Bichon Training: Proper Socialization Techniques

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Raising and training a bichon can be quite different from other dogs.
Owners will have to take many different factors into account when learning to train this type of dog.
For one, they are a small dog so issues such as "small dog syndrome" must be considered.
Also, since they are a very social dog, owners must understand how to properly socialize their bichon and learn to identify things like separation anxiety and fear aggression.
The focus of this article will be to educate new and prospective owners on the importance of social training.
As social creatures, bichons naturally love interaction.
They thrive on contact with both humans and other animals.
Unfortunately if they are not taught the proper ways to behave socially, they can develop and display some unwanted behaviors.
The first of which is separation anxiety.
A bichon with separation anxiety will not be able to tolerate being left alone.
They may become destructive or aggressive, and it is common for a well house-broken bichon with separation anxiety to relieve him/herself in the house, or chew anything in sight.
Separation anxiety is a complex issue that is a symptom of small dog syndrome, and can be prevented or solved through proper socialization.
One of the main goals of early social training is to show your bichon that you are their pack leader.
As pack animals, they need to know that you are the leader, otherwise they will assume that role for themselves.
Separation anxiety comes when a bichon thinks of itself as the pack leader and you (one of the pack followers) leaves for an extended period of time.
They do not understand how a follower can leave the leader.
To socialize your puppy to avoid separation anxiety you should assert yourself as the pack leader, and the best way to do this is to treat your bichon like a bigger dog.
Think about this: if you had a German shepherd that liked to jump on visitors every time they came in the door, you would train him not to jump, right? You would do this because he is a big dog and you do not what your visitors to get hurt or be annoyed by your overly friendly dog.
On the other hand, if a bichon does this it is often seen as cute or loving and allowed to happen.
In reality, jumping is a dog's way of showing dominance, no matter what the size of the dog is.
By training the German shepherd not to jump you are telling him that you are in charge and his dominant displays will not be tolerated, while allowing the bichon to jump is reaffirming their belief that they are the ones in charge.
So in order to break many dominant behaviors and assert yourself as pack leader, you should train your small bichon in the same way that you would train a larger dog.
If you wouldn't allow a big dog to do it, don't allow a small one.
Fear aggression is another symptom of improper socialization.
This happens when a bichon has not been trained to be in the company of other (often bigger) dogs or strangers.
In these situations they become afraid of the new person or dog and show their aggression through barking, biting, or guarding of their toys and food.
One of the best and easiest ways to prevent fear aggression is through regular socialization.
Find a dog park with a lot of other dogs and take your bichon there to play.
Go for regular walks around a route that may have other people walking their dogs.
These sorts of things will introduce them to other animals and people and get them used to being around them The bottom line is that proper socialization will go a long way in preventing or curing problematic behavior.
Take time to learn about socialization techniques and make the effort to employ them.
If you can do this then both you and your new puppy will have a long and happy life together.
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