When you get your first French Bulldog, there’s something you may not be completely aware of. It’s the common problem of French Bulldog separation anxiety. Frenchies suffer with the symptoms far more than other dog breeds.
French Bulldogs do not do well alone. French Bulldogs cannot be left alone all day, and if your schedule turns out this way, chances are you’re going to have a very unhappy puppy or dog on your hands.
Some Frenchies can’t even handle being without their owners by their side for a few moments. If that sounds like your French Bulldog, then it’s a problem that you can look to solve. We’re here to guide you through making your Frenchie and your life easier if you need to leave them for long periods of time. Here are a few things you can do to calm your Frenchie’s separation anxiety.
Practice a calm routine.
Although it may be challenging, try to avoid giving your Frenchie too much attention when you leave and when you get home. Too much excitement when you leave for the day and when you come home can really exacerbate your Frenchie’s anxiety. Leaving and greeting your Frenchie calmly will teach them that it is not a time to get anxious. Yes, they will most likely greet you with energy when you get home, but it is best to give a small amount of attention until they calm down.
Get your stuff ready before you start to leave.
Frenchies will learn subtle visual and behavioral cues that signal to them you’re just about leave them alone. This includes things such as:
- Putting on a jacket and shoes.
- Picking up your house keys, purse, or wallet.
- Making a big deal out of saying goodbye to them.
You can try to normalize these actions by doing them throughout the day. It might be that you have a set routine in the morning. If you do, try shaking things up a little bit. You might try picking up your keys and putting on your coat as though you were about to leave, but then doing something completely different, like making a meal or watching TV.
Once you have identified your Frenchie’s triggers, you can also do something that will help them associate these sounds with something positive. If your Frenchie starts to become anxious as you pick up your keys and put on your jacket, perhaps you can start to use these before you take them out for a walk or playing a favorite game.
Make a comfortable and safe place for your Frenchie.
The key here is to see if you can find a room or area where your Frenchie feels more at ease when you leave the house. It could even mean placing them in a specific room with the door closed, with the TV or radio on and plenty of toys to play with. The crate method can work with some puppies, as you might have one who is perfectly happy to sit in his crate when left at home alone with no negative consequences. Other dogs might hate being crated.
Try short absences at first.
Another exercise to help you if you absolutely must leave your French Bulldog at home alone all day is to try short absences first. Here’s how you do it:
- Put on your jacket, pick up your keys, and leave the house for 5 seconds.
- Come back through the house door behaving completely normally before your Frenchie can start to get up to mischief without making a fuss.
- Don’t come back into the house if they start to bark and howl but wait until they go quiet.
By trying this method you can start to train your Frenchie to be left alone. The main point here is to reinforce that nothing bad is happening, this is normal behavior, and you won’t react in an over the top way if they bark – and you won’t come running back if they do behave badly.
Part of the reason why French Bulldogs become so distressed when you leave the house is because they know that they are going to be separated from you and your affection. Some people say that your dog might even think you are never coming back!
To combat the idea that your leaving the house is a negative thing, you can reserve a certain treat or a favorite toy for when you leave. Ideally, it will take them a good twenty minutes to finish with this toy, and by the time they are done, it should hopefully provide enough of a distraction to keep their mind off your absence.
Whatever you decide to leave them, the aim is to help them associate you leaving with something fun and tasty, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Although Frenchie’s need relatively little exercise in comparison to other breeds, it is still important to take them for a short walk in the morning and afternoon to burn off any excess energy they might have. By doing so, you might find that they end up sleeping for longer periods when left alone. Keep them entertained and moving when you are at home so that when you leave, they will need to rest.
Each dog is different from the next when it involves the amount of exercise a dog needs. For French Bulldogs, they require a specific amount of playtime in order to be happy and healthy. For instance, Frenchies should not go on long walks or runs because of the shape of their skull. We have a blog that talks all about exercise called How much playtime does my French Bulldog need?
Doggy Daycare and walking services.
If you’re job constricts you from being at home all day, you might consider doggy daycare or a sitter. Although it can get expensive, they will constantly have human companionship which will put your mind at ease. There are also qualified dog walkers who will check on your dog throughout the day. These are services such as Wag and Rover.
Facetime your Frenchie.
Another suggestion is to get one of those remote cameras that you can buy on Amazon. That way you can view your dog while you’re at work and even talk to them. This can give you huge peace of mind. The best one we have found online is the Furbo Dog or Wopet. They have 2-way audio, so you can hear them, and they can hear you plus live video 24/7. This could be a great solution if you are going to be leaving your French Bulldog at home alone for longer periods of time.
If nothing seems to be working, and their behavior is not improving, talk to your vet about medication or training. We recommend Healthy Treatz which can be found on amazon. They are supplements with CBD for back, hip, and joint health. They tend to calm a Frenchie, or any dog, down.
We know this is a challenge for every Frenchie owner because you love them like a child and probably hate leaving more than they hate watching you. All of these methods will help you to deal with a dog who cannot be left alone for either long or short periods of time. The key in all of this is endurance. Regardless of your approach, you will not see results straight away, but the longer you persist, the more you should see a difference.