The Bichon Frise breed, are very social and affectionate dogs who have a tendency to become very attached to their owners and if separated from them, can easily develop separation anxiety. During times of anxiety, they portray an array of symptoms which illustrates their stress. These symptoms include:
- Showing erratic behavior when you leave your pet on their own
- Constant whining and withdrawal
- Continuous licking and biting on their own body which can lead to multiple skin problems and secondary infections
- Loss of hair due to continuous stress
- Continuous barking and howling
- Inappropriate urination and defecation i.e. losing control of their bowels and bladder
- Spending a lot of time with their owner, ensuring their owner is never out of sight
- Chewing items like socks, shirts, shoes and objects which have their owners scent on it
- Become over excited when owners return back home and appears to be clingy and stressed
There are many ways to treat anxiety in a Bichon Frise. One of the first things that can help to reduce anxiety is crate training, which can help to reduce your pet’s level of fear and nervousness when in stressful situations. When choosing a crate, it is important to ensure that the crate is not too big or two small. A crate which is too big may overwhelm your pet, whereas your pet may feel suffocated and more anxious in a crate which is too small. To help keep your pet calm, try to make the crate as comfortable as possible, such as putting their favorite toys, a mattress, or even clothes inside.
Anxiety can also be treated very well with behavioral training. For example, if your Bichon Frise gets scared by loud noises, you can train him to control his anxiety by exposing him to loud noises slowly and gradually such as slowly increasing the noise of the television or radio when he is around. If your pet responds positively to this method, ensure you reinforce their behavior by giving them treats or petting them. This will further encourage your Bichon Frise to repeat their positive behavior as they learn to no longer associate loud noises with stress and will remain calm.
You can also help to reduce your pet’s anxiety when you leave the house. For example, begin by downplaying your exit by leaving the house quickly. Similarly, when entering the home, try to avoid petting or talking to your dog immediately. Instead stay calm and nonchalant and avoid giving your dog undue attention. Once your dog has become subdued and shows no signs if anxiety, then you can begin giving them attention such as petting and interaction. Over time your pet will learn to reduce their anxious behavior when you both leave and come home. You can also help to reduce anxiety by leaving your pet engaged, such as leaving them with plenty of toys to play with. Over time your pet will learn to be comfortable with spending time alone, even when you are at home. This will also reduce their dependence on you and will make them less anxious when you are absent.