Tricks for Getting Your French Bulldog to Listen to You

The ‘Stubborn’ Pup: Tricks for Getting Your French Bulldog to Listen to You

Those darned Frenchies! It’s no secret that our pups have a reputation for being, well, bull-headed sometimes. Many French Bulldog owners have stories to tell about the time their cheeky canine refused to come when called, or seemed so fixated on a potential playmate that they practically plowed through a crowd of people. What many of us don’t realize about our furry friends, however, is that what appears to be stubbornness in our little snort-faces really isn’t – not the way we would think about the same trait in humans, anyways.
Although it’s definitely frustrating to have your Frenchie switch on the selective hearing, keep in mind that our dogs really aren’t trying to make us mad on purpose. 99% of the time, the underlying cause for our pup’s lack of response is either because we owners either haven’t put in the time to properly train our pups, or because we’re not providing enough motivation for them to do the doggie behavior that we want from them. Let’s explore how you can ramp up your Frenchie’s response to your requests, and build a better relationship with your pup to boot.
First of all, one of the main reasons a dog can appear stubborn is that they just don’t understand what we’re asking them to do! For instance, sometimes our Frenchies just haven’t learned a certain command well enough to be able to do it every time we ask, or we’re trying to get them to follow our cue in a brand new situation. Training your pup to ‘sit’ in your backyard using a treat doesn’t mean that they’re going to know what to do when you ask them to ‘sit down!’ at the park with no tidbits in view! To ‘cue-proof’ your four-legged friend, remember to switch up training session locations often, and use the same training tactics, commands and hand signals consistently so they learn to perform the same action every time, no matter where you may be having fun together.

Many Frenchie fans also make the mistake of repeating a command, or ‘nagging’ when their pup seems to be pooh-poohing their orders. Not only is this confusing, but you’re actually teaching your dog to ignore you the first time you ask them to spring into action – oops! Instead, say your Frenchie’s name, wait for them to look at you, then give the cue (once) and wait again. Reward them as soon as they do what you’ve asked, giving treat jackpots for extra fast responses, and eventually only reward them when they obey immediately.
Motivation is another factor that comes into play for our marvelous mutts too – or rather, a lack of it. Think about it on a human scale – you would prefer to be paid for the work you do, right? Most of us don’t slog away at our jobs out of the goodness of our hearts, so why would you expect your Frenchie to feel any different? Although our dogs may adore us, they’re not about to ‘roll over’ without knowing what’s in it for them, and if your Frenchie is ignoring you, they may not think that your idea of a reward is worth the effort.
So how do you get your Frenchie to respond to you more enthusiastically? To begin with, find your dog’s ideal ‘currency’ –a reward that they’re going to get really excited about. For some dogs, that’s tasty tidbits like bits of chicken, carrots, or hot dogs. For other dogs, toys are what really get them going! Getting obedience from your pup in distracting situations calls for higher value rewards (for example, an extra smelly kind of treat, or the one toy your goofball goes absolutely gaga over) in order to keep your Frenchie’s attention facing forward, and remember that our roly-poly pups also prefer short, upbeat training sessions with lots of breaks to keep things fun and fresh.
Finally, if your dog seems to have just suddenly turned on their ‘stubborn switch’, ask yourself if there might be something that’s causing them pain or discomfort. Sometimes our Frenchie’s reluctance to perform can be caused by feeling sick or sore, and it’s a good idea to mention any behavior change to your vet.
In the end, stepping into your pup’s paw prints to see things from their point of view can change the way you think about their behavior, and can also help you to see where you might need to make your training more consistent or more exciting for your dog. Once you understand what drives your dog to do stuff for you, you might start to rethink the ‘stubborn’ label and may very well find that training your Frenchie is fantastically fun!