If you have ever thought ‘my Cockapoo won’t stop barking, what do I do?’ then know you are NOT alone! For many Cockapoo owners, occasional barking is not really a problem. But sometimes your cockapoo may take it to the extreme, whether it is because they are excited or protecting you from the ‘totally evil’ postman. Cockapoo barking may seem minor when they are small and young, it can become a big issue if barking and growing becomes excessive and uncontrollable.
So what can you do to stop your Cockapoo barking excessively?
Well, first you will want to identify what is causing them to bark, once you have this figured out we can dive into training your cockapoo not to bark!
Reasons Why Cockapoos Bark A Lot
Unfortunately, in our experience, Cockapoos are quite vocal dogs and do bark a lot. Your Cockapoo could be barking for a variety of reasons. Some common reasons include:
- Guarding: This type of barking is often desired, as long as your Cockapoo knows who they need to guard against. When this type of barking becomes excessive it can be difficult to have even friends or family around.
- Offensive/Defensive: This can tie in with guarding, but can also be because your Cockapoo is nervous and/or lacks confidence. They may perceive everything around them as a threat to their safety and be barking to either scare it away (defensive) or warn of an attack (offensive).
- Boredom/Attention Seeking: Cockapoos are very intelligent dogs, as such they can get bored easily. This can lead to behaviours like barking, excessive nipping, or chewing. This can become especially problematic if they begin to associate these behaviours with people giving them more attention.
- Excited: Cockapoos also bark when they are excited. It’s no wonder that all that happiness and joy needs an outlet, but I’m sure you would rather it be something other than barking (We know we would!)
- Separation Anxiety: This may also tie in with attention-seeking, but more often than not if your dog is barking when they are alone, as well as exhibiting other behaviours (such as chewing, toileting in the house etc.) then your Cockapoo may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Another thing to consider if you have had your Cockapoo long enough to know their personality, and their barking seems uncharacteristic and is new: it might be worth a vet visit to check there isn’t something more serious going on! The Joii Pet Care App is free to download, and lets you book a video call with a vet for just £24 – any time in the day, so worth thinking about if you want some expert input.
All training starts by identifying the what or why. By learning and understanding the reasons why your cockapoo is barking a lot, you can target your training around those stressors.
While barking can often be a behavioural issue, if your dog is in pain then they may start barking (especially defensively) to either tell you something is wrong, or stop people going near where it hurts. If it really isn’t like your Cockapoo to be barking a lot then it may be more than a behaviour issue. And it is always better to play it safe by visiting the vets or a dog behaviourist for a checkup.
Training Principles To Stop Your Cockapoo From Barking
So as we mentioned in the previous section, the first step to stopping your Cockapoo barking excessively is identifying why they feel the need to. By doing this it helps you as an owner to figure out what you can change to help.
First, you’ll need to understand whether the reason for them barking is a symptom of something bigger. For us, we would say that if your Cockapoo is barking for any of the following reasons, then it’s best to treat the reason rather than the barking itself:
- Barking because of separation anxiety
- Boredom and attention-seeking barking
If you think that your Cockapoo is barking for either of these reasons, then it is best to treat the cause rather than tackle the barking directly. We have a few articles that can help with these. One is about how to stop Cockapoo Separation Anxiety. We also have others about the best puzzle toys for Cockapoos (we love these things) and ways to liven up your Cockapoo dog walking, which should help to keep your Cockapoo nice and entertained!
For all of the other reasons for barking, then it’s probably appropriate to try specific training to get your Cockapoo to stop barking in certain situations.
In terms of a central training principle, for us, it has to be that you should use positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement means you reward and praise the behaviours you want, but do not punish the “bad” behaviours. Don’t be tempted by the quick fix of an anti-barking collar. Ultrasonic devices like these ones aren’t necessarily cruel, but they really are just a short-term fix. Sure, they may startle a dog into stopping for a week, but you’ll still need to actually train your dog to embed the behaviour you want to see.
Studies have shown time and again that positive reinforcement works much more effectively than negative reinforcement. It is a great way to train smart breeds such as Cockapoos, or any breed for that matter, and many people have had great success with positive reinforcement (including ourselves).
With the training principles of praise, positivity, and patience, you’ll find that no problem – not even excessive barking – cannot be solved!
Below, we run through some of the most common reasons for Cockapoo barking, and some of the ways you can use positive reinforcement to solve this issue!
Please do remember though, that this is based on our own experience and what may work for us may not work for you! Always speak to an expert if you’re unsure about anything.
How To Stop Your Cockapoo Barking At The Doorbell
When you have a Cockapoo barking at the doorbell, it can be very stressful. Many owners worry about opening the door in case their pup runs out or worse. Teaching you pooch some manners when it comes to the doorbell should not be too difficult with the Cockapoo smarts. But it will take patience, and possibly help from friends or family (not to mention earplugs!).
The method we are going to look at will teach your Cockapoo to go to a particular place. This is for a couple of reasons, one being that it allows you to keep your Cockapoo out of the way of your guests as they walk in. The other being it reduces the chances of your puppy getting out of the door, keeping everyone safe.
You can work on just stopping them from barking, but personally we have found it easier to redirect our Cockapoo’s energy into something new. This is because just trying to get them to stop barking is incredibly difficult unless your Cockapoo feels like they have a job to do!
In this case, the “job” that we give our Cockapoo is going to a designated ‘safe spot’.
Firstly, you want to choose your safe spot. For us, this is the mat by the back-door.
Then you will need to ‘name’ it, this will be your command word, eg, “on your mat”. Then guide your Cockapoo to sit in this place, when they do you will say your command and give them a high-value treat. Once they have this association, move them further away and say the command, every time they go to the mat, give them a reward. (Dog clickers are a godsend here, particularly when you’re giving commands from a distance)
Once your Cockapoo has this mastered, you can bring in the doorbell (which is where you may need assistance). What you want to do here is tell your Cockapoo to go to the mat. Don’t press the doorbell lots of times, just once and let your Cockapoo get all of their barking energy out. Once they are in a position to listen to you (in between barks), get say the command and your Cockapoo to at least position themselves on the mat.
Your Cockapoo will possibly still be barking, this is okay!
Ignore the door until your Cockapoo stops barking. When they stop, reward them and let your guest in. If they are quiet and stay in place until you are back give them another treat and plenty of fuss. From here, it is all about repetition and patience.
Eventually, your Cockapoo will learn they do not get the treat until they stop barking, and will sit quietly in place until you have finished at the door. Just remember to still offer them treats, even after they have mastered it.
How To Stop Your Cockapoo Barking At Visitors
Once you are past the doorbell, you may find your Cockapoo barking excessively at visitors. Sometimes Cockapoos will only bark at strangers entering their home, but it is not uncommon for them to bark indiscriminately at anyone who does not live there. Even if it is people your Cockapoo has already met and absolutely loves.
If you have been teaching your Cockapoo to stay in a particular spot when someone rings the doorbell, you can extend the training here too. It will work the exact same way, they do not get a treat until they are quiet and calm.
You may find it helpful to have your visitor give your Cockapoo the treat. It can help them learn that strangers who have been invited into the house are not a threat, and they do not need to constantly bark.
If you have not been teaching your Cockapoo to go to a designated space, then do not worry!
There are other methods to teach your Cockapoo to stop barking at visitors.
One of the simplest one is to just ignore your dog’s behaviour. Give them absolutely no attention and avoid eye contact until they are calm. Once they have stopped barking, have them sit or lie down and give them a high-value treat. Your Cockapoo will learn that barking gets them nowhere, and being calm gets them treats and attention. It really is that simple!
Unfortunately, for this method the thing that most often lets it down is the guest themselves. So, you’ll need to be quite firm with the mother-in-law if she insists on petting your gorgeous pooch the minute she comes into the house!
As these methods will take patience and probably a lot of noise, it is best to get the help of someone who knows what they are in for. If you have someone visiting who is unaware of the training you are doing, then they may leave very confused (and slightly deafened… oops!).
How To Stop Your Cockapoo Barking At Night Or When They Are Alone
If your Cockapoo won’t stop barking at night or when left alone, it can be pretty difficult to figure out why, or how you can stop it. Here are a few of the more common reasons your Cockapoo may be barking when left alone:
- Your Cockapoo is bored, or lonely
- Your Cockapoo has been startled by an unexpected sound or sight
If your Cockapoo is bored they may begin to exhibit destructive behaviours. Things like barking and chewing are most common. This is because they cannot find anything else to do. Just think of them as bored toddlers getting into mischief, but instead of drawing on the walls or making ‘potions’ in the sink, your Cockapoo is having a one-dog musical.
Another reason your Cockapoo may bark excessively while they are alone, during the day or night, is because they are seeing things outside. It could be people walking by, or a cat darting across your front lawn. If you have a Cockapoo that is trying to ‘protect’ their home then these could be seen as potential threats.
Both of these issues can be solved with similar solutions. The first one is to have a Cockapoo safe-zone. This should be an area where your Cockapoo cannot get to wires, furniture legs, or anything else chewable. X pens can be great for this if you do not have a specific room that you can gate off.
Once you have this area, fill it with interesting toys (eg, Kongs, Snuffle mats, etc) and put treats in them. This will redirect your Cockapoos mind and energy into something more rewarding than barking. (Plus a busy mouth is a quiet mouth!)
It may be beneficial to set this area up in a place they cannot look out the windows, especially if your dog is reactive to the world outside! If you are crate training your Cockapoo, then a really simple technique that we used to help Ziggy at night was to put a blanket over the crate. This really made him settle down, and he no longer barked whenever the cat came through the cat flap!
If you find that your Cockapoo is barking because they dislike being alone at all, (eg, they will whine/bark if you even leave them in a room alone) you may be dealing with a pup suffering from separation anxiety. Setting up a safe-zone and offering plenty of distractions can help with this, but it is best to find more specific training advice!
How To Limit Your Cockapoos Barking At Other Dogs
When you have a dog reactive Cockapoo it can make walks very difficult. Especially if you want to go somewhere that other dog walkers frequent.
It is definitely easier to prevent this type of behaviour with proper socialisation while your Cockapoo is young. But this is not always possible. So how can you stop your Cockapoo barking at other dogs?
Reactive barking often stems from fear and discomfort more than anything else, so teaching your Cockapoo that other dogs are nothing to be afraid of can be a great start! Because of this, positive reinforcement can often be super beneficial. If you shout at your Cockapoo when they think they are defending both of you, they will likely feel that the threat is even bigger because you are also being loud.
If you have a reactive Cockapoo then it is best to always try and remain as calm and collected as possible, and have plenty of high-value treats on hand. For us, our solution to getting our Cockapoo to stop barking at other dogs was to simply redirect his focus every time there was another dog present.
To do this, you simply make your Cockapoo sit and, before they start barking, give them a treat.
You then want to keep your Cockapoo’s attention on you, and continuously feed them the high-value treat until the dog has passed.
The goal is to keep your Cockapoo focussed on you at all times so they do not have a chance to think about the other dog. This eventually teaches your Cockapoo that when another dog is around, they get treats if they stay focussed on you.
This turns every passing dog into an opportunity for your pup to earn a treat, and treats keep their mouths busy meaning your Cockapoo should spend less time barking!
It is perfectly okay if it takes you a few times to get the hang of. If it is safe to do so, you may find it easier to start with a friend and their dog. This situation is more controlled so you can work on getting the basic groundwork in before applying it to your actual walks!
A top tip if you find your Cockapoo is too excited to eat treats when around other dogs is to use one of their toys. We found when Ziggy was very young, he just wasn’t interested in the bits of cheese we were holding out (he was always just waaaay too excited)!
So, all we had to do was switch the cheese for the tennis ball and low and behold his attention moved from the other dogs straight to the ball. Then, once the dogs passed, we gave him the ball and he was happy as larry!
What if these things don’t work?
One method that you may want to try if you’ve already tried all of the above and it just doesn’t seem to “click” with your Cockapoo, is to look at teaching them to bark on command. This command essentially works in two sections – getting them to bark, and then getting them to be quiet.
While it may seem odd to train an already barking dog to bark, it does make sense as a method to help with stopping your Cockapoo from barking. This is because it allows you the chance to engage with your pooch on the very behaviour you’re trying to refine.
How do you teach your Cockapoo to bark on command? Well, that’s probably best explained by this awesome dog trainer:
Today we have looked at some of our personal favorites when it comes to stopping your Cockapoo from barking. But there are many, many more techniques that work! So if you find that something in our list doesn’t work for you, please do not feel disheartened. Once you have found the perfect method for you and your Cockapoo, all it will take is patience and regular training sessions. Oh, and plenty of treats!