French bulldogs are among the friendliest and most affectionate and dogs, which makes them great companions as well as family pets. They don’t bark a lot, can live in quite small areas, and don’t need much exercise.
However, they’re a bit tricky when it comes to training and housebreaking. If you’re adopting or getting a new French bulldog into your house, you have to make sure that they’re properly trained.
As unique as they are as dogs, their training can also be special. That’s why in today’s article, I’ll make use of my long experience with French bulldog training to provide you with a complete guide with everything you need to know. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Are French Bulldogs Easy To Train?
Before answering this question, you first need to have a better understanding of what makes a dog an “easy to train” one.
Of course, the major factor to consider a dog easy to train is when they are more adept at forming a good association between a command and the action.
For instance, if your dog is able to associate the word “sit” with sitting to earn a treat quickly, they’re considered an easy to train dog.
The thing is, many people think that a dog that is easy to train is correlated to their level of intelligence. But unfortunately, this isn’t how things work in a dog’s world. Of course, a more intelligent dog might easily associate your command with obedience.
However, some breeds, such as the French bulldog, can be smart enough to understand the training. Yet, they approach the training with the WIIFM attitude, which is short for “what’s in it for me?”.
This is where the stubborn and big personality of Frenchies kick in and account for the slightly tricky training.
So, to answer the question, I can safely say that French Bulldogs fall into the average or slightly above average when it comes to training. This is because of their unique bundle of traits that kind of balance things out.
On one hand, they’re naturally quite clean and don’t like creating too much mess around them. This makes potty training quite easy, as they’re naturally cooperative when it comes to keeping things neat and tidy.
On the other hand, their strong personality and stubbornness can cause some frustration during socializing training.
They’re quite sensitive and don’t take criticism lightly, which limits your methods to a very specific set of approaches. Yet, you need to keep in mind that all dog breeds will still have some sort of individual difference when it comes to behaviors.
In other words, while the previously mentioned characteristics apply to the majority of French bulldogs, it’s not an absolute rule.
There’s always some individual variation from one dog to another and some of them might be completely different.
The only thing that is true in training almost all French bulldogs is that they require a lot of patience and consistency. But in the end, they all come by.
How Do You Discipline A French Bulldog
For a stubborn species like the French bulldog, discipline training is quite essential. It’s your key to reshape their attitude and turn them into a mellow and loving dog. Moreover, discipline training will generally make all other forms of training a lot easier.
One thing you should know here is that discipline is completely different from physical punishment or even loudly yelling at your dog. As I previously mentioned, French bulldogs are quite sensitive dogs, so this approach is never the right way to do it.
I’ve noticed through the years that my Frenchies try to copy my attitude. This means that an owner with particular self-discipline should expect their Frenchie to follow around easily.
However, if you punish them with loud yelling and an aggressive tone, they’re more likely to copy your attitude and react with barking. Even worse, they can end up developing behavioral defensive issues like biting and squealing.
Avoid using outdated methods that will only result in creating more behavioral problems, such as low yelling, physical hurting, using shock collars, dragging their leash, or rubbing their nose in urine while potty training.
How Do you House Train A French Bulldog
Although French Bulldogs are quite stubborn, they usually do well at potty training if you’re patient and consistent. Here’s how to housebreak your French bulldog:
Step 1: Establish a Schedule
Start your house training by choosing a potty spot outside the house and establishing a consistent schedule that specifies both eating and potty times. Make sure that this schedule is convenient for both you and your pooch.
At first, you might want to take your Frenchie puppy outside every two hours and figure out their bowel activity.
If you don’t have enough time for it, especially if you adopted an adult Frenchie, you may take your dog outside for potty immediately when they wake up as well as after each meal or drinking.
To avoid schedule disruption during this time, make sure that you remove food between meals so that your dog understands that there’s a limited window for food.
Also, you should remove the water at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. You can allow your dog to go potty once after exercising as well.
To encourage your dog to eliminate it every time you take them out for potty, reward them each time they get it right when you take them out.
Step 2: Supervise and Confine Your Frenchie’s House Area
You can put the fact that French bulldogs are clean breeds to good use. Ideally, most Frenchies will avoid going potty at the same spot they eat or drink.
So if you confined their living area to a small spot or a crate, they’ll learn to hold it until you take them outside to their bathroom spot.
Step 3: Be Patient and Watch for Potty Time Signs
Now that your dog successfully holds their potty until you take them outside, they’ll slowly but surely associate the bathroom spot with doing the business.
In the meantime, you have to stay consistent with your schedule to create this correlation. Also, you should keep in mind that accidents happen, and disciplinary training should be enough to make your Frenchie understand that doing it inside is a mistake.
When that happens, make sure that you remove the excrement from the house immediately and put them at the dog’s bathroom spot.
To reduce accidents, keep a vigilant eye for any warning signs that your dog might do when they want to go potty, such as:
- Staring or barking at you
- Sniffing around the room
- Scratching the door behind the bathroom spot
- Circling around the room or pacing from one spot to another
Step 4: Teach Them to Hold it and the “Go Potty” Command
As your dog starts to consistently eliminate in the bathroom spot, you may allow them a larger part of the house gradually.
This teaches your dog the idea of holding it in even when there’s plenty of space to go potty. However, you must keep your schedule very consistent during that time. You can also say the words “Hold It” to create the association in their brain.
You can also teach them the “Go Potty” command by always saying these words before taking them to the bathroom spot. With time and consistency, they may go on their own as soon as you say them.
Tips For Training French Bulldogs
As previously mentioned, French bulldogs are not the easiest dogs to train but they’re also not the hardest.
From my experience, there are various tips that you need to keep in mind or consider while training a Frenchies. Here is a brief overview of them:
1. Prepare What’s Necessary for the Training
French bulldogs are great pets to have as a family member and a companion. However, they’re not the easiest breed when it comes to training.
While you can still train your Frenchie with patience and consistency, having the right tools to do the job can make it a whole lot easier.
For example, you need to get a bag of the highest quality treats to encourage your dog to advance in training.
Also, make sure that you find a suitable crate for your Frenchie as well as a quiet room for minimal distraction while training.
2. Keep the Training Session Brief but Concise
Always set out a plan for the training and make sure that all the daily sessions and short and to the point.
Frenchie’s attention span is quite low, so you have to make sure that you reach them before they zone out.
3. Teaching Them Basic Commands Will Help You While Housebreaking Them
Training your dog to obey basic commands like sit, stand, come, stay, leave it, and more, can be a great aid while housebreaking the dogs.
You can rely on them to get your dog out of a room, stop jumping on strangers, run outside when potty warning signs are showing, and more!
4. Choose When to Reward Your Frenchie
Frenchies are very sensitive and they thrive on their master’s companionship and always regard their rewards as signs of approval.
That’s why you have to always reward them when they get something right to associate these deeds with good things.
However, you should keep in mind that depriving them of rewards and showering them with treats are both a bad influence on your pet, so you have to time it right.
5. Keep the French Bulldog’s Bodily Limitations in Mind While Training Them
Due to the structure of their body, bulldogs are not swimmers, so make sure that you don’t train them to swim or train them near pools or bodies of water.
Similarly, they get exhausted pretty easily due to the flattened structure of their nose, so you must avoid tiring them out while training.
Can French Bulldogs Be Left Alone During The Day?
The more independent the dog is, the more likely it’s going to withstand being alone at home.
In the French bulldogs’ case, It’s alright if you have to leave them at home for a short period of time that won’t extend beyond a few hours. Anything beyond that can cause serious issues.
Since Frenchies are emotional dogs, they can easily develop symptoms of separation anxiety if you leave them alone at home for a long time.
French bulldogs are noticeably susceptible to separation anxiety because they always seek companionship and love to be around their owners and caretakers.
Such traits make them a bundle of fun to be around. Yet, they also mean that they’re less naturally independent than other dogs.
How Long Can You Leave a French Bulldog Alone?
There is no exact answer that will apply to all French bulldogs because there are various factors that can affect that.
Although Frenchies are usually dependent and seek companionship, some of them are just fine enough to withstand up to 12 hours alone. However, the majority of adult french bulldogs can last up to 6 or 8 hours alone.
Adopted dogs with a history of abandonment issues will usually have lower tolerance towards staying alone and may require a full-time dog sitter if you have to leave your home for a long time.
Another factor to keep in mind is your dog’s ability to hold its bladder, especially if they’re trained to go outside to do their business.
What Are the Complications of Leaving Them Alone for a Long Time?
Most dogs are fine when they’re left at home alone for a while, especially if they’re used to it. However, you need to be concerned if your Frenchie any of the following symptoms of separation anxiety:
- Your dog urinates or poops more frequently and in unusual places, even with proper potty training.
- They show destructive behavior where they chew and tear cushions, socks, plushies, and more.
- You hear them park more intensely and frequently than usual, often with squealing and whining
- Your dog paces intensely when they’re left in a room alone for a few minutes
- They start to scratch on the doors and windows as soon as you step outside the house.
What You Can Do to Help Your Frenchie While You’re Away
Even with the timidest and anxious dogs, you can still help them overcome their separation issues with a few methods. Let’s have a quick look at them.
Train Them to Withstand Being Alone
Contrary to what some people might think, you can train your French bulldog to stay comfortable while being alone. To do it, you need to keep your dog in a specific room in the house for a specific amount of time and don’t use any farewell words while leaving.
Make sure that they’re comfortable in the room by giving them some treats as they go in and let them have their favorite toy. After that time, return to the room and greet them with another treat. This will help them associate their patience with rewards.
Try to increase the amount of time they’re left alone gradually every day until it’s long enough that you can actually leave the house through that time.
Keep Them Engaged
If you don’t have enough time to train your dog to be alone, you can engage them in exercise before you leave. Frenchies love to take naps, so exercising before you go will guarantee a long nap, which might be long enough that they sleep through the whole time you’re out.
Also, if your dog can tolerate some time alone but start to show signs of anxiety after 6 hours, you can hire a dog sitter to come by and check on your dog. Moreover, dog daycare centers can keep your bulldog well engaged while you’re out.
Lastly, there are various dog cameras with treat dispensers that can put use to keep you in touch with your doggie while you’re away.
Try Dog Calming Formulas for Dogs
If you’re Frenchies become hyperactive when they’re left alone, you can use dog calming products that are used to soothe them during flights. These exist in the form of anxiety jackets, calming treats as well as pheromone sprays
How Do You Train A French Bulldog Puppy?
Your training will considerably change depending on the age of your dog. For instance, young puppies are much more difficult to potty train because they have weak bladders.
However, when it comes to socializing training, it’s the ideal time to do so because they’re too young to fully develop a stubborn or strong personality.
French bulldogs appreciate training from a young age because they get things done much quicker.
French bulldog puppies do much better when the training is conducted in a positive association method.
For example, when you include a lot of treats, playtime, and other rewards when they behave accordingly.
Avoid punishing French bulldog puppies no matter how stubborn they are because they’re just too young to understand the difference. Instead, try positive reinforcement and lure them into the right behavior through treats and love.
How Do You Train An Adult French Bulldog?
Adult Frenchies have already established a personality that you must figure out before attempting to train them. In most cases, they’re relatively emotional dogs with strong and stubborn personalities.
Disciplinary training is extremely essential while training all French bulldogs. However, it becomes more and more essential as they grow up because it’s the key to train them.
However, you should avoid any approach that could harm them physically or emotionally. Here are some tips to train your adult dog efficiently:
1. Be Consistent When Choosing an Approach
French bulldogs are relatively smart, but they aren’t smart enough to figure out the slight variation in the disciplinary method.
In other words, make sure that you stick to what you do while training your dog and make it simple.
For example, If you discipline the dog for sitting on a couch one day, you shouldn’t ignore the behavior on the other.
Similarly, you should prevent them from continuing any behavior that is fine while they’re puppies but would be a problem when they grow up, such as nipping. This will easily make them confused and drive them to ignore the training altogether.
2. Use Firm Body Language When Your Frenchie is Being Stubborn
French bulldogs are smart enough to understand the sudden change in facial expression and voice tone.
Using that to your advantage is a sure-fire way to not only get their attention and point out their stubbornness but also to establish dominance and prevent them from continuing this behavior, all the while not using any form of loud yelling or shouting.
For example, you can call your Frenchie by their name in an assertive tone, or say “stop” or “no” while raising a finger. Any one of those would work but make sure that you’re consistent with it.
You should also change your facial expression and display a frown. You don’t need to over-express your disappointment because they can get scarred emotionally.
3. Incorporate Positive Reinforcement Methods in Your Training Method
In the majority of cases, adult Frenchies may still not have the mental capacity to understand the reason for punishment. However, they do understand that they’re being rewarded for doing the right thing.
Keeping that in mind, you can prevent your French bulldog from misbehaving by simply rewarding them when they make the right choices. This should work for all kinds of command training as well as disciplinary training.
4. Only Discipline Them at the Time and Place of Misbehavior
If your dog chewed on a sofa cushion or pooped on the carpet while you were away, there’s no point in disciplining or using firm body language.
Your french bulldog will understand that you’re mad but he or she will be confused over the reason.
Try to take your dog to the scene of the offense as soon as possible. It can also help to point at the reason while repeating your disciplinary word.
There you have it! A complete guide that walks you through all the information you need to know about French bulldog training!
As you can see, a French bulldog is a unique dog and a great companion. Yet, it’s in their natural temperament that they can be a little challenging when you first train them.
This is because Frenchies are quite the stubborn species with big personalities that require some extra training to be the amazing dogs they are!
That’s why you have to train and socialize them as early as possible to keep them mellow and disciplined.