Crate Training For French Bulldogs

Crate Training For French Bulldogs

A common question among new Frenchie owners is, “Should I crate train my Frenchie?” Crate training for French Bulldogs is the best way to give him or her to retreat. Let’s face it: being a pup and removed from your mother’s environment is a rather overwhelming. Everything is different in the pup’s new environment, and adjustments will be needed. Having a special place to relax, unwind, and process a new environment is a great idea for puppies. Older dogs who are new to a household also can use a safe haven. It’s important to think of crates as a retreat, and not a cage. So never force the dog to go into a crate. Instead, use positive reinforcement to encourage your pup or new dog to use the crate. Lavish praise, special treats, and favorite toys or snugglies can all be used to encourage the dog to use the crate. Never use a crate for punishment. Doing so will undermine all of your best efforts at crate training.

Frenchies are very smart and curious. Use these traits to your advantage. Encourage exploration of the crate by putting favorite snugglies and soft bedding in the kennel. Sneak a special treat into the kennel, so the dog has positive association with being in the crate. It’s important to find a crate that is light weight, and appropriately-sized for the full-grown dog. You will need to move the dog and crate around to be near you, while your Frenchie adjusts to his or her new environment. Try to go about your regular routine with your dog in the crate nearby.

Continue to reward and praise your Frenchie as he or she goes into the crate voluntarily. Help your Frenchie to understand that a crate is a safe place; not a punishment.   When you are home and awake, keep the crate door open, so our Frenchie can come and go at will. While you are away, and at night, keep the crate door closed with the new pup or dog inside. Once the dog is well-adjusted to the new environment, slowly start trusting the dog, by leaving the crate door open, first at night, and then, while you are away. Please note that if there are dangers that your pup or dog can get into, do not leave them unattended. If your Frenchie is successfully behaves without supervision, you can consider leaving the crate door open all the time.

When considering the type of crate to get, consider your lifestyle. You will generally need two types of crates: 1) a travel crate to get your dog to the vet and other destinations, and 2) a permanent home/crate with bedding, food, and water needs addressed.

If you plan to travel with your Frenchie, check with your airline to see what their requirements are. Please note that French Bulldogs are banned from traveling in cargo areas. So, depending on the size of the dog and the length of flight, your Frenchie may be required to book a seat to fly.

Travel crates are generally a hard plastic shell, with a handle on top. This type of crate can be found at most pet stores and online.  Since Frenchies generally cannot be transported in a cargo area, we recommend a soft-sided crate.  Make sure you select one that will accommodate the full-sized dog, but is not too big and bulky.  Consider travel crates to be like a piece of luggage: the bigger it is, the harder it will be to carry.

Permanent crates are generally made of wire mesh-type, and are not meant to be moved around the house. This type of crate is bigger and taller, so your Frenchie can move around in it, while you are away.  You will need bedding that fits the crate. Because this type of crate has no privacy, it’s a good idea to consider crate covers as well. Crate covers come in a variety of plain and fancy designs that can match any style you might wish. Often you can find crate covers that match the dog bedding. Remember that you will need a side-mount water dispenser and a small food dish for inside the crate. So these factors should weigh into your decision of what size crate to get. You want the crate to be roomy enough for your Frenchie to be comfortable, but not so roomy that it loses its intention of being a cozy retreat.

French Bulldogs are clean little dogs. They generally will not relieve themselves in a crate, because that is their bed. You can use this fact to your advantage when it’s time to house train.  To house train, try to limit water intake after 8:00pm. Take your dog out later, around 11:00pm to relieve himself one last time before bedtime.  Ideally, you should let your dog out around 6:00AM, and then every two hours during the day.  If you are unable to let your dog out every two hours, make sure there is a puppy pee pad available.  Remember that puppies have small bladders, and getting them fully house trained will take time.  Be patient!

Crate Training For French Bulldogs gives your Frenchie a safe haven to sleep in and relax. Just remember that Frenchies are a lovable, social breed, and have a strong urge to be near their humans. So crates are for those times that your dog can’t be with you. But any time you can have your Frenchie with you, share your world with him or her. Your Frenchie will love you all the more, for being such a big part of his or her world.

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Here’s a short video, teaching you how to crate train, using a clicker and positive reinforcement cues:


Want to see what our community thinks about crate training for French Bulldogs? Hint: we don’t all agree.

(PS: dogs in the crate are Boston Terriers, NOT Frenchies. The two breeds are often confused.)