French Bulldogs are full of fun and attitude. Their boisterous and cheeky temperament guarantees training French Bulldogs is fun for everyone involved!
Known for being full of personality, their owners often describe this breed as clowns.
When starting to train your French bulldog you should be prepared by:
- Puppy proofing the house.
- Having a variety of soft toys and chews.
- Setting up a comfy crate in a quiet area.
Because of their boisterous temperament and small-size, Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, still have very specific training requirements.
Read on to learn our best French bulldog training tips to help you raise this spirited dog into a well-rounded adult in just 8 weeks of training.
French Bulldog Puppy Training
The French Bulldog loves to learn, mainly because they love food.
Before you start any training, you should ensure your home is set up with cool spaces to relax. Frenchies can easily overheat or tire-out due to their shortened muzzle.
As with any dog training, consistency and application are very important. This will ensure your puppy can learn and understand the rules.
A good idea is to agree on the rules before you adopt your puppy (a Frenchie’s little face will otherwise persuade you to break the rules).
French Bulldog Training Schedule
Before we share our French bulldog training tips, it is important you make a training schedule or plan.
Your schedule should include what you want to teach and when you will be training.
As well as training, socialization is a critical part of any puppy’s development. Blending socialization into your training schedule is a great way to expose your dog to other people, places and sounds.
You can use the training plan below as a guide:
|Example Training Schedule|
|Week 8||Week 9|
|Week 10||Week 11|
|Week 12||Week 16|
French Bulldog Puppy Housebreaking
Potty training a French Bulldog is something that you should start as soon as your puppy comes home.
The fewer accidents your puppy has inside, the faster he will be housetrained!
Just like how you should have a training schedule, you should have a daily potty-schedule to successfully housebreak a French Bulldog.
The essence of potty training is to always be supervising your puppy:
|French Bulldog Puppy Training Schedule|
Should your puppy stop what they are doing and start to sniff (or snort!), you will need to quickly get them out into the yard! Once they are outside, wait patiently for them to “go-potty”.
Once they have “gone-potty”, positively reward the behavior with either praise, fuss, or a little treat.
Try to remember to take your puppy out:
- After waking from a nap.
- After playing.
- After eating.
- Every hour.
You will need to do this consistently for two to six weeks for your dog to be housebroken.
If your puppy does have an accident, simply clean it up.
Make sure you clean the area thoroughly using biological washing powder mixed with water.
It is important to avoid punishing your puppy. This will make your puppy worried or anxious around you, and is the opposite of how you want your puppy to see you!
Teach A French Bulldog Puppy To Sit
Sit is usually the first obedience trick people start with when training French Bulldogs.
This is because it is very important to teach a nice behavior for your puppy to know so that they can ‘ask’ politely for many different things and offer behaviors which have some self-control:
- Sitting for mealtimes.
- Sitting for the door to be opened.
- Sitting to have a leash put on.
Sit is less important than the other key obedience skills (e.g. stay) but it is a fundamental skill necessary for more advanced tricks (e.g. settle).
- Start with a small piece of food clasped in your hand.
- Show your puppy the food but don’t allow them to eat the treat.
- Slowly move your hand back over their head so that they lift their head backwards to follow the treat.
- At some point, they’ll probably pop their bottom on the floor- at which point say ‘good puppy!” and release the food treat.
- Repeat several times until smooth.
- Now you can add your cue word: Say your word ‘sit’ once, and then repeat what you’ve been doing so far.
- Your puppy will come to learn that sit = sit my bottom down!
Training French Bulldogs To Stay
Sitting still for any puppy is very tricky because there are so many more exciting things to do.
To build up a long stay, and how far away you are separated, you must start gradually and use lots of rewards regularly.
Frenchies are usually quite inclined to follow people’s every movement, so stay training can be tricky!
- Start by asking your puppy to sit.
- Then raise your hand (as if it were a stop sign- a flat palm!), and say ‘stay’.
- Make a slight rocking motion backwards as if you were about to take a step back.
- If your puppy stays, go back and reward them!
- Repeat this a few times.
- Now take a full step backwards. Pause. Reward.
- Gradually build up how far away you can get from your puppy over several weeks.
Once your French Bulldog can stay when you are a few steps away from them, build up the length of time you remain away from them before you return to reward.
To really test your puppy’s “stay,” try doing star jumps (or jumping-jacks) or walking all the way around them!
French Bulldog Crate Training
French Bulldog training is not complete until they are successfully crate trained.
Crate training is a massive help when it comes to potty training your puppy. Most puppies won’t soil their own beds.
For Frenchie’s crate training is a useful way of ensuring your puppy learns to gradually cope being left alone, in a comfy, secure space. They are extremely people orientated dogs, so preparing them for the inevitable times they will need to be left alone is important.
You need to start by creating a positive association with the crate:
- The first thing you can do is to make the crate comfy and inviting. Pad it out with some comfy blankets (avoid expensive beds just yet as puppies like to chew).
- Leave the crate door open and feed their meals in there for them.
- Some Frenchie’s struggle to swallow their food properly, so using an enrichment device in their crate has the advantage of preventing regurgitation, and extending the time they take to eat their meals!
- Hide ‘surprise’ treats in his crate for him to find – all frenchies love to snuffle and sniff around.
- These surprises make it worth their while to go check the crate out intermittently, and be happy to spend time in there too!
You should build up the time your puppy is locked in his crate over several weeks.
Puppies need their parents close by for nurturing. Don’t be tempted to rush crate training, you don’t want your Frenchie to think his crate is a distressing place to be.
Training French Bulldog Puppies Not To Bite
A French Bulldogs’ bloodline is mainly English Bulldogs and Terriers. This means biting and chasing things are really fun for them. Invariably this means that your feet, ankles and hands are all fun targets for a puppy.
If your Frenchie is over-tired, hungry, or in need of the toilet, they are going to be more likely to chew and mouth. It would be wise to get into a routine, so you know that each need has been met.
Make sure to provide your puppy with good chewing material to help alleviate any discomfort from teething. Don’t be surprised if simply providing a toy isn’t enough to dissuade your puppy from chewing on your hand.
Persistence is a trait well-bred into Frenchies. It can take a three to four month period for mouthing to really settle down.
If your French Bulldog does mouth or chew at your hand:
- Completely ignore him as if he really offended you.
- Don’t look at him.
- Slowly stand up and remove yourself from the room for 10-30 seconds.
- Once he has calmed down, go back to playing.
As fun as it is to rough-house your dog, until your Frenchie has some more self-control and has learned not to bite, it is not a good idea.
If you want to play vigorous games (and it is really stimulating to do so), make sure there’s a toy in between you both. Make sure it’s a toy your Frenchie can get a good grip on though; their shortened mouths mean that it’s sometimes hard to grip onto smaller toys.
Keep in mind that biting is a normal puppy behavior and is how they explore the world around them!
Once all their adult teeth are through however, they shouldn’t be mouthing anymore.
Training French Bulldogs to come back when called is crucial for them to learn.
Recall is a skill that takes time to master, and requires distractions to be built up gradually!
Frenchie’s love to meet and greet everyone they come across (people and dogs alike). Learning to come back, regardless of distractions, takes time.
Before you try recall on your walks, you will want to start recall training in your house. Have a look at our handy timeline below for an outline of when to start:
- Start with short distances recalls in a quiet room in your house.
Say your recall cue (e.g. here/come/come here) clearly and bend down. Welcome your puppy towards you, when your puppy arrives, give him lots of praise, a few food rewards and a nice fuss.
- Increase the distance for recall.
Continue training by standing further away from your dog. You could also try standing in another room. Say the recall cue once clearly, and wait for your puppy to come find you. When they get to you reward them instantly.
- Practice recall somewhere new (the garden or a quiet walk).
In new environments, make sure you are close to your puppy when first trying the recall. While your puppy is still fairly close to you, run backwards to entice them towards you, and say their recall. Reward them!
- Increase distractions.
Try to find places where there are a few people or dogs around (but far enough away that your puppy will still respond) and try recall.
Leash Training French Bulldogs
This breed is small but mighty.
They are little tanks of muscle, whilse they may be small in stature, they can be strong! Leash training is therefore very important.
When leash training French Bulldog puppies, teaching them to get comfortable in a harness early on is important. This breed is prone to having reduced airways, so avoid using a collar attached to a leash.
Once your dog has worn their harness a few times around the house (perhaps at meal times so they are not distracted by it) you can start introducing the leash.
Attach the leash to your puppy’s harness, and reward them for accepting the attachment.
Start rewarding them with a little piece of food for being on the lead, as you give the leash slack! Take a step at a time and reward each step for your puppy following whilst the lead still has slack.
Over several sessions, you can start to increase how many steps you are taking before rewarding them!
If your French Bulldog pulls at all, stop walking immediately and wait for them to look back at you. At which point, reward them and continue walking.
When you start French bulldog puppy training, remember to start training early in a boring environment first. You are trying to teach your puppy that pulling doesn’t get them to where they want to get to.
If you have any questions, please comment below!