Did your dog breeder tell you that French Bulldogs are one of the dog breeds more prone to developing separation anxiety than other breeds?
No? You are not alone.
Why this common behavioral issue is not talked about is a mystery to me.
Just like we have the right to know about physical characteristics and potential health issues, we have the right to know about temperamental traits as well.
Is this a dog breed that barks a lot, is it territorial, stubborn, or is it too clingy?
Ask these questions to your breeder before getting any dog breed into your home.
And, if you didn’t ask, and you realized your French Bulldog has a separation anxiety issue – don’t worry! It is not time to give up and get used to the destruction and vocalization.
Let’s talk about these 11 ways you can calm your dog and help him with this behavioral issue, which can be quite scary – for you and your dog.
French Bulldog Separation Anxiety – What To Do?
When you notice your French Bulldog has issues with you leaving home, you also go through a range of emotions. First, you feel guilty. Then, you might feel angry when you come home to a destroyed living room. And, finally… you feel hopeless in the end when you realize you don’t know what to do.
Well, it is time to regain your confidence and make your home a peaceful place once again.
Let’s see these 11 ways to help your doggo, and stop the panic, whining, and destruction.
1. Don’t Make A Big Deal
The first rule is not to make a big deal out of you leaving the home. If you start giving your dog extra attention – saying goodbyes for a long time, or showing that you too feel bad for leaving him at home all alone – you are making it worse!
Frenchies are smart doggos, but they cannot understand English (try French?) so there is no point in telling them you will be back soon or that they will be OK alone.
So, when your Frenchie starts to whine, carry toys and cry, or simply makes it as if you are leaving him for good – ignore it.
Also, don’t give your dog attention when you come home. Well, not right away. The key is to let the dog settle and calm down first, and then give him attention.
Don’t worry if it takes more than 10 minutes for your Frenchie to calm down. You are not hurting its feelings – you are helping him!
2. Leave Your Shirt
Not just any shirt, leave your shirt that you have been wearing that morning so that your Frenchie has something that reminds him of you. In other words, you are giving your dog something to feel safe around.
Put the shirt on the sofa or anywhere where your Frenchie likes to relax. Just make sure that it is easy to reach. There is no point leaving your shirt on the counter where your dog can’t reach it.
The shirt will have your scent on it, which can give your dog a sense of calm because even if you are not there, he can smell you.
3. Dog Toys
It would be good to make your home as dog friendly as possible, especially when you go out. So, give your dog lots of things to occupy himself.
There is a variety of interactive dog toys you can leave for your dog to play with. These toys could be squeaky toys, chewing toys… whatever helps, and whatever your dog likes.
They are here to make your dog “forget” you are gone, and to shift his focus onto something else, and away from the fact you are not at home.
4. Calming Products
There are products you can buy to try out and see if they help, especially if the dog is not destructive, but doesn’t want to eat, drink water, or is highly vocal.
There are separation anxiety jackets on the market that function on the basis that pressure on the dog’s chest has a calming effect.
It is similar to anxiety or panic attacks in humans – hugs help. Other than this, you can consult your veterinarian about essential oils or other similar products you can use on your dog.
Just remember to ask a vet before giving anything to your dog.
5. Leave The Light On
Or, play the song, Leave the light on, or any other type of music for your dog to feel as if there is someone at home with him. You can also leave the TV on, not just the light or music.
There are numerous YouTube channels with “dog TV” videos you can use. I already tried several, but I prefer the Paul Dinning videos (click here: TV for dogs).
They are in high definition, subtle, but always active, with lots of birds and squirrels to keep your doggo interested.
Honestly, I found myself watching the video with my dog and not being able to go away. It has something calming and interesting at the same time that makes you want to watch it…
6. Positive Connection
If you teach your dog that every time you leave, he gets some kind of a reward, soon your dog will be almost looking forward to you going away.
Of course, they won’t be happy you are leaving – I am joking, but they will learn to understand that your leaving is not a bad thing, but a time when they get a treat.
That’s just one example.
You can give your dog his favorite treat every time you leave. Start with small trips, like when you are leaving to go to the store. It will make things easier when you have to leave for a longer period.
Read next: 15 Best Dog Foods For French Bulldogs
7. Prolonging His Alone Time
This means you start by leaving your dog alone at home for a little bit. Then, after a few times, you stay a bit longer. Then, turn one hour into two hours, and so on…
This is how you gradually teach your dog to stay at home alone for longer periods of time. It is essential if you have a job that requires you to leave your dog alone for the majority of the day.
Don’t forget to combine this method with the positive connection – have some dog treats to help your French Bulldog with separation anxiety.
8. Play, Play, Play
If you want to deal with French Bulldog separation anxiety, try the “tiring method”. It means you get your dog as active as possible before leaving home so that the dog will just fall asleep.
I don’t mean to over-exert your dog. Don’t forget that Frenchies need a break during playtime because of their flat face and breathing issues. However, an extra lap around the park to get your dog tired enough is alright.
9. Crate Training
The point of teaching your dog to think of a crate as a safe place is to give him something where he can feel relaxed when you are gone.
The sense of security is calming to all living beings when they feel anxious or stressed. Think about it as a natural way for a dog to find a safe place to hide from danger. Of course, there is no danger in your home, but the dog is projecting insecurity through being afraid, and thus, looking for a safe spot.
Crate training will make the crate an excellent place for your dog to feel safe whenever he’s alone at home.
Read next: Why Does My Dog Suddenly Hate His Crate?
10. Puppy Schedule
Having a puppy schedule is very important if you plan on having any dog, not just a French Bulldog that has separation anxiety.
As a matter of fact, if you have a good puppy schedule, and you have practiced it since the day you got your Frenchie puppy – chances are your Frenchie won’t have a separation anxiety issue.
Why? Because dogs need a routine that includes a sleeping routine, a potty time routine, feeding, and a playtime routine. When a puppy learns when to expect what, you going out won’t be a big deal.
11. Don’t Get Mad
It is very important not to react negatively to your French Bulldog’s separation anxiety behavior. No matter how hard it can be to stay calm and not say anything to your dog when you come home to an apartment that looks like a tornado went through it – you have to stay calm.
If you punish your dog, it will only make your dog more anxious. He did something wrong and he doesn’t know what, but it happens when you come back home. Now, the dog is more stressed when you leave because he knows he will get punished when you get back.
So, stay calm – no getting mad or punishing your dog.
Read Next: Will My Dog Forgive Me For Hitting Him?
To Sum It Up
If you notice French Bulldog separation anxiety symptoms, or in other words, you see your Frenchie whining or being destructive when you go outside without him – follow the 11 solutions we talked about. You can use more than one.
Combine TV and light with positive reinforcement and prolonged alone time. If you are reading this because you want a French puppy, start the puppy schedule as soon as you bring it home.
It will help you immensely, and it will possibly completely prevent separation anxiety issues when your dog gets bigger.
Whatever you use, remember number 11 – do not punish or get mad at your dog. It will only make things worse.