Question: What differences do you notice between male and female cockapoos? And can Cockapoos show favoritism toward one person in the family over others? I want our dog to love me too but I work all day and my spouse will be home!
Answer: To address your concerns about favoritism, in my personal experience this is not the case with cockapoo dogs at all. There are really almost no differences at all between a spayed female Cockapoo and a neutered male Cockapoo. When you have intact adults there can certainly be differences. Intact males can be more territorial and wary of strangers and intact females can be more… well… bitchy. That term applied in a disrespectful manner toward a human came from somewhere, you know! 🙂
“Fixed” dogs, however, show very subtle differences due to sex and are much more likely to be different due to individual temperament and personality.
I do know (I’ve trained oodles of dogs for the ASPCA) there are some breeds that are considered “one owner dogs”. These breeds will typically only follow the commands of whomever the dog has decided is the “alpha” in the home. German shepherds, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, some hunting dogs, etc. These are the dogs that tend to fall in this category. That is why they are not typically considered ideal family pets.
Nearly all dogs (male or female) will tend to defer most to the “alpha” in the house. Interestingly enough, the alpha can oftentimes be the woman of the house and not the man. But being considered alpha doesn’t mean the dog prefers that person, or is more affectionate towards that person. It just means that the dog tends to be very submissive with that person. And in my experience with dogs it is the males that are more sensitive to pack structure and pecking order.
My dogs consider my husband to be the “alpha” in our home. I believe this is because he is 6’3 and I’m 5’3. He is loud and has a big, deep and scary voice… and he gets angry more frequently. 🙂 They get out of his way and if he calls them over they tend to walk over with their heads low to the ground and their tails wagging excessively. With me, on the other hand, the dogs are extremely affectionate. I’m the Mama and they are always all over me. They are absolutely obedient to me and they do not prefer to sit with one of us over the other.
In general the goal of training any family dog is to get the dog to consider ALL family members “alpha” to the dog. This can be tricky for many breeds, and within breeds can vary considerably litter to litter and within litters. This comes down to doggie personality (or what I call “temperament”). A well-bred cockapoo puppy should have a very middle of the road temperament. He or she should be obedient, eager to please, curious and adventurous but not domineering, dominating or overly shy or submissive. The ideal family pet dog should have a perfect harmony of enthusiasm and self-confidence along with a happy willingness to be at the bottom of the pecking order.
With some breeds you may see differences in gender in relation to assertiveness and trainability. With Cockapoos that is not the case. Males and females more or less act completely the same IF they are neutered or spayed by about 6-9 months of age.
Cockapoos are the kind of dog that must be thinking all day, everyday “I love you, I love you, I love you” and follow everyone and anyone around that might possibly pet them. Have you ever seen the children’s move “Up!” by Pixar? There is a scene in the movie where a dog jumps up and says “Hello. I just met you, and I love you!” to an old man. That scene is particularly apt when it comes to “family” type dogs. And cockapoos must be thinking that every time they make a new friend!
Our dogs might tend to follow me around the house the most, but that is most likely directly connected to the fact that I’m the person that feeds them!! The way to a dog’s heart is definitely his stomach!
Honestly, either way you go you will get a dog that is a maniac for affection from anyone. My dogs are always trying to lay down right next to someone, there never seems to be any real preference on the part of the dogs. They snuggle with the kids, at my feet, they try to jump in laps all day, even our new infant son got dogs at his feet and handing him chew toys to play fetch (they never did quite figure out that he couldn’t throw it just yet). Now that baby is a toddler and happily chucking fetch-toys (and other objects) for the dogs to retrieve.
With any dog you get that is considered a good family dog and not a “one owner dog” you will have a special relationship with that animal if you participate in the training, the feeding, and daily cuddles. If you’re gone more often and want a special relationship with your new puppy I would recommend that you be the one to feed a new dog exclusively, or even better, you be the only one that gives the dog treats. This makes you kind of like the ice-cream man and it will help you bond with a new puppy. Of course others can give treats at a later time, but you should be the only one do do it for the first few months since your spouse will already be the one home with the dog all day.
Ultimately, with a cockapoo, and several other breeds, you’re going to get a dog that will fall all over him or herself to please. He or she will be ridiculously excited every time they see you, and will want nothing more than your affection and attention. My dogs get so happy to see my in the morning that they spin in circles at the bottom of the stairs! My dogs get so excited to hear “Daddy’s Home!” that they begin running around the house trying hard to look out the windows (which are a little too tall for them). It is very endearing.
So the short answer is no, I really notice no difference between males or females and it really comes down to personal preference and no, Cockapoos are not apt at all to favor any particular family member over another (barring special circumstances and problems with consistency or training). They are equal-opportunity loveys!