French Bulldogs are known for their goofy and comical personalities who can instantly put a smile on people’s faces. We should not forget though that they can be sensitive creatures who may have certain fears just like humans. Whether it is other dogs, cyclists, guests at your house or fireworks, there’s a solution to every situation! In this article, you’ll learn how you can manage these fears to keep your Frenchie balanced and happy!
Where does your Frenchie’s fear come from?
Essentially, a dog’s behavior is determined by two things: characteristics they were born with and experiences they have throughout their life. Just like humans, every Frenchie is born with a certain disposition, some of them are feistier while some of them are timider. Bad experiences may also affect them the same way they affect us; when something scary happens to them, next time they’ll associate the thing that caused it with the emotion they felt: fear.
The good news is that you can help your Frenchie conquer their fears: what you’ll need to do is to replace bad experiences with pleasant ones. If your Frenchie is timid by nature, you’ll need much more time, effort and patience to help them become happier and more balanced. Don’t worry though, by the end of the article you’ll know everything about how you can achieve that!
What to do when your Frenchie gets scared
When you see that your puppy is scared of something, you should always try to get them out of that state and resolve their fear as soon as possible. Sometimes the trigger is just too intense causing your puppy to panic, in such cases you should just walk away from the scene.
However, if you see that your Frenchie’s fear could be managed, first you should try to calm them down by petting, praising or treats, then slowly call them closer and closer to the thing that’s triggering the fear. You’ll see that most of the time their curiosity becomes stronger than their fear! It may take a couple of occasions until your baby understands that what they were scared of poses no danger at all.
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What NOT to do when your Frenchie gets scared
When a puppy gets scared, people tend to call and approach them with spread arms. From your Frenchie’s perspective, this is exactly the opposite of what you want to do: they’ll interpret it as some kind of threat and will think you’re trying to scare them off! So, you should definitely avoid doing that if you don’t want to irritate your Frenchie.
Another important rule is that you should never get anxious when your puppy is scared of something! You need to stay calm and composed, which you should show to your baby as well. If they don’t sense that everything is fine, they won’t calm down either!
Things that Frenchies are usually scared of
Fear of busy and noisy roads
There are two possibilities here: either your Frenchie had some kind of bad experience or they’re just not used to them. You should always start walking them by a less busy and noisy road and gradually move closer to busier parts. Our leash training tips may also help you, read our article about that. Praising, positive reinforcement and patience will be essential!
Fear of cyclists, bikers, skateboarders
Until your Frenchie hasn’t encountered someone riding a bicycle or a motorbike, they won’t know they’re nothing to be afraid of. So, first you’ll need to get them familiar with these vehicles: let your puppy go closer and smell them, praise them even if they show the slightest interest.
The next thing is to ask someone to take a few circles with their bike in the yard while your Frenchie is near, starting off slowly and gradually increasing the speed. It’s important to resolve these fears as young as possible as later on it can even lead to aggression. Again, praising, positive reinforcement and patience are very important!
Fear of getting bathed
If you think about it, getting bathed is quite an unnatural situation for your Frenchie as they have no control over it. The bathtub can be really slippery for their paws, so the first thing you need to do is to get them familiar with it, we recommend putting a towel under them to prevent them from sliding.
It will be important to help your puppy associate the experience with something pleasant like a treat. Place them in the tub, give them a treat, then turn on the faucet so that they get used to the sound and give them a treat again. Step by step, you’ll be able to finally bathe them. If your Frenchie is very scared, make sure you don’t get any water on their head the first couple of times!
Fear of small children
The behavior and movement of children largely differs from adults, they are often loud which can cause puppies to get scared of them. That’s why it’s important that a puppy is exposed to kids from an early age, like they are on the TomKings farms. If your Frenchie gets confused around kids, that can easily lead to aggression, so it’s essential that you deal with the problem right away!
To resolve this fear, you’ll need to ask a child to help your Frenchie. He or she should sit down on the floor with a treat in their hand, and reach it out without paying any attention to your puppy at this point. If your Frenchie takes the treat from their hand, you can give them another one and so on until they get more encouraged. Slowly, they can start talking to them in a quiet and calm manner, and carefully pet them when your pup goes closer. This is a process that can take weeks, so you all need to be very patient.
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Fear of guests
If your Frenchie is afraid of guests at your house and hides away from them, it means they are either timid by nature or had a bad experience in the past. Similarly to the steps mentioned above, you’ll need to ask someone to come over and sit on the floor in the living room, making sure that their arrival is quiet and they don’t pay any attention to the pup first. You’ll need to lure your Frenchie closer to your guest using treats, and later on ask him or her to give them the treat.
Dogs are usually more afraid of men than women so you can also keep that in mind. In time, you can change the circumstances, so their arrival can be louder, they can sit down on the couch not the floor etc. This is also a slow process but it allows your Frenchie to associate having guest with a positive experience.
Fear of other dogs
Dogs can take various positions in a pack, some of them are more dominant while some are more submissive. Whichever your Frenchie may be, they need to be able to find their place in a pack, which should be easy for a dog of either character if that they are socialized enough. We at TomKings make sure that our puppies meet other dogs from an early age for that very reason.
It’s also a good idea to take your baby to daycare, dog school, dog park, any place where they get to meet other pooches! The more socialized the dogs are, the easier it will be for your Frenchie to learn that they have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. They will also quickly recognize their position in the pack and will be able use that knowledge every time they’re in a new four-legged company. If you’re patient and follow our advice, you can help your antisocial Frenchie become a bit more open.
Fear of fireworks
Almost all dogs are afraid of fireworks as their hearing is much more refined than ours. That is something they will never get used to, so it’s important to know the necessary steps to prevent your Frenchie getting too scared and running off. If that happens still, here’s what you can do to find your lost pet.
The first thing you need to do is lock them in a safe room from which they can’t escape and is the least exposed to the noise. If you know there will be fireworks in your area, for example around New Year’s Eve, it’s better to think ahead and do that sooner. Make sure that you don’t leave any window open, you may turn on the TV or the radio for your puppy. If your Frenchie is panicking too much, you can purchase an all-natural herbal sedative supplement and give that to them.
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What do to if your Frenchie is scared of everything?
If your puppy is extremely timid, first you’ll need to create an environment for them where their fears are kept to a minimum, a place where they can feel safe, like your home. Make sure they don’t develop separation anxiety, read our blog post about what you can do about that. Slowly, you should extend this environment to the garden, then the area around your house by walking around these places again and again until your Frenchie gets more confident. Once they feel safe and comfortable, you can show them new places.
You should always keep in mind that it is your task to recognize when your fur baby needs your encouragement and reassurance. That’s why you should always keep an eye out on them and if the need arises, comfort your puppy. It will take a lot of time, effort and patience, as well as tons of rewarding and continuous positive reinforcement, but we guarantee that it will pay off in the end!
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.