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French Bulldogs love to play and sharp nips are certainly a regular part of this, but if you’re wondering how to stop French Bulldogs from biting then you’ve come to the right place!
Stopping your Frenchie from biting is going to be a matter of using positive reinforcement to let them know how much aggression you consider acceptable. This can be done by ‘pausing’ playtime, letting your dog know when they’ve hurt you, and making sure that they are well-socialized around other people and animals.
In this article, we’ll tell you how you can do that with a handful of useful techniques that use positive reinforcement – rather than punishment – to help your dog learn these lessons in a healthy way that won’t erode their trust. Let’s discuss how to stop French Bulldogs from biting the RIGHT way!
How To Stop French Bulldogs From Biting?
If your French Bulldog is acting up and especially if that ‘acting up’ is in the form of biting, it is vital that you do not react by punishing your dog. Punishment is not going to be understood by your dog, as they won’t associate it with biting or other bad behaviors.
It can also cause your dog not to trust you and to even become afraid of you, so even if the biting hurts you must NOT punish them. Instead, you want to focus on rewarding your dog when they do something right, in the form of treats and affection.
Throughout this article, we’ll give you some tips and techniques that you can use to teach your dog proper behavior, while still retaining and growing their trust. Yes, it can take a little time, but don’t worry. Once your dog knows that biting hurts you and that it’s not acceptable behavior then they’ll soon come around.
Understand why your dog is biting
An important part of correcting biting behaviors is going to be identifying the reason for the biting. For instance, until your French Bulldog is about 24 weeks of age, they are going to be in the process of teething. This can be painful, and your little Bully may be biting because of this pain.
Signs of teething will include things such as red, swollen gums, and your dog will likely drool more than usual. They may also be quite eager to chew everything in sight! On occasion, you will likely see some small blood spots on their chew toys and it’s not uncommon to find small, white ‘milk teeth’ in the carpet either.
Aside from teething, if your dog was weaned before 8 weeks of age, then they may not realize how hard they are biting. When they are pups, young Frenchies learn the ‘right way’ to bite without hurting their littermates through play with mom’s supervision. If a pup leaves before 8 weeks, then they can miss important lessons.
The techniques that we are going to list here can help, but one last thing to check is for health issues as a cause of biting. Hard biting is rare with this breed and might mean that your dog is in pain from a condition that you can’t easily see. A quick vet visit can help to rule this out.
Don’t encourage the bites
The first tip for stopping biting behaviors in your French Bulldog is going to learning when to calm them down. While French Bulldogs bite a lot, it’s usually a soft ‘play’ bite, but if play gets to rough then it’s easy for your Bully to forget and to bite too hard in their excitement.
To combat this, you need to get in the habit of stopping play when things get too rough. When your dog starts getting too ‘worked up’, you should immediately stop play and tell your dog to sit. Don’t let them goad you back into playing and when they sit, give your dog a treat.
Repeat this every time that you play with your dog and they will learn that while play is allowed and encouraged, rough play means that they have to stop and sit… and wait! This will motivate them to stop playing so rough so that they can keep the good times rolling!
Let your dog know it’s hurting you
From time to time, your Bully may bite a little too hard, so you need to let them know this in a way that they will understand. For instance, when your dog bites your hand a little too hard during play, then you should immediately stop playing and pull your hand towards your face, while making a whining sound.
This will tell your dog two important things. First, it lets them know that their bite has hurt you, and when they know this then you’ll be very aware of it. Often, they’ll put their head down in shame or try to lick you by way of apology. Over time, they’ll be more careful too, and that’s what we want.
The second thing that it reinforces is that playtime stops when the bites get too hard. Just as you will be stopping your dog when they get too aggressive, by stopping play when your dog bites too hard you are further reinforcing the fact that certain levels of aggression are not encouraged and won’t be tolerated.
The ‘Yucky Gloves’ technique
Another way that you can help to discourage biting is to get a set of rubber kitchen gloves, a plastic spray bottle, and you will also need to get some citrus or peppermint oil. Kitchen flavorings are what we mean here, because we are going to put them to good use with this technique.
When you have these items, put a small amount of water into the sprayer and then put a few drops of the oil that you’ve chosen inside as well. Shake this mixture up a bit and spray it on the rubber gloves. Now, you can initiate a bit of play with your dog and the oils will accomplish two things.
First, you’re going to taste funny if your dog bites, and as they aren’t fond of cinnamon or citrus, then your dog will definitely think twice before biting. Secondly, it encourages your dog to try to play without biting you altogether.
By including a toy or another item in your play that your dog can focus on, they’ll learn to focus their aggression on the toy instead of on you. This solution is easy, inexpensive, and it works – so give this a try if your dog is a bit on the ‘bitey’ side during playtime.
Shoe chewing is not a ‘cute’ alternative
French Bulldog pups bite a lot and they also chew a lot. If your pup gets less bitey when you let them chew whatever is around (even your old shoes), this might seem cute right now but it will develop into problematical behavior if you don’t teach them what they can and cannot chew.
When you catch your dog chewing ANYTHING that is not a toy specifically given to them to chew, then you need to gently take this away and replace it with an ‘approved’ chew toy. When they start chewing on the new toy, then give your dog a treat to help cement the lesson.
This will take a lot of time, but you can speed things along by ‘puppy proofing’ your home and putting anything that you don’t want them to chew out of reach. When they get into something that you’ve missed, don’t get mad, just replace the item like before and give them a treat.
After a while your dog is going to learn what they are allowed to chew and what is off limits, but until they do anything on the floor is going to be considered ‘fair game’. Keep an eye out for this and patiently replaced the ‘bad’ items with the ‘good’ ones and over time, your little Bully will learn the rules.
Socializing can work wonders
Some dogs don’t know how to react when they meet new people or animals. This can cause some misunderstandings, as they might try initiating play with growling and biting that is meant as friendly, but might be taken the wrong way.
The problem is that they simply don’t know how to properly say ‘hello’, but you can help them out with this. Taking your dog to the dog park, for instance, will let them meet and make new friends, and this will make them much calmer and more confident when they meet new dogs in the future.
You can also invite some of your friends to visit and give them a ‘formal introduction’ to your dog. Simply put your French Bulldog on their harness and walk them to each friend, telling them to ‘sit’ while you speak soothingly to let them know that this person is okay.
You can even let your friends feed your dog a treat if you are getting good vibes from the introduction. Socializing your dog is very important, as biting can often simply be from fear or new people and animals or a lack of social skills for saying hello. Once your dog is used to others, you’ll see a huge difference!
Positive reinforcement will win in the end
Now that you have a few handy tips at your disposal, you are ready to start your positive reinforcement style training and rest assured, you are going to see results. French Bulldogs are only ‘bullies’ by name, and if they are biting you then it’s most likely excitement, fear, or they simply don’t know how to bite safely.
If your dog persists in biting or if they are an adult and biting you, then a vet checkup is going to be our final recommendation. Sometimes we can’t easily see when a dog is sick or has hurt themselves from rough play, but don’t worry.
Your vet can definitely help and that biting will soon be a thing of the past!