French Bulldogs are endearing to people. Known as the "clown" of dog breeds, the Frenchie needs social connection with others as well as their owner.  Regardless of the venue, the dogs thrive with opportunities to interact with other people including children.  The French bulldog personality is multi-faceted. Beyond "active, alert, and playful"  in the AKC Breed Standard,  most French bulldogs tend to be  curious, friendly  and intelligent which may lead to adventurous, impulsive antics.  It is important to proceed in a step-by-step manner to socialize your canine companion so he enjoys life while staying out of trouble.

     1.  "WATCH ME."    Every new puppy would benefit by learning basic commands of "come, sit and stay" whether from a basic puppy obedience class or in your front yard;  but, long before mastering these commands, a French Bulldog should learn  "Watch me" on the automatic response level.     Becoming alert and responsive to his master  and then  immediate  caregivers  is vital to his welfare.  After "WATCH ME" is instilled in his vocabulary, add "NO" and "LEAVE IT".    In his pursuits to enjoy life, he tends to employ a stubborn streak inherent in the Bulldog breeds. This leads to "selective hearing".   (What a combination for tragedy this can become!).      "Watch me" training precedes leash training and crate training with Fancibul puppies.   I begin behavioral shaping techniques  of the Fancibul French Bulldog pups at weaning, which  includes verbal and hand cues, positive reward,  and timing reinforcement but excludes "bribing".  Most are food-motivated so treats become a primary motivator; however, some respond more to tone of voice, noise (such as clicker training), visual stimulation or praise. You need to learn what "punches the button" of your dog to be most effective.  

     There are basic obedience puppy classes in most every large city or middle-sized towns where there are kennel club activities.  (Check for  kennel clubs in your area at,  and also local community colleges or  vo-techs .) 

     2.  BONDING.   Bond to the French Bulldog before proceeding with typical dog training and socialization exercises.  You are equipped with much research about the French Bulldog, and he is equipped with some experiences and expectations with humans, but each of you need to develop a bond of trust before proceeding with typical socialization and training exercises.  Postpone acquiring your canine companion until there is time to "hang out" for a few weeks together.  Find out if he is a "little clown" showoff that will do anything for "praise", or if he is gratified most by food treats or a special sound or toy.

    WARNING:  I simply refuse to BRIBE my companion to elicit obedience.   Bribing leads to increasing the stubborn little dog with "selective hearing".  Time your rewards: quickly and only after he responds how you wish. 
     3.  ADAPTATION.  The French Bulldog is laughingly referred to as the "VELCRO PET".   In the process of bonding with  you, his alert and intelligent nature will observe you, your daily routine, rituals, and what you expect from him.     In a matter of few months, I noted that my first French Bulldogs seemed  to "read my mind" with less and less verbal directives.   Both had a contrast as far as some traits, but they  seemed to know where I was going and when, how long to hold off before getting a potty walk, when I wanted quiet and peace but also when to turn into showoffs if exercise or playtime was near.     It occurred to me that being bred as an "adaptable, comfortable companion" comes into play through the dog's intense observation  and desire to "stick close".   Such survival-based instinct leads to becoming a "comfortable companion"  but  also a sensitive, empathetic creature.  These are highly prized characteristics of this breed.   When adaptable, the dog can socially fit into many lifestyles, with different breeds and types of homes.   A well-behaved, adjusted French Bulldog is the result of allowing the dog to adapt  vs. the dog that controls the owner's lifestyle

    3.  ALERTNESS TRAINING:    Children enjoy  this breed;  French bulldogs enjoy  children.  However, all caregivers must be mindful of the breed's special needs.  Family socialization precedes public socialization. More diligence is required to protect a brachycepalic canine while still allowing the dog to enjoy life as a companion dog.   Children and adults awareness-training  includes:

     .  Being  aware of current temperatures in and outdoors.  Monitor and limit exposure to temperatures  above 85 deg F. or below 45 deg F.

     .  Observe degree of panting, color of tongue tissues, length of time or extent of activity that leads to  heavy panting.  Many French Bulldog puppies would play until they drop in exhaustion if children do not recognize the signs of overheating and exhertion and allow the puppy a restful break.

     .  Keep pool gates closed and preferably secured with additional device to prevent dogs from opening.
     .  Even the soundest specimens of the breed have a physical structure that can be  injured by leaping from sofas or beds.  It is a preventative to train this chondrodysplastic, miniaturized breed of canine  to allow itself  to be picked up and placed on   furniture (providing lounging on furniture is  allowed.)  Some owners provide "pet steps" or "ramps".

     .  Some French Bulldogs  a tendency to be "roamers" so with much cleverness they become canine escape artists.   Secure gates with extra protection. We use a snaploc device on all gates. We also practice the basic commands while in unfenced but safe territory.  I don't allow freerun in our yard until  dogs have proven they will  not leave our property when off a leash and prove that when summoned, the dog will "COME" back.

EDITORIAL:  KEEP IT IN BALANCE!  A healthy Frenchie is at his healthiest best enjoying a life of fun and activity   (You will be too as his owner.)  . In spite of a little extra effort to monitor and protect your French bulldog, PLEASE let him enjoy life as the alert, inquisitive, active, fun-loving canine companion he was meant  to become.  Neither of you will thrive if you become overprotective, fearful pet owner,  continually policiing or controlling your dog.     
   4.  PUBLIC SOCIALIZATION:  Socializing for canines is similar to socializing with children in that you increase privileges and territory a little at a time.  Short-walks should  precede longer adventures.  Limits on territory are gradually expanded as the French bulldog proves that his basic obedience training is intact enough to allow a free romp in a dogpark.   On the short walks, allow the French bulldog  to stop and observe other dogs in a dogpark before going  in.   Go on a few visits  inside the dogpark but secure on a retractible type leash so you can test his behavior before  releasing the lead and allowing freeplay.    Just a couple of short walks or car trip to get acquainted with strangers, different breed, or make a new Frenchie friend creates enough security for the dog to expand his social network. Test him frequently as he adventures into fresh experiences and environments to see if he still understands basic canine commands:  "WATCH", "COME", "SIT", "STAY", "NO", and "LEAVE IT".


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