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French Bulldogs can amuse themselves with anything… be it looking out the window, tossing their blanket around, or the classic ‘sneaking off with your shoes when you aren’t looking. So, do French Bulldogs play fetch?
Yes, Frenchies can play fetch and most of them absolutely love this game! While you might think that these easily-amused little guys and gals wouldn’t care for the training sessions that ‘fetch’ requires, as long as you make it fun for them then they will definitely learn it.
In today’s article, we’ll let you know how to teach your Frenchie to fetch, as well as some ‘hard and fast’ rules that are specific to training this unique and adorable breed. Let’s discuss Frenchies, fetching, and what you need to know about both!
Do French Bulldogs Play Fetch?
Before we get started on the finer points of fetch we’d like to remind you of one thing – French Bulldogs learn at their own pace. While you are teaching them, you’ll want to keep your patience close and keep your dog treats even closer.
Training sessions should be very brief at first and you want to include lots of affection and treats, but NEVER punishment. If you raise your voice at your dog or let your frustration show too much, they might become afraid or stressed as a result and you definitely don’t want this.
So, if your dog doesn’t seem interested in training sometimes, then wait a little while before trying again. Above all, make it fun! French Bulldogs are among the most playful breeds out there and while this means that they can be distracted easily, you shouldn’t be stressed over it.
As long as you make it a game and keep your training sessions brief until your dog starts looking forward to them, then everything is going to work out. Let your little one set the pace, stick with your training schedule, and be generous with the praise and the treats. Your Frenchie will get there – you’ve just gotta be patient!
At what age can I teach my Frenchie to fetch?
So, how soon can you start training your little Bully in the first place? Well, the good news is that you can start when your puppy is 2 to 3 months old but there is a caveat – you could end up with a fetch-obsessed dog!
If the thought of your little one constantly coming up to you with a ball or their other favorite toys for you to throw them doesn’t daunt you, then feel free to get started on training.
If your dog is a little bit older, for instance, a rescue Frenchie or simply an older dog that hasn’t learned this game yet, you can teach them to fetch as well. The old adage that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is simply untrue.
If your dog finds the game amusing, then the odds are they’ll pick up ‘fetch’ just fine!
Teaching your French Bulldog to Fetch
Now that we’ve discussed a few ground rules we are ready to get started in training your Frenchie to fetch. It’s actually not all that difficult if you have the patience for it. Start off by getting a new toy or identifying one of your dog’s current favorites.
Hold the toy up and drum-up your dog’s interest by playing a little ‘keep away’, holding it away and then close to your dog, so that they start trying to pull the toy away from you. Now you’ve got their attention, so toss the item a few feet away (keep it close for now) and say ‘get it!’ or ‘fetch!’
If your dog doesn’t run over, then don’t worry… simply show them a treat and say ‘come here’ so that your dog follows you on a walk to the toy. Repeat ‘go get it!’ and ‘fetch’ until they pick it up and if they don’t respond, pick it up yourself and give it to your dog. Now, repeat the process again.
After a few times, your dog will start picking up the toy on their own and once they do, you must call them to come back to you every time, with the reward-promise of a treat if they do. Repeat this process for 2-3 small training sessions every day then your dog will put it all together and fetch!
Train on a schedule and keep it short
Aside from ‘repetition until it’s right’, there’s another rule that you will need to stick to if you want your Frenchie to learn fetch and other tricks that you want to teach them. Training sessions need to be regular and short! 2 or 3 sessions every day is ideal, but most importantly you need to keep track of time.
French Bulldogs love having fun, almost to a fault, and if you try to immediately foist 30-minute training sessions on them then you’re both going to end up frustrated and your dog isn’t going to want to learn. So, start with 3 5-minute sessions per day and keep it focused on one trick at a time.
During training sessions, you also need to be liberal with your praise and with treats. By keeping the sessions ‘short and sweet’, your Frenchie will have fun and find them rewarding. Don’t worry – you can increase the time later – but it’s imperative to start things off small and work your way up from there.
Remember that if you have a puppy, everything is still new to them, and if you have an older dog then they’re already a bit set in their ways. Both scenarios still make for a perfectly trainable dog that will be willing to learn – you’ve just got to keep things brief, rewarding, and fun!
Can I use fetch to tire my Frenchie out?
One of the perks of fetch is that it’s a great way to tire out your Frenchie if your dog seems to have lightning hidden somewhere in their ancestry. Some Frenchies really do seem to have an endless resource of excited energy, but if you want to use fetch to tire them out then there’s something to remember.
French Bulldogs are Brachycephalic, which just means that they have flat faces and the respiratory risks that come with this. As such, Frenchies can’t swim safely for very long because they can’t hold their noses above the water and they also can get wheezy quite easily from too much exercise.
Don’t panic – you can still exercise that little firecracker of a dog, but you need to know their limits so that your little one doesn’t overdo it. These dogs love to play so much, that they can and WILL overwork themselves if they are having fun and don’t want to stop, so it’s up to you to regulate their exercise.
Once you know their limits, then you can definitely use a little game of ‘bedtime fetch’ to slow your bully’s roll, but we cannot stress enough that you need to get a good idea of their limits before you do this so that you don’t overwork your Bully.
How much exercise is TOO much?
Okay, now that we’ve set expectations, let’s take a closer look at how much exercise your Frenchie really needs. French Bulldogs should have about 1 hour of exercise per day.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll be playing fetch for an hour every day – walking time counts as exercise, after all, and fetch really shouldn’t be an everyday thing. It simply means that the MINIMUM exercise per day is about an hour, minus the daily time you take your dog out walking.
So, if you take your dog out for 5 10-minute walks every day, then they need at least 10 minutes of play… you get the picture. Now, they can certainly get a little more exercise but you need to space it out. Play sessions, for instance, can be for 30 minutes but you need to gauge your dog’s response.
If they don’t seem to be wheezy or overworked, then 30 minutes is fine, but if your dog starts breathing heavily then you need to let them calm down and mentally note how long they were playing. With Frenchies, you can work their stamina up to more exercise daily, but you absolutely MUST keep the sessions short and sweet.
How much sleep does my Frenchie need?
Our final bit of advice when teaching your furry best friend to play fetch is that you shouldn’t worry if your dog wants to nap a little more often while you are training them. Frenchies, no matter how bouncy they seem, actually need a good amount of ‘shuteye’ each and every day to keep up those energy levels.
For adult French Bulldogs, this will be approximately 12 to 14 hours every day, while puppies and senior Bullies will need quite a bit more, at 18 to 19 hours per day!
While this sounds a bit excessive, just keep in mind that they aren’t cashing in their sleep chips all at once – your Frenchie is just sleeping at night and taking little naps throughout the day. Just don’t be surprised if they nap a little more while you are training them.
Your little one is working hard, after all, so a little extra cuddle time and napping close to you is just what the doctor ordered!
Some final words on fetching
Now that you know how it’s done, then it’s time to withdraw a little patience from your mental bank, stock up on treats, and to start scheduling those training sessions. Remember, keep them briefs – 3 5-minute sessions a day is an ideal start and will keep your Frenchie from getting stressed or bored.
Reward your dog with treats and praise as you go and be patient with the process. Frenchies learn at their own pace and every dog is different, but if you keep the sessions running like clockwork and don’t overwork or bore your dog, then very soon something wonderful will happen.
You’re going to notice your Frenchie’s favorite toy at your feet and your dog waiting patiently with a happy, expectant look!