French Bulldog Behavior Problems – Things You Should Know

French Bulldog Behavior Problems

The reasons that make French bulldogs likable and good pets also make them quite annoying. They’re playful and won’t spare any moment they get to make themselves the focus. They thrive on being the center of attention. It could be because they know that they’re cute. After all, they are adorable. As a result of their outstanding personalities and their craze to be the focus, it won’t be uncommon for you as the owner to experience some behavior you may term as unpleasant or undesirable while dealing with them. You may continually ask yourselves questions like “Do French Bulldogs have behavior problems?” 

Well, yes, they do. But there are reasons for this. First and foremost, Frenchie’s are clingy. They prefer it when you’re around most of the time since they enjoy being around their masters. However, if you’re away for far too long, perhaps because you have a  fulltime job that compels you to leave your pet home, the prolonged loneliness takes a toll on the Frenchies. 

As such, they may fall into depression or have a bad temperament that makes it hard for you to get along with them. This is one of the behavior problems that your French bulldog is likely to exhibit. Secondly, if your adult Frenchie was poorly trained, it’ll exhibit behavior problems. In this article, we delve deep into this topic by providing a detailed overview of their behavior problems, their causes, and what you can do to avoid them.

French Bulldog Temperament

A Frenchie’s temperament and personality during its adult life depend on a myriad of factors. These include:

  • Genetics (since their parents’ personalities and temperament play a part)
  • Breeding
  • Environment
  • Amount of training they received while growing up. 

Favorable Upbringing

It’s worth noting that everything a puppy experiences shapes how it’ll behave during adulthood. You should know that as puppies, Frenchies are incredibly energetic and curious, characteristics that are likely to get them into trouble. This enthusiasm ultimately reduces as they grow older. 

Nonetheless, besides age, the factors above greatly dictate whether Frenchies will be mischievous, aggressive, barky, or withdrawn as adults. If well-trained and raised in a favorable environment, they’ll be well-mannered, somewhat obedient, and charismatic. These traits are bound to make them even more adorable.

They’ll also enjoy being the center of attention and won’t exhibit any hostility towards other pets. Additionally, they’ll always look for opportunities to be around you by either laying at your fit or sleeping on your laps. But they won’t be obsessive while at it. 

Unfavorable Upbringing

The inverse is true if the factors above aren’t favorable. For instance, if while growing up, you don’t accord them the attention they desire, they won’t feel the love. Frenchies love to feel loved and cared for even while young. When these requirements lack, they’ll likely become unfriendly and reclusive. You should, therefore, be cognizant of the need to strike a balance between your personal needs and your French bulldog’s needs.

Temperament Overview

We’ve mentioned that the breed is somewhat obedient. They are slightly compliant with instructions because they have a short attention span and only obey commands if they feel like. Their obedience, coupled with the fact that they are submissive, implies that they are easily trainable. Do note, however, that training should be limited to their puppy years. 

Frenchies are naturally noisy. Their facial structure makes them snort. They’ll also snore and fart a lot. But these are normal sounds that they make and can’t help it.

French Bulldog Behavior Problems

Frenchies have inherent behaviors that you may consider to be problems. Although favorable upbringing may cause them to wane to some extent, they’ll still exhibit these behaviors from time to time when they feel like their needs are no longer being met

Image of a French Bulldog behind bars

Aggression

  1. Aggression to owners/masters

Frenchies happen to be protective of their spaces, treats, and favorite toys, particularly when they’re playing by themselves. Your dog will show aggression in order to defend its prized possessions when you try to take them away, e.g., as a form of punishment done regularly. 

When the punishment is regular, the dog will associate your presence with the act of taking its toys away and will always be aggressive whenever you’re near. If it’s impossible not to punish your dog, there are several proven ways to reduce the aggression. They include the following:

  • Not bothering your Frenchie when it’s playing.
  • Hand-feeding your dog at least once daily. This will help it relate your presence with something nice instead of the act of taking its toy away.
  • Use alternative treats in order to train your dog to respond well to taking things away from it. This way, the dog won’t associate your presence with the negative act of withdrawing the toy.

The last two methods are forms of counterconditioning. Counterconditioning is the process of training your dog to associate a negative even with something positive.

Overall, these training methods are bound to reduce your Frenchie’s overprotectiveness and will ultimately help it deal with its aggression.

Because of their aggression, are Frenchies really good with kids? They are. This is mainly because they are expressive, playful, and like to show affection, and children are the perfect candidates to facilitate all this.

  1. Aggression towards other dogs

When your Frenchie encounters other dogs, it’ll become overprotective of you as its owner, feel anxious, or become scared. As a result, it’s likely to exhibit aggression as it attempts to assert dominance over the perceived threat. Professional trainers can train your dog not to display such aggression. You’re also in luck since you can also use other cheaper methods to deal with the aggression if you can’t afford a trainer. 

  • Socialize your dog from a tender age. Socialization involves taking your Frenchie to spaces where it’ll interact with other dogs and people. 
  • Eliminate triggers that make the dog react aggressively. E.g., if your dog exhibits aggression when it encounters other bigger dogs as you take it for a walk, you should consider routes that limit such interactions. 
  • Reward your dog when you see that it has interacted with other canines calmly. This is a form of counterconditioning.

Clinginess 

Frenchies are clingy by nature. However, it’s a cause for concern when your dog wasn’t as clingy before but has suddenly started exhibiting such behavior. This could be indicative of an underlying health issue. But, if you have observed it to be part of its typical behavior, then it shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. 

French bulldogs’ clinginess emanates from how they were bred; their history. They were selectively bred to be dependent on their masters. In this regard, they continuously seek validation and yearn for affection. The good thing is that when they’re well trained, they don’t obsessively do this. 

Their clinginess was really by design, but you should take care since it could result in either physical or emotional distress on your part. 

Barking and Whining

Frenchies that haven’t been well trained will seek validation through being excessively barky and whiny. Your dog won’t bark for no reason, but you should also know that this breed isn’t known for being a barker. Hence, when your French bulldog starts barking excessively, this could be indicative of something more serious, perhaps an underlying health problem. 

Your Frenchie could be barking due to the following reasons:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Seeking attention
  • A noise, e.g., from a ringing doorbell.
  • It might be in pain.
  • Showing dominance as it gets territorial.
  • Genetics

Again, we emphasize the need for training since you’ll avert unnecessary barking, such as when it’s exerting dominance or seeking attention. However, separation anxiety is a significant behavior problem.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is also a consequence of inadequate training. We’ve mentioned a scenario where you work a 9-5 job and are, therefore, rarely at home. This will present a problem for your Frenchie, mainly if it has grown very used to you and you suddenly stop being around it. 

This breed was bred to be dependent on human beings. When you promote dependency and attachment and then withdraw it resulting in prolonged periods of separation and solitude, your dog will become extremely distressed to the extent that it panics. As a result, it’ll do everything in its power to look for you, even wreaking your house, and this may be injurious. This is what’s known as separation anxiety. The signs that you should look out for that show the separation anxiety include:

  • Howling and barking
  • Being destructive by chewing and digging
  • Pacing around the house
  • Escaping the house
  • Defecating and urinating in spaces it wasn’t trained to
  • Eating poop

Luckily, you can deal with separation anxiety through counterconditioning. For instance, when leaving the house, you could give your Frenchie a toy. The dog will stop associating you going with the lack of attention and affection, and instead, it’ll affiliate it with the time it’ll receive a toy or a treat. You could also use this example of counterconditioning to treat clinginess.

However, in some severe cases, you may need the services of a professional trainer to help your dog deal with the anxiety.

Begging

Begging is the result of poor training and disregard for good practices on the owner’s part. It starts with your dog begging for food as you’re eating. When you continually give in to its demands, you’re reinforcing this bad habit, which slowly morphs into a behavior. Don’t share food with your Frenchie since the act in itself leads to numerous health challenges.

If your Frenchies already begs for food, you should stop enabling this behavior. You can do this by ignoring the dog. It’ll slowly learn that you aren’t giving it attention or food and will ultimately stop begging. But this calls for patience on your part since it won’t stop begging immediately.

Chewing 

Again, chewing in adulthood emanates from poor guidance and training. French bulldogs are naturally energetic and muscular. These traits cause a tendency to be rough even though they are compact dogs. Also, if you don’t regularly take them for a walk, they’ll have untapped energy which they’ll have to channel through chewing at the expense of the things you own. They also chew because they are in distress, anxious, or hungry.

As a result, they’ll chew through objects, some of which will be your priced possessions such as pillows. They’ll also play a tug-of-war against some hanging objects such as curtains and this entails digging their teeth into these things causing damage. 

Digging

When in environments that permit digging, French bulldogs channel their energy into digging, particularly when they don’t exercise frequently, are anxious, or stressed. 

Notably, chewing and digging are somewhat typical for Frenchies given that they start this behavior when they’re still puppies. However, if you notice the onset of the behavior during adulthood, mainly when you have left your dog alone for an extended period, you should understand that they are chewing or digging in order to relieve stress or anxiety. 

You should then deal with the problem by giving them toys that have treats inside them. That way, they’ll struggle to open the toys, knowing that the exercise has a reward. In so doing, their minds will be occupied until you come back. Such items containing treats are known as puzzle toys

Other than the use of puzzle toys, you can train them to alter their behavior. For instance, if you find them chewing or digging, you should make an unpleasant sound. This way, they learn to associate their bad behavior with an undesirable consequence. They’ll then learn that if they continue being mischievous, they’ll automatically be met by a startling sound, and they’ll have to change. The unpleasant sound could be in the form of banging a table, clapping, or using a pet corrector spray. The spray uses compressed gas to release a loud, startling sound. 

Pulling the leash

This behavior problem is seen in untrained dogs. Being strong, French bulldogs tend to be excited whenever they have a chance of channeling their energy. When their daily exercise routine happens to be going on a walk, their excitement may lead them to pull the leash throughout. This becomes a frustrating endeavor. 

Given that pulling the leash is a product of poor or no training, you shouldn’t enable this bad behavior. If you tolerate it, then your Frenchie will continue to frustrate you during walks. One way you could stop them is by using no-pull harnesses. You can find them online on Amazon.

Jumping up on people

Jumping up on people shouldn’t be confused with aggression. French bulldogs do this as a form of greeting. They’ll also do this in order to get to smell you or whatever it’s you’re carrying. This could be frustrating to you, your visitors, or even strangers. As such, if you find this behavior annoying, you could use counterconditioning as well. 

In this case, the counterconditioning works by rewarding the dog only when its front paws are on the ground. Also, you should only pet the dog when its front legs are on the ground.

Playing rough

Playing rough emanates from Frenchies’ genetics. They are genetically predisposed to be rough, given that they are descendants of the English bulldog which was bred for violence and fighting. Frenchies’ bodies carry this evidence as they are naturally muscular and energetic. The extent of the roughness may make you wonder if they’re hurting one another or even fighting. Always recognize that this behavior is just them being playful. 

Besides the genetics aspect, French bulldogs play rough because of the following reasons:

  • To assert dominance over other dogs or humans
  • Overexcitement
  • Copying other dogs’ roughness

If Frenchies play rough among themselves, then there is no issue. The problem arises when there are other dog breeds in your household or if they bring this roughness while playing with you. As such, from a tender age, you should socialize your puppy so that it understands the other breeds’ behavior. Also, once you observe that your dog has started being rough, you should stop play altogether. This method teaches them what constitutes play and what doesn’t.

Stubbornness

French bulldog’s stubbornness is directly proportional to age. As they grow older, they become more stubborn. The stubbornness should be managed while they are still young since, if left unchecked, it leads to multiple behavior problems. These include: 

  • Being uncooperative during training
  • Refusing to rules
  • Not responding when called
  • Increased aggression

Managing the stubbornness during puppyhood is threefold. The first is enrolling your Frenchie for obedience classes, the second is home training, while the third is socialization. A combination of this sheds the puppy’s entitlement and the need to assert dominance.

Conclusion

Virtually all behavior problems in French bulldogs result from inadequate and poor training. For this reason, we advise that you start training your dog as early as possible when it’s still a puppy. However, when you notice the onset of these undesirable behaviors during adulthood, you should use counterconditioning to train the Frenchie to associate something negative with a positive reward. This way, your dog will change.

Was this article helpful?

I'm Sara, an animal enthusiast and proclaimed dog lover. All I write comes from reading and reading about the various topics I'm interested in.