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Cockapoos have the distinction of being the original designer dog. The combination of a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel, bred to be a sweet dog with a stable temperament who’s drawn to people and has more minimal grooming needs than either a Cocker Spaniel or a Poodle. The hybrid has been so successful that the Cockapoo has paved the way for a family of Poodle mixes.
The Cockapoo resulted from an attempt to stabilize the Cocker Spaniel’s temperament with the people-pleasing Poodle, while retaining the Cocker Spaniel’s adorable facial expressions, lap dog sizes and silky coats. Cockapoos are cheerful, friendly dogs whose greatest joy is feeling like part of the family. They can ingratiate themselves into homes with children, other dogs and lots of activity. They do require training from an early age to help them socialize and eliminate bad habits, like snapping and stubbornness.
Like a Poodle, Cockapoos have a single, curly coat, but their curls are looser and wavier, like a Cocker Spaniel’s. Their coats come in a variety of colors and curl styles, just like their parent breeds. Still, because Cockapoos are favored for their soft, natural waves, their coats are usually kept natural. This makes their grooming needs less demanding than those of both their parent breeds. Because Cockapoos are one of the original hybrid breeds, multigenerational breeding has produced some dogs who are supposedly very close to non-shedding, odorless dogs who need very little bathing.
Because Cockapoos require little other grooming, brushing their curly coats about once a week will prevent tangles and reduce the need for trimming.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but breeds with curly and wavy hair should be done more frequently, usually in the six-to-eight week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.
Many owners choose to clip or trim their Cockapoo’s coat to about two to three inches in length, to keep maintenance to a minimum.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Curly and wavy coated dogs have large, sensitive ears covered in hair that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Poodles are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.