Training Your Bichon Frise
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013
Is the Bichon Frise easy to train?
Moderate, I would say. Many Bichons do have a stubborn streak, but they don't tend to be dominant dogs who want to be the boss. So as long as you're calm with a Bichon Frise, gentle with your corrections yet absolutely consistent, always following through on what you tell them to do, they respond well to training.
I've had many Bichons in my obedience training classes. My favorites were Charlie and Sam. When told to lie down, Charlie would do so, then immediately roll onto his back and cover his eyes with his paws, as though he was afraid to see what was going to happen next. :-)
When you're training your Bichon Frise, include a few tricks. Charlie and Sam would sit up on their haunches and beg, roll over and play dead, dance on their hind legs, and speak.
Oh, and speaking of speaking (ha!), some Bichons can be serious barkers, especially if you leave them alone too much. Sam had a surprisingly deep, gruff bark for such a small dog, while Charlie had this horrible high-pitched bark that would set your teeth on edge.
The other main training issue with the Bichon Frise is housebreaking. When an owner drops his Bichon Frise off at the animal shelter, it's often because of difficulties with housebreaking .
So when you ask, "How easy is it – training Bichons?" my answer is, "Moderately easy, except for slowness to housebreaking and potential barking. But it depends on the temperament and personality of the individual dog, plus your own dog training skills."
That's where I come in. Keep reading my dog training articles (and hopefully buy my book, "Teach Your Dog 100 English Words") and I will help you train your Bichon Frise to be well-mannered and well-behaved. I've been working with dogs for 35+ years, as a dog trainer, canine psychologist, breed advisor, and author of 15 books about dogs.
Dog Training – What Works, and What Doesn't
Some dog training methods are based on what makes the OWNER feel good, rather than what on actually makes sense to the dog. For example, "positive-only" dog training is a big fad right now. Now, treats can be great motivators for training Bichons, but if your dog will only obey for a treat, then HE is in charge of his obedience, not you. [read more]
Here are my dog training tips for training Bichon Frise puppies and adult dogs:
Teach your Bichon Frise puppy to play fetch. It's an easy way to exercise your dog and many Bichons love to play retrieving games with their toys. I show you how to teach these games in my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
Teach your Bichon Frise how to stay alone. That sounds odd, I know. But many Bichons are overly dependent and tend to bark and chew things up when they're lonely. So you don't want to leave your Bichon Frise alone too much (more than four hours a day is too much). But you do want to leave him alone sometimes so he doesn't become so dependent on you that he CAN'T stay alone without pitching a fit or becoming fretful, a behavioral issue called "separation anxiety." So you shouldn't stay with your Bichon Frise all the time, or cuddle with him all the time. Instead, you need to train him to be independent, to stand on his own four feet and find things to do on his own. Teaching healthy independence to your dog is covered in my training book, too.
Teach your Bichon Frise puppy to respect you. Respect is the key to training your Bichon Frise to be well-haved. [read more about Respect Training]
Teach the right words to your Bichon Frise. My method of training Bichons includes teaching specific words in specific ways so that your dog not only learns the words but also develops the respectful attitude that makes him happy to obey you. You will need to work especially hard on "Quiet" (because Bichons can be noisy) and "Enough" (because Bichons can be over-dependent and often demand too much attention and too-frequent cuddling). [read more about teaching words to your Bichon Frise]
Stop searching for dog training tips for each behavior problem. Honestly, one of the most common questions owners ask me is: "How can I stop my dog from doing (some specific behavior)?" They're hoping I'll tell them where to find a secret button on the back of their dog's head that will trigger a MISBEHAVIOR-OFF switch. :-) Alas, my answer is almost always the same, no matter what the misbehavior is. Here it is.... [read more about stopping dog behavior problems]
Start training your Bichon Frise puppy the moment you bring him home. But you need to teach the right things in the right ways. If you use the wrong teaching method, your puppy will begin making decisions about how he wants you to fit into HIS life, and that's a recipe for conflict and behavior problems. Here's my recommended schedule (what to teach, when to teach it) for training your Bichon Frise puppy. [read more about training Bichon Frise puppies]
Start housebreaking right away. But expect it to take many months before your Bichon Frise's small internal organs are strong enough for reliable control. During these many months, your Bichon Frise must not be loosed in the house. It is so easy for them to sneak behind a chair or under a small table, and it takes only a few seconds for the deed to be done. The results can be hard to see and when you don't see it, you don't correct it – and so the bad habit becomes established. If you live in a cold or rainy climate, housebreaking will be especially difficult, because Bichons dislike cold and rain. A COVERED potty area is strongly recommended. Sometimes a doggy door is necessary so your Bichon Frise can run outside the moment he feels the urge.[read more about housebreaking Bichons]
Socialize your Bichon Frise puppy with strangers and other dogs. This is usually not difficult because many Bichons love everyone and are excellent with other pets. However, some Bichons are standoffish, and if you don't teach them early on to be friendly and trusting toward people they don't know, their natural caution can become skittishness or suspiciousness, which are no fun to live with. And there do exist Bichons who are aggressively nasty toward strangers and sometimes toward other dogs. [read more about why your dog acts the way he does toward strangers and other animals]
Copyright © 2000-2013 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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