Bichon Frise Agility Training

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Bichon Frise Agility Training

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The Bichon Frise are perfect for agility training. Learn all about how the Bichon Frise and agility training go hand in hand.

The Bichon Frise is an intelligent, energetic and happy little dog that has proven capable of performing well in agility, although they are a rare sight at trials. While bichons can sometimes be a bit stubborn, if you make training time interesting and enjoyable, youโ€™ll find that your dog will enjoy agility and may end up winning titles and ribbons. Even if they donโ€™t bring home the prize, these dogs love the special attention that comes from regular agility training sessions and respond favorably to spending time with you.

The Foundation

While you can start agility training with your bichon frise at any age, it's best to start as early as possible for top results. To provide a solid foundation for future training, start your bichon's socialization and basic obedience training almost as soon as you get your new puppy home. Agility requires that dogs respond to their ownersโ€™ commands even when they are off leash and dashing around the agility course at high speed. A dog who wonโ€™t respond to basic commands canโ€™t go far in agility. Often, owners who go into agility work with their dogs will get one or more obedience titles first.

Getting Started

Bichons love to play, so making agility a game usually produces the best results. Plenty of encouragement and owner participation helps to keep these dogs motivated and on task. Some owners also use treats as incentives, but whether to use them depends on your preferences and your dogโ€™s personality. Generally, the best way to train a bichon frise for agility is to join a local club. There, you have access to advice from experienced owners and all kinds of obstacles, and your dog learns to ignore lots of noise and activity. Also set up a few obstacles in your yard, so you can practice with your bichon between club training sessions.

Obstacles

You can make or buy agility obstacles to use for practicing at home. Lightweight jumps and weave poles are fine for bichons, as long as the equipment is safe. You can make some from PVC pipe, or you can buy a set. Space may be a factor in deciding how many obstacles you set up for home practice, but a couple of jumps, a set of weave poles and a fabric tunnel are a good start. Try to make them similar to what your dog will experience in an agility trial, so your bichon wonโ€™t be put off by obstacles that look very different from those you use at home.

Agility Competitions

Several organizations offer agility trials, including the American Kennel Club, the United States Dog Agility Association, and Canine Performance Events. The organizations have slightly different rules for competition, so anyone considering competing in an agility trial should obtain a rulebook from the sponsoring organization well in advance of the trial date. Variables include the number of obstacles, the classes offered, and the height of the jumps. Jump size can be very important for tiny dogs such as bichons, so pay close attention to the organizationโ€™s rules about the height of your dog and the height of the jumps. Each group also has rules about what dogs may compete and the minimum age for dogs in agility.

Concerns

Make sure your bichon is in good health before you begin a rigorous agility program. These dogs are prone to patellar luxation, a condition in which the affected dogs have loose kneecaps. Other orthopedic conditions that may affect the bichon frise are elbow dysplasia, spinal degeneration, hip dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a problem that can lead to the destruction of their hip bones. Early signs of any of these problems include lameness or an odd walk. If any of these issues is suspected, it is important to have the dog evaluated by a veterinarian before you pursue agility.

Hairstyles for Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a small dog with the potential for big hair. 

The Bichon Frise, whose name means "curly toy dog" is a non-shedding, small dog who, like people, has hair that grows constantly. The coat of this happy little dog consists of a thick undercoat and curly topcoat. Because of the constant growth and thickness of the white fur, monthly cuts are necessary to prevent matting and remove dander caught in the undercoat. Bichon Frises should be hand groomed at least twice a week between cuts. The three common hairstyles for Bichon Frises are the Lamb cut, Panda cut and Show cut.

Lamb Cut

The Lamb cut, also known as the Puppy cut, is a practical Bichon Frise hairstyle for those who donโ€™t have the time for constant grooming and are not planning to show their dog. This is the shortest hairstyle for a Bichon Frise, which makes it a good choice for dogs with mats that commonly form behind the ears and the back of the legs. Groomers shave the Bichon Frise coat close to the body, leaving the dogโ€™s head and tail with longer fur for the traditional Bichon Frise puffy face. Even though the Lamb cut is short, regular weekly grooming with a brush and comb prevents tangles and mats from reforming.

Panda Cut

The Panda cut is similar to the Lamb cut but styled a little longer, following the contours of the dogโ€™s body. This Bichon Frise hairstyle has longer fur on the head, tail, between the dogโ€™s front legs and behind the legs. Groomers clip these longer areas of fur with scissors and use electric clippers on the rest of the Bichon Friseโ€™s body and chest. This cut requires daily grooming to remove any dead fur, dirt or debris from the longer areas of fur.

Show Cut

The Show cut is the traditional Bichon Frise hairstyle recommended by the American Kennel Club. This is the only cut allowed for AKC breed shows. The Show cut requires the undercoat to remain thick and the outer coat must be coarse and curly. The fur should be thick enough to spring back into shape if pressed down. This cut gives the Bichon Frise a puffy appearance and outlines the shape of the dogโ€™s body. Groomers trim all areas of the fur to form a rounded appearance, especially the head of the Bichon Frise. The fur on the dogโ€™s face, beard, ears and tail are longer than the body. Groomers use scissors to style the entire dogโ€™s body for the Show cut.

Considerations

When choosing a professional groomer for your Bichon Frise, ask if the shop has experience grooming this breed. AKC dog show judges fault Bichon Frises if the fur is not rounded or the wrong length, so ask the groomers for references or pictures of other Bichon Frises they groomed before having your dog groomed.

More on Training Your Dog

20 Dog Commands You Need To Know
How To Teach Your Dog "Yes" And "No"
Try An Indoor Training Class With Your Dog

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