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Choosing your Bichon Frise Pup

PLUS OTHER HANDI BITS

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SHOW DOG OR PET BICHON FRISE?

It is well to define in your own mind the purpose for which you want a dog, and convey this to the breeder. A great deal of disappointment and dissatisfaction can be avoided by a meeting of the minds between seller and buyer.

Although every well-bred healthy member of the breed makes an ideal companion and pet, actual pet stock is usually the least expensive of the purebred registered stock. The person who asks for a pet pays a pet gear price for the animal. Pet stock is the least expensive because the dogs are deemed unsuitable for breeding or exhibition in comparison to the standard of perfection for the breed. Generally only skilled breeders and judges can point out the differences between a pet and show quality dog.

The other reason that dogs are sold as pet stock may have nothing to do with the quality of the dog but the breeder wanting to keep a certain line of dogs for themselves. That is to say a special Sire and Dam that gives good quality puppies. This keeps the price high for anyone wanting puppies with that line.

If you are planning to show your dog, make this clear to the breeder and he will aid you in selecting the best possible specimen of the breed. A show quality dog may be more expensive than one meant for a pet, but it will be able to stand up to show ring competition.

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SIGNS OF A HEALTHY BICHON FRISE

Picking out a healthy, attractive little fellow to join the family circle is a different matter from picking a show dog; it is also a great deal less complicated. Be sure that the Breeder you choose has both parents on site and has knowledge of their bloodlines and the health problems of that line. Be sure that you receive a one year health guarantee.

Be sure that the breeder that you choose answers you within a reasonable time frame. This alone shows an interest in you. That the Breeder understands what the requirements of this new family member are. Inform the breeder about the members of your family. Do you have children? What ages? What is the purpose of this pet? Is this a cuddly addition or a therapy dog. One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a dog, whether show or pet, is it’s temperament. A well informed Breeder can make the world of difference when choosing a puppy. The Breeder can direct you to a puppy with the temperament that you want and will be welcome part of the family.

Reliable breeders and pet shops will urge you to take your puppy to the veterinarian of your choice to have the puppy’s health checked, and will allow you at least two days to have it done. It should be clearly understood whether rejection by a veterinarian for health reasons means that you have the choice of another puppy from that litter or that you get your money back. Be sure to get details of this policy before you purchase any puppy.

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CHOOSING A PUPPY

In choosing a puppy, be certain beforehand that have you researched the breed and made sure it is the one for you. Besides reading about one, try observing one of the same breed in its permanent home surroundings. Most owners will be only too happy to show off their furry friend. Dogs are much too intelligent not to sense whether or not they are liked. If your puppy feels unwanted, you may find an unhappy puppy on your hands that could easily turn into a “problem child.”

The puppies early training is most important, as an adult dog that is a well behaved member of the family is the end product of your early training. Be sure that you are willing to take the responsibility of training him and caring for his physical needs. Remember that your new puppy knows only a life of romping with his littermates and the security of being with his mother, and that coming into your home is a new and sometimes frightening experience for him. He will adjust quickly if you are patient and show him what you expect of him. If there are small children in the family be sure that they do not abuse him or play to roughly with him. A puppy plays hard, but he also requires frequent periods of rest. Before, he comes decide where he is to sleep and where he is to eat. If your puppy does not have a collar, find one the size he requires and buy an inexpensive one, as he will soon outgrow it. Have the proper grooming equipment on hand. Consult with the Breeder as to the proper food for your puppy and learn the feeding time and amount that he eats a day. Buy him some toys. Get everything you need from your pet shop before you bring the puppy home.

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CHOOSING AN ADULT DOG

Such a puchase has definite advantages in that it often allows freedom from housebreaking chores and rigorous feeding schedules, and these are a definite benefit to prospective purchasers who have little time to spare.

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THE BICHON PUPPY’S FIRST NIGHT WITH YOU

Chances are good that the first night your puppy is in his new home, both of you will get little sleep. Keep in mind that suddenly being away from his mom, brothers and sisters is a new experience for him; he may be confused and frightened. You can hardly blame your puppy for having difficulty sleeping. Dogs are creatures of habit and routine. Your puppy will miss his mother and littermates and will feel uncomfortable in his new surroundings until he forms a bond with you. Like a young child, your puppy has little control over his emotions and even though he may cry, scolding him will do nothing but cause him to fear you.

If you have a special room in which you have his bed, be sure that there is nothing there with which he can harm himself. Be sure that all lamp cords are out of his reach and that there is nothing that he can tip or pull over. Check furniture that he might get stuck under or behind and objects that he might chew.

If left in a room by himself he will cry and howl, and you will have to steel yourself to be impervious to his whining. After a few nights alone he should adjust. The first night that he is alone it is wise to put a loud ticking alarm clock as well as his toys and a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket or towel, in the room with him. The alarm clock will make a comforting noise and he will not feel that he is alone. A hot water bottle will give the heat that he would receive from his litter mates. The toys can help keep him busy if he want to play awhile.

If want him to sleep in your room he probably will be quiet all night, reassured by your presence.

NOTE: If your puppy cries for you to come to him for the first few nights, your constant appearance, whether to scold or comfort, will only serve to reinforce the fact that he can make you appear with his cries. Please remember that Bichon do not punish their children-they ignore bad behavior.

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YOUR BICHON FRISE PUPPY’S BED

Every dog likes to have a place that is his alone. He holds nothing more sacred than his own bed whether it is a rug, dog crate or dog bed. If you get your puppy a bed be sure to get one which discorages chewing. Also be sure that the bed is large enough to be comfortable for him when he is full grown. Locate it away from drafts and radiators. A word might be said here in defense of the crate, which many pet owners think is cruel and confining. Given a choice, a young dog instinctively selects a secure place in which to lounge, rest or sleep. The walls and ceiling of a crate even a wire one, answer that need. Once he regards his crate as a safe and reassuring place to stay, you will be able to leave him alone in the house.

Another option is a playpen or wire exercise pen. Place his food, water, litter box and toys. This is a safe environment for your puppy when you are away or can’t watch him.

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FEEDING YOUR BICHON FRISE PUPPY

Most breeders will give you food for a few days, along with instructions for feeding so that your puppy will have the same diet he is accustomed to until you can buy a supply at your pet shop.

As a general rule, a puppy from weaning time (six weeks) to three months of age should be fed four meals a day; from three months to six months, three meals a day; from six months to one year, two meals a day. There are as many feeding schedules as there are breeders, and puppies do fine on all of them, so it is best for the new owner to follow the one given by the breeder of his puppy. Remember that all dogs are individuals. The amount that will keep your dog in good health is right for him, not the "rule book" amount. Set up a feeding schedule that suits your family’s routine and keep to those times so that your puppy knows when meal times are.

Do not change the amounts in your puppy’s diet too rapidly. If he gets diarrhea it may be that he is eating too much, so cut back on his food and when he is normal again increase his food more slowly.

There is a canned food made especially for puppies which you can buy with a veterinarian’s prescription, and several commercially prepared products. Some breeders use this method very successfully from weaning to three months. It is in my experience that dried puppy food is the best as it contains more protein than canned food and baby’s need their protein. You can soften dried the dry kibble with water, milk can make your puppy’s stools too hard.

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TRANSITIONAL DIET FOR YOU BICHON FRISE

Changing over to an adult program of feeding is not difficult. Very often the puppy will change himself; that is, he will refuse to eat some of his meal. He’ll adjust to his one meal (or two meals) a day without any trouble at all.

If there is a need to change from one brand of puppy (or dog) food to another do so by mixing both foods for a while. This gives your puppy’s system time to get use to the new brand of food. Changing brands of food can often upset the delicate stomach of a puppy or dog. Giving your puppy different flavors or brands of puppy (or dog) food very often cause finicky eaters.

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