Are Cockapoos Aggressive?

Your Cockapoo is likely loving to you, but if you just brought him home and want to have people or other dogs over, you might be wondering—are Cockapoos aggressive?

Overall, Cockapoos are friendly dogs. However, they can show signs of aggression, especially if they don’t have experience being around many other people or animals. Furthermore, they may be aggressive out of love, believing that they’re protecting you from your friends and family from out of town.

are cockapoos aggressive
Are Cockapoos aggressive?

I understand how heartbreaking it can be if you have an aggressive Cockapoo—you love your dog, but those you love may be afraid of him. Luckily, there are ways you can manage aggression, and I’ll share some advice with you here.

Types of Aggression

Before we get too far into this article, it’s important to clarify that if your Cockapoo is aggressive, it doesn’t indicate that meanness runs in his blood. Just like you have a reason when you get upset about something, Cockapoos do too.

Below are some of the most common types of aggression that may explain your Cockapoo’s behavior.

  • Fear
  • Pain
  • Territorial
  • Protective
  • Possessive
  • Social
  • Defensive
  • Frustration
grey and white cockapoo laying units back tongue out
This gray and black Cockapoo is relaxing! Occasional bouts of agro are one of the few bad things about the Cockapoo breed.

Signs of Cockapoo Aggression

You can likely tell when your normally loving Cockapoo starts showing signs of aggressive behavior. However, when it comes to interacting with other dogs, it can sometimes be difficult to know if Fido is playing or becoming aggressive.

Below are some of the tell-tale signs of Cockapoo aggression.

Showing teeth: Cockapoos will nip other dogs out of play, but the kind of teeth barring I’m talking about here is a clenched jaw with their lips peeled away to show their front teeth. 

Deep growl: If you hear a low rumble coming from your Cockapoo’s throat, that’s a warning that they’re ready to confront whatever dog or person is upsetting them.

Lunging: If your Cockapoo lunges at someone or something, we can only hope you have them on a leash to rein them in because, in most cases, lunging is a sign of aggression. 

observant Cockapoo to stranger
The Cockapoo looks mad at a stranger. (Image: Instagram/@itsbusterthecockapoo)

Cockapoo Aggression With Other Dogs

Regardless of the dog breed, if a dog spends most of his life unexposed to other canines, there’s a high chance he’ll either be outright aggressive or timid, which can lead to aggression once he gets his bearings.

In fact, if your Cockapoo is meeting a new dog or doesn’t have much experience interacting with dogs, it’s vital that you monitor him closely if he shows signs of being timid. Some Cockapoos will remain shy, letting the other dog smell them over until the dog leaves him alone or engages him in play.

However, other Cockapoos might start out showing timid behavior but turn aggressive as the other dog begins sniffing his body. While it’s certainly understandable why your Cockapoo doesn’t care for that kind of scrutiny, the situation could turn ugly if he snaps at the other dog.

Nevertheless, this isn’t to say that all Cockapoos are aggressive with other dogs; much of it relies on how much you’ve exposed them to dogs and whether those experiences were positive for your beloved pet. 

How to Handle an Aggressive Cockapoo?

If your Cockapoo tends to get aggressive, you understandably want to get his behavior under control. Luckily, there are many strategies you can implement to help your dog return to his sweet personality that you know and love.

Assess the Situation

Is there a specific event that triggers your Cockapoo’s aggressive behavior? If it seems that your Cockapoo reacts aggressively out of stress, see if you can remove the trigger. 

For example, if your Cockapoo gets aggressive when he hears the doorbell ring, ask your guests to call you when they arrive instead. That way, your Cockapoo will already be in a calmer state by the time he sees them.

Alternatively, do you notice that your Cockapoo gets aggressive when you go to pet him in a certain spot? It could be that he’s reacting out of pain. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet, especially if he never used to have aggressive behavior.

sitting and barking Cockapoo
A Cockapoo sitting on the floor barking for some reason. (Image: Instagram/@eatsleepbarkrepeat)

Remain Calm

It’s natural to want to yell at your Cockapoo when he gets aggressive, and I’m not about to tell you that you should praise him for it. However, Cockapoos are intelligent, and they’ll pick up on your energy if you’re showing signs of being nervous or angry about their behavior.

So, instead of feeding into your Cockapoo’s feelings, use a firm, confident voice with them. Never hit them, and look for opportunities to turn the situation into a positive event. 

For example, if your Cockapoo often gets aggressive at passing people on the sidewalk, try taking him out at off hours and use treats to reward him for good behavior if you pass someone from afar without him reacting aggressively. You can then slowly build up to walking closer to people and other dogs during more popular times of the day.

well-behaved Cockapoo sitting quietly
A well-behaved Cockapoo sitting quietly. (Image: Instagram/@bella_lua_rekin_cockapoo)

Understand Your Cockapoo’s Needs

Sometimes, your Cockapoo may be aggressive because he isn’t receiving enough playtime to let his energy out. Therefore, it’s equally important to address any external triggers as it is the ones that could be coming from your home. 

I know that life can get busy, and sometimes it can feel like you have all you can do to take your Cockapoo outside for bathroom breaks. However, if he’s showing sudden signs of aggression out of nowhere, you should be honest with yourself to see if you’ve changed a routine, are playing with him less, or any other relevant change.

cockapoo puppy next to a cake how old
The oldest Cockapoos sometimes hit 20+ years of age…

Get Your Dog Fixed

Dogs with all their parts have a higher chance of showing signs of aggression, especially if a male encounters a female in heat. Therefore, if you haven’t done so already, you should make it a point to spay or neuter your Cockapoo.

Keep in mind that the older your spay or neuter your dog, the harder it will be for them to lose the aggressive tendencies they learned. 

Since Cockapoos are a small breed, experts recommend spaying or neutering them around six months old. It’s best to catch them before their first heatwave, which often starts at five or six months of age. (This is different than when to neuter or spay large breed dogs).

Seek Professional Help

If you already talked with your vet so that you know your Cockapoo’s aggression isn’t out of pain and you’re at a loss for how else you can manage his aggression, it might be time to get a professional dog trainer on your side.

Try to seek out a trainer who has experience working with Cockapoos. While your trainer will help get your dog on the right track by using anti-aggression techniques, you’ll need to be ready to put in the time to practice with your dog in between sessions.

To help with your search for a dog trainer, I recommend looking at The Association of Professional Dog Trainers. You’ll likely be amazed by what a little bit of professional intervention can do to improve your Cockapoo’s behavior.

It will also make everyday tasks like grooming a Cockapoo dog that little bit easier.

apricot cockapoo sleep couch
An apricot Cockapoo sleeping on a lounge.

The Bottom Line

Like all dogs, Cockapoos can learn to become aggressive depending on the environment they are (and, in many cases, aren’t) exposed to. If you adopt a Cockapoo, you have an additional hurdle to overcome since you may not know his background. 

However, in either case, implementing the strategies discussed here can help get your Cockapoo on track to be a loving dog around other people and animals.