Choosing a Cockapoo – Selecting the right Cockapoo for your Family and Lifestyle

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

Author Credit: David Anderson

Now that you’ve settled that this is the right breed for you, it’s time to figure out how to find the right dog. When choosing a new companion, there’s more to it than just going to a pet store and picking out the cutest dog. You’ll need to do some research and think about what’s important to you when it comes to getting a new dog.

Buying vs. Adopting

The first choice to make is whether you want to buy or adopt your new dog. This decision should be made on what is best for you and your home. People will inevitably try to persuade you to go one route or the other; in the end, you know what’s best for you.

Cockapoo mix color
Photo Courtesy – Greta Sheridan

There are lots of benefits to purchasing a dog from a good breeder. First, you’ll have a good idea of what your future dog is going to look and act like because breeding is a science. Before the puppies are even born, the breeder will be able to tell you the traits of their pups because they’ve spent time with the parents and have gotten to know previous litters. While an inexperienced breeder may end up with sickly dogs with behavioral issues, a good breeder knows what traits are important in a Cockapoo.

Some owners like to start from scratch when it comes to raising their new dog. If you’re the only influence on the dog from an early age, you’ll have control over how the dog is brought up. If you start with a new puppy, you’ll make the rules from Day One. If you adopt a dog that’s had a previous owner, it’s hard to know what the dog has learned from that person. Many times, the dog has no trouble adjusting to life with a new owner, but you may find that the dog has learned bad habits that take some work to undo.

On the other hand, there are also many benefits to adoption. Of course, perhaps the best aspect about adopting is knowing that you’re giving a dog a much needed forever home. Many adoption advocates claim that a rescue dog is more appreciative of their owner. Whether or not this is true, it’s undeniable how good it feels to give a dog a second chance at life.

Also, if you aren’t interested in spending a thousand dollars or more on a Cockapoo puppy, adoption is much more affordable. Shelters generally charge a small fee, but this also includes veterinary services such as vaccination and spay/neuter surgeries. This allows you to save a little money to be spent on spoiling your pup with the best treats and toys!

Cockapoo breastfeeding
Photo Courtesy – Susie Thomas

Adoption is also beneficial if you’re apprehensive about training a new puppy. Some adopted dogs will need a refresher course on basic training if they didn’t come from a good home, but many surrendered Cockapoos come from good homes that fell into unfortunate circumstances. It’s possible to get an adult Cockapoo that is potty-trained and knows some basic commands. Training a puppy is hard work and is very time consuming, so it can be nice to have a little help from a previous owner. Puppies are cute, but they’re rambunctious and require a ton of care. You may find that a mellower adult Cockapoo is exactly what you need.

If you decide you want to buy a puppy, it’s important to find the right breeder. Because Cockapoos are considered to be a designer dog, this is especially important. Inexperienced breeders often jump in on trends because it’s an easy way to make extra money. Unfortunately, when people breed dogs without the right expertise, it leads to inconsistencies with the standard. It can result in dogs with genetic defects and bad behavioral traits. Essentially, you’ll be sold an inferior product at a high price.

How to Find a Good Breeder

A good breeder knows exactly what they’re doing and has the experience to back it up. These people breed dogs for the love of the breed, not just for money. They work with the best stock and produce puppies that win competitions. But you need to know how to identify a good breeder.

Cockapoo puppy
Photo Courtesy – Dondra Blackwell

If you’ve come to love the Cockapoo, there’s a good chance that you know someone else who has one. If the owner is happy with their dog, absolutely ask them who their breeder was. Breeders love to get referrals from satisfied customers. If you don’t know anyone with a Cockapoo, you’ll have to do a little extra research on your own.

Start out with a list of Cockapoo breeders in your area. If they have a website or social media page, look at the image they present. However, there’s only so much you can tell about a breeder from their web presence. To know more, you’ll have to ask questions and look at their facilities.

A good breeder will welcome any and all questions you can think of. They are passionate about Cockapoos and want to be able to share their knowledge with you. After all, they worked hard and spent a lot of time educating themselves on the breed.

During this information-gathering process, you should ask the breeder about health clearances. These are certificates that a breeder should provide to you to guarantee that your puppy will not experience genetic illnesses later in life. The parents of your new puppy should be in excellent health, as certified by a veterinarian. A less-reputable breeder may not have this kind of assurance available or may even try to hide that information. You may also want to ask for references of satisfied owners of the pups. Some breeders also require you to take the puppy to a veterinarian within the first few months after you bring your dog home, just to ensure that the buyer is happy with their dog’s health. This protects the breeder if the buyer later decides they don’t want the dog and they try to make excuses for a return. This practice is good for both the breeder and the new owner to ensure that the new puppy is as healthy as can be.

If possible, try to visit the breeder’s home. The area where the puppies are kept should be clean and free of animal waste. They should have enough room to move around and spend time with their siblings, not locked in a tiny cage. If a breeder doesn’t allow you to come to their home or seems secretive about how the puppies are looked after, you should stay away.

Finally, ask about certifications. A breeder should be eager to tell you about the Cockapoo associations they belong to or the different dog clubs they’re a part of. Make sure they really care about the breed and aren’t just trying to make a buck off of a fad.

Choosing Your Cockapoo

Cockapoo brown puppy
Photo Courtesy – Samantha Harwood

Once you’ve found the right breeder, it’s time to choose the dog. It may be tempting to choose your new puppy based on a picture alone, but if you really want the pick of the litter, an in-person visit can help you find the right dog.

While a good breeder will do their best to make sure the puppies have the best temperament possible, you’ll still notice subtle variation within a litter. Just like with human siblings, each puppy has their own unique personality. If you get the opportunity to pick from the entire litter, spend a little time playing with the puppies and observe how they respond to both people and the other dogs. Then, choose a dog that falls somewhere in the middle of the personality spectrum.

For example, you may notice that some puppies are very rambunctious, while others are submissive and shy. Neither extreme is best, so you want the puppy that is playful but also capable of being calm and sweet. An overly dominant puppy may turn into a stubborn dog, and a shy pup might develop anxiety or phobias. Of course, many behaviors are learned later on, but finding a pup that falls somewhere in a happy medium of personality traits might help you on your way to puppy parenthood. Also, don’t underestimate your first instinct. If you find yourself bonding with a particular dog, that might be the one for you.

If a Cockapoo is your dream dog because you have allergies, it’s especially important that you check the puppies out in person. You’ll want to make sure you feel okay after spending some time around the dogs. You may even want to allow the puppies to give you kisses, just to make sure their saliva doesn’t cause an allergic reaction either. Never assume a dog will not give you an allergic response just because it’s advertised as hypoallergenic. Everybody is different, and what works for other people may not work for you.

Adoption Tips

Cockapoo garden
Photo Courtesy – Pat Johnson

If you decide that you’d rather go with the adoption route, there are a few ways to make sure you end up with the perfect Cockapoo. Local shelters can be hit-or-miss when it comes to having the right breed. This is where adoption and rescue websites come in handy. Websites like allow you to search for specific breeds in your area. If you select a wider search radius, you can find all the Cockapoos within whatever distance you’re willing to drive to adopt a dog. Or you can do your own search for Cockapoo rescues. These are organizations that collect Cockapoos from shelters and re-home them to good owners.

Don’t assume that adopting a dog is as simple as paying a fee and picking up your new Cockapoo. Because these dogs were once surrendered, the volunteers who run these shelters are very particular about the homes they go to next. Too much change can be hard on a dog, so they want their next home to be their last home for the rest of their life. Especially with Cockapoo rescues, you can expect a detailed application form and even home visit. They’ll want to know who lives in your home and if you have any other pets. They’ll want to know where you live, what kind of experience you have with dogs, and if you have a backyard fence without any gaps for a dog to squeeze through.

Cockapoo adult
Photo Courtesy – Judith Hathaway

If your web search brings up a dog, don’t feel obligated to adopt it. Perhaps you had your heart set on an adult dog and the one in the shelter is a puppy. Or maybe it’s documented to be bad with children and you have kids at home. It can be hard to wait for the perfect dog to appear in a shelter near you, but it’s best not to force a dog into a situation that isn’t right for you. You’ll only end up with problems and will have to return the dog to the shelter. It may take a little time to find the right Cockapoo to adopt, but it will absolutely be worth it when you’re able to bring your dog to their new forever home.

Once you decide you want a Cockapoo in your home, it’s hard not to rush things and buy the first dog that’s available. Take your time and explore all of your options. Not only does this allow you to get the best pup for you, but you’ll have time to figure out what you need to make your future dog’s life as perfect as possible. Support good breeders who use ethical practices instead of funding backyard breeding operations. Also, ask as many questions as you can think up! A breeder is a great source of knowledge for all things Cockapoo. Learn as much as you can from them so your dog’s transition into your home is a smooth one

To read more from "The Complete Guide to Cockapoo Dogs" by David Anderson, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below:

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