French Bulldogs are almost cartoonishly sweet and loving dogs, but how do they do with obedience lessons? Are French Bulldogs easy to train?
Are French Bulldogs Easy To Train? While it varies from dog to dog, you’ll be happy to know that Frenchies can and do respond quite well to training. The trick to it is making it fun for them, by starting off small and making sure to reward their efforts with lots of love and tasty treats.
In this article, we’re going to explore exactly how you can do that. We’ll tell you how long training sessions should be, give you some commands that you can teach them, and we’ll let you know what kind of behavior to expect during this training. Without further ado, let’s begin ‘Frenchie training 101 – the basics’!
Are French Bulldogs Easy To Train?
First things first, when training your French Bulldog you’ll want to be very patient and must resist the urge to scold. Your Frenchie is very sensitive to scolding and won’t understand this or any punishment. Worse, if you DO scold or punish them, then this can damage their trust in you and make them not want to train.
Instead, you’ll want to stick to positive reinforcement only. This means that whenever your Bulldog does something that you like, then you should give them some affection and a treat. What this does is twofold – first, it keeps your dog happy and interested in the training, and secondly, it teaches them the behaviors that you like.
Over time, your dog will become very aware of what behaviors you like and they will start repeating them. So, be patient with the process and resist the urge to raise your voice or punish any mistakes. Your Bulldog is happy to learn what you want to teach them, you’ve just gotta be patient with them!
Limit training time at first
When your dog is still a pup, they’ve got very short attention spans, so you are going to need to start off small with limited-time training sessions. Sessions of around 5 to 10 minutes in duration, 3 times a day, will be ideal.
This will help to ensure that you’ve got their attention and will help to keep your dog from getting bored. This is very important – you want them to look forward to training sessions and to view them as a sort of game, rather than ‘boring ol’ doggy school’.
After each session, be sure to reward your dog with a treat and plenty of affection and this will help to further reinforce that ‘training time is fun time’. As your dog gets older, then you can slowly increase the training time as you go and it should be easier to hold their attention.
For now, however, keep the sessions quick and ‘to the point’. That way your dog will be learning every day and neither of you will be getting frustrated with the progress!
‘Come here’ and ‘sit’
The first commands that your dog needs to learn are going to be ‘sit’ and ‘come here’. Both of these are quite useful, not just from the obedience factor, but because they give you something you can use to quickly distract your dog before they get into trouble.
‘Come here’ is easier and you can also just use their name instead of a command. Hold up a treat and let them sniff it, then step away and call them to you with ‘come here’ or their name. When your Frenchie comes to you, give them the treat, and repeat this until they learn to come every time.
‘Sit’ is also quite easy to teach, as your dog will often sit down on their own when they aren’t sure what you want. To take advantage of this and teach sitting as a command, keep some treats handy and when your dog sits down, say clearly the word ‘sit’ a few times and then praise them and give them the treat.
It sounds basic, but after a few repetitions your dog will pick up that ‘sit’ means ‘sitting down and sometimes getting a treat’. Once your dog knows these two commands then you are off to an excellent start and you can start training them to do more and increasingly complex tricks.
Teaching your Frenchie to fetch
While they aren’t ‘natural’ retrievers, French Bulldogs definitely love a nice game of fetch. To teach this, start off by getting a new or current favorite toy and holding it up to let them look at it and sniff it. Don’t let them take it, but instead toss the toy just a few feet away and say ‘fetch!’.
If your dog doesn’t automatically go to get the toy, then tell them ‘Come here’ so that they will follow you as you walk to it. When they pick up the toy, walk a few feet away and say ‘bring it back’ or ‘come here’ so that they bring the toy back to you.
Give them a treat when they do, take the toy back, and try the ‘fetch’ command again. It may take a few tries, but after walking with you to the toy, picking it up, and then bringing it to you then your dog will take the initiative and should start running to get it themselves.
Remember to keep the sessions brief – no more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time – and before you know it, your furry little friend will become a happy expert in the art of playing fetch!
Teaching your dog to ‘beg’
Next up we have a classic that looks incredibly adorable – teaching your dog to beg on command! To do this, we need to teach them to stand on their back legs first, and this might take a little time. Feel free to help by holding their front paws during practice until they can stand on their own.
Now, that said, to teach your Frenchie to beg, first you must take a treat and hold it up over their head so that it is out of reach. They may try to jump at first, but if you move the treat around then you can coax them into a standing position.
Help your dog out with support on their front paws and give your dog the treat and once you have done this a time or two, then try again without the extra paw support to see how your dog does.
Again, reward them with the treat, and once they can stand on their own, start increasing the time that you wait before giving your dog the treat. Once they can stand for a few moments on their own, then it’s just a matter of testing the command again at random times. Congratulations, your dog can now ‘beg’!
Don’t forget to socialize your dog
You might notice that it’s harder to get your dog to do tricks when people or other animals are around. Socialization can help with this and it’s also very good for your dog – especially if they are a little on the ‘codependent’ side.
Socialization teaches your dog how to behave around other animals and people, simply by encouraging them to socialize. This may be accomplished by taking your dog to a local dog park to play with other animals and by introducing them to your friends when they come to visit.
Dogs that were weaned too early sometimes miss out on proper socialization. When they are young, it is generally accomplished by time around the other pups and with their mother. A breeder usually makes sure that the pups are handled by people, as well, to ensure that the dog is comfortable with humans as well.
If your dog seems to forget their new tricks when other people are around, then this is a good thing. It lets you know that your dog could use a little more socialization and after a few dog park visits they will be more well-rounded socially and much better at listening when you give them a command!
Naptime is a GOOD thing
During your training days, don’t be surprised if your French Bulldog seems to be taking a lot of naps. The thing is, this breed sleeps a lot already, and you might not have even noticed it! French Bulldogs sleep around 12 to 14 hours a day – on average. Frenchie pups sleep even more, averaging 18 to 19 hours every day.
So, if your pup seems pooped, don’t worry – this is totally natural. Feel free to tuck them in with a soft, warm blanket and give them a chew toy before their after-training naps. Your little one has earned it and they’ll be so glad that you’ve noticed!
Some final words on Frenchies
Today we’ve taken a brief, but in-depth plunge into the world of training your French Bulldog. Remember to stick with positive reinforcement, as scolding is only going to set you back. Keep your training sessions to 5 to 10 minutes at a time, as well, to keep your dog’s interest in current and future training.
With patience and regular training sessions (and treats, of course), then your Frenchie will have a good time and they will happily learn just about anything that you want to teach them. Just be sure to stay consistent and also to let them nap when they like, and if they seem a bit shy around others then socialize them too.
Within a few weeks, it will be almost like having a brand-new superdog!