The Bichon Frise is certainly cute, but is it cuddly as well? You will probably be glad to know that this breed does tend to be very cuddly, especially if you provide the right training throughout their life.
Do Bichon Frise’s Like To Cuddle?
Bichon Frises have been bred to be companion dogs for thousands of years, which has given them lots of time to develop into some of the best snugglers around. This is a breed that can be counted on to grow into a cuddly companion with proper socialization and training.
Bichon Frises are certainly snuggly in appearance, with their pure white fluffy coat that makes them look a little bit like little polar bears. However, is this dog really a good pick if you want a very snuggly companion? Here’s what you need to know about how cuddly the Bichon Frise is and whether it’s a good breed for you.
Why Bichon Frises Are Good Companion Dogs
The Bichon Frise is one of a number of small white dogs originally known as the Barbichon type of dogs. These dogs include the Havanese, the Maltese, and the Bolognese as well as the Bichon Frise.
They started development on the Canary Islands thousands of years ago. Over time, these charming little dogs spread over the world. They were popular both with sailors and with noblemen in the destinations they sailed to.
The forefathers of the Bichon Frise quickly found their way into the laps of royalty in Italy, Spain, and France. However, as royalty fell, the little dogs found their way back to their roots as charming companions to everyday people.
They worked for street entertainers, doing tricks to earn money for food for both dog and person. They became popular circus dogs and in any other role in which performance and charm was desired.
When you consider the Bichon Frise’s long history of charming, entertaining, and serving as the companion to people rich and poor, it should come as no surprise that this little dog is truly made to be a companion. All sorts of dogs may enjoy cuddling, but the Bichon Frise’s long history as a dedicated cuddler may make them more effective in this role than some other breeds.
In general, it’s best whenever possible to choose a breed that was bred for the job you want it to do. Lots of dogs enjoy cuddling and can be snuggling companions, but a dog like the Bichon Frise that has been bred to snuggle is likely to excel in this role.
These little dogs have charmed their way into many hearts over their long history, and you can feel confident that they will charm their way into your family’s as well. If you want a little dog that is likely to be loving and willing to cuddle with your family, including the kids, a Bichon Frise is a solid choice.
Why Choose the Bichon Frise over Other Cuddly Breeds?
The Bichon Frise shares a heritage and many traits with other breeds like the Maltese and the Havanese. If you are trying to choose a snuggly companion, these breeds will likely come into your considerations as well. All of these dogs were bred to be companions and make loving, snuggly pets, but the Bichon Frise has a few things going for it over other breeds:
- Size. Some of the other island dogs, such as the Maltese, are not just small but truly tiny dogs, only weighing a few pounds. By contrast, the Bichon weighs between 12 and 18 lbs. This is a sturdy weight that is very easy to carry around but also robust enough to stand up to being picked up by children.
- Coat. All of the dogs in the Bichon’s general family group have a coat of hair, rather than fur, that is not prone to shedding. However, if you are looking for a hypoallergenic breed, the Bichon may be a better choice than the others. The Bichon Frise forms a tight, curly coat, whereas the other breeds have silkier hair. This is an important distinction when it comes to allergies. All dogs shed somewhat, but when a Bichon Frise sheds, the hair is trapped in the thick curls, preventing it from falling out until you brush the dog. That means that you will be less likely to suffer allergies from hair dropped around the house.
How to Train Your Bichon Frise to Enjoy Cuddling
Most dogs tend to enjoy cuddling, at least on their own terms. However, every dog of any breed is an individual, and not every Bichon Frise is born a natural cuddle bug. If you are rescuing a dog who may have gone through some trauma, you will have work to do to reverse trust that has been lost as well as teach your dog to enjoy cuddling.
It’s important that you teach your dog to enjoy gentle touching from the time that they are very young puppies. The Bichon Frise has a very high maintenance coat and they should be brushed every other day if not every day to avoid mats and tangles which can be painful to your dog.
Therefore, training your dog to tolerate grooming and enjoy petting often goes hand-in-hand. Here are some steps to help you train your Bichon Frise to enjoy petting and grooming, whether they are puppies with no prior bad experiences or they have had some hard times in the past.
1. Reward Touch
Start at whatever level your Bichon Frise is comfortable with. If they are very touch-adverse, reward them for simply brushing up against you. If you have a puppy who enjoys being touched, reward them for allowing you to stroke them unexpectedly.
Use a desirable reward to encourage your dog to associate touch with pleasure. It’s best to perform this activity at a time when your dog is calm and relaxed and seems to be seeking out interactions from you.
2. Reward Grooming
Once your dog is thoroughly comfortable with being touched and pet and is seeking out your affection periodically whether or not you have treats on hand, you can begin grooming practices. Start by forming a positive association with the brush by holding it out for your dog’s investigation when they sniff it.
Discourage mouthing or biting. To teach your dog to accept the presence of the brush, begin gently touching them with it while rewarding. Go slowly and don’t push it. You want to form a positive association between grooming tools and touch.
3. Reward Restraint
This is the hardest part for most people whether they are training an older dog or a new puppy. Most dogs will need to be restrained despite their own desires at some point. It is important to teach your Bichon Frise to enjoy restraint now so that they will tolerate it when they need to.
Restraint is a very important part of cuddling that most humans don’t think about. While it is very natural for a human being to enjoy being hugged and held, the same is not necessarily true of dogs. Dogs may brush against each other or sniff noses, but they don’t hold each other close.
On the other hand, humans prefer to pick dogs up and cuddle them close. This is precisely what Bichon’s were bred for, and they tend to be very good at it, but it’s important to train your dog to enjoy and accept this activity. Start by gently picking up your dog and then setting them down and giving them a reward.
Increase the length of time that you hold them and they don’t struggle before giving them the reward. Also practice restraining your dog in other ways, like holding them in place, picking up their front legs, handling their paws, etc.
The goal is to stress your Bichon Frise in small amount while making the experience overall rewarding so that they will learn to associate the slight discomfort of being held with the greater pleasure of your company and the reward that you have to offer. Practicing restraint exercises frequently and making them positive is the best way to raise a Bichon that enjoys cuddling.
What if Your Bichon Frise Does Not Enjoy Cuddling?
If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy cuddling, whether you have just acquired them or they are an older dog, don’t lose hope. Dogs typically want to accompany and please their people.
It may take some time for you to overcome whatever bad experiences your dog has had or encourage them to cuddle despite a natural inclination to rather not be touched, but teaching your dog to enjoy this activity will likely make life better for both of you in the long run.
- Lie on the ground. You probably realize that your Bichon is small, but it may not occur to you but that means you appear extremely large to them. Your size can be extremely anxiety-provoking and cause your Bichon Frise to resist being handled or touched. Lying on the floor gives your dog the opportunity to approach on his level while establishing mutual trust between you. By exposing your face on your dog’s level, you are telling them that you trust them not to hurt you and that you in exchange will not hurt them.
- Reward any nearness. Always have treats available and pay attention to any time your Bichon Frise chooses to be close to you, even if that just means moving from another room to a room you’re in. If your dog chooses to touch you or allows you to touch them without moving away, be gently encouraging, and be sure to offer valuable rewards. In time, your dog will associate closeness to you with all kinds of good things and allow you to begin doing the exercises to encourage them to accept restraint.
Enjoy Your Cuddly Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises are as cuddly as they are adorable. If you want a dog that enjoys being close to you, you have probably chosen the right breed in the Bichon. Make sure that you acclimate your dog to touch early and you will likely find yourself with a cuddly and incredibly adorable companion.