How to train a Bichon Frise to stop biting

The Bichon Frise is a happy little bundle of fluff. Thought to have originated somewhere in the Mediterranean region, the Bichon Frise never stops dancing and spinning and loves to play.

But sometimes, whether it’s due to being over-excited or hyper, feeling threatened or scared, or due to a lack of training, the Bichon Frise can become a problem biter. So, let’s take a look at how to train Bichon Frise to stop biting:

How to train Bichon Frise to stop biting

Why is my Bichon Frise biting me?

The Bichon Frise is a small, jolly white dog. However, their diminutive size often means that their jovial personality is overridden by the so-called “small dog syndrome”, or “fear aggression”. This is where a small dog like the Bichon Frise feels scared and unsafe in its surroundings. Since they feel unsafe, your Bichon Frise bites, growls, or barks at you, to feel more in control.

Another reason why your Bichon Frise might bite is separation anxiety. Bichon Frises are sociable dogs who love to impress their owners with their dance and their tricks. But when left alone for too long, some Bichon Frises become lonely and start to destroy their surroundings.

Bichon Frises also startle easily. My own Bichon Frise will growl and snap at me if I pet him while he is half-asleep.

How can I address small dog syndrome?

As we touched upon, one of the biggest reasons why your Bichon Frise might bite is due to “small dog syndrome”. This is where your dog has a distrust of the world around them and isn’t sure how to react. You can see this in some Chihuahuas, though their natural temperament also accentuates this behavior.

One way to prevent small dog syndrome is to take care to socialize your Bichon Frise properly from an early age. Let them see a variety of different places, indoors and outside, and introduce them to lots of different people. Show them other dogs interacting, and teach them how to interact properly. Never pick them up unnecessarily, or this will reinforce the idea that the world is dangerous and scary.

It’s never too late to start introducing your Bichon Frise to the world around them. However, if you feel you aren’t making progress in socializing your Bichon, you could call in a local professional dog trainer who will have a better idea of what to do.

Never hit or growl at your Bichon Frise if they bite you. At best, this will confuse your Bichon, but at worst, it could make them aggressive.

Are Bichon Frise hard to train?

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The Bichon Frise is a friendly, smart, and playful pooch. They love nothing better than to please their favourite people with an adorable spin or two, before cuddling up to them on the couch. Their friendly, personable nature is part of what makes the Bichon Frise so incredibly easy to train under normal circumstances.

The most difficult aspect of training a Bichon Frise is their notorious stubbornness around toilet training. For some reason, house training a Bichon Frise can take a long time and be very difficult.

The Bichon Frise can also become hyperactive and erratic when overtired. My own Bichon Frise sometimes starts to sprint around when he doesn’t want to be brushed or get into his basket, for example. He also bites your shoelaces when you turn around to go home during a walk. Though we have worked on his recall and obedience, he just doesn’t listen during times like this.

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Are Bichons intelligent?

How does Bichon Frises rank among other dog breeds? A major canine psychologist named Stanley Coren decided to find out once and for all which breed of dog was the smartest.

Stanley put together his own standard for measuring his two types of canine intelligence – so-called obedience and working intelligence – and got in touch with obedience trial judges across North America.

After 199 obedience judges got back to Stanley, assessing the dog breeds got underway! Stanley Coren based his intelligence criteria on two things: How many repetitions it took each dog to learn a brand new command.

A breed that needs fewer repetitions of the command is seen as more intelligent, while a breed who needs more is seen as less intelligent.

Bear in mind that not all dog breeds ended up participating in Stanley Coren’s trials. Only dogs who participated in agility in North America could have possibly taken part. Even at that, only the breeds that ended up with 100 dogs participating qualified for ranking. But fortunately, the Bichon Frise is among these smart breeds!

The Bichon Frise is rated as “average” in intelligence, at least according to Stanley Coren’s study. More specifically, they came in 75th place out of the 138 dog breeds that ended up participating in the study. But there’s nothing wrong with being just average! Plenty of other popular breeds, including the Shiba Inu, Boston Terrier, and even the Great Dane scored average too!

Should my Bichon Frise bite during play?

If you look at a litter of puppies playing in the whelping box, you’ll see that they nip each other often with their sharp little teeth. And, if you listen, you’ll hear that the young pooches sometimes yelp when their sibling bites them too hard. It’s during this time that your Bichon Frise got their first education in how to play nicely!

Now that your Bichon Frise is older, it’s up to you to continue teaching your Bichon Frise to play properly. Yes, your Bichon Frise may occasionally nibble you when they are feeling playful, and this is okay. But as soon as they hurt you, yelp or scold your Bichon just like their littermates used to. 

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