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Dogs/bichon frise behaviour


hi could you please help. we have a 2yr old bichon who whines constantly when I go out or am not in his sight. it is very annoying for other people to hear. even when he stays with my husband he whines until I come home. is there anything I can do?


Hi Jackie,

It sounds like your dog has a "separation anxiety". This is a behavior that can occur when he's left alone, but it can also happen if he can't see you. Dogs with a separation anxiety often will follow you from room to room whenever you're home.

Punishment doesn't work when treating separation anxiety, it can make the situation worse. You can work with your dog to lessen his anxiety. Some dogs are helped with anti-anxiety medication along with the training (medication alone won't resolve this issue). Many dogs are helped by increasing their daily exercise, in the way of an extra brisk leashed walk or active play, and by providing toys that are mentally stimulating, such as a Kong or BusterCube stuffed with something tasty and irresistible that the dog has to work to get out. If you give your dog one of these toys when you're home, praise him when he's busy working to get the treats out, as not being focused on you is the behavior you need to reward.

Read about how to train your dog not to be as anxious when either left alone or if you're not in his site:

Dogs with separation anxiety need to know that you are in charge, and need a confidence boost. Teaching your dog a few simple obedience commands will accomplish both. Your dog should be getting commands for everything he gets, this includes: food, attention, treats, play and walks- all happen after he listens and responds to a simple command, such as "sit". This will calm him and help reassure him that you are leading the "pack". Your daily training sessions will help build his confidence. Enrolling in a dog obedience class is a good way of learning how to train your dog, while having fun. Your vet's office or a local boarding kennel can probably give you a recommendation for an obedience class.

You didn't say your dog is having any problems if he's left alone, so I won't go into that. A couple of other things you can do when you're at home with your dog:

Ignore your dog for a period of 30 minutes while in the same room. Do not look at him, pet him, or speak to him even if he whines. Petting or comforting your dog because he whines only reinforces the behavior you're trying to stop.

Restrict your dog's access to you. Crate or leash your dog in the same room you're in but a distance away from you. Give your dog a chew toy that holds his attention, in the beginning but not every time you perform this exercise. Combine this exercise with ignoring your dog.

Increase the physical separation by tethering or crating your dog further away from you, but still within sight. Again, you can supply a chew toy for pacification but not every time. Combine this exercise with ignoring your dog.

These exercises can take some time before you see results. You need to work with your dog daily, ideally twice or three times a day. Patience and consistency are the keys.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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