French Bulldogs are unique and adorable little companions that can bring immense joy to your life. However, to ensure they lead a happy and well-behaved life, proper training and guidance are essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share tips and tricks on how to start training your French Bulldog from day one, so your furry friend can become a happy and well-mannered family member.
When to Start Training Your French Bulldog?
Timing is crucial when it comes to training your French Bulldog. Many new owners wonder when the ideal moment to begin training is. The answer is simple: as soon as you bring your Frenchie home. The first days are a golden opportunity to establish a strong foundation for your dog’s behavior and socialization.
French Bulldog puppies are like sponges, absorbing information and experiences from their environment. By starting early, you set the foundation for good behavior and ensure a smooth transition into your home.
How Easy Is It to Train a Frenchie?
French Bulldogs, despite their adorable nature, can sometimes showcase a touch of stubbornness. This trait might surface during training sessions, and it’s something potential Frenchie parents should be aware of.
But French Bulldogs are not just stubborn; they’re also incredibly smart. They’re quick learners, and they’re highly motivated by food and eager to please their owners. This means that with the right approach and a handful of tasty treats, you can conquer the training challenges.
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Their intelligence means they can quickly grasp commands, while their love for positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, makes them eager to learn. However, each dog is unique, and some may have their quirks or require additional patience.
Typically, puppies are around 3-4 months old when they transition to their new homes. At that age they are still babies and have never seen anything else outside of the breeder’s home, their mom and their siblings. Even with careful preparation for the journey, they are suddenly exposed to a vastly different environment.
Patience is Key
It’s important to be prepared for the possibility that your Frenchie might be timid during the initial days. They might cry or search for their littermates, which is completely natural when removed from their familiar surroundings.
The key here is patience. Give your baby enough time to adjust and don’t jump to conclusions that they don’t like you, your home, or that something needs to change. These initial reactions are normal, and typically, within a few hours or days, they settle in and become their usual selves.
Training Begins from Day One
At the same time, it’s crucial to be aware that you’re unintentionally training your Frenchie right from the very first moment, even if you don’t realize it. The behaviors you allow during this initial period can be challenging to change later on. So, it’s wise to plan ahead and establish clear rules:
- Determine where your puppy is allowed to go and where they should avoid.
- Decide whether your Frenchie will sleep in your bed or elsewhere, and where their designated sleeping area will be.
- Establish bathroom rules – where your Frenchie can relieve themselves.
It’s important to discuss and agree on these rules with your family members as well and ensure that everyone, including children, stick to them. You can emphasize to the kids that they play an essential role in helping the puppy by providing clear instructions. Setting clear boundaries and rules is essential for your Frenchie’s development into a healthy and happy French Bulldog.
The 5 Basic Rules When Training your Frenchie
Training your French Bulldog puppy requires consistency, patience, and a clear set of rules. To make this experience as smooth as possible, let’s dive into the five basic rules for teaching your Frenchie like a pro!
1. Begin Training Early
We cannot emphasize this enough. Some might think that puppies need time to settle into their new surroundings, but in reality, delaying training can make it more challenging later on. Sit down with your family and discuss the rules you want your puppy to follow. Getting everyone on board is crucial.
2. Maintain a Consistent Training Schedule
Consistency is your best friend in the world of Frenchie training. Dedicate a short 15-20 minutes each day to training sessions. If daily isn’t doable, keep the sessions regular with minimal breaks in between. French Bulldogs are sharp cookies, but they may forget what they’ve learned if too much time passes between lessons.
When it comes to rules, stay firm. If you start making exceptions here and there, your Frenchie will catch on and push the boundaries.
3. Practice Patience
Training a puppy can be a bit like Groundhog Day, with repetition and occasional setbacks. That’s where patience becomes your secret weapon. Don’t even think about training if you’re stressed or frustrated – your puppy can sense it. Instead, opt for those moments when you’re relaxed, and training can turn into a fun bonding experience.
4. Reward and Recognize Progress
Celebrate every small step forward! Keep a stash of tasty treats on hand during training sessions. These can be specially designed training treats or homemade nibbles that your pup adores (just make sure they’re healthy). Before mealtime is the perfect training window to keep your Frenchie motivated. Adjust their regular food portions to account for the treats, so they stay fit.
5. Never Use Punishment
Under no circumstances should you use punishment during training. If your Frenchie doesn’t quite get it, getting upset or using harsh methods isn’t the answer. Punishment can make training seem like a miserable experience, and your puppy might want to have nothing to do with it next time.
Basic Commands that your Frenchie Needs to Know
1. Come! – Coming to You When Called
Imagine calling your Frenchie at the park, and they dash towards you without hesitation. The ‘Come’ command is like magic, and it’s one of the most vital commands to teach. It can save you from a lot of trouble and, in some cases, even save your pup’s life.
Begin training this command indoors or in your garden, where your pup feels comfortable. Call their name and, as they come to you, reward them with a treat. Initially, you might need to repeat the command a few times, but that’s perfectly okay. Celebrate each successful return with enthusiasm. You can even make it a fun game of hide and seek, calling them from behind trees or sheds.
2. Stop! – When Walking the Dog
Ever seen those comical images of a dog parent being ‘pulled’ by their enthusiastic pup? That’s a scenario you definitely want to avoid. Not only is it inconvenient, but it’s also essential for your pup to understand that you’re in charge. Start this training in your garden but use a leash. As your puppy starts to move ahead of you, stop and wait until they pause and match your pace.
3. Sit! Lie! – Sitting And Lying
‘ Sit’ and ‘Lie down’ are essential commands for your Frenchie to be a polite pup around humans and furry friends. Give the command, and with patience and repetition, your Frenchie will quickly catch on. Reward them with a treat each time they follow the command correctly. These commands are especially handy when you have guests over or visit others, ensuring your pup behaves charmingly.
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4. Down! – Don’t Let Them Jump Up
Who doesn’t love the enthusiasm of a jumping pup who is so happy to see you as you come home? It’s all fun and games until it leads to white pants or a startled guest. Prevent this from the beginning by teaching the ‘Down’ command consistently. Your pup will grasp it swiftly, and you’ll avoid those over-enthusiastic welcomes.
5. Quiet – Stop Barking
French Bulldogs aren’t known for excessive barking, but occasionally they may get a bit vocal. To maintain peace and quiet, teach them the ‘Quiet’ command. It’s a useful tool to have in your training arsenal, just in case your Frenchie gets a little too chatty. Click here to read what to do if your Frenchie barks a lot.
Steps of a Successful Potty Training
Potty training can be a challenging aspect of raising a French Bulldog, but with the right approach, you can make it a smooth process. Follow these steps for a successful potty training!
Step One: Remove Carpets
First things first, say goodbye to carpets in areas where your furry baby is allowed to roam. Accidents can happen in the early stages of training, so you can place a few pee pads strategically around the house. These have to be removed once your Frenchie is ready to do their business outdoors.
Why ditch the carpets? Frenchies designate their pee area by peeing there first. If you are not careful enough and they pee on the carpet or on the floor, you will need to have industrial cleaning to stop your pup from smelling it and peeing there again.
Step Two: Take Your Frenchie out Frequently
Right from the beginning, take your Frenchie out as often as you can (every 2-3 hours), especially after feeding times, before going to bed, and after waking up. Once outside, use a keyword like “Pee-pee” or “Potty” that you consequently use going forward. You even need to stop them from playing, making it clear that it’s pee time.
Step Three: Reward your Frenchie
When your Frenchie successfully pees or poops outside, shower them with praise and positivity. In the beginning, you can even offer treats as an extra incentive. Gradually, you can leave the treats but always maintain the positive reinforcement.
Bonus Tip: No Nose-Pushing
Here’s an essential reminder: never resort to pushing your puppy’s nose into their accidents. It’s counterproductive and can be distressing for your pup. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement to encourage the right behavior.
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Step Four: It Gets Automatic
With consistency and regular outdoor trips, your Frenchie will soon grasp the concept of peeing and pooping outside. Use simple gestures to indicate it’s time to go out. Over time, they’ll pick up on these cues, and you might find them heading to the door independently.
Bonus Tip: Embrace the Pet Door
If you have a pet door, it can make your life even more convenient. Train your pup to use it by placing treats on the other side to encourage them to pass through. Just ensure the door doesn’t accidentally bump them.
Potty training can be a breeze with the right approach, patience, and a dash of positivity. Read our article about five tips for an effective potty training.
How to Crate Train Your Frenchie?
Crate training your beloved French Bulldog is a journey of creating a safe haven for your furry companion. Let’s explore what the steps are for a successful crate training.
Step 1: Perfect Placement of the Crate
Start by choosing a spot in your home where your family spends a lot of time, such as the living room. Place the crate there, door wide open, with a soft blanket inside – one that carries your puppy’s familiar scent.
The first goal is for your Frenchie to see the crate as a natural part of your living space. When your pup approaches and sniffs around the crate, shower them with praise and rewards, whether it’s treats, pets, or playtime. The key is to make the crate a source of pleasant experiences.
Step 2: Playtime by the Crate
The next phase involves frequent play sessions with your pup near the crate. You can toss a ball or toy inside – if your Frenchie goes near or interacts with the crate in any way, offer immediate praise and show your delight!
Step 3: Feeding Near the Crate
Many puppies might not pay much attention to the crate at first, so here’s a clever trick. Create a trail of dry dog food leading to the crate. Before mealtime, when your pup is hungry, place a few pieces of dry food near the crate’s entrance. Once again, praise as soon as they investigate and, ideally, eat the food. Gradually place the food deeper into the crate over several weeks, requiring patience on your part.
Once your Frenchie feels entirely at ease with the crate, start having their meals inside for at least 1-2 weeks. Gradually close the crate’s door during mealtime, but don’t lock it entirely – they should have the option to come out. As they grow accustomed to this routine, you can increase the duration of door closure.
Step 4: Locking the Crate
Never lock the crate during the early stages of training. Your Frenchie should associate it with positive experiences like playtime, food, and abundant praise. Always be patient and show your delight, even for the smallest achievements.
Step 5: Road Trips
Once your Frenchie is entirely comfortable with the crate in your home and willingly enters it, it’s time to hit the road. Place the crate in the car with your pup inside and take them for a short drive around the neighborhood initially. When you return home, celebrate with praise and rewards. With patience and consistency, your puppy will view their crate as a cozy retreat they won’t mind spending time in.
Effective Leash Training Tips
Leash training is essential for keeping your French Bulldog safe during walks and outings. Follow these effective leash training tips to ensure a pleasant and safe walking experience.
Step 1: Collar Introduction
The leash training begins with getting your Frenchie familiar with the collar. Since your pup likely hasn’t worn one before, it’s completely normal if they resist at first or try to remove it. To help them adjust, play some fun games or treat them to something tasty to take their minds off the collar.
Step 2: Leash Introduction
Once your Frenchie is at ease with the collar, it’s time to introduce the leash. Attach it in a familiar environment like your living room, and let the leash hang on the floor while distracting your pup with toys and treats. The goal is to make them forget about the leash, just as you did with the collar.
Step 3: Baby Steps
When your Frenchie comfortably wears both collar and leash, take those first steps together indoors. Start with short walks in your living room, offering enthusiastic praise, pets, and treats for every step taken. Gradually increase the distance, celebrating small achievements as you go.
Step 4: Transition to the Outdoors
Moving your training outdoors introduces new sounds and scents, which can be overwhelming for your puppy. If they sit down and resist moving, don’t pull on the leash. Instead, use a comforting voice, offer treats, and praise each step.
Ensure that outdoor walks become a pleasant experience, emphasizing that the leash is for their safety. With patience and positive reinforcement, your Frenchie will master leash walking.
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Consider Professional Training for Your French Bulldog
While many aspects of training can be done at home, professional training can be an excellent option for addressing specific behavioral issues or advanced training needs. Consider seeking the expertise of a professional dog trainer if necessary.
There are several good dog training schools in the US, and if you have the time and feel like doing so, it’s an excellent way of spending your free time, together with your Frenchie baby. Plus, both of you learn a lot from it. Click here to read how to select the best training school for your Frenchie.
Training your French Bulldog is an ongoing process that requires patience, consistency, and love. By starting from the first days and following the tips provided in this comprehensive tutorial, you can help your Frenchie become a well-behaved and happy member of your family. Remember that every dog is unique, so tailor your training approach to suit your Frenchie’s individual needs and personality.
If you’d like to learn more about Frenchies, join our Facebook group called TomKings Frenchie Family to read our Frenchie parents’ experiences.
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.
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