Solving Frenchie Behavior Problems

Dog Delinquents: Solving Frenchie Behavior Problems

For the most part, Frenchies are fun-loving, goofy, and sociable pets.  From time to time though, our furry little friends have some problematic behaviors that can prevent them from being the truly lovely companions that they’re meant to be. You may have some trouble solving Frenchie behavior problems.  As small as they are, Frenchies are still bulldogs, tenacious and strong-minded, so it takes a firm Frenchie-loving personality and positive guidance to help correct and redirect our little dogs towards more appropriate habits. Let’s take a look at two of the more commonly encountered behavioral issues that Frenchies might experience, and what to do about them.

Object Guarding (also called Resource Guarding)

It’s pretty natural for our pups to want to hold onto a favorite toy or special tasty chew treat, but sometimes our Frenchies can become too anxious about needing to keep their stuff close, resorting to growling, lunging or biting when anyone, human or dog, approaches. Did you know that a guaranteed way to make this behavior worse is to take away food or toys on a regular basis from your dog to ‘get them used to it’? Instead, you can:

  • Leave your dog alone (don’t touch or bother them!) while they eat their meal or have that special chew
  • Hand feed your Frenchie at least one meal a day – this allows them to learn that you’re also a bringer of ‘stuff’, not just a remover of it
  • As you approach your dog while they’re eating or using that toy, toss small tasty treats in their direction so that they learn that your approach is both non-threatening, and something to look forward to (*hint – toss treats away from your pup if you need them to leave the guarded food or object alone so you can pick it up)
  • Don’t offer high value items to your dog in the presence of children or other pets – set them up for success!
  • Never take something away from your dog without offering to exchange it for something that’s just as rewarding
  • Teach your Frenchie a reliable ‘out’ or ‘drop it’ command as a puppy

Dog to Dog Aggression

It can be extremely embarrassing when our furry friend suddenly turns into ‘Jaws’ at the dog park or on a quiet evening stroll around the block! There can be a few different reasons for anti-social behavior in our Frenchies; your dog might be feeling afraid, frustrated, or even protective of you, manifesting in aggressive behavior towards other canine companions. Although dog on dog aggression can be a complex issue, often needing the intervention of a certified, positive trainer, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent (or manage) your Frenchie’s hostility towards other dogs:

  • Socialization, socialization, socialization! Giving your Frenchie pup LOTS of early, positive and varied exposure to different people, places, and other well-behaved dogs will go a long way towards creating appropriate social behavior foundations for the future
  • Find the trigger, and try to avoid/eliminate it. Is your Frenchie friend afraid of bigger, bouncier dogs? Walk your Frenchie where there’s not a lot of dog ‘traffic.’ Is the problem only an issue while your pup is on leash? Consider more relaxed, off-leash play dates with other dog friends in a fenced yard instead. Does your dog argue over food? Feed him separately from other dogs during mealtime. Continually exposing your dog to situations that trigger aggressive behavior allows it to become a habit, so until you can slowly desensitize your dog to these situations, avoid them when at all possible.
  • Make a habit of rewarding your Frenchie for calm behavior around other dogs. You’ll have to stay fairly far away when you first start trying to accustom your pup to being around canine companions – a good distance to begin with is where your dog can see other dogs, but doesn’t react to their presence. Using small, super-tasty treats, reward your pup every time they look at the other dogs without reacting (barking, growling, lunging, etc). Your Frenchie will soon learn that the presence of other dogs means good things to come from you, and the appearance of other dogs will mean a cue to look to you for direction. Every dog progresses differently with desensitization training – depending on the reason for the aggressive behavior, some can take weeks, months, or years; some dogs, on the other hand, may never feel comfortable in certain situations.

Most of all, we love our Frenchies and want to make sure that they’re healthy. If behavior problems suddenly arise, it’s never a bad idea to have your Frenchie in for a check-up to make sure they’re not sick or in pain. For other pups who have long-standing aggression issues, or those who have come from situations of abuse or neglect, working closely with a gentle trainer might be a beneficial option to help them build social skills, helping them to become the little love-bugs that we truly know them to be inside.  With these helpful tips, you can help solve your Frenchie behavior problems.