Deciding on a Cavachon as a best friend and four legged child was the best decission I've ever made. My Maggies personality couldn't be more perfect for me. She's a velcro dog so very attached to the family, especially me and loves to snuggle and have everyones hands on her, petting or playing with her. She really is an attention hog in her free time lol. She's always happy and will lay face to face with you in bed putting her wiggle butt on the minute she sees you open your eyes in the morning and not stopping except when she's asleep and she sometimes even wags her tail, runs and close mouth, barks in her sleep. I will tell you, as a puppy you have your hands full and it takes quite some time for them to really settle down. Maggie never tired out. It took 8 months to totally housebreak her as she was always too busy and compulsive almost not even realizing what she did until she was in the middle of it or finished. We had an outdoor dog pin where I would let her run off leash several times a day, she has tons of toys and play times, At the time I was working nights and my parents were working days so she was never left alone and had LOTS of play sessions yet if you left to go cook something or go to the bathroom and she didn't follow you and things got quiet you knew something was up. She would destroy all of her toys, rip wallpaper off the wall, decide pant lets and socks were the best tug of war toys ever when you would walk and was extremely difficult to train but after the first year she had mellowed out enough to get the basics down, by year two she was no longer getting into anything and that's the point I realized she didn't get into stuff just because she was a really hyper puppy but because she was extremely intelligent, In fact she was brilliant and just bored looking for something more stimulating than stuffed toys and balls. I have had seizures since a TBI after being bullied in school when I was 12 years old and our late cocker spaniel mix who was 11 years old when we got Maggie had picked up on my seizures and would alert me to them. She wasn't a service dog, would have made a phenomenal one but did pick up on the alerting on her own. When Maggie was 4 months old she had seen Sandy alert me a few times and came over and copied Sandys alert. She did this a few times over the next few months but I didn't think much of it thinking she probably didn't since the seizures and passing out from the Vigus nerve damage that resulted from the TBI but was just copying Sandy because sandy got a lot of attention when she alerted me. When Maggie was about 10 months old, my mom had Sandy at the vet and Maggie started jumping on me, wining and pressing her body against me like Sandy would if I was going to pass out and/or have a seizure. I kind of ignored it and got a toy to play with her, sat down on the floor and went into a seizure. I then realized she was also able to since my seizures and passing out. When Maggie was about 2 she had finally mellowed out enough that she no longer had the attention span of a gold fish and this is when I really started training her and realized she could get a new trick down pat in about 5 minutes flat though she is fairly stubborn so though she learned a ton of tricks if you didn't have a treat she looked at you like you were stupid if you asked her to do something lol. When she was 3 years old I signed her up for classes at Petmart. The teacher acted like I was crazy for signing her up because she already knew every trick but one that they taught in all three level of classes plus some they didn't teach as well as a lot of them in American Sign Language in addition to English but I also have a genetic condition that had progressed to the point I was now a paraplegic and wanted Maggie to be more reliable with her tricks and behavior and do things the first time I asked without needing a treat or having to worry about something distracting her. She can go out to the bathroom on her own without a leash but we don't have a fenced in yard and being in a chair, when its not perfectly dry I can't go into the grass with Maggie so I wanted to be sure she wouldn't see a squirrel and run off instead of coming when called, make sure her heal was perfect and nothing distracted her because on wheels she can pull me in my chair if she wants to so they let her join the class to solidify her skills and behavior. On the third class Maggie alerted me so I excused myself from the class, went around the back to a more private area and laid down on the floor. My mom soon came out and helped take care of me. After I had woken up the trainer came to check on me in which I said I was fine and we went back to class. After the class ended the trainer asked me to stay after. She then said "Did Maggie just do what I think she did?" I said "what do you mean?" She said "Earlier in class, When you left. Was Maggie alerting you?" I said "Oh, yeah, She's been doing it since she was a puppy, she picked it up off of Sandy." She said "Oh, is Sandy your service dog?" I said "No, she's just always done that" She said "Well are you planning on training Maggie to be your service dog" Totally ignorant to the fact that small any breed at any size could be a service dog I laughed and said "Nah, I wish but she's too little to do that but I did try to get a service dog a while back and none of them would accept me into the program because of my allergies. A lot refuse to do poodles or wont let you choose even if you do have a life threatening condition like my Systemic Mastocitosis medically requiring it" The trainer said "No she's not, she knows a task, not a trick, a task that is needed to mitigate a health issue and that's the main requirement." I then said "Yeah but I don't know where to get a trainer. None of these places will train a dog your own dog, they have to get them from their own breakers so I don't know anyone that can do it" She then said "Yes you do." I said "who?" She said "Hellooo. Me. I don't only work here. I also work at the police dog academy training police dogs and have even trained two of the dogs to be service dogs for injured officers. I can help you train her" I agreed and she asked me to move into a smaller class with only one other dog who she thought the owner would drop out soon anyhow as she had already missed a day and called off for the following week. I changed classes and we stayed in the smallest classes through all of the class levels where we would solidify the tricks she already knew during most of the class, eventually breaking her from treats and making her realize that she was to do what was asked rather there was a treat or not and the last few minutes she would go over what ever task related service skills I wanted Maggie to learn and would show me before I left how to train Maggie how to do said task and I would work on it with her throughout the week. I watched Maggie change before my very eyes. She became more confident, focused, and obedient. Not only that but we became closer during this time. Maggie was more well rounded learning to do more than just alert, behave well and do fun tricks but she learned more task related skills like retrieving small items and bringing them to me, going to get help, we took her to stores working on her scent work because she knew my parents by grandma and papaw so we would go to Lowes where my parents went to a random isle and I told her to find one or the other and she would sniff them out, find them and bring them back to me if I needed help as well as how to get help from strangers. She learned to turn one of the lights on in our house by jumping onto the seat and then the back of the recliner and flipping the switch. She now alerted me in a more appropriate and less noticeable way that wouldn't be disruptive in a public situation. She can pull me in my chair to safety. She's only 17 lbs but on wheels she can very easily pull me if I were to pass out in my chair or something and more. I also taught her a few things that weren't really necessary but were really handy such as how to properly drink from a water fountain so that if we are going somewhere we know has a fountain we don't have to bring water with us and how to get in a cat hammock attached under my chair and to step on my foot plate to get on my lap on my manual chair and how to ride on my footplate or climb onto my lap on my powerchair which comes in really handy in crowded places where I really worry about having a small service dog that others may not see and don't want her accidentally stepped on. This is also helpful in narrow spaces where we need to consolidate space. Besides, she loves ridding on my lap. When she gets on my lap she will sit up all straight and stick out her chest like she her stuff doesn't smell, almost as if riding in my chair is her thrown. She very quickly learned the difference between working and being at home too. Some have seen her in both situations and say she's like two totally different dogs, which she is. At home she acts like a pet, will play with her interactive games, sit in the window and bark at a squirrels, bark at and jump on people who come over unless other wise told she cant like if they are elderly and a fall risk. She greats my home health infusion nurse this way every week, except the first one in which I wouldn't let her jump as I didn't know how the nurse would like dogs but she loves her and sees a dog jumping on you as a compliment like I do. She loves to waller in the blankets and just be her silly loving self but as soon as you put on her vest and boots and leave the driveway she gets what we all call her "serious face." As soon as we leave the house she knows its time to work, is quiet as a mouse, snaps into almost militant like obedience and is very observant of me. I think the hardest thing to teach her after the age of two, as she is a Cavachon and they are very much velcro dogs is to stay. When we started, she would stay unless you took a step away from you and then she would stand up and start to follow. Eventually I was allowed to go about five feet away before she would move. Then she got a lot more comfortable realizing I would come back and I would release her so I could go to the store and leave her at one end of the isle and go to the other end but we hit a brick wall for a little while there because if she lost site of me she would take off running to find me so if I turned the corner to go to the next isle, as soon as my back tires left her site she would run as fast as she could after me. Eventually we got over that hump as long as she could hear me in the nest isle or the next room still talking to her and reminding her to stay and eventually I was able to take the voice away all together and she would stay until I released her. If you don't like a dog Velcro dog that is very snuggly, extremely smart, actually to a fault because they are also stubborn so if you train with treats first taking them away turns out to be more of joke on you than joke on them, don't like a lap warmer and don't like having multiple layers of saliva on your face and hands at all times as most Cavachon's would need to join Lickers Anonymous if it were a thing than a Cavachon isn't for you. If you want a best friend who is so happy to see you, you'd think you've been gone a million years even if you just walk outside a second to grab something out of the deepfreeze or your car, love puppy kisses and unconditional love a dog that likes people and animals alike. Now I wouldn't say Maggie jumps for joy with other people like she does the people and animals she knows personally like household people, neighbors and their dogs but if given permission, she will allow people to pet her. As she's a service dog, I don't allow petting a lot because of course if one person wants to pet her, everyone does. In her case she can drop a toy mid play and alert me so the distraction of being pet isn't a huge distraction for her but when one person wants to pet her everyone does so its pretty rare and usually in situations without many people when I will allow it. I cave for the little old ladies and the kids with intellectual disabilities a lot lol but they are pretty friendly dogs that are okay co-existing with others but only have a few who they really jump for joy and about wiggle out of their fur when they see lol. Though extremely intelligent dogs you may have to hold off on a lot of the unnecessary training until they are a little older and have started to mellow out a bit because being small dogs, that puppy stage lasts longer than in big dogs and they are very excitable dogs and almost ADHD as puppies but once they have matured a little training training couldn't be much easier. The only real challenge I had with training involved their Velcro dog abilities. They like to be right with you all the time so if you are trying to teach them something that involves them leaving your site or you leaving theirs it can be challenging but and energy levels as a puppy maybe not best for those who lack patients or first time dog owners but other than that you're good to go. You have kids, no big deal as long as their gentle enough not to hurt your cavachon you're good, cats, dogs, bunnies or other indoor animals you should be good. I've rehabbed a few birds and a few wild rabbits and she has been okay with both but I do have to watch her with bunnies. She's not mean but gets really exacted to see them hop and sometimes plays too rough. She also has two best friends, one is a chipmonk that comes back every single year and lives under the ramp on our back porch and this year a frog that got so attached to her that it would literally hop up to see her when she came outside. She's been gentle with both. The only animal she's ever had an issue with was a snake which thank god was a Gardner snake. When she was a puppy I had her in the dog pin and saw her growling and slinging something around in her mouth like she does with her toys. I got down to the other end and it was a snake. She was fine Thank god... I don't know if the snake was, though she did think it was a great new toy. She is now 8 and the only health issues she has ever had is she was born with a deviated (high) palate so when she drinks water she will sometimes cough but it really causes no harm. Was it an issue with the breeder, sure but I love her and would never ever trade her for any other dog. The issue was with a bone. She swallowed a chunk and it got lodged in her throat as a puppy. We took her to the emergency vet twice where they missed it. She quit eating and we thought we were going to loose her. I took her to our regular vet who did an endoscopy and was able to dislodge it from her throat so for now on we will only give her smart bones. She's a small dog but does like to chew on bones and at 8 has never needed a dental. Lastly she had an anal gland impacted but none of those are anything chronic or anything that (well now after the bone issue was found and removed) will effect her life in a bad way. She isn't on anything but a multivitamin and as bichons are prone to allergies and tear stains as well as Maggie being a working dog she's on a very high quality food but it really is worth the extra money for the health benefits. Ear infections and UTIs are common in Cavachon's but Maggie has never had one. Even though she's 8 years old, you would never know. With the King Charles facial features a lot of people still mistake her for a puppy and she still stays active and hasn't shown any signs of aging, arthritis or slowing down. She mellowed out after the first two years but is totally fine lying beside you on the couch or working for 8 hours going from department to department seeing various doctors for tests or even going for a power chair run around a local neighborhood. For as little as she is, she can walk 6 miles in a day as I've tracked it with my wheelchair but I do also give her the option to take a break and ride on my lap or in her cat hammock under my chair if she chooses to but she sometimes enjoys walking all the way. Sorry this is so long. Good luck and I hope this helps some of you in choosing your next pet.