Can Bichon Frises Be Left Alone?

Can Bichon Frises be left alone?

Bichon Frises are well known to be great apartment dogs and good dogs for working people because they don’t need too much exercise. Of course, it is essential to know whether you can leave them home while you work before choosing this breed.

Can Bichon Frises be left alone? Bichon Frises would generally prefer to be with their people than not, but a properly trained and socialized Bichon Frise should do just fine being left home while you go to work or on other outings. 

Bichon Frises have been house and lap dogs for a long time and most overwhelmingly prefer a spot on your lap, but Bichon Frises have also shown independence throughout their long history. Here’s what you need to know about how Bichons do with being left alone. 

How Your Bichon Frise Feels About You

Bichon Frises typically love their people. These are deeply devoted little dogs that adore the lap of luxury. They enjoy learning new tricks and doing new things with their people. 

However, Bichon Frises are not as eager to please as some other breeds. This is not a dog that tends to wait on your command for every area of their lives. 

To the contrary, Bichons can be quite independent and sometimes have their own minds. These dogs have been circus dogs historically, so it should come as no surprise that they are quite trainable, but these are dogs that typically like to perform some fun behaviors and then go back to doing whatever they like to do. 

They aren’t dogs that need to be attached to your hip at all times. Therefore, most Bichon Frise are well-positioned to be happy when they are away from you for periods of time if they are appropriately prepared.

How to Prepare Your Bichon Frise to be Left Alone

You may want to spend as much time with your Bichon Frise as possible, but the reality is that you can’t be with them every minute of the day. Sometimes, your Bichon Frise will need to be content with being alone. Here’s what you need to know about how to train your Bichon Frise to accept solitude from an early age.

Space or Crate Train

Whether you want your Bichon to learn to be happy in a crate or you are content with them using a designated area or room, it is important to teach your Bichon Frise to enjoy time in a designated space from the time that they are very young puppies. Even dogs that may be prone to feeling anxiety when left alone often do better when trained to accept a crate or space. 

The space quickly becomes a security blanket. Even when your dog is stressed out, crate time will help them to feel more relaxed. Train your puppy to accept their crate by always giving them lots of highly desirable food distributing toys and treats when they go into their crate and never leaving them for too long.

It helps to build up crate time by asking excitedly if your dog wants to go to the crate and even locking them out briefly with the food inside. In time, your Bichon Frise will come to associate the crate with food, treats, and all kinds of good things and look forward to going into it. 

Don’t Make a Big Deal of Coming and Going

If you always make a tremendous fuss of your comings and goings, your Bichon Frise will be more likely to interpret comings and goings as being a big deal, which can contribute to separation anxiety.

By contrast, if you reduce excitement and intensity around your comings and goings, your dog will learn that it is no big deal for you to step out for a brief period. 

To teach your Bichon Frise not to be worried about when you leave, perform cues that are associated with leaving, such as picking up your keys and coat frequently without actually leaving. Occasionally walk out the door without performing any of your pre-leaving cues.

Be sure that you leave for varying lengths of time so that your Bichon Frise never knows if this will be an extensive outing or just for a few minutes.

Provide Alternate Entertainment

If all your dog has to do when you’re gone is think about how much they miss you, they are much less likely to be okay with being left alone. Whenever you leave, especially for longer periods, make sure you give your dog tasty treats and rewards in food distributing toys, slow feeders, or hidden around the space.

That way, your dog will come to associate you leaving with all sorts of good things. Before you know it, your dog may even be happy and excited to see you preparing to leave.

How Long can Bichon Frises be Left Alone?

Many people consider the Bichon Frise to be close to a perfect apartment dog. These dogs are close to hypoallergenic, don’t shed hardly at all, and have moderate exercise needs. 

All of these traits make them a good option for apartments or for people who may not have a lot of time to devote to exercising their dogs.

However, this is a small dog that is deeply connected to their people, so can you get a Bichon Frise knowing that you may need to leave them at home for longer periods? Here’s what you need to know about how long you can leave a Bichon Frise home alone:

Relatively Small Bladders

Bichon Frises are little dogs, generally only weighing from 12 to 18 lbs. Like many very small dogs, they have little bladders and cannot hold their urine for very long periods.

If you need to be gone for six or more hours a day without having a break to take your Bichon Frise outside, you are likely to find that you have some potty accidents. These dogs can be relatively hard to potty train in the first place, since they can sometimes have their own minds about behaviors like where they go potty. 

To help your Bichon Frise cope with being stuck in the house all day long while you’re gone, it may be a good idea to litter box train them.

Bichons are very willing to learn new skills, and they will likely be happy to learn to do something that makes life easier for them. Training your Bichon Frise to go on a paper pad or in a litter box gives you freedom to stay away for longer without worrying about your dog’s bladder.

People Lovers

Bichon Frises are naturally devoted to their people. This is not a dog that thrives on solitude. Bichon Frises that are left alone all day long, most days, are unlikely to be happy or well-adjusted dogs. 

To be happy, Bichon Frises should spend most of their waking hours near their people. If you need to leave your Bichon Frise for as long as eight, ten, or even twelve hours every now and then, they are unlikely to be concerned as long as they can relieve themselves and they have things to entertain themselves.

However, if you frequently need to leave your Bichon Frise for extended periods, they may become depressed or destructive. 

Curious

Bichon Frises are peppy, curious little dogs. This curiosity can be advantageous when you need to leave your Bichon Frise at home because it enables them to entertain themselves by playing with toys and making up games for themselves.

On the other hand, this curiosity can also get your Bichon Frise into trouble. Your dog may suddenly begin getting into trouble in brand new ways even well into life.

The Bichon Frise that has been left out alone without trouble may suddenly decide that they are extremely interested in the house plants or chewing up the furniture. 

Offer the Right Entertainment

To make sure that your Bichon’s curiosity works for and not against you, you will likely find it helpful to provide them with plenty of toys and reduce their exposure to potential temptations when you leave them alone, especially if you think that they may not have been getting as much exercise and engagement as is ideal.

It’s best to leave your Bichon Frise in a room with plenty of toys and things to chew on, but nothing that will tempt them to get into trouble. 

Engage Them When You’re Home

When you get home, it’s important to spend plenty of time with your Bichon Frise, giving them mental and physical engagement so that they will be happy to occupy themselves when they are left alone again.

Remember that to keep your dog happy, you will need to satisfy their curiosity, so doing the same old thing day after day is unlikely to work. Try new activities and take opportunities to explore new areas on walks, meet new people, and do new things.

Bichons that have opportunities to explore and follow their curiosity when they are with their owners doing constructive activities will be much less likely to feel the need to explore in unconstructive ways when you aren’t home.

Don’t Let Work Get in The Way of Choosing The Bichon

Bichon Frises are superb apartment dogs. Most do well even with families that are out of the house a fair amount.

Provided you give your Bichon Frise good training for solitude when they are young, provide plenty of entertainment when you leave them alone, and make sure that they are engaged when you are with them, they are likely to do just fine being left alone periodically.

Coral

From the tiniest Chihuahua to the greatest of Danes, I am simply obsessed with dogs. I’ve been working with dogs professionally for nearly a decade. I managed a private dog daycare and worked as a liaison at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital. My experience as the liaison of integrative medicine, neurology, and zoo medicine at UF Small Animal Hospital gave me valuable insight into the challenges faced by pet owners with animals who have medical conditions. My time there also gave me the opportunity to care for a disabled dog and write a book about the experience. As manager of a dog daycare, I learned about how dogs play and interact, warning signs for aggression, and how to rehabilitate dog-reactive dogs. During my time there I was under the mentorship of two groomers, from whom I learned grooming essentials. I currently work with high-risk shelter dogs and manage a blog to help other volunteers and foster families. I have two dogs of my own, a Maltese and a Standard Poodle pup.

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