Sometimes the smallest things can take up the most space in your heart. This cannot be truer for a French Bulldog pup. A small counterpart of the Bulldog, this breed has a larger-than-life personality and knows to make its way to your heart with its silly and adorable antics. Unfortunately, more often than not, these antics can get them into trouble and be a cause for nuisance in the house. Let’s take a look at some of the best training tools to raise a French Bulldog into the gentleman or the lovely lady they were born to be!
How are the training needs of a French Bulldog different from other breeds?
French Bulldogs are gifted with one of the best temperaments in the dog world. They have all the desirable qualities you need in a companion canine. They are adorable, friendly, clever, goofy, trainable, enthusiastic, eager to learn and please, easygoing, alert, and sociable.
However, French Bulldogs also come with a fair share of stubbornness and inability to focus on tasks for an extended period. When training a Frenchie, this aspect must be taken into consideration.
This breed is blessed with a distinct temperament and possesses some unique characteristics such as:
- A brachycephalic facial structure, which must be accounted for while buying muzzles, head halters, harnesses, etc
- Sensitivity to the environment (mainly because of their nose)
- Playfulness and frivolity
- Relatively shorter attention span
- High adaptability
- Highly sociable
- Moderately athletic
10 things that will change the game when training your French Bulldog
1 – Clicker
Clickers are one of the most popular tools when training a dog using positive reinforcement techniques. They rely on the sound of a distant clicking sound to promptly mark desirable behaviors in dogs. A clicker works incredibly well in trick training where timing is of the essence.
When used correctly, dogs associate clickers with high motivation, which in turn accelerates the training process. Clickers can be used to teach a wide variety of behaviors, tricks, commands, etc. It reduces the need for excess verbal commands while acting as a consistent and precise marker for the exact behavior that needs to be reinforced.
2 – Recall Whistle
A recall whistle is specially designed to produce ultrasonic, sounds at a high frequency that is only audible to the dog and not to the humans. The sound produced by these whistles, unlike verbal commands, can travel longer distances and prevent the dog from taking off or straying.
Recall whistles provide tremendous amounts of consistency in tone when building a reliable recall which verbal cues just can’t match. Dogs are less likely to confuse the high-pitched sound of the whistle with everyday noises and environmental distractions. Several owners use recall whistles as a tool for emergency recalls in highly distracting and difficult situations.
French Bulldogs tend to be stubborn and notorious when it comes to recalls. Recall whistles can be life savers.
3 – Muzzle
Dogs with muzzles tend to have a terrible reputation because of how intimidating these tools make them look. However, muzzled dogs are not bad dogs. These are just dogs who are learning to make better choices. Muzzles come in handy not only while preventing dangerous behaviors like biting and attacking but also undesirable behaviors such as chewing, barking, scavenging, etc.
They help in reducing overall stress during vet visits and grooming sessions. French Bulldogs have a short snout with mushed noses which must be taken into consideration while fitting a muzzle on them. Make sure that the muzzle they wear lets them open their mouth and pant. Failure to do so may cause severe health problems.
Muzzles made for French Bulldogs or other dogs with a mushed nose can be found here.
4 – Front clip-on harness
A harness is far more recommended to walk brachycephalic dogs like French Bulldogs as compared to standard collars. The use of collars on French Bulldogs is primarily discouraged because this breed is already prone to breathing difficulties. The leash pressure on collars may adversely affect the dog’s trachea, potentially exacerbating breathing problems and discomfort.
A front clip-on harness enables the leash to be clipped on at the chest, thereby changing the direction of the force when the dog pulls. Instead of pulling them backward, the front clip-on harness will cause the dog to turn towards you rather than forging ahead, as seen in the case of back clip harnesses.
5 – Long lead and short leash
A long lead is an excellent tool to teach your French Bulldog to come back to you reliably. A long lead that is over 25-30 ft provides ample freedom to the dog and ensures safety. Recall typically fails when the dog is trusted with liberty too soon and the pet parent has no means to get their dog back on cue. The long lead prevents both of these scenarios and helps in building a solid recall.
A short leash that is about 4-6 ft in length is the most recommended leash walking tool, as opposed to retractable leashes. French Bulldogs have a high prey drive, which gets the best of them in distracting situations. A short leash ensures safety on walks and is a great tool to achieve accelerated results and success in the process of leash training.
6 – Training pouch
When training a food-motivated dog with positive reinforcement, a training pouch is a must. Timing is of the essence when rewarding desirable behaviors. A training pouch will help you keep a combination of low-value and high-value treats ready and reward your Frenchie as and when necessary.
There are a variety of training pouches available in the market (see the ones available on Amazon here), including but not limited to the ones that go on the waist, ones that attach to the leash, ones that clip on trousers, etc. Find one that is convenient while training.
7 – Low-value and high-value treats
Understanding the significance of low-value and high-value training treats will greatly help your training process. When buying treats, it is advisable to buy a few options ranging from a point of low preference to a high preference for your dog.
Low-value treats would include food items like kibbles, dog biscuits, and veggies such as carrots, celery, etc. These are the things that your Frenchie would get in abundance daily and work great to teach and reinforce easier behaviors like “Sit Down”, “Look”, etc.
On the other hand, high-value treats would include incredibly flavorful food items such as raw meat, sausages, liver treats, boiled meat, etc. These are the things that are hard for your dog to resist and work amazingly well while teaching and reinforcing difficult and complex behaviors.
8 – Enrichment products
Two walks a day may suffice for innumerable dogs as exercise requirements. However, several dogs need more, much more! A healthy mix of physical and mental stimulation is a must to raise a calm, well-behaved, and well-rounded dog.
Enrichment products and games involve engaging in activities requiring the dog to utilize all five senses – taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch to solve a problem at hand. Interactive feeders, puzzle toys, brain games, etc., are examples of enrichment products and activities.
Enrichment provides an excellent outlet for puppies to relieve their pent-up energies. They help in keeping dogs engaged for a considerable amount of time when home alone. They also help build confidence in anxious dogs.
9 – Crate
Crates, when used correctly, are one of the best training and safety tools for raising a puppy. An appropriately sized crate teaches a dog to relax, be independent, feel secure, and sleep well. When used in the way it is intended to be used, it prevents several behavioral issues like separation anxiety, excessive vocalization, hyperactivity, destructive chewing, and so on.
It is important to take time to get your French Bulldog accustomed to the crate early on to prevent crate-related anxiety. Frenchies have a playful personality and can be trouble-magnets, especially when unsupervised. Crates provide a safe and secure environment for your dog while helping you encourage a calm demeanor in your dog.
10 – Potty training bell
The most challenging aspect of potty training a puppy is preventing accidents, which majorly happen when we miss communication signs from our pups. How cool would it be if your Frenchie could clearly and audibly tell you every time they need to be let out? This is where the potty training bell comes in handy.
The potty-training bell must be hung at the door at a height that your dog can reach with their nose or paw. They must be trained to ring it when they need to be let out of the door, indicating that they need to relieve themselves.
It is an excellent tool that can accelerate the potty training process as it teaches dogs to consistently use the same way to communicate with their humans, thereby helping build a predictable routine.
Dos and Don’ts while training a French Bulldog
|OD on positive reinforcement to build a long-lasting bond of trust and love
|Use aversive techniques. It may instill fear in your dog and may affect your relationship in the long run
|Find out what motivates your dog in different situations
|Yell or scold your dog for displaying undesirable behaviors
|Build a consistent and predictable routine
|Push your dog beyond its threshold
|Keep things simple
|Rush your dog into learning new commands and behaviors
|Keep training sessions short
|Rely on treats all the time
|Practice with the 4Ds – Distance, Duration, Distractions, Diversity
|Know your dog’s threshold
|Proactively teach and reward desirable behaviors to your dog
It is essential to remember that French Bulldogs have a unique temperament and several behaviors are instinctive to this breed. However, not all Frenchies will display the same set of behaviors. Early socialization and training, a structured routine, and ample physical and mental stimulation are a must when training and raising this goofy little breed.