A Friendly Cavachon – Raising your Cavachon to get along with other Dogs and Pets

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Cavachons" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: David Anderson

Cavachons tend to be very gregarious and affable dogs that love people and other canines alike. They act like the little stuffed animals their appearance suggests, so they aren’t known for being territorial or aggressive. Since they hate to be alone, having another dog at home is advisable for those times when you have to go out.

Getting your new Cavachon familiar with your other dogs will be important, and the approach will vary based on if you have a puppy or an older Cavachon. Typically, you aren’t going to have to worry about much, but you will still want to give the dogs time to get to know each other before you start leaving them alone together. Since your Cavachon is likely to do whatever the other dog wants, it will not pose much of a threat to any dog established to be the alpha.

Introducing Your New Puppy

Any new dog should be introduced on neutral ground, including a puppy. This can help remove or minimize any territorial feelings your current canine has at home. Neutral ground lets your dog feel more at ease as you bring in a little bundle of fuzzy energy into the more laid-back life your dog has lived to that point.

As your dog begins to feel more comfortable around the puppy, you can start to prepare to head home. Arriving to your home as a pack will help make the new addition feel less threatening to the established order in your home.

Though there will be an established sense of familiarity, it does not mean there is an inseparable bond. Your puppy should be secluded from the other dogs unless you or your significant other is around. If you have children, make sure they understand that they cannot have the puppy around the other dogs without an adult present to supervise. Having a puppy space will help your new Cavachon feel more relaxed when the puppy gets tired. This area should be set up and established well ahead of your puppy’s arrival.

None of your other pets’ toys or items should be in the puppy’s area. Having toys and items of another dog can be particularly problematic as it can create unnecessary tension between your dog and the new puppy. Cavachons are not known for being destructive, but all puppies chew on things, and you do not want your puppy chewing on the items of your other pets, especially dogs. That could be viewed as a challenge by your dog, and that could inspire unhealthy interactions with the puppy. When your Cavachon puppy is out of the designated puppy area, you need to keep a constant eye on the puppy so that your dog’s things are not chewed on by the puppy. Your puppy should not be able to interact with anything that belongs to other dogs in your home. Toys and other items should be stored while the puppy is out of the designated space; make sure to keep the food bowl out of the puppy’s reach too.

Cavachon puppies
Photo Courtesy – Kate Harvey

When it is time to feed the dog and puppy, always feed them in different locations. Food is one of the greatest causes for disharmony between dogs, and it is tension that you can easily avoid by always keeping your dog and puppy eating in very different areas from each other. As time passes and your puppy becomes more mature, you may be able to start feeding them near each other, but that should not happen in the early days. Make sure you plan for this before your puppy arrives. If you have the puppy’s space away from where you feed your current dog, that will minimize tensions between the two.

One of the most important things you need to do when you bring a puppy home is make sure you have time scheduled during every day to play and interact with your dog or dogs without the puppy. They are going to feel a little nervous about the new addition, so one-on-one time with them will let them know that you still love them and that the puppy is not their replacement. Be prepared for some jealousy when you arrive home and your dog realizes that the puppy is there to stay. Keep your previous schedule with your dog in place as much as possible. For example, your puppy training time should not happen when you are usually out for a walk with your dog. Any established rules for your dog will need to apply to your puppy too. If your dog isn’t allowed on the couch, neither is the puppy. Be consistent in the application of all rules so that you don’t make your dog feel resentful or unhappy about the new addition to the family.

As long as you are consistent with how you treat your dog and your puppy, there can be a world of benefits from already having a dog in the home. Your dog can help with training your puppy; let the puppy know what the rules are; who the puppy where to use the bathroom, and generally be an assistant in training. Depending on your dog, working dogs are also likely to help keep the puppy in line in a firm but gentle way. Your dog probably isn’t going to be as caught up in how adorable the puppy is either, making it a great line of defense in making sure the puppy is socialized and learns how to behave. It is fine for your dog to scold your puppy, but make sure that there is no harm being done. Essentially, your dog can be a puppy babysitter after they are comfortable together.

If your dog is not interested in helping, that is also fine, particularly for senior dogs. They just want to enjoy themselves, and adding a puppy to their day is already going to be trying enough. It is fine if they don’t particularly care for the puppy, as long as there is no animosity or snappy behavior from your dog. Don’t force the roles on your dog and puppy. Let them establish a relationship that they can both agree to, and the home will be a much more peaceful place.

Playful Dog Mentality

Cavachon on a sofa
Photo Courtesy – Diana Smith

Given their adorable appearance and desire to play, it is all too easy to give in and let something slide with your Cavachon. It will be much more fun to play than to train, but you can’t, especially with another dog in the house. All of the existing rules must be applied equally to all dogs to keep peace in your home. If your dog can’t do something, neither can the puppy. Just because your Cavachon gives you the puppy-eyed look, pleading you to offer food from your plate, don’t do it. Your Cavachon will be able to tell that you are weak to its charms, and this is going to be very upsetting if you do not treat your dog the same way.

There is also the potential problem of your Cavachon and dog getting a little too rowdy as your puppy gets older. The more stamina your puppy develops, the more likely your dogs are to want to run around the house. Make sure that they have ample time to play outside so that this is not a problem. Over time, you can play with both your older dog and your mature puppy at the same time, helping them to play a little calmer when it is just the two of them.

Biting, Fighting, and Puppy Anger Management

Cavachon are known for being fun-loving, companionable dogs, but all puppies bite as they learn the rules. It is something you are going to need to plan to train your puppy not to do. Like all other training with your Cavachon, you should be calm and level-headed, despite the pain those pointy little teeth can cause. They don’t know better. Firm, consistent training and positive encouragement will go a very long way to teaching your puppy not to bite.

A bigger risk is the development of small dog syndrome if you don’t treat your Cavachon like a dog. They are so small and adorable, it is easy to feel that you need to be protective of them. This is true when it comes to aggressive animals, but for the most part, you need to let your puppy socialize normally with other dogs and people. Don’t pick up your Cavachon and carry the puppy around because that is both bad for your Cavachon’s health (your puppy really needs exercise) and teaches the puppy that it is in charge. Train and socialize your Cavachon like you would any larger breed. Exercise some caution, but don’t be over protective. Definitely don’t let your puppy get away with anything. Your dog will be more than happy to help, otherwise, you may find yourself facing more than just some less than desirable behavior form your dog too.

Raising Multiple Puppies at Once

Having more than one puppy at a time is a unique challenge that can easily result in feeling like you are spending all of your time training. Raising one puppy is a full-time job; raising more than one is a full-time job with constant over time. If you choose to raise to Cavachon at once, it will not be as challenging as many other intelligent dogs because it will be easier to apply the rules to both and have them listen (as long as you are consistent and provide positive reinforcement).

Cavachon in sunglasses
Photo Courtesy – Vicky Minamyer

Consistency is going to be absolutely essential. You can allow for no exceptions to the rules because with two smart puppies, exceptions undermine your authority and training. It is going to be difficult in those first weeks and months because you are going to want to play more than train. The puppies will agree. Once the rules established and the puppies know you are serious, it will actually be pretty easy. You will still need to be consistent, but your puppies aren’t likely to try to outsmart you or push the boundaries. They just need to know that the boundaries are there and are not moving.

You are not going to have much of a personal life for a while after brining more than one puppy into your home. Taking care of your puppies is going to be able all you have time to do in those early days. This approach is necessary to teaching your puppies to behave and to socialize.

You will need to spend time training them together and separately. This means more training sessions. Since they are individual dogs, they need time with you as individuals. This will help you understand their unique personalities, little quirks, and other things about your puppies you won’t notice if they are constantly together. You also need to establish bonds with your puppies as individuals, which you can’t do if they are constantly together. Having someone play with the other puppy will minimize jealousy too. Cavachon aren’t prone to it, and will likely want to play with each other, you, and anyone else around instead of being split up, but you will need to give them individual time.

Even Cavachon puppies are likely to fight at one point or another. It may just be wrestling, or harmless, but you will need to keep an eye on it to make sure that it is just playful. They may be establishing who is dominant, although Cavachon don’t tend to worry about this as much as many other breeds. As long as it doesn’t become a serious fight, let them work things out.

When training, you are going to need to minimize how much they distract each other when you train them at the same time. To do this, you are going to need to remove all of your own distractions. If you are taking care of their food, stay focused on the task until the puppies are eating. If you are preparing for a walk, don’t do anything else until the walk is complete – once the leashes are out, get the puppies out the door as soon as possible. Your Cavachon are watching and learning. If they are excited about walking and suddenly have to wait while you text someone back or walk away to use the bathroom, you now have two very excited puppies with no outlet. They don’t understand patience, so they are likely to let that energy out on anything nearby. They may take to pouncing on your or other pets in their excitement, which could be a tripping hazard if nothing else.

The way your puppies act is pretty much a reflection of how you have trained them. If you are consistent and firm, you will find that training gets easier. If you allow yourself to be constantly distracted, your puppies are going to realize this and take advantage of your lost focus.

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