It’s a wonderful feeling when your Frenchie greets you at the front door. They are excited for you to get home, as they just love you so much… sometimes to the extent that they never want you to leave again. If your Frenchie is a golden angel while you are at home, but turns to a little devil the moment you leave your place, that’s separation anxiety. In this article, you will learn more about this behavior, what’s causing it, and what you can do to end it.
What is separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a behavior that occurs in both human and animal species. It means that someone is afraid of being separated from a particular person, which develops extreme anxiety. It first appears in childhood, and when left untreated, it sticks forever and manifests in all sorts of behavioral problems.
As we said already, French Bulldogs are people-dogs, which means they love to be around their owners. In general, they don’t handle well when you leave for a whole day. Same with humans, some Frenchies are clingier than others. Frenchies with a higher level of separation anxiety might even think that they are left alone forever, and their owner is never going to get back. Sad thought, isn’t it?
Dogs with a higher level of separation anxiety tend to misbehave while you are gone. Of course, boredom can also cause bad behavior, but you need to learn how to differentiate between casual boredom-mess and separation anxiety-related mess.
How do you know if your Frenchie has separation anxiety?
One of the most obvious signs of an anxious dog is when he starts barking and howling after you leave the apartment and won’t stop for minutes or even hours. You will learn of this behavior from your neighbors for sure.
However, not all dogs bark or howl once you leave. Others start to destroy your home, especially your blinds, drapes, doorway, and walls. They start chewing, scratching, and digging. They do this because they are trying to find a way out and escape so that they can follow you – no matter where or how far you’ve gone.
When a fully potty-trained dog has an “accident” almost every time you leave the house, that’s another obvious sign of separation anxiety. The psychological reason behind this is that they try to be your babies again. When they were little, you spent every minute of yours with them, and they remember that.
What to do if your Frenchie has separation anxiety?
First of all, verbal or physical punishment will not work this time. Don’t be mad at them just because they miss you a lot. With a new puppy, follow the principle of gradiation: first only leave for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and gradually add up the time.
Try not to make a big fuss about leaving the house or coming home. Forget the notable greetings and habitual movements, like getting dressed in a rush and running up and down to find your keys. You need to be as casual and calm as you can when you are about to leave the house.
If they notice you are about to leave, try giving them some long-lasting snacks so they will be occupied for at least 20 minutes. It will also connect your absence with some yummy rewards. Positive reinforcement is an appropriate way to teach them that there is no need to worry. If you give them a toy filled with snacks like a KONG-ball is always a good idea.
If you have the time, go for a long walk, or play for at least 20-30 minutes with your baby before you leave. Exhausting not only works with human children but with our furry babies too! Always remember: they are our babies, and we need to treat them just like we treat our children when it comes to raising.
If you must leave your Frenchie alone for a whole day, you can hire a pet sitter or walker who comes once or twice a day and plays with your dog. We recommend hiring someone from a pet sitter company as they are well-trained animal caregivers. But if your nephew or the neighbor’s kid is back and forth for your dog, this is a great chance for them to learn some responsibility. In this case, don’t forget to give them clear and precise instructions on what to do with your dog.
We hope you find this article useful! If you know a friend or neighbor who could benefit from reading it, feel free to share the post!
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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 puppies here, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.