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How to Discipline a French Bulldog Puppy (5 TIPS!)

There’s no way around it; puppies get into trouble. French Bulldogs, in particular, are not necessarily known for their intelligence

For this reason, it’s essential that owners, especially those new to the breed, understand the correct way to discipline their new French Bulldog puppy.

It’s also a good idea to have a step-by-step plan for how to discipline your Frenchie puppy in place before disaster strikes, so you can set your future good-boy or good-girl up for success!

Read on to learn how to successfully discipline your French Bulldog puppy.

How to Discipline Your French Bulldog Puppy

Before you do anything, try to determine why your French Bulldog puppy is exhibiting undesirable behaviors.

Keeping track of everything that’s going on with your puppy can sometimes be overwhelming.

  1. Last week he chewed his way through one of your throw pillows.
  2. Yesterday he chewed a shoe;
  3. Today, he got into the garbage! 

For busy adults, it may help to keep a logbook or journal of situations where your puppy acts out.

Is your puppy barking at new people, digging in the yard, chewing anything and everything, or nipping at ankles or hands?

Once you pinpoint the behavior, you will be better equipped to come up with an appropriate discipline plan.

French Bulldog Discipline Tips

These tips can help you discipline your French Bulldog without having to resort to physical punishment.

  1. Consistency
  2. Redirecting
  3. Timely training
  4. Positive reinforcement
  5. Distractions

We’ll cover each of them in detail down below.

Be Consistent With Training & Discipline

You may think French bulldogs are hard to train, but consistency in training and discipline is key to preventing negative behavior.

By consistently enforcing rules and boundaries, your Frenchie will learn what is expected of them and what is not allowed.

This helps to establish clear communication between you and your dog, which is crucial for effective discipline.

Imagine that you want to teach your French Bulldog not to jump on the couch. Every time he jumps on the couch, you firmly say “no” and place him on the floor.

However, if one day you’re feeling tired and allow him to jump on the couch, he’ll become confused about what is allowed and what is not.

Therefore, if you want to maintain consistent discipline, you must enforce the same rules every time.

Even if you’re feeling tired or in a relaxed mood, you should still tell your Frenchie to do the right thing.

This will reinforce the behavior you want to see and help your Frenchie understand what is expected of him.

Redirect Unwanted Behavior 

French Bulldogs are notorious for being heavy chewers, and chewing is a natural behavior for a puppy. Having a variety of appropriate, and puppy-safe, chew toys will help satisfy this natural urge.

On the other hand, if your puppy does not have access to appropriate chew toys, they may direct this behavior to your favorite pair of shoes, furniture, or even walls. 

Filling interactive toys like Kongs with peanut butter is a great way to keep your puppy engaged.

Not only do toys like this satisfy your puppy’s need to chew, but they will also have to think about how to get the peanut butter out of the Kong, which also expends energy.

Plastic teething bones and soft stuffed animals are often not enough to satisfy puppy chewing.

If you discover your puppy chewing on something they shouldn’t, redirect the unwanted behavior by using the “this, not that” method.

For example, if your puppy is chewing on a shoe, take the shoe away and give the puppy a toy or bone. Chew on this, not that.

You want your puppy to understand that they can chew on this (the toy or bone) and not that (AKA your shoe!).

You can learn more about how to puppy-proof your house to safeguard your furniture.

Discipline Them at the Time of the Offense

Catching your puppy in the act is key to correctly disciplining your puppy.

Staying with our shoe example, if you leave your puppy unattended and return to find your favorite pair of shoes destroyed, disciplining your puppy after the fact will be ineffective.

Puppies have short attention spans. Your puppy will not associate discipline with his act of destroying the shoes.

Disciplining in this situation will only create confusion. While it’s frustrating to find that your puppy destroyed something, be sure to stick with your discipline and training plan.

Being consistent is crucial to your puppy understanding what you’re asking, why you’re asking, and what your expectations are.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Reward your puppy’s good choices to avoid future bad choices. 

When your puppy does something right, like going potty in the yard instead of on the floor or sitting nicely in the kitchen instead of begging for food, get ready to give him lots of praise! 

Toys, verbal praise, treats, and physical attention like pets or ear scratches are all good tools for positive reinforcement. Dogs are individuals, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here.

Some dogs are more food-driven and will respond better to treats than praise, and vice versa.

Find out what your puppy responds best to, and use that when engaging in positive reinforcement techniques. 

Use Distraction Methods

Using distractions is an effective way to discipline a French Bulldog. It can be difficult to get a stubborn Frenchie to stop bad behaviors, especially when traditional methods of discipline fail.

For example, I was playing fetch with my French Bulldog in the backyard, and suddenly he started to get distracted by my neighbor’s barking dog.

He began to lose interest in the game and started wandering off toward my neighbor’s fence.

Instead of scolding him or trying to force him back to the game, I grabbed a treat and offered it to him. This caught his attention and encouraged him to come back to me and the game.

By doing this, I’ve effectively disciplined him without having to resort to punishment or negative reinforcement.

With consistent use, distractions can help your French Bulldog develop good habits and break bad ones.

What Not to Do When Disciplining Your French Bulldog Puppy

We’ve covered a few easy ways for you to discipline your French Bulldog puppy. Now let’s take a quick look at unproductive methods you should avoid.

Never Use Physical Punishment 

Physical punishments should never be used with a puppy. Period. Because your puppy lacks training at this young age, it will not know how to associate physical punishment with misbehaving.

In fact, physically punishing your puppy may lead to fear and even aggression. If your puppy comes to fear you, they may become defensive in your presence, which will lead to further negative behavior.

Don’t Raise Your Voice

Like physical punishment, yelling at your puppy can create fear and aggression in French Bulldog puppies. The last thing you want to do is create an environment of fear for your new dog.

If your dog fears you, not only will future training be more difficult, you may never have a healthy, happy relationship with your dog.

Don’t Rub Your Puppy’s Nose in a Soiled Area, Mess, or in the Dirt

Rubbing a puppy’s nose in a soiled area on a rug is an outdated way of disciplining a dog – and it’s totally ineffective. Doing so will only make your puppy nervous and anxious around you. 

Puppies cannot hold their bladders as long as adult dogs. If your puppy has an accident, ask yourself: 

  • Have I established a potty routine for my puppy?
  • Is he getting outside frequently enough?
  • Has a trusted veterinarian ruled out medical conditions? Frequent urination or defecation inside may be linked to an undiagnosed UTI or parasite.

Ignore Demanding Behavior

It’s tempting to give in to demanding behavior like barking, pawing, and jumping up. Our natural reaction is to give the dog attention when it paws or jumps up.

But rewarding undesirable behavior with attention will only encourage your dog to engage in these behaviors more. Some owners (or their friends) may even think this behavior is cute.

While it may seem cute for your French Bulldog puppy to jump up for attention, it’s certainly not cute when your full-grown French Bulldog jumps up for attention. 

Rather than give in to this behavior, when your puppy jumps on you or starts barking for attention, walk away. If you’re sitting on the couch, and your puppy paws at your leg, stand up and walk away.

Removing yourself from these attention-seeking situations will let your puppy know that these behaviors will not result in pets or attention. Once your puppy understands this, they will stop this behavior.

Don’t Encourage Bad Behavior

We all love to take photos of our puppies doing cute things like playing with tennis balls or looking with curiosity at a new toy.

It can also be tempting to pull out your phone to capture the moment when that same puppy does something they shouldn’t.  

It’s crucial to remember that dogs are observational learners and very in tune with our emotions.

Relaying a positive emotion, like laughing at your Frenchie’s behavior when they’ve been bad, could encourage future bad behavior.

A dog who feels the need for attention may then intentionally do something they know will cause their owner to give them this attention.

Closing Thoughts on Disciplining a French Bulldog Puppy

Your French Bulldog puppy will be most successful if you start training early. Establish a routine and stick to it.

For the best training results, always train in short time segments – five to ten minutes, at the most.

French Bulldog puppies have short attention spans and will respond best to learning new things when they do so in short, repetitive intervals.

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Lisemaine is a dog lover. She currently owns two Frenchies and enjoys working with and training them. She'll share her best tips with you to keep your Frenchie happy, healthy, and active.

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