The Bichon Frise is a pint-sized pup with a very distinctive cloud of fluffy white fur. These dogs are adorably cute, with their black button eyes and tiny bodies.
They are also a very social dog breed and this means that not everyone will have the time and availability to provide the Bichon Frise with happy home life.
In this article, we take a closer look at the Bichon Frise temperament and discuss whether these dogs can be left alone without causing the dog stress.
Can Bichon Frise Dogs Be Left Alone?
As the Bichon Frise Club of America explains, this is a dog breed that truly only has one job to do: being your all-day, everyday canine companion.
While there may be times you simply cannot avoid leaving your dog home alone, this isn’t the ideal situation for the Bichon Frise breed.
Bichon Frise tolerates being home alone poorly and can suffer from separation anxiety and other chronic stress if left alone for long hours on a regular basis.
Watch a Bison Frise With Separation Anxiety After Owner Leaves
This short, heart-breaking YouTube video gives you a dog’s-eye view of what a Bichon Frise goes through when left alone.
While not every Bichon Frise will experience true separation anxiety, these dogs do not generally tolerate alone time very well.
Learn More About the Bichon Frise Dog History
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains, the Bichon Frise got their start being lapdogs to royalty.
Over time and as political tides turned, the Bichon Frise became better known for their smarts and ability to learn tricks than for simply their gorgeous white coats and lap warming abilities.
Today, the Bichon Frise has become popular again because of that same signature white coat, which sheds very little – to the point these dogs have been labeled as “hypoallergenic.”
While no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, it is true that people with pet dander allergies will encounter less of the aggravating protein allergen when the dog sheds less frequently.
Bichon Frise dogs shed, but the shed hair gets caught in the surrounding coat so there is less physical contact with the dander. This makes it much easier to enjoy the Bichon’s lap-warming talents without sneezing all night long.
What Is the Bichon Frise Temperament and Personality Like?
The Bichon Frise has a very distinctive personality. Some fans of the breed would say this small dog, which weighs just 12 to 18 pounds fully grown, doesn’t seem to realize they are a small dog breed.
Bichon has medium energy levels
Bichon Frise dogs have a medium energy level, which means they love playing and learning tricks but they also like to break up their daily activity with long naps on warm laps. They also do very well with indoor play and don’t need long walks.
This makes the Bichon Frise a good breed choice for people who are less able to be active outdoors due to health or weather. But they are fast, so if you do let your Bichon outside, make sure your yard is secure.
Bichons bond strongly to their people
The Bichon Frise becomes very bonded to “their” people and wants to be wherever you are doing whatever you are doing pretty much all the time.
These dogs are known to follow their people around the house and make new people friends easily.
Bichon Frise dogs are good watchdogs
The Bichon dog will readily bark to alert people about intruders or noises, but they are not guarding dogs because they like people too much.
Bichon Frise dogs are hard to housebreak and can be stubborn
The Bichon Frise is a very smart dog that learns tricks easily and loves to entertain people.
But this dog breed does not score very high on traditional canine intelligence tests (like this one from Science Alert) because they tend to be stubborn and independent.
The Bichon Frise is also a very small dog breed, which means these dogs tend to take longer to potty train due to their very tiny bladders. This can be frustrating to some owners, especially to people who prize keeping a very clean home.
Bichon dogs cannot tolerate any level of negative (punishment-based) training methods. Only positive methods will yield good results with this sensitive and high-strung dog breed. Rewards, treats, pats, playtime – this is the currency that gets training results.
Some Bichon Frise Dogs Are Needier Than Others
As the Bichon Frise Club of America points out, some Bichon dogs can be more sensitive to being left than others.
There are a number of reasons why one Bichon Frise may develop separation anxiety or severe distress when left alone and another Bichon will learn how to tolerate short periods of alone-time without distress.
Here are some of the most common reasons that can contribute to temperament troubles in Bichon Frise dogs.
More popular purebred dog breeds like the Bichon Frise leads to greater demand and this can create an opportunity for unethical or inexperienced dog breeds to try to turn a quick profit.
Puppy mills and backyard breeders that don’t know or care about canine genetics and health testing may produce puppies with lifelong temperament troubles, including a tendency towards developing separation anxiety.
Being removed from the litter too soon
Canine science now verifies the importance of leaving puppies with their mom and littermates until at least the age of seven weeks, according to Stanley Coren in Psychology Today.
However, many dog breeders believe it can be beneficial for a puppy to remain even longer – up to nine weeks – before being transferred to their new forever home.
If a puppy is removed from the mother dog and littermates too soon, they may fail to learn important social skills that are best learned from other canines. This can set a Bichon Frise puppy up for severe stress when left alone at the new home.
Inadequate socialization and training
Bichon Frise puppies are not the easiest puppies to train. They seem to know they are cute and are willing to play that up to get their own way.
This is especially the case if the owner is a first-time dog owner and trainer. Bichon Frise needs early and ongoing socialization and training with both people and other animals to learn how to behave.
If this early socialization and training are not provided, a Bichon may grow up with no other “I am anxious” communication tools other than aggressive or destructive behavior.
Diet can play a surprisingly big role in canine behavioral problems, including anxiety and destructiveness.
As Pet Care RX points out, it is important to choose a nutritionally complete and balanced food for small breed puppies and adult dogs.
This will ensure your growing Bichon puppy is getting the right balance of nutrients to build a healthy brain and nervous system along with a healthy body.
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database of purebred dog breed health issues, the Bichon Frise can inherit certain health issues:
- Patellar luxation.
- Eye issues.
- Hip dysplasia.
- Legg-Calves-Perth disease.
- Cardiac issues.
Issues with heart and circulatory function, vision, and joints can contribute to a dog feeling a high level of internal stress. The discomfort or pain can then cause increased anxiety and intolerance to be left alone…ever.
How to Help Your Bichon Frise Tolerate Alone-Time
Sometimes no matter what you do your dog will develop separation anxiety anyway.
As you just read, this could be made worse by existing or developing health issues that relate to issues beyond your control.
However, separation anxiety is actually a condition that can be treated and controlled. But you may need to schedule a veterinary exam for your dog first to deal with any health issues.
Here are some tips from the Humane Society to help your Bichon cope with being alone:
- Leave clothes that smell like you in your dog’s crate or bed.
- Fill a Kong with nut butter as a distraction.
- Try calming products (over-the-counter or vet-prescribed) for canines.
- Crate-train your dog so the crate becomes a refuge.
- Put on some music or the television to provide some comfort.
- Hire a pet sitter to stay with your dog.
- Bring your dog to doggie daycare.
If this is your first time caring for and training a companion canine, it is always smart to seek out an experienced dog trainer to help you train and work with your Bichon Frise dog.
A knowledgeable dog trainer can help you desensitize your Bichon to the experience of being left at home alone and give your dog more coping skills for times when you can’t avoid being away for a while.