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Small, lovable, and friendly, bichons frises are sturdy little dogs that are usually happy-go-lucky lap dogs that love cuddles and attention. One of the most popular toy breeds in the world, they are playful and can bring a smile to anyone’s face with their goofy antics.
However, all dogs can be aggressive, bichons frises included. This is especially true if they feel threatened or scared. They may bark fiercely, growl, and even bite if they feel like they are in danger. This behavior is often directed at other animals, but it can also be directed at humans, particularly children.
If you have a bichon, it is crucial to socialize them from an early age so that they learn to trust people and not view them as a threat. With proper training and care, a bichon frise can make a loving and loyal companion.
Is Bichon Frise Naturally Aggressive?
Bichons frises are usually happy-go-lucky dogs that are loving, affable, and kind. They are frequently found as emotional support or therapy dogs, spreading happiness around them through their playful and lively nature. They are the best companions and are known to be lovers, not fighters.
However, they are little dogs that can easily feel threatened by large animals or smaller children and start to exhibit aggressive behaviors. With early socialization and desensitization, bichons can be calm, confident dogs without any aggression issues, but a poorly-socialized bichon can also grow up to be excessively defensive or respond to stressful situations with aggression.
How Does Aggressive Behavior Manifest in Bichon Frise?
Bichon frise dogs are adorable creatures that thrive on human companionship. They love attention and are prone to separation anxiety. If left unchecked, separation anxiety can escalate into uncontrollable behaviors and result in aggression.
An insecure or fearful bichon can exhibit aggressive behaviors such as aggressive barking, snarling, snapping, and finally, a bite. Aggression can take many different forms, and it is important to understand the various causes of aggression in order to effectively address it.
6 Reasons Your Bichon Frise Could Be Aggressive
In most cases, the bichon frise is considered a gentle, well-mannered breed of dog, that isn’t excessively prone to aggression issues, especially if properly trained and socialized. That said, here are some reasons that could be making your dog aggressive.
Anxiety occurs in bichon frise dogs when they are separated from their owner for prolonged periods and they might start to develop an overall sense of insecurity. Bichons do well in households in which a family member is around for most of the day.
Anxiety in dogs can develop into aggression which might be difficult to correct.
Many dogs are territorial and bichons are no different. Because of their extreme attachment to their family, they can become very possessive of their owner and threaten anyone who will come close.
They can go an extra mile if someone tries to invade their space which they think is something solely meant for them, or if someone messes with their food or favorite toy.
Fear aggression is one of the leading causes of dog bites. Bichons, being small, are vulnerable to being squeezed, pinched, stepped on, hair pulled, or harassed by children. Toddlers and young children sometimes aren’t taught how to properly interact with dogs and can accidentally hurt a small dog or play too rough.
Such unpleasant experiences may trigger aggressive, defensive behavior in bichons.
Sometimes, any bitter experience or a bad image of a person, animal, or other dogs around can also be a reason for a bichon’s aggression.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs can have amazing memories and something that happened a long time ago can trigger your bichon frise to show aggression to what he or she sees as a potential conflict.
5. Health Issues
Of course, being sick or in pain will make any dog moody and defensive. Like we humans face health issues, bichons frises can also be more temperamental if they are feeling under the weather.
In addition, medical conditions like hyperthyroidism are often diagnosed in dogs which might lead to sudden aggression. In this condition, the thyroid glands are not secreting an adequate amount of thyroid hormones, leading to nervousness and mood swings.
Your bichon frise could also be suffering from several injuries and sickness that could be causing them pain. Any dog in pain has the tendency to react aggressively, especially if surprised or taken aback.
While a calm, confident dog is unlikely to develop aggressive behaviors, an insecure, twitchy dog might overreact in any typical situation.
3 Things To Do If Your Bichon Frise Is Too Aggressive
Regardless of the size of a dog, aggression should never ever be tolerated. Did you know that Chihuahuas are one of the top biting breeds, regularly ranking among the top five? Nothing is more annoying than seeing a dog owner laughing at a small dog barking his head off and merely responding with “he’s just playing.”
Here are some steps you can take to calm your bichon down and nip aggressive behaviors in the bud (pun fully intended!).
1. Regular Medical Checks
Some underlying health problems can be the cause of your bichon’s aggression. By having frequent veterinary visits, you can catch any symptoms in time to prevent the condition from worsening, and to identify any potential sources of aggression.
2. Not Leaving Children or Toddlers Unsupervised With Your Bichon Frise
For safety’s sake, it is important that we should not leave young children and toddlers near your dog unattended, no matter how socialized and well-behaved they seem.
Any animal can bite if they are threatened or hurt, and the young will need proper instruction on how to handle a small dog.
3. Step Up the Training Regimen
If you find yourself with an aggressive bichon, there are some things you can do to help train them and improve their behavior.
First, it’s important to understand what is causing the aggression. There are many possible causes, including fear, frustration, possessiveness, and even pain. Once you know the cause of the aggression, you can begin to work on addressing it.
For example, if the aggression is due to fear, you’ll want to start by slowly introducing your dog to the things they’re afraid of in a safe and controlled environment. If the aggression is due to possessiveness, you’ll need to work on training your dog to share their toys and food.
In addition, all dogs will benefit from obedience training, bichons are no exception. Group training classes provide valuable socialization opportunities with other dogs and a well-trained dog is a happy dog!
If all else fails, always go to a professional trainer or behavioral consultant.
How to Prevent A Bichon Frise From Becoming Aggressive
Prevention is better than cure! The age-old adage never gets old. Before waiting till your bichon frise exhibits aggressive behaviors, you can take a few steps to help your pooch become a stable, well-mannered canine citizen.
1. Early Socialization
If you’ve ever brought a new puppy into your home, you know the joy and challenges that come along with it. One of the most crucial things you can do for your pup is to socialize them, which means exposing them to a variety of people, places, and experiences. This will help your dog learn how to behave around other dogs and people, and make them less likely to be reactive or fearful in new situations.
There are a few different ways to socialize your bichon frise. One is to simply take them out with you on a leash as often as possible, so they can get used to being around people and other animals. You can also enroll them in doggy daycare or dog-walking groups, which will give them regular opportunities to socialize.
Take your bichon out and have as many dog and human interactions as possible to get your bichon used to meeting strangers. The more exposed a dog is, the calmer their demeanor. Dogs that have experienced a vast range of situations will rarely get triggered into aggression.
With a little patience and effort, you can help your bichon enjoy a happy, well-rounded life.
2. Avoid Fear-Inducing Situations
If your bichon frise is fearful, remove the cause of it and take a few steps back with socialization and training.
For example, if your bichon is extremely stressed by the vacuum cleaner, start with vacuuming in a different room for as long as it takes until your bichon is calm around the noise, gradually moving closer. Be patient, months of desensitization will eventually pay off!
3. Teach the Children
Properly instruct any young children to treat your bichon with gentleness and respect, including how to pick your bichon up and play with your pooch.
Rough play and handling can hurt your bichon and result in him or her becoming wary of young children.
4. Physical Stimulation
Bichons are lively dogs that will do well with a short walk or two a day. A tired dog is a happy dog, and bored dogs are only going to get themselves in trouble!
Take your bichon frise out for a walk every day to keep them active, healthy, and calm.
No dog is born aggressive. They develop these learned behaviors throughout their lives, often with little to no fault.
If you have an aggressive bichon frise and feel like you are unable to cope, always go to a professional. Sometimes it is as simple as removing a particular stimulus or trigger.
Best of luck!