The bichon frise is a small, curly-haired dog that makes a great family or apartment pet. Independent and merry, the breed is suited for indoor and domestic life. One way to prepare your new puppy for night sleeping is to crate-train her. This will help your puppy her entire life.
Importance of Crate-Training
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It's normal for new owners to feel some hesitation about crating their dog for sleeping through the night. Rest assured, however, that training in this method is not cruel; instead, it taps into your puppy's natural den-making instincts. The crate you choose for her will become a space that she will recognize as safe, and as her own. This will help her both in sleeping through the night and in house-training. Although bichons are known for their peaceful nature, a timidity inherent in the breed requires special care for crate-training.
Selecting a Crate
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When choosing a crate for your puppy, select one that is large enough for her to stand up, turn around and lie down in. If you bring home a larger crate, your puppy might decide to use one side as a bathroom, and the other to sleep; be mindful that the crate is neither too small nor too big. For night sleeping, place the crate in the room where you sleep, preferably next to your bed. It is in a dog's natural instincts to sleep with her pack. For a bichon frise, a small dog crate that is 24 inches in depth should be big enough.
Your First Night
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Before putting your bichon frise in her crate the first night, leave the door open and let her explore it on her own. Place treats in the crate throughout the evening so she will be more inclined to return to the interesting new space. Try closing the door behind her for a moment, then give her a treat, praise her and open the door. Finally, potty her just before bed, then place her inside her crate with her bedding and a treat. Adjust at your puppy's pace; if she needs more time, consider slowly crate-training over an entire weekend. Bichons as a breed respond best to gentle training, so remember to be patient and comforting.
Tips and Tricks
The bichon frise is known to be rather difficult to house-train, and establishing a routine with her crate and night sleeping will help with this. During the first couple of months of your puppy's life, she will need to wake up at night at least once to potty. Effective items that help facilitate crate-training are blankets that smell like you, a warm water bottle and something that ticks, such as a clock. These items will remind her of sleeping with her mother and siblings. Additionally, feeding your puppy in her crate will go a long way toward making her happy and comfortable with crate-training.