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The bichon frise is a popular breed amongst dog show enthusiasts. It is considered highly trainable with a delightful temperament. In general, they have very few behavior issues. But behavior problems can occur in any breed for many reasons, and the bichon frise is no exception.
Here are a few common bichon frise behavior problems and how to deal with them.
#1: Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is the most common problem a bichon frise owner might encounter. While it is heartwarming that your Bichon pup can grow so very attached to you, the subsequent behavioral problems are generally a cause for concern.
Place training is an important part of basic training for any dog. In essence, place training is the method of teaching your pup to go to a specific spot and wait for a “release” word.
Place training helps teach your dog self-discipline, but for a bichon frise is very important because it undoes hyper-attachment. It teaches your dog they do not need to be glued to you every second of the day. It will allow you to leave your bichon frise alone. Hyper attachment and a lack of exercise are the two biggest factors behind separation anxiety.
#2: Potty Training
Considering their reputation, it might be surprising to learn that bichons frises can be difficult to potty train. They can be a little independent and stubborn, and they have very small bladders, which doesn’t help solve the problem.
What Is Potty Training?
Potty training is the process of training a puppy when and where it is appropriate for it to do its business. It is rarely easy but can be particularly challenging in the case of the bichon. It may be down to another bichon trait: stubbornness.
Training a puppy where to “go” is fundamental. It is inarguably the first thing you will teach any new pup. It should be a positive experience for the pup, which will require patience and calm from the owner.
The First Step
The first step when you get home with a new pup is to get the pup to eliminate in the designated potty spot. Give your bichon praise if it does go, keeping in mind this is going to take time.
Inside your home, you should cordon off all areas that the pup need not access. Bathrooms, unused bedrooms, and the like are attractive places for a pup to “go.” The designated potty area should be the easiest and most convenient place for the puppy to relieve itself.
Crate and Leash Training
Many pet owners are reluctant to introduce crate training. That is likely down to the fact that it does seem unpleasant at first. However, crate training presents no harm to your pup. On the contrary, a crate can have a calming effect on a dog.
You will introduce your bichon to both crate and leash gradually and with loads of positive reinforcement. It must be a positive experience. Should the pup form negative connotations with either, it will become a big problem throughout their training.
The first advice that you are likely to receive when purchasing a crate is to buy one that will be big enough for your dog when it is fully grown. For potty training, a smaller crate is best. Too much space and the corners of the crate can become impromptu potty areas. The crate should act as a place for the pup when it is not under supervision.
That said, the crate must not be a go-to solution, and the puppy should rather be supervised and on a leash when possible.
A bichon frise puppy is very tiny and has an equally small bladder. Therefore, it would be best if you took them to the designated potty area a minimum of every two hours until they learn to take themselves out.
The bichon frise is less inclined to bark than many other small breeds. That said, it can still be a problem if your dog is locked up for long hours and becomes bored. The barking can be rather high-pitched, and the bichon certainly has stamina in how long it might carry on.
Ignore the Problem
It sounds like terrible advice, and it would be unless your dog was barking to get your attention. When that is the case, ignore it until the barking stops. Then, you can’t interact with the pup in any way: no touch, no eye contact, and no verbal response.
If the barking is to get your attention, any response from you rewards the behavior. A negative response is as likely to reinforce the behavior as a positive response. The key is to genuinely not respond.
When the barking stops, quickly reward your bichon frise with a treat. It is crucial that your timing is perfect. You do not want to offer a reward right at the moment that your pup starts barking again. That would reinforce the behavior that we are trying to stop.
Desensitize Your Pup
Barking is a common response to the unknown. So it is hardly surprising when new stimuli get your dog into a complete tizzy. That said, you want to teach your bichon frise not to respond with incessant barking every time it spots a cat or meets a new dog.
The best way to go about this is to desensitize the pup to the reason they are barking through constant socialization and by limiting their view of triggers, such as squirrels they can see through the window.
Pent-up energy can lead to any number of behavioral problems. If your bichon frise is barking a lot, you may want to consider increasing their exercise and playtime. One does not want to over-exert the dog, so gradually increase the length of walks and other activities.
You can also use obedience training to teach your dog to “quiet” or distract them with a chew or puzzle toy.
The bichon frise is a highly trainable. When compared to similar small breeds, they are less inclined to serious behavioral problems. That said, they are not perfect.
The challenges that a new bichon frise owner will face will require patience and a positive approach, but none are insurmountable.