There is nothing tougher and harder on the nerves to deal with as a cockapoo owner, or in fact any dog owner, than walking into your home and finding your Jimmy Choo’s bitten and chewed, your curtains hanging with frayed and tattered ends and that expensive sofa in your lounge looking like it was attacked by Freddy Krueger.
All cockapoo owners have been there. Walking in and finding the culprit with the remains of their prey still in their teeth with a very guilty but also kinda clueless look on their face. If you want to learn from our past experiences and limit the amount of damage your ever-curious bundle of energy cockapoo causes while you are not there, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we are going to look at why cockapoos and dogs in general chew, and then discuss the different tactics you can take whether you are dealing with a puppy or an adult dog that is chewing relentlessly.
Difference Between Destructive Chewing and Normal Chewing
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Before we go any further, we need to make a clear distinction between what is often referred to as destructive chewing and normal healthy chewing. It’s quite self-explanatory, but destructive chewing involves the chewing of things your dog shouldn’t be putting their paws or teeth into. Whether it’s your own personal items and furniture like Jimmy Choo shoes and that luxurious sofa or the items and things that pose a real threat to your dog such as cables and containers containing chemicals.
In the best-case scenario, your dog’s destructive chewing will cost you money, but in the worst-case scenario, however, it could result in your dog being seriously injured or even dying.
Now…we know what destructive chewing is…let’s look at the various reasons why your cockapoo might be destructive chewing.
Why Do Cockapoos Chew?
There are various reasons why cockapoos start a pattern of destructive chewing, including:
- Freedom from confinement
- Not enough training or ineffective training
- Some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Frustration, boredom, anxiety or a mixture of all three
- They are looking for attention
- Medical reasons
To understand these reasons and to help you identify why your own cockapoo is chewing, we’ll look at them in greater detail.
Freedom From Confinement
When your dog tends to chew, are they stuck on the leash or confined? The reason for the chewing may be that they are trying to free themselves. Some dogs learn if they chew on anything that is holding them back in some way, such as their leash or a gat etc. that they can free themselves.
Not Enough Training or Ineffective Training
This next reason may require you to take an honest self-examination of the level of training if any you have given your dog. If your dog has not been taught what they can and can’t chew while they are a puppy, by the time they are mature, the dog will just see destructive chewing as normal behaviour.
If that is the case, then you will need to train your dog to know what they can and can’t chew.
Some Form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Just as you or I can, and in fact anyone, dogs sometimes suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorders. What starts as simply bad behaviours that are not addressed and corrected become bad habits that can easily transform into full-on obsessions.
There is no easy fix for this cause of destructive chewing, and it may be that your dog needs to be seen by a behavioural expert.
Have you recently put your cockapoo on a diet, perhaps under the advisement of your vet? If you notice your dog wants to chew things in this scenario, it could be that they feel they need to fill their stomach. Cockapoos, like other dogs, tend to get more active and want to chew at things when they are on the look for food. If you think this is the reason for their chewing, speak to the vet who may be able to recommend a food with higher fibre content.
You may be able to tell if your cockapoo is chewing out of boredom, frustration or anxiety if they are chewing when they are close to the fencing in your garden, near their leash or sitting by the windows. If your pooch is outside and they see something but can’t get to it because there is a fence in the way, they may resort to chewing whatever they can get their claws and teeth into. You may also see this if you are out and about and your dog spies another dog or animal they want to chase away and can’t because of the leash, they may start chewing other things.
Anxiety (and Fear)
Many cockapoos chew at things when they are feeling anxious or scared to try and calm down. If your dog is nervous or anxious when you are going out and leaving them alone, and then you find that they’ve been chewing furiously at anything they could, it could be that they are suffering from separation anxiety. The only way to solve this complex condition is training conducted by a specialist.
One of the most common reasons why cockapoos chew is because they are not getting enough exercise or are just bored in general. Are you really meeting the needs of your cockapoo? Do they get the opportunity to play or get taken out for walks enough? It may be that they are chewing out of the need to use up a backlog of energy.
The energy they have built up needs to be used. Whether they use it by walking or playing with you outside or to attack your designer clothes, shoes and furniture, is entirely up to you.
They Are Looking for Attention
Many cockapoos and other breeds of dogs chew as a way of getting the attention they feel they crave. Like children with their parents, dogs value negative and positive attention highly from their owners. After all, it feels better than the alternative of no attention whatsoever.
It is possible if you can’t spend the time, they need with them, that could be the reason why they are chewing at your possessions and furniture.
Destructive chewing, generally, is something cockapoo while they are puppies who are most responsible for, because they not only have a psychological craving to chew but also need a physical craving to do so.
Cockapoo puppies are very curious indeed and enjoy exploring the world around them. They are very similar to people when they are babies who consider their mouth to be the most effective tool for them to learn about things.
Cockapoo pups, again like children, also need to chew on a purely physical level because of teething, due to the discomfort and pain caused by their adult teeth coming through their sensitive gums.
This is probably the rarest for all the reasons why your cockapoo could be chewing in a destructive manner, but it is still possible they could have a medical issue. An example of this would be brain tumours or thyroid hormone imbalances, as these often cause personality changes and result in dogs behaving in a destructive manner.
The first thing you need to do before trying to tackle the problem of destructive chewing is to have your cockapoo checked over by your vet. Have they any underlying conditions or illnesses treated first before dealing with the behavioural problems.
General Tips and Suggestions for Stopping For Cockapoo Chewing
Although chewing can be a natural thing to do, it is usually the sign that there is something wrong with your dog. By putting the effort in to figure out the cause of your cockapoo’s chewing by trying to give them more of what they need, you will find that they want to chew less. Below we have included some tips and suggestions of approaches to take and methods that could help significantly decrease or even eliminate your pooch’s troublesome need to chew everything.
Move the Item or Move the Dog
This is a very simple and effective way of dealing with destructive chewing. If your cockapoo has taken a liking to a particular item you don’t want him or her to rip to shreds, the best solution would be to remove the item. Before you even welcome a dog into your home, you should start a new regime of clearing up after yourself and get everyone who lives with you to do the same thing. When you move things and tidy them away out of reach from your furry friend, you give them less easy opportunities to be naughty.
You can’t watch your cockapoo all the time. When you need to leave them unsupervised, you can though, keep your dog in one place so you know they are unable to damage certain items and pieces of furniture. Crates are especially effective for keeping your dog safe and everything safe from your dog. However, if you are not keen on using a crate, you could always just keep your dog in a specific area of the house. Barriers like baby gates are the best way to ensure they don’t move from where you want them to stay.
Be careful not to leave your cockapoo confined for too long or you could make a small issue turn into a bigger one and cause them to have separation anxiety. You should always leave safe toys and treats with your dog when they are confined to keep them entertained.
Provide Your Cockapoo with the Mental and Physical Stimulation He or She Needs
Cockapoos, like many breeds and crossbreeds, will make their own entertainment if you don’t provide them with something to do and they start to get bored. They tend to do a lot of exploring and playing using their mouths.
Even in situations where there could be underlying conditions or problems causing the endless chewing, it will not help matters if you are not exercising or playing with them enough.
Therefore, always make sure they are being trained enough.
How can you solve the problem? Try initially increasing the length of their training or exercise/play sessions, provide them with toys that are more challenging and create a schedule to make sure you always make time for it.
The Key is Redirection
An important key to saving your possessions from certain destruction is appreciating how dogs normally learn things. You then need to drive their chewing cravings towards objects that are appropriate for them to be chewing and not things that are worth something or even dangerous.
You need to train a cockapoo to be able to identify the things on the floor that are for them to go crazy with and the things they are not allowed to touch. If your cockapoo is attacking your lovely leather sofa, you could try distracting and interrupting them by making a big noise. We are not suggesting you should shout or scream at them; you just want to draw their attention away from what they are doing and then when they’re not looking and chewing the furniture, offer them a chewy treat.
What if they have made off with something, like that nice pair of shoes? Try to persuade him or her to drop it by offering one of their favourite doggy snacks. You should try and use commands that dogs respond well to like “drop” and “leave it”. Remember to praise your cockapoo lots when they let you take back what is rightfully yours.
It’s also vital you offer a suitable alternative when you take the shoe from them, so they know chewing is still acceptable.
Make the Things You Can’t Move, Unappealing
Is your cockapoo fond of a particular piece of furniture or something else you can’t easily move? You could try using a chew deterrent. There are lots of these available and they are easy to apply, usually via an aerosol spray. Although there are some cockapoos and dogs who at the very least don’t have a problem with the taste, they are a rarity.
There may be times when your cockapoo wants to continue biting on the thing they are chewing, despite your efforts to put them off. Even offering their favourite toy soaked in gravy may not stop them. That is why you need to be firm.
Follow through on everything we’ve discussed. Try and avoid a face-off with your cockapoo if possible, by removing the item out of reach from your dog. If that’s impossible, don’t give them the opportunity to get to it while you are not watching and consider using a crate.
When your dog starts chewing at something, they shouldn’t though right in front of you, use redirection and always give them praise when they stop chewing the thing you don’t want them to chew.
Stopping Your Cockapoo Puppy Chewing When He/she is Teething
It’s a busy time of change for your cockapoo during the first couple of years of their life, the first 12 months are pretty full-on for their mouth and teeth. Chewing, from a very early age, is part of their development into a fully grown and mature adult cockapoo.
The first set of teeth comes through around the 3 to 6 weeks mark and with it, pain for their mother which is why they start weaning their pups.
Then, at 8 to 12 weeks, the transition between baby and adult teeth begins. There is not much else you do during this period to help with the discomfort other than giving them toys and other items they are allowed to chew to get relief.
Prevention is Best – When your cockapoo puppy is going through teething and don’t have chew toys that are easily accessible and they start chewing things they shouldn’t, without knowing it’s wrong, that’s your fault. You can’t take it out on your cockapoo.
Chewing is Expected and Essential In this Time – Just as we’ve stated at other points in this guide, biting and chewing are a natural solution your dog relies on for dealing with the discomfort caused by teething. It’s also a learning experience for them and one they aren’t always going to get right 100% of the time.
Different people use different methods – while some people prefer to use a frozen wet flannel or washcloth to help their cockapoo find relief from the pain, others get a Kong toy and fill it with treats then freeze it to help their dogs.
The only thing we’d like to point out really in this regard is that whatever you decide to use with your young cockapoo, make sure it isn’t a choking hazard and watch them like a hawk when they are chewing at things that break into pieces and can be eaten.
While there’s no denying that destructive chewing that cockapoos often participate in can leave you feeling distraught, with the right kind of attitude, motivation, stubbornness, love and care, you can protect your household, furniture, valuable items and your cockapoo and have a happy and content life together.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.