Adopting a Frenchie puppy brings enormous joy into a family’s life, but at the same time it is a huge responsibility too. As a dog owner your task is much more than satisfying your puppy’s physical needs: you need to raise a family member with whom you can live together in perfect harmony. The first few weeks are crucial in achieving that, so we’ve put together this ultimate guide to prepare you for your new role as a Frenchie parent.
Why the first few weeks are crucial
When you first bring your Frenchie puppy into your home, everything will be new and foreign to them. They won’t know what is good or bad behavior, how they should react in certain situations, which of course becomes completely natural as they grow. Just like with kids, showing and teaching these things will be your task as their parent.
There’s a saying that what happens to a dog three times they will always expect that to happen, meaning the first few days and weeks are absolutely crucial in shaping your little Frenchie pup’s behavior. But what are all the things that you need to pay attention to? We’ll detail these below.
9 things you need to pay attention to as a new Frenchie parent
1. Sorting out the family hierarchy
One of the first and most important things that you’ll need to teach your new puppy is their place in the family hierarchy: they have to understand that you and your family members are the bosses at home starting from day one. This might sound a bit surprising and it would probably be the last thing on your mind amid all the excitement, but without this nothing will work properly.
Let us explain why. When your Frenchie joins your family they become part of a “pack” where they need a leader to look up to, someone who tells them what to do. Having clear expectations towards your Frenchie is absolutely essential to raise a happy and balanced dog, and your family members should all follow the rules you set up as well. Dogs have excellent adapting skills and they learn incredibly fast, but for that you all need to be very consistent in raising your furry family member. Read this article to learn how you can become your Frenchie’s pack leader.
2. Teaching the command word NO
In the first few days your new Frenchie pup will have no idea what they can and can’t do, so it’s just natural that they’ll be testing the limits. So, when they do something that’s not acceptable for you, your task is to tell them off with a loud and clear NO. At the beginning that probably won’t be enough, so if they don’t listen to you, say the command word again while raising your voice and showing that you’re angry with your face and body as well.
This way you can quicky and efficiently teach your puppy that when you say NO they need to stop what they’re doing right away. Even the most mischievous pup can learn that, so if it doesn’t work you’re most likely not confident enough. Check out this article for more basic command words that a puppy should learn.
3. Getting used to the family rhythm
When you bring your new Frenchie home, it usually doesn’t take long until they adapt to your family’s life. But there’s a catch! You’ll need to continue the family rhythm the way it was and not change it in a way that suits your pup. For example, if you normally wake up at 8 am, you shouldn’t get out of bed earlier to play with your puppy just because they woke up at 6. One of the many things we love about Frenchies is that they are extremely adaptable, so you can be sure that your pup will quickly adjust to your sleeping schedule and all the other routines you follow throughout the day.
4. Spending time with and without your Frenchie
Before you welcome a furry family member into your home, one of the first things you need to consider is whether you’ll be able to spend enough time with them, especially in the initial period. Frenchies are a very social breed, and your pup will need you to be there for them most of the time. Of course there will be cases when you need to leave them alone for more than a couple of hours, for which you should always be prepared and ask one of your friends or hire a dog sitter to watch your Frenchie.
Spending quality time together is certainly one of the best ways to build a strong bond with your pup, but going overboard is not healthy either. Sometimes you’ll just need to give your Frenchie some space, a couple of hours during the day when they can retreat to their safe place and take a relaxing nap away from everyone. It’s very important to get them used to being home alone from an early age in order to reduce the chance of developing separation anxiety.
5. Feeding times
First-time Frenchie parents tend to worry too much about their puppy’s eating habits, but it shouldn’t be that way. Your only task really is to choose the right dog food and figure out the right amount for your puppy, read this article about the topic. This will of course take some experimenting, but once you manage to find that works best, your Frenchie should start eating the food as soon as you put it in front of them.
This may sound harsh but it’s true: a hungry dog will eat anything! If that’s not the case, don’t start feeding your pup from your hand and giving them all kinds of delicious food as the only thing you’ll achieve is raising a picky dog. If your Frenchie doesn’t eat the food you give them within five minutes, don’t leave it in front of them! You should take it away and give it to them at the next feeding time.
6. Potty training
As a new Frenchie parent, you should be aware that a 12-15-week-old pup cannot hold their bladder for a long time: when they need to go they’ll go. The truth is that potty training is a long and gradual process, and it requires lots of patience and consistence from your side. We recommend reading this and this article for some essential tips.
The main thing you should know is that as soon as you see your Frenchie pee inside you need to tell them off, and every time they pee outside you need to praise them and show how happy you are. You will need to take them out as often as you can, ideally every 3-4 hours, and you should also wake up at night at least once in addition to taking them out right before sleep and after waking up. Gradually you will be able to increase that time until they become fully potty trained.
7. Leash training
As difficult as it may seem in the beginning, puppies get the hang of the leash very fast. They’ll learn that it is an amazing thing because it only means one thing: walking time! You should always start training them in the safety of your home and praise them and give treats for every step made on the leash. Read this detailed guide to learn everything about leash training.
It’s very important that your puppy is exposed to new stimuli as early as possible. We could name a thousand different things here like meeting strangers including kids and older people, cats and other dogs, traveling by car, getting used to noisy roads, walking by bikers, skaters and so on. The more your young Frenchie sees of this world the more balanced and calmer they will be later on, so we highly recommend that you start taking out your pup as early as possible. An adult dog who’s not socialized properly may cause lots of headache for their parents.
9. Building habits
Dogs are creatures of habit, which means they only feel safe and comfortable if they are in an environment that is predictable and consistent. They need a system in their life in which they know exactly what they can expect and what is expected from them. That means that you cannot allow something and forbid it next time, otherwise you’ll end up confusing your Frenchie. This is a common mistake first-time puppy parents tend to make, so just remember that consistency is key and you’ll raise a balanced and happy dog.
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for more than 10 years on their farms. 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.