French Bulldog Behavior Problems

Is your French Bulldog having behavioral problems? Learn about French Bulldog temperament, behavior problems, and how to correct behavior problems.

Table of Contents

Looks can be deceiving

At first glance, they may look a bit scary and menacing… I mean they’re a bulldog, right?!

That sounds like a aggressive, mean dog to me!!! – Someone that’s never seen a Frenchie

But if you’ve ever met a Frenchie, you know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

French Bulldogs are one of the most playful, loving, and hilarious dog breeds out there!

French Bulldog Personality Traits

Frenchies have tons of personality and are definitely one of the best companion dogs in the world!

  • Playful
  • Friendly
  • Funny
  • Loving
  • Smart
  • Stubborn
  • Mischievous
  • Energetic
  • Adaptable

They love being the center of attention and will always find a way to steal some attention!

If you’re looking for a lap dog that’ll hang around and watch TV with you and then go outside for a run in the park, a Frenchie is perfect for you!

If you’re curious if a Frenchie is right for you, check out our pros and cons of owning a French Bulldog.

Pros and Cons of Owning a French Bulldog

Are you trying to figure out of a French Bulldog is the right breed for you? Learn everything there is to know -- good or bad -- about Frenchies!

A little clingy

Frenchies love their owners more than anything in the whole wide world.

They don’t tend to do well when left alone for long periods of time and are prone to separation anxiety.

Some Frenchies are also pretty clingy to their owners and will follow you around the house wherever you go.

French Bulldog Clinginess and Separation Anxiety

Does your Frenchie follow you wherever you go? Learn why your Frenchie is so clingy and what you can do to stop it today!

If you work long hours and aren’t going to be home for a majority of the day, you should consider another breed… your Frenchie isn’t going to be happy sitting around at home alone all day!

A little noisy

If you’re planning on getting a Frenchie, you better get used to all the strange sounds they make!

They’re constantly snorting, snoring, farting, and talking in their own little language. Love it or hate it, these sounds are what makes the Frenchie such a unique breed!

A bit mischievous

I don’t know about you, but my Frenchie is always getting herself into some kind of mischief.

This is why I stress the importance of puppy proofing your house! Once you make sure your house is 100% safe for your Frenchie, you can let them roam around stress-free.

The 9 Most Common French Bulldog Behavior Problems

For the most part, Frenchies are pretty well behaved– they’re not big barkers, they’re smart, and they love to make their owners happy.

While behavior problems aren’t necessarily specific to any breed, these are 9 of the most common Frenchie behavior problems.

  • Seperation anxiety
  • Clingy behavior
  • Chewing
  • Barking & whining
  • Begging
  • Pulling on the Leash
  • Jumping up on people
  • Stubborn selective listeners
  • Playing too rough

1. Separation Anxiety

One of the most common behavioral problems in French Bulldogs is without a doubt separation anxiety.

Left alone, they could wreak havoc around the house!

Dogs that are very attached to their owners become distressed when left alone, especially for long periods of time.

Separation anxiety in dogs is characterized by their extreme distress when you leave the house. They will do ANYTHING to try and find you, even if it means they get hurt in the process.

Symptoms of separation anxiety

  • Urinating and Defecating
  • Barking and howling
  • Chewing, digging, and destruction
  • Escaping
  • Pacing
  • Eating their poop

Brindle French Bulldog with ears back
Anxious Frenchie

The Development of Separation Anxiety

Your French Bulldog may develop separation anxiety after developing an attachment to one person. When this person isn’t present, the dog panics.

Don’t Ignore Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is no joke; it’s best to treat the behavior early before it gets even worse. You cannot simply let them “outgrow” this behavior or “work it out” on their own.

Luckily, there are a few treatment options for dogs suffering from separation anxiety however you may need the help of a professional dog trainer to treat the condition.

What to do with an Anxious Frenchie

If you just want your Frenchie to leave you alone for a few minutes while you’re doing something, I suggest giving them a bully stick or some other treat to keep them occupied.

Counter-Conditioning

Treatment of separation anxiety usually includes a process called counterconditioning.

This works by associating something that the dog doesn’t like with a positive experience such as toys or treats.

Example of Counter-Conditioning

For example, your dog will always get his favorite treat and toy when you leave the house.

Over time, they will start to associate you leaving the house with them getting a treat!

Try calming products

There are many products available that claim to reduce pet anxiety.

Some may or may not work for your Frenchie, it all depends on your dog.

3 Products for Frenchie Zen

These products have been shown to help dogs' anxiety.

If your Frenchie is clingy, check out our post on clinginess and separation anxiety and what you can do to stop it.

French Bulldog Clinginess and Separation Anxiety

Does your Frenchie follow you wherever you go? Learn why your Frenchie is so clingy and what you can do to stop it today!

2. Clingy Behavior

I’ve got my eye on you!

Does your French Bulldog follow you around the house everywhere you go?

Can they not let you out of their sight?

If so, your dog might be what some call a velcro dog.

French Bulldog hugging another French Bulldog
Best buds

Clingy dogs, sometimes called velcro dogs, follow their owners everywhere they go.

This behavior is also unofficially referred to as Velcro Dog Syndrome by some.

Clinginess isn’t separation anxiety

Just as Frenchies are prone to separation anxiety, they also commonly exhibit clingy behavior.

They really love their owners! French Bulldogs have been selectively bred to be dependent on their owners.

Clingy Dogs are Prone to Separation Anxiety

Velcro Dog Syndrome is often confused with separation anxiety because of their similarities, however, there are a few key differences. It should be noted that clingy dogs are more likely to develop separation anxiety.

Don’t be fooled by the cuteness

While you may think this clingy behavior is cute and loving, it may be caused by emotional or physical distress.

Look out for sudden clinginess

A sudden onset of clinginess may mean something health-related is going on— check with your vet.

There’s no reason to be concerned if this is their typical behavior, though… only if it appears out of the blue.

3. Chewing

It’s completely normal for puppies and dogs to chew on things; it’s in their nature.

I mean really, what dog doesn’t love chewing on a fresh new bone or bully stick?

Top 5 Bully Sticks

Your Frenchie's favorite chew snack – the bully stick! Check out our list of the 5 best bully sticks you can find on the market today!

Why do dogs chew?

Dogs chew for many reasons.

Chewing relieves stress

Chewing is a great stress reliever, tons of fun, and just feels good for our pups!

Puppies may be teething

Puppies chew to relieve the pain caused by their teeth growing, commonly known as “teething”. This is why it’s so important to give puppies plenty of things to chew on.

While some chewing is normal, in some cases it can become destructive and excessive.

Friendly Fire

I’m sure we’ve all come home to our puppies to find out they’ve chewed apart something you accidentally left on the floor.

Don’t blame your puppy for this! It’s your fault for not puppy-proofing your house!

How to Puppy Proof your House

Your house is full of a bunch of dangers to your Frenchie. Keep them safe with this guide!

You have to teach your puppy what is okay for them to chew. It’s also your responsibility not to leave anything dangerous lying around within their reach!

French Bulldog tearing up toilet paper
I swear, I didn't do it!

5 Most Common Causes of Destructive Chewing

  • Separation anxiety
  • Fabric sucking
  • Hunger
  • Lack of exercise or mental stimulation
  • Stress or frustration

How to Stop Your Frenchie’s Bad Behaviors

It’s not easy

Let’s be honest…

Frenchies aren’t always on their best behavior…

Have you been trying to break your Frenchie of a bad habit to no avail?

You’re not alone… Frenchies can be stubborn little buggers.

What my trainer taught me

Whenever I catch my Frenchie doing something bad (and I mean real bad), I’ll make a loud, unpleasant sound by clapping or banging on a table.

Jump Scare!

It always catches her off guard and makes her jump a bit.

She also stops doing whatever she knows she shouldn’t be doing.

So, What’s the Point?

You might be wondering what this accomplishes.

What it does, is associate their bad behavior with an unpleasant outcome.

This is the same technique used when trying to treat separation anxiety, however, you are assocating a bad behavior with a negative outcome, rather than the other way around.

Not In My House!

They will learn that continuing in their naughty ways will get them nowhere, and they might get startled by your loud noise.

It’s important to note that this is not a good training technique for trying to break your Frenchie of behaviors such as fear, separation anxiety, etc. This will only make matters worse.

I’ve found this works best when using it for behaviors such as jumping on people, excessive barking, stealing food, jumping on furniture, or chewing on things. You know, bad things.

Stubborn and Adaptive

A problem I’ve run into using this technique is that my Frenchie seems to be unfazed by my senseless clapping and banging.

I just can’t get her attention or startle her by simply clapping anymore.

For anybody else in a similar situation, I recommend using something like this pet corrector spray from Chewy.

What it does is emit a loud, unpleasant sound similar to a warning hiss made by a cat or snake.

How does this thing work?

It does this by releasing compressed gas (it sounds like an air compressor sorta) which is loud, but perfectly safe for you and your Frenchie.

My dog trainer showed me this trick and it never fails to startle any dog.

It’s just such an unpleasant sound that they’ll do anything to avoid hearing it again.

The Company of Animals Pet Corrector Dog Training Aid
  • Interrupt bad behaviors
  • Use to stop barking, jumping up, stealing food, and chasing
  • 200 uses per can
  • Emits a harmless hissing sound similar to the hiss of a snake or cat
  • Training guide included

Emits a harmless hissing sound that is similar to the hiss of a snake or a cat to distract your dog.

If you’re struggling to break your Frenchie of any bad habit, I seriously recommend checking this product out.

It’s impressive how quickly you can stop those stubborn bad behaviors.

4. Barking or Whining

Barking and whining are just some of the ways your dog expresses its feelings. It’s their way of talking to us.

When barking gets excessive, it’s important that you don’t ignore it – it could be a sign of a more serious health problem.

Why do Frenchies bark and whine?

Dogs usually don’t bark for no reason. (Ok, some dogs do.)

Toy breeds such as Yorkies and other terriers are notorious for their excessive barking, but luckily, Frenchies aren’t known for their non-stop barking.

7 Reasons Why your Frenchie is Excessively Barking

Not only is this behavior extremely annoying and disturbing to you and your neighbors, it can also be a sign that something more serious is going on.

It’s pretty unlikely they’re just barking to bark – there’s gotta be a reason.

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Alarm (i.e. barking when the doorbell rings)
  • Territorial
  • Attention seeking
  • Emotional distress
  • Genetics

5. Begging

Begging is one of those problems where the owner is usually to blame (sorry, not sorry!).

When you give in to a dog that is begging for food it only reinforces this bad behavior.

Not only is begging bad manners, there are many health reasons to not share food with your Frenchie.

If your dog is begging, there are a few things you can do to stop this behavior in its tracks.

Don’t give in when your dog is begging

I know it’s so hard to resist those puppy eyes but sharing your food is only going to make their begging worse.

They’ll eventually give up

They’ll just stop begging for a few seconds while they wolf down their food, just to come back begging with a vengeance. They know they can get food out of you now!

Brindle French Bulldog Puppy Eyes
How can you say no to those eyes?

Completely ignore your dog

A good way to stop many of your dog’s negative behaviors is to completely ignore them. They will soon learn that begging won’t get them any food or attention.

When you yell at your dog to stop begging or give them any type of reaction at all, they are going to keep begging.

Patience is key

It might take a while for your dog to completely stop begging. This is to be expected.

Be persistent in your training.

They eventually will learn that begging is a waste of time.

6. Pulling on the Leash

This is one problem that I’ve been dealing with recently.

My Frenchie is always so excited to go out for a walk and just wants to pull the entire time. It’s pretty frustrating.

Some Frenchies Pull, Some Don’t

I know some lucky people whose dog walks next to them without any training at all.

Unfortunately, most of us are not this lucky.

They’re not trying to “lead the pack”

A common misconception is that dogs pull on the leash trying to “lead the pack” or be dominant. This is typically not the case.

The outdoors is much more interesting to your dog than you are; your dog would rather chase bunnies than listen to you tell them to stay!

Lack of training is usually to blame

The most common reason for dogs pulling on leashes is simply the fact that they are untrained.

It’s pretty common for puppies to pull on the leash, but commonly seen in dogs of all ages.

Reduce strain from pulling on the leash

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that years and years of tugging on the leash can lead to some serious spine, neck, and trachea injuries.

You should do whatever you can to stop their leash pulling ASAP. (I know it can be tough…)

Comfy Leash/Harness

This shock absorbing leash and front clip harness can help dampen the strain your Frenchie puts on themselves by pulling on the leash.
The leash I use

I personally use this leash that has shock absorbing technology to soften the blow whenever my Frenchie decides to charge a squirrel.

My Frenchie loves pulling on the leash whenever something catches her eye outside, so it’s nice to know my leash reduces any strain this may put on her body.

Zero Tolerance

Just like any other negative behavior, if you allow the behavior, they will keep doing it because they know it works.

You have to have zero tolerance for pulling on the leash if you want them to stop.

No-pull harnesses are great ways to stop them from pulling on the leash. They are usually used in cases where other methods that you have tried to stop the behavior haven’t worked.

7. Jumping up on people

Dogs naturally jump up on people to say hi!

They like to get as close to our faces as they can to see what they can smell.

While you might not mind your dog jumping up on you when you get home from work, strangers might not feel the same way.

How to stop your Frenchie from jumping on people

If you want to stop your French Bulldog from jumping on you and other people, try the following.

  1. Keep your hands away from your dog unless their front paws are on the ground.
  2. When their front paws hit the floor, instantly praise and pet them.
  3. Your dog will learn over time that they won’t get the love they’re seeking unless their front paws are on the ground.

8. Not Coming When Called or not Listening

Wow, you’d think with such big ears Frenchies would be superb listeners.

Hah, you thought.

Frenchies are stubborn little buggers and commonly suffer from a serious condition called selective hearing.

Half-kidding.

Frenchies listen to you when they feel like it and perform commands at their whim. A treat can help you persuade them, but no promises.

5 things you can do if Frenchie isn’t listening to you

  1. Remove excess energy
  2. Be consistent with your commands
  3. Be calm and assertive
  4. Practice the basic commands (even if you think they’ve mastered them)
  5. Use hand commands. Dogs commonly tune out verbal commands when we’ve been talking to them constantly.

9. Playing Too Rough

If you haven’t seen Frenchies playing with each other before, you’d probably think they’re fighting or hurting each other!

Frenchies can handle it

This is just the way they play.

While Frenchies are tough little guys that can handle this rough housing, it’s important that they understand not every dog is a Frenchie though!

This is why socializing your puppy is so crucial.

4 Reasons why French Bulldogs Play so Rough

  • Overexcitement
  • Learned to play rough from other dogs
  • Rough play with people
  • Trying to dominate the other dog

What can I do if my Frenchie is playing too rough with other dogs or people? When things start to get out of hand, instantly remove them from the situation. Give them a small timeout and try to calm them down.

French Bulldog sitting in his shark bed
Not to be messed with

Don’t get mad at your dog; they’re just excited!

Stopping the roughhousing

If you stop the roughhousing and play immediately, they’ll learn over time that they need to contain their excitement if they want to play.

Rough play should always be stopped as soon as possible to prevent anybody from getting hurt.

Luckily Frenchies aren’t the biggest dogs out there and usually won’t hurt seriously hurt anybody, but regardless, a rough playing Frenchie is still dangerous around small dogs and children!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are French Bulldogs Aggressive?

Despite their sorta aggressive appearance, French Bulldogs are not known as an aggressive breed whatsoever.

While most Frenchies are friendly, this does not mean it’s impossible for one to be mean & aggressive.

If you don’t know a dog, make sure you treat it just like any other, no matter how cute they are.

Are French Bulldogs Hyper?

To answer this simply: yes. Frenchies can be a bit hyper.

While my Frenchie isn’t hyper all the time, she can get some crazy bursts of energy (zoomies!!) that I don’t even know how to start to explain.


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