The Bichon Frise is a small white dog with a thick, puffy coat. As adults, they range from 10 to 22 pounds. These dogs can make wonderful pets with proper training and handling. They are widely regarded as social, friendly dogs, but even dogs with excellent genes can become skittish or aggressive without proper socialization. Further, every dog is an individual whose behavior can be influenced by a variety of factors, so not all Bichons Frises conform to what is "normal" for the breed. To ensure a healthy, happy Bichon Frise, socialize your dog from a young age and consider enrolling your dog in a training class. Owners of Bichons Frises should note that lapdogs, in general, tend to be clingier than many other breeds.
Bichons Frises retain a playful, puppy-like disposition well into adulthood, making them a good choice for families who want to romp in the backyard. They do not, however, require much exercise. A brief walk once or twice a day easily meets the dog's exercise needs. Because of their low exercise requirements, these dogs are unlikely to become hyper when they live in urban environments. These dogs are highly friendly and outgoing, and timidity or aggression are red flags that a dog needs the help of a qualified dog trainer or veterinarian.
Bichons Frises are highly sociable and bond strongly with their owners. They can be needy, and will paw at their owners to get attention. Despite this neediness, the Bichon Frise also has a strong independent streak. They may also become jealous of other dogs. They are generally gentle with children and other pets. However, some poorly bred bichons frises are skittish, which can result in fear biting. Proper socialization is vital for puppies who show signs of timidity. Because of their small size, Bichons Frises are easily frightened by rough handling, so small children should be closely supervised with these dogs.
The Bichon Frise is highly intelligent, which can be a mixed blessing. Left to their own devices, these dogs may come up with novel ways to entertain themselves and can be destructive when they are bored. They are only moderately trainable, and have a reputation for being uncooperative when bored. Owners should make training sessions brief and fun. Bichons Frises are highly receptive to positive, reward-based training methods.
Because of their independent dispositions, Bichons Frises can be difficult to house train. Owners should begin training early and use a crate to prevent accidents. Bichons Frises can also suffer from separation anxiety, and should not be left alone for long periods of time. They also have a tendency to bark excessively, and frequently overreact to noises with long bouts of barking.
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