toileting inside, scratching etc they are normal behaviours for dogs.

Sometimes barking can become an outlet for an unmet need that a dog has or highlight a health problem that your Cavoodle is suffering from.

Therefore, when considering if a Cavoodle is the most suitable dog for your family, particularly the first-time dog owner, one must be informed about this Cavalier King Charles Poodle Mix Breed’s needs and behaviour traits.

Thankfully, Cavapoos are easy to train. If you’d like to know how to stop barking and neediness from developing in your Cavoodle, read on!

Do Cavoodles bark lots?

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Being a Poodle Mixed breed, comprising a Toy or Miniature Poodle, the Cavoodle or Cavapoo is prone to being a barker. Small dogs are well known to vocalise when they see, hear or smell something new in their environment. 

Why Do Cavoodles Bark?

Cavoodles bark for various reasons but on an emotional level, they become particularly vocal when they feel frustration, excitement and/or fear.

A common issue for Cavoodle owners that live in apartments, is that their Cavoodle barks at the slightest noise in the building or passers-by from a window. Barking is inherently rewarding for the dog, if a Cavapoo is scared of an approaching stranger and their barking makes the person leave, they will continue with this behaviour in the future.

Put simply, dogs adapt quickly, they are creatures of efficiency and they become more of what they do every day.

Therefore, if you want to stop your Cavoodle barking, you need to stop the rehearsal of this behaviour or it will continue and escalate.

Cavoodle Health Problems and Barking

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Cavoodles can suffer from numerous health problems such as luxating patellas, skin allergies, itching, hip dysplasia, eye problems, heart defects and stomach issues. If your Cavoodle suddenly becomes loud, barking and reacting at novel things in their environment, they might be experiencing pain and frustration from an underlying health issue and should undergo a thorough vet check.

Are Cavoodles quiet dogs?

Cavoodles from reputable breeders can be quiet dogs. The best Cavoodle breeders socialise their puppies from birth; utilising Early Neurological Stimulation and implementing a puppy training program that focuses on developing pups’ confidence, optimism, independence and tolerance to frustration.

In contrast, Cavoodle puppies raised by Backyard Breeders and Puppy Farms are less resilient to stress and more likely to be reactive to new stimuli in their environment. Science has shown that the likelihood of a Cavoodle developing behaviour problems can start from the time of conception.

Puppies born from stressed or anxious mothers are exposed to stress hormones in the uterus and this affects the development of their nervous system and brain.

Quiet Cavapoos are generally the result of responsible breeders, breeding from dogs with sound genetics and ethical breeding practices. Of course, training and socialisation are also critical to ensuring your Cavoodle is not needy and anxious.

How do you stop a Cavoodle from barking?

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Why is my Cavoodle barking?

While there are many ways to stop a Cavoodle barking, the best approach is to ascertain why the Cavoodle is barking and to prevent it from happening.

If your Cavoodle is barking at cars, dogs, children or people walking past your home; block their view or limit their access to this part of the house with baby gates or confine them to a quiet room when they’re left alone. As discussed previously, barking is inherently reinforcing and if allowed to occur, it will escalate.

Frustration

Cavoodles can bark out of frustration, this is commonly seen in reactivity cases, whereby a Cavapoo will lunge and pull to the end of the leash when other dogs or people walk by.

Leashes can be extremely frustrating as they limit a dog’s ability to engage with other dogs, the environment and people. Leash frustration and barking can lead to behaviour problems like fear and aggression.

Fear

Similarly, a collar and leash can also make a Cavoodle feel fearful because they sense that they cannot get away from a situation if they feel threatened.

Training your Cavoodle, on a harness, in loose leash walking will help them to understand the concept of giving in to leash pressure. When you sense that your pup is stressed or about to bark, simply guide them away from the approaching stimuli and feed them a treat. If your Cavoodle is particularly stressed and prone to barking on walks, take them to a quiet oval, where you can see people and dogs approaching in the distance.

Being aware of when your Cavapoo is calm and when they start to become excited, is critical to prevent them from barking.

Finding a Cavoodle Dog Trainer

Beware of any dog trainers who use shock collars, citronella collars, prong collars, slip leads, check or choke chains and any forms of punishment in their behaviour modification. Studies have shown that when fear and intimidation are used in dog training, an increase in fear and aggression can occur. 

Any training programs that you implement should not increase the anxiety level of your Cavoodle. Effective learning cannot take place when a dog is having an emotional response. Furthermore, increasing stress levels in your dog can make barking worse.

Instead, when searching for a dog trainer for your poodle mix, find a qualified expert who specialises in using positive reinforcement-based training. 

Do Cavoodles Need a lot of Exercise?

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Cavoodles are small, active dogs whose exercise requirements can be satisfied by playing a game of fetch in a backyard or going for a 30-minute walk once a day.

A common myth among dog owners is that a tired dog is a happy dog and research has shown that this is not the case. Over-tired dogs are grumpy dogs that are more prone to barking.

Instead of focusing on over-exercising your Cavapoo, ensure you’re providing them with opportunities for rest and environmental enrichment.

Mental Stimulation for Cavoodles

Mental stimulation is just as, if not more, important than physical exercise. Passive calming activities like stuffed Kongs, food puzzles, snuffle mats, licky mats and long-lasting chews will leave your dog feeling satisfied, calm and ready for rest. 

These interactive dog toys will also keep a dog entertained while you are busy. This is a constructive way to stop your Cavoodle from barking when you’re not home.

Train your Cavoodle to be calm

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Overall, the most effective way to stop a Cavoodle from barking, is to encourage calmness in their daily life. This might involve ceasing walks for a few weeks (if walks are particularly exciting or frustrating for your dog) and rewarding any displays of calmness around the home.

Remember, what dogs do every day, they become more of. Rewarding calmness, will see your Cavoodle display more calmness.

Steps to training your Cavapoo to be calm:

  1. When your Cavoodle is quiet, calmly feed them some of their kibble or a tasty treat. 
  2. Speak to them calmly, our aim isn’t to excite them.
  3. Stroke their body slowly and continue on with what you were doing.
  4. Repeat this when you see your Cavoodle offering any quiet behaviour throughout their day.
  5. You should start to notice that they’re offering calm behaviour more frequently because of the positive association you have created.

Life Skills Training for a calm dog

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Similarly, ensure that your Cavoodle has received life skills training. Important life skills include impulse control, crate training, independence, optimism, confidence and tolerance to frustration. Without this training, most dogs will find normal daily life, highly stressful, leading to barking and other common Cavoodle behaviour problems.

What age do Cavoodles start to bark?

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Cavoodle puppies start barking from the age of about 2-4 weeks. Ethical breeders will add novel objects to the whelping box from the time their pups’ eyes begin to open at 10 days old. Pups can be seen investigating the new stimuli and will often vocalise with a little bark and growl.

Gradually, over the 8 weeks that Cavoodle puppies spend with their mother and breeder, they become more confident and optimistic about new stimuli in their environment.

New Cavoodle dog owners, will sometimes find their puppy’s barking adorable. An 8-week-old puppy barking for attention while you go about your day is one of the cutest parts of welcoming your new puppy home.

However, keep in mind that how you respond to this barking, could mean the difference between having a quiet Cavoodle and a noisy one!

Cavoodle Adolescence & Rebellious Behaviour

Adolescence can be a particularly challenging time with common behaviour problems like barking becoming worse.

From the age of around 6 months, Cavoodles can become loud and rebellious. This teenage phase can last till 18-24 months of age and is a period of growth in which your Cavapoo is more likely to be reactive to things in their environment.

Along with increased reactivity, teenage Cavoodles have limited impulse control and the thinking part of their brain (cortex) is less connected to the emotional part (amygdala).

Importantly, any traumatic or fearful experiences your Cavoodle puppy has during this time are also more likely to be stored in their long-term memory.

Cavoodle Puppy Barking

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From the time you bring your cute Cavoodle puppy home, ensure that all members of your family (including children and guests) are aware of how important it is, to ignore any barking for attention.

Poodle mix breeds are incredibly smart, so much so that they can learn a new behaviour with just one or two repetitions!

Your cute puppy barks and all it takes is for a child to giggle in the pup’s direction or for a piece of chicken to be snuck under the table at dinner time and your puppy has learnt that barking gets them the things they want.

What should you do when your Cavoodle puppy barks?

Firstly, consider if your pup is getting enough sleep. Cavoodle puppies need up to 20 hours of sleep each day and if they aren’t getting sufficient sleep, they will be grumpy, overtired and overstimulated.

Are all your pups’ needs met? Do they have access to drinking water, need to toilet, are they hungry etc?

If all their needs are met, ignore the barking, paying it no attention and turn your back to your pup. If your puppy continues to bark or be over-excited, place them in their puppy pen or crate and provide them with a passive calming activity, such as a long-lasting chew, snuffle mat, licky mat, or stuffed Kong.

Toy Cavoodle vs Mini Cavoodle and Barking

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A comparison showing the Miniature Cavoodle and Toy Cavoodle size difference

Overall, smaller dogs do generally bark more than larger dogs. A study conducted by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna investigated why small dogs might bark more than their larger counterparts and found:

  • Smaller dogs were less obedient to commands
  • Small dogs were more excitable and snappy
  • Small dogs were more anxious, needy and fearful in new situations and around loud noises

Interestingly, genetics was determined to be less of a predictor of barking than training, socialising and the use of punishment.  

Owners of small dogs like Cavapoos have been found to be less consistent with their training than owners of larger dogs.

Similarly, owners of small dogs are less likely to involve them in their day-to-day activities, so they spend more time alone.

Lastly, many dog trainers promote the use of punishment and corrections in training; these methods have been shown to increase anxiety and aggression and small dogs are particularly vulnerable to this due to their small frame. 

Therefore, genetically there is no greater likelihood that a Toy Cavoodle will be noisier than a Mini Cavoodle.

However, owners of tiny Toy Cavoodles might be more inclined to leave their dog home alone for longer, be less consistent with training and if using training methods that use fear and intimidation, these dogs might be more likely to become anxious and fearful.

Needy, anxious Cavoodles are high-maintenance dogs that often have temperament problems like separation anxiety and reactivity. 

Conclusion

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Although Cavoodles have a reputation for barking a lot, with proper training and care, these dogs can become wonderful canine citizens. Genetics and sound breeding practices play a huge role in ensuring the mental soundness of companion dogs. 

Similarly, Cavapoos being small dogs can be needy and anxious but research has shown that the main cause of this is inconsistent and improper training. 

So while barking is a common behaviour problem among Cavoodles, this article has discussed what owners can do to encourage personality traits like calmness and in doing so discourage anxiety and over-excitement.

A calm Cavoodle is a quiet Cavoodle.

Explore Raggy Dogs’ blog to learn about Cavoodle behaviour, care, grooming and training.

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