All dog-lovers consider their fur babies to be the smartest, cutest, sweetest dogs on the planet. No one is going to convince them otherwise.
But are Cavapoos smart?
While each puppy parent may see his or her pooch as the valedictorian of the dog park, some dog breeds are more intelligent than others. Certain breeds tend to train more quickly, have more expansive vocabularies, and problem-solve more rapidly than others.
Cavapoos are known for their cuddly, affectionate personalities, heart-melting teddy bear appearance, and chill yet playful dispositions. But how smart are they? Are they the Mensa scholars of Canine U or obedience school dropouts?
To find out the answer to these questions, plus tips on training a Cavapoo and the best games to play with your Cavapoo bestie, read on.
How Smart Are Cavapoos?
Poodles are known as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Cavalier King Charles spaniels are also highly intelligent. The benefit of brainy genes on both sides is that Cavapoos are smart dogs who are easy to teach and train.
So are Cavapoos smart? You bet. They are trainable, clever, intuitive, and great at solving dog brain puzzles.
Training a Cavapoo
The Cavapoo’s smarts are a double-edged sword when it comes to training. Because of their intelligence, Cavapoos are very curious and easily distracted. They want to explore the world and follow every interesting trail they encounter.
This tendency to get distracted can be a challenge when training a Cavapoo. But with consistency, positive reinforcement, and lots of patience, your Cavapoo can learn lots of commands and tricks.
Consistency is critical when training any puppy. Your dog must learn what to expect in training sessions, what the desired action is, and what the reward will be.
Make sure to use the same keywords for the same commands over time. Your pup will associate the desired action with the sound of that word. Changing the word will confuse your dog and delay the training process.
Whenever possible, conduct training sessions at the same time of day and in the same place when you are first teaching a new concept. This routine helps a dog absorb new information. (Though Cavapoo potty training needs to be an all day approach)
As your pup learns these commands, you can incorporate them throughout the day in different contexts. Have her respond to a command before you feed her, then place her food bowl in front of her as a reward.
Give the command, then, when he responds appropriately, grab his leash and take him for a walk. While you are playing or sitting together on the couch, give the new command and then reward her when she obeys.
For a Cavapoo, positive reinforcement is the most effective training technique. Positive reinforcement is the application of reinforcing stimuli after specific behaviors to encourage those behaviors to recur.
In layman’s terms, positive reinforcement involves rewarding your dog for obeying commands correctly.
Many puppy parents use food or treats as a reward when training their dogs. These are generally excellent motivators. For most Cavapoos, though, the most effective rewards are affection and attention. Cavapoos are highly social dogs, so they readily respond to the attention you lavish on them.
Use a mix of tasty treats, praise, and physical affection to keep your puppy engaged and encourage the behaviors you want to see your fur baby repeat.
An essential element in training your Cavapoo is patience. Your intelligent little teddy bear wants to please you, but there’s just so much going on around him! Fascinating scents, unexpected sounds, other people and dogs and animals – all of these distractions can quickly grab your puppy’s attention away from her training session.
Cavapoos are sensitive dogs, so you never want to demonstrate frustration or impatience with them. When your pup gets distracted, repeat his name until he looks at you again. If you still have trouble getting her attention, use one of her favorite toys to try to capture her focus again.
Training sessions should last no longer than 30 minutes. Sometimes it may be a good idea to break those minutes up with games, short runs, and other fun activities.
You don’t want your Cavapoo’s training sessions to become a chore they dread. The point is to keep them fun and exciting. When your puppy loves all the attention, games, and treats that come with a training session, you will be impressed with how quickly she picks up new commands and tricks.
The brighter a dog is, the more words he can learn. Because Cavapoos are so intelligent, they can master a broad vocabulary with proper training.
Here are some commands you should teach your Cavapoo:
- COME – Use this command to get your dog to come to you.
- LEAVE IT – Get your dog to drop whatever she has in her mouth or keep her from picking something up.
- NO – Use this command for an action your dog is never supposed to perform, especially anything that puts him in danger. Say it in a forceful voice.
- LET’S PLAY – This command is an invitation to play games.
- OFF – This commands the dog to get off of furniture or people. Use this whenever your dog jumps on you in greeting.
- STAY – This word tells your dog to stay where she is, not to move until she is released.
- SIT – Use this to instruct your dog to sit down and remain there until he is released.
- DOWN – This command tells your dog to lie down on the ground and remain there until she is released.
- THAT’S ENOUGH – Use this to let your dog know it’s time to stop doing whatever he is doing at the moment, playing, etc.
- WAIT – This command tells your dog to remain in the general area. She can move around some, unlike Stay.
- CRATE – Use this word to tell your dog to get into his crate.
- OUTSIDE – This is an invitation to go on a walk or to do her bathroom business.
- QUIET – This command tells your dog to stop barking.
- GOOD DOG – Use this phrase to praise your dog for behaving well. You can also say “Good [dog’s name].” (Looking for a Cavapoo dog name? Try one of these)
You will want to add your own words to this list for specific commands you want your dog to obey. You can also come up with your own phrases for particular actions – for instance, I say “Do your business” to get my pup to go to the bathroom.
Games with a Cavapoo
Cavapoos love to play tug and fetch. These games are an excellent way to get some exercise into a Cavapoo’s routine.
Because they are lap dogs at heart, Cavapoos can be sedentary. Left to their own devices, they will spend all of their time in your lap or lying on your feet, so it’s essential to get them moving (let’s avoid the epidemic of pet obesity!).
Use a ball or a favorite toy to encourage your Cavapoo to play. A spirited game of tug and a little fetch will wear your pup out and lead to a night of deep rest.
Puzzle toys are another great way to entertain your Cavapoo and keep her sharp little brain firing on all cylinders. A few minutes with one of these intellectually stimulating toys will relieve stress and tire your bestie out. (See our ultimate list of indoor dog games and activities for inspiration)
Cavapoos are smart, friendly, adorable fur babies who you can easily train to provide years of companionship, fun, and love.