The Bichon Frise is always a joy to be around… friendly, sociable, loyal, and a happy dog altogether, this small size breed is an ideal apartment dweller who loves the company of both small children and elderly folks. While their tiny physique makes them even more adorable, they often display signs of temperament disorders, indicating that something is not right. As a Bichon Frise owner, you should know that obsessive barking and destructive chewing are not part of their innate personality and need to be addressed accordingly. Let’s find out which of the symptoms should alert you that something may be wrong and learn how you can avoid them.
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The Root of the Behavior
The Bichon Frise is a quiet breed, so if he is barking uncontrollably you should know there is an underlying problem that you need to deal with. When you have a barking Bichon, the worst things that you can do is overwhelm him with excessive cuddling or harsh punishments. Both of these reactions will only make things worse for you and your little furry friend. Due to their affectionate, sensitive, and gentle nature as well as their small appearance, it’s easy to understand why most owners baby their fluffy little breed each time they start barking or acting in an inappropriate manner. But just as spoiling or indulging your children each time they misbehave can have unpleasant consequences for the future, your Bichon Frise will continue to bark until they get their way. The thing is, you induce your dog's behavior, but you can also stop it.
Separation anxiety is also common in Bichons. More than most other breeds, the Bichon Frise needs a great deal of companionship and does not like being left alone for more than a few hours. If you are a person who travels a lot then this is not the right breed for you, since you’re only setting them up for obsessive behavioral reactions such as chewing, barking and crying. Other triggers could include moving to a new place, cases of previous abuse and a defensive behavior due to their petite structure. Bichons tend to bark more in order to get their master’s attention, warning anyone from taking their food and assuming an aggressive posture to avoid possible intruders. Although they do have an independent streak, the Bichon Frise is rarely dominant nor aggressive in nature. Most of their negative temperaments are generally human-induced, which is why controlling your dog’s behavior and understanding the reasons behind it will save you plenty of headaches along the way.
Encouraging the Behavior
How do you stop your Bichon from barking? You take the lead… literally. If you want to be able to control your dog properly, you need to control him in his environment first. Let’s say your pup is extremely anxious each time someone tries to leave the house: he will start barking like mad and jumping up and down. By putting a simple lead on him and grabbing it each time he starts barking, you teach him that his behavior is unacceptable. The more you practice it, the calmer and calmer he will get. This is where it’s important to point out that if you didn’t have that lead on him, he would be running around, knowing that you couldn’t catch him.
Remember that shouting and resorting to physical force will only make the dog more aggressive, so be kind and patient towards your little Bichon and reward him with special treats every time he responds in a positive manner. Give extra tasty treats when your pup is quiet, such as liver, cooked chicken pieces, or cut-up hot dogs. More so, regular exercise and training methods can also help release his anxiety and fearful demeanor. And when it comes to Bichon Frises, you’re in luck, because their exercise needs are easy to meet: a daily walk or two, plus a small yard in which to trot around will pretty much do the trick.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Since barking cannot be trained out of them, you can always use proper training to control and limit their bad habits. That is why a stop barking command is important and should be taught early on. As soon as your Bichon starts barking, hold a treat in front of his nose, say “Speak!” one time, then give him the treat when he barks. Follow up with the “Quiet!” command and give the treat as soon as he stops barking. You will see what a difference it makes! It’s true that old habits die hard but he will get better at it, the more you repeat the process.
Bichon Frises are a joy to be around - playful, sensitive, caring, and loyal, this breed craves human companionship and is a sucker for good treats. Use that in your favor and offer him food treats as rewards whenever he stops barking at your command and don’t leave him alone for long periods of time. Instead, establish the right relationship between the two of you, where you are the leader and he is the follower, and provide him with proper exercise and training to prevent any unwanted behaviors.