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We all have busy lifestyles – whether we have work to do, school or shopping to go to, or any other activity that stops us from being with our bichon frise all the time. It’s impossible to take it with us wherever we go, so, inevitably, we wonder how a bichon frise fares at home alone.
In the next sections, you will find out everything you need to know about doing so – how long you can leave your bichon frise alone and how to do it safely to avoid destructive behaviors and even debilitating mental conditions.
How Long Can a Bichon Frise Be Left Alone?
The time your bichon frise can spend alone depends on two things: its age and training. If you have to go to school or work, you may want to train your pup to stay alone at home and ensure their alone time is as enjoyable as possible. Good training means that you ease your pup into staying at home all by itself.
If your bichon frise is a puppy, you should not leave it alone for more than one hour. At a young age, your pup does not have enough training, cannot control its bladder, so you will have to clean up the mess if you are not there when it wants to go potty. You might also want to read my article on how to take care of a bichon frise puppy.
At around two months old, you can double the time alone. At this age, spending time alone for two hours or so should not result in bladder issues, and the pup may learn how to be more independent.
If your bichon frise is an adult (1-year-old), you can consider leaving it alone for about four hours. Even a bit more may be totally safe, as long as your pup is trained and well-behaved.
Once your bichon frise is older, you may leave it alone for 8 hours or so without any worries. After this time, you may want to make sure that the pup spends time with someone. Even though the dog may seem happy and may not have any damaging behaviors, it is still in need of social exchange and guidance.
Senior dogs also need more time with their owner. This is because your aging pooch grows weaker and may have health issues that cause pain, so it needs to spend more time with you as the dog depends on you much more than before. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you used to leave your dog alone for longer periods, but it suddenly starts to develop negative behaviors as it ages.
Finally, your dog’s past experiences also influence the amount of time you can leave it by itself. For instance, if you took a puppy that used to live in a dog shelter always surrounded by people or other dogs, it is more likely to be unable to stay alone for a long time. Also, those pups that used to spend a long time with the elderly or people who could not leave the house will have problems adapting when suddenly staying alone for a long time.
5 Ways to Make Your Bichon Comfortable Staying Home Alone
There are a few tips you can follow to make your bichon comfortable staying at home:
1. Refreshing Environment
Make sure you open the curtains and leave your pup to explore the house while enjoying plenty of sunlight and being able to see what happens outside. Keep in mind that you should never leave your pup outside in the yard – bichons are not yard dogs and this could hurt your puppy and even damage its health.
2. Plan Some Visits
If you go to work or school, you may want to ask a friend or a neighbor to pop in from time to time. Allowing someone you trust to come in, play with your pup, and make sure it has everything it needs (like food and water) will also lift its mood and prevent feeling lonely. You may also want to ask your friend to take the dog out for a walk if possible.
3. Boost Curiosity
We all feel bored from time to time. Your pup is no exception! Make sure you leave around some new toys for your bichon frise to play with when you are not home. You can leave out 2-3 toys that your dog doesn’t have access to on a daily basis. The new toys will keep the pup engaged for a longer time, so it won’t get bored as easily. There are plenty of interactive toys on the market, so you can invest in some dog-friendly puzzles or other games that will keep your bichon curious and active.
4. Leave the TV On
Silence can be our worst enemy – and your pup feels the same. It is not surprising if your pup will feel scared or anxious in case of loud noises outside. You can turn on the television (or even a radio) to keep the pup engaged and feeling safer. There are lots of dog channels, so the time alone can be easily turned into a fun moment of independence while learning something new.
5. Keep Your Pup Engaged
When bored, your bichon frise may turn to destructive behaviors like chewing your furniture or damaging other objects. To avoid this, you can hide some treats around the house where it has access to and won’t damage anything. For instance, you can leave some new toys or treats under the table or a chair. Just make sure that your pup won’t be injured trying to reach the treat.
7 Things to Consider If You Need to Leave Your Bichon Frise Alone for Longer
Is it impossible to come back within a few hours? Well, the bad news is that you should do everything possible not to leave your pup alone for more than eight hours. With proper extra training, you may be able to expand this to ten hours. If you need more time, it’s best to have someone stay with your pup at home.
When leaving your bichon frise at home for longer, here are some things you need to consider to ensure it feels safe and well:
- Enough food and water for the entire time;
- Access to its bed;
- New toys or treats to keep them entertained;
- Enough space to stretch and play around;
- Access to potty-friendly area (either a pee pad or the ability to walk outdoors through a pet door)
- Lights are on (to be able to see even in the evening and/or early morning)
- Play music, TV, or radio in the background to eliminate the silence
- It’s recommended to get someone to check on your pup, take it out for a walk or spend some time at home.
What Will Happen If You Leave Your Bichon Frise Alone for Too Long?
Separation anxiety means that your pup panics when it is alone at home; its signs include biting furniture or doors, howling, crying, digging. These destructive behaviors are used by your pup to avoid feeling lonely.
The bichon frise breed is perhaps the most affected one when it comes to separation anxiety. The most common symptoms include excessive barking, but this debilitating issue can also lead to urinating and defecating throughout the house, vomiting, and other unwanted physical symptoms. This may affect your bichon frise even if you leave them with someone else in the house – it feels lonely because it is not with its owner.
How your pup copes with staying alone at home also depends on your schedule. For instance, if you leave your pup waiting outside the shop while you are inside, it will not suffer since it knows that it will be a short while until you come back. However, you leave home for work and your pup stays alone for many hours, this can cause an extreme amount of distress, leading to separation anxiety. Having a strict routine, like leaving and coming back at the same hour every time, will help your dog cope better.
Also, it’s common for dogs to feel scared or fearful when they are alone. For instance, if you leave your pup alone and it hears a loud bang outside, it will lead to fear. Constant fear in this environment will eventually lead to separation anxiety.
When leaving your bichon frise alone at home, it’s important to create a routine and slowly expand the time, so you ease your pup into the new environment. It’s important to make sure it’s safe and calm, there’s enough water and food, and your pup won’t get bored easily, so you need to get creative with toys and rewards.
If your bichon frise suffers from separation anxiety, it’s important to know that your vet can help you control this condition. In some cases, though, your dog will develop separation anxiety anyway.
It’s important to know that bichons are social dogs and need contact with you all the time. If you are unable to spend time with your pup, you may either want to hire a pet sitter or get a friend to stay with them when you are not home or go for a dog trainer that can help you teach your dog coping skills for when you are not at home.