Can Bichon Frise be left by itself?
A lot of people keep flooding the internet with the question ‘can the Bichon Frise be left alone?’ Well, there are no specific answers to this question. An ideal approach to this would be by looking at various aspects such as the possible consequences of leaving the Bichon Frise alone; if it’s possible to leave her home alone, how long?; and what to do when keeping her away is inevitable.
Generally, bichons do not make good home-alone dogs and tend to develop negative behaviors when they are left alone for long hours during the day. Such an attitude is in-built in their genes and you can’t take it away from them. You probably are not ready for a bichon fries if you cannot be home to spend time with your pet. If you must do so, there could be consequences.
However, there are solutions for those bichon lovers who don’t want to lose either their puppy or their time with their jobs. If you fall into this category, then this post is for you. Let’s get started!
First, we’d have to consider some of the possible consequences of leaving your bichon alone.
Consequences Of Leaving Your Bichon Alone For Long Hours
Leaving the Bichon Frise alone for long hours surely has its own side effects. And that could range from the mild negative behaviors to the delicate and debilitating mental health disorders such as separation anxiety.
One of the most significant consequences of leaving your Bichon Frise is a psychological issue often referred to as separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a condition in which animals exhibit symptoms of anxiety or excessive distress when they are left alone. It is is a very common behavioral issue in many dogs, especially in puppies. Several studies indicate that it affects 15% of the canine population. However, the bichon breeds are the most affected.
Symptoms of separation anxiety
When you leave Bichon Frises alone for long hours they tend to engage in negative and destructive behavioral attitudes such as scratching walls, breaking things, biting furniture, destroying carpets. They also exhibit other negative behaviors such as excessive barking, howling, crying, vomiting, urinating and defecating throughout the house. All these are clear symptoms of separation anxiety in a dog.
These symptoms begin to manifest the moment you step out of your home and leave your bichon pup alone in the house. In most cases, even when other members of the family are at home, the bichon still feels distressed and suffers separation anxiety because it is not with its owner.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that could contribute to separation anxiety in your bichon pup.
Depending on the type of training, some bichon breeds will start manifesting signs of separation anxiety when they have spent about 15 minutes or an hour alone in the house.
However, the time will depend a lot on the owner’s routines. For example, if every morning you leave for work at the same time and the same hours, your pet will gradually get used to the length of time she’s going to be left lonely. On the other hand, if your dog stays outside a supermarket waiting for you to get over with your buying, she hardly suffers anxiety because she knows it will only take a short while for you to reunite with her.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to differentiate the dog that is afraid of being left alone from the one that is itself destructive (which are usually puppies). There are others that simply manifests fear responses to external stimuli which occur when the owner has left. None of such dogs will display signs of anxiety at the time of their owner’s departure.
Sudden noise, especially in a quiet and lonely environment
It is common for dogs to exhibit signs of fear when exposed to noise when they find themselves in a lonely environment. Constant exposure to such conditions could be a predisposing factor to separation anxiety.
The age of your puppy
Separation anxiety may also appear suddenly when a dog ages. When the Bichon Frise grows older and weaker, they usually start to depend more on their owner. This may come as a surprise to some dog owners who suddenly observe that their little furry friend develops and begins to manifest symptoms of separation anxiety as it grows up especially when they’ve never shown any sign of such negative behavior. It is normal and shouldn’t be misrepresented as a strange occurrence.
Generally, dogs most at risk of developing separation anxiety are those from kennels, from the street, and those that have spent long periods with an elderly or sick person who cannot leave home and suddenly are left alone for long hours.
Solutions to separation anxiety
The best solution is prevention. You have to make time for your dog and always ensure she doesn’t stay at home alone always. When you can’t prevent this, then you will need to gradually introduce her to the life of staying alone at home. Start by leaving her for a short time and gradually increase the duration.
Exposure her to familiar stimuli in the environment
It is important that the dog develops a balanced personality. This can be achieved by exposing your puppy to familiar stimuli such as noise, smells, etc. So, if she is left alone and she probably perceives a certain smell or any of the mentioned stimuli, she won’t panic.
If you train your dog to develop high self-esteem, confidence, and security, she will rarely develop separation anxiety.
Avoid saying goodbye when on your way out
It is important to start like that, from the first day we have the dog at home, we go to work or buy without saying anything to the dog, especially you notice that your puppy grows nervous or sad and has been following you during your preparations prior to departure.
Everyone tends to say goodbye to their pet when they’re about to leave the house. However, as much as it looks appropriate, it should be avoided when you’re trying to train your pup to stay alone without developing separation anxiety.
Reinforce positive behavior
Don’t be too quick to cuddle or pet your puppy whenever you notice that she’s nervous about something, probably noise or when she sights another dog. You’ll only get the opposite effect and nurture such habit, especially during her lonely periods when you try calming her. However, your bichon pup will only learn not to worry when she observes that you don’t show any care about such a situation.
When the dog is left alone at home, it is essential that it has previously exercised, especially if it’s going to be alone for many hours. Physical exercise will save you time energy especially when you’re already tired and wish to observe some rest.
When your bichon has previously exercised, it will be more relaxed and anxiety will be significantly reduced.
Tips To Keep The Bichon Frise From Feeling Lonely
There’s no doubt that dogs are tremendously social animals and that loneliness usually leads them quite badly, especially the bichon breeds. Hence the dreaded episodes of separation anxiety, where the dog suffers a lot due to distance from its owner could lead them to acquire negative attitudes such as excessive barking, causing damage at home, howling, crying, and more. And in extreme cases, she could display some negative and embarrassing attitudes towards your visitors and neighbors.
However, life is full of unexpected occurrences and what makes us human is our ability to adapt. If along the line, you got busier with your schedule that you can’t afford enough time with your bichon pup and you’re afraid you may lose her, don’t panic! There’s always a way out.
Here, you’d find some very simple tips that will keep your furry friend from feeling lonely even when you’re out to battle with your tight schedule.
How To Make Your Dog A Little Happier Even When She Stays Home Alone For Many Hours
#1: Avoid making her feel caged
If your bichon pup is going to spend many hours alone at home, make sure she doesn’t feel caged. There is no better way of doing this than leaving the curtains fully open: let light infiltrate the house so your dog can see the outside and be able to see what happens out there. Your little furry friend will feel better and those long hours will pass faster.
Remember, the Bichon fries breeds are not bred to be yard dogs and this would be considered abusive, will lead to behavioral problems and quite possibly endanger his health.
#2: Avoid using toys that are available to her every day
Dogs get easily bored with their toys. To avoid such feeling especially when you’re going to be leaving your little furry friend for long hours, you need to be a little more creative. Add some spice of novelty to engage her curiosity. How do you achieve this? On the first day, avoid displaying the entire arsenal of those pet toys. You can offer about 2 to 3 toys. This way, you’re sure to keep her interest and time playing with the toys.
If you want to give your bichon pup some more engaging and entertaining time, do not rule out buying an interactive toy. It is just a toy that stimulates her ingenuity and consists of puzzles that your dog must solve if she wants to reach her reward, which is always small treats. Kong, Dog Toy is the simplest and will do the job perfectly. However, there are many other market available puzzles that can make your Bichon Frise have a good time while sharpening her mind without thinking she’s in those moments alone.
#3: Allow visits
You can give your house key to someone you trust, probably a family member or friend. An unexpected visit to your dog, to play with her for a while or take her out for a walk will ultimately break those lonely hours that seem to be consuming your furry. Doing so will make the day an interesting one for her.
#4: Put on the radio or television
Silence can become your puppy’s worst enemy. If she is an insecure dog probably due to her grooming environment, she will bark for every noise she hears to chase away any possible danger. Therefore, turning on the radio or television can be a good remedy. If, in addition, you can access DOG TV channels, they can be sure of turning those solitude hours into hours of entertainment, learning, and fun.
#5: Stimulate her sense of smell
Your dog’s nose can be your best ally. Before leaving home, hide small rewards at spots where your puppy can access. Those rewards can be goodies or even new toys. Try hiding food balls in different parts of your house where the dog won’t damage anything. It could be under a chair, under a small table, or any other place you’re sure won’t cause damage to the furniture or any part of the house or cause her any injury while trying to reach the reward.
Varied Treats or leather bones will turn your house into a gym, or obstacle course, that your dog will have to complete. Such an exercise will get her very busy that your pup may not have to think about your companionship.
Health-Related Reasons You Shouldn’t Keep You Away From Your Bichon Frise
Apart from the company the bichon enjoys when they are with their owner and other members of the family, there are other reasons why the bichon may not be an ideal breed to be left alone for a long time. However, a huge fraction of such reasons is health-related.
Here, we’d be looking at the health issues associated with the Bichon Frises, and why time with them shouldn’t be compromised.
Major health issues associated with the Bichon Frise
Relatively, the Bichon Frise is a strong and healthy dog breed. However, they may have certain diseases associated with the breed’s own genetics. The most common diseases in the breed are;
- Juvenile cataracts which are associated with an opaque and whitish appearance in the eye and can occur at their young age
- Medial patellar dislocation, which is a weakness of the patella
- Bladder stones, which can be controlled with physical activity and food adequate and balanced in proteins.
Other less common health conditions include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, poor skin pigmentation, allergies, advanced closure and genetic changes in temperament.
These health issues can cause a high level of discomfort in your little furry friend and if not managed properly, can degenerate into even more lethal conditions.
It doesn’t just stop at being with your bichon all day long, but there is a need to put in some effort in ensuring that they stay healthy and strong. There is essential routine care that will do a great deal of job in keeping your bichon from becoming unnecessarily sick.
Let’s get started with some of them.
Basic Routine Care For Your Bichon Frise
Caring for a bichon Frise breed is relatively an easy task probably due to its cool temperament and the ease with which it adapts to any circumstance.
When it comes to maintaining the health of the bichon, great attention has to be given to the fur, eyes, teeth, and food, in addition to vaccination schedule which needs to be strictly followed. So, if you’re not going to be around your pup, then you’re not doing any good job to protect her.
Brushing should be daily to prevent hair from getting tangled or forming knots due to its length and shape. It usually requires a professional hairdresser to give it a concrete and adequate form. So it is recommended to go to the hairdresser frequently if you want your pet’s fur to be shown in the best conditions.
Bathing the Bichon Frise should be done more frequently compared to other dog breeds. This is simply because of their fur that tends to get dirty easily. However, it is not recommended to bathe them excessively, to avoid compromising the protection the fur provides them and prevent them from developing some allergic reactions.
Bathing should always be done with specific dog shampoo to ensure that you get the best result for your little furry friend.
The Bichon Frise may have a tendency to develop bladder stones. This is mainly caused by a diet with excess protein. To avoid this, always bet on a quality diet that takes care of your pet’s health.
Bichon Frise requires more exercise than other similar breeds that share the same size and characteristics. However, it adapts easily to the master’s pace. A long walk a day is enough to keep it healthy and happy. It is also important to share those moments of games at home with your bichon pup as with other members of the household because it is a breed that is so attached to its family.
Training the Bichon Frise is usually very simple since it is an intelligent animal with a good predisposition to obedience to his family. The key to getting the adult Bichon Frise to be balanced and obedient is to enroll her for a home training session from childhood. You can encourage your puppy to always do it by rewarding positive behaviors. When you carry out all these activities, you can be sure of creating and enjoying the best relationship between both parties.
The Bichon Frise barely loses hair, which makes it an animal recommended for those who suffer from allergic reactions. However, you always have to perform certain tests before making the decision to acquire a bichon breed, to avoid unpleasant situations with the new pet.
Bichons, and if they spend many hours alone at home, they can develop destructive behaviors towards furniture and other objects, in addition to having a high tendency to bark, which could be very annoying for neighbors.
The Bichon Frise is, no doubt, an ideal dog breed for inexperienced people who have never had a pet before since it is easy to educate and train if they are given adequate attention.
FAQ : Some Frequently Asked Questions About The Bichon Frise
Let’s look at some other frequently asked questions about leaving the bichon home alone.
How long can the Bichon Frise be home alone?
This question does not have any single and straight answer. In general, the number of hours a Bichon Frise can be left alone at home will depend on many factors, such as the character of the dog, whether it is used to being alone or not. The pet’s age is key to being able to leave it at home only several hours in a row
A Bichon Frise over one-year-old has the tendency to stand lonely hours at home alone than puppies.
How long can a bichon puppy be home alone?
In this case, the time should be minimal. If your Bichon puppy is already quite grown and knows how to pee on the street without problems, you can leave it only for up to 6 hours. But if your puppy is still tiny (3-4 months for example), ideally do not leave it alone for a long time.
If you can visit it every 2 hours or at most every 4 hours. If you work away from home, it is ideal to ask a neighbor or family member to come to your house and walk your young puppy or provide her with some company every 4 hours.
It is not good to leave a very young bichon puppy home alone for many hours, if you can, visit it every 4 hours or have a family member do it.
What happens if I leave my Bichon Frise alone at home for 8 hours or more?
As a general guideline, it is not proper to leave the Bichon Frise at home alone for more than 8 hours. The reason is that being alone for long periods of time each day affects the character of dogs.
A dog that usually spends periods of more than 8 hours alone at home can develop behavior problems, stress, anxiety or chronic sadness.
One of the behaviors or moods that develop in dogs that are left at home all day, without company is separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety causes your dog to panic at home alone. Other negative behaviors may begin to manifest such as crying, howling, and digging, biting doors or furniture. She does all these to preoccupy her time while trying to avoid the feeling of loneliness.
What if I have to leave my dog alone at home for 8 hours (or more) alone every day?
Everyone should be responsible for their decisions and realistic with their lifestyle. If you are a super busy person or always working a thousand hours a day away from home, maybe you should rethink your idea of having a Bichon Frise. To ensure that you develop and maintain a healthy bond between you and your pet, it is necessary to invest a lot of time in them. However, it is not always the time that really matters but what you do during those times.
It doesn’t imply that you shouldn’t have Bichon Frise but you probably need to exercise patience until you’re ready and got ample time for this unique dog breed. You should regard a dog as a child that will always be totally dependent on you.
For those inexperienced folks who wish to get a Bichon Frise….
If you are thinking of sharing your life with a puppy from the Bichon Frise, the first thing you should do is to contact a reputable and experienced breeder. An expert will provide you with all the advice and relevant information you need including health guarantees.
It is important that you do not acquire a companion in a pet store or from an individual. This is because you may not be provided with all the underlying issues surrounding the pet’s health. It is important to know the parent and probably acquire your puppy at its tender age. Do not proceed if its origin is doubtful. Do it right from the beginning to enjoy the best relationship with your new furry friend.
Separation anxiety can predispose your Bichon Frise to other ill-health conditions. As much as possible, try to make out considerable time with your little furry friend. It is part of its makeup and you can’t take it away from it. However, if you are the traveling type, or always busy at work and barely have time to spend at home, then you should be looking elsewhere when the thought of owning a lovely pet comes to your mind.
You cannot compromise the level of friendship and companionship the Bichon Frise desires from its owner. Unless you’re not ready to bond with your pup, then you could leave it for some other time.
Can the Bichon Frise be left alone? The answer could be a ‘yes’, but then it could be another way of saying a bye to the bond you already established with her. You can only if you know how to go about it. This post will help you.