Do you have a French Bulldog? Do they struggle when you leave the room or go out of the house? Are you wondering if they have separation anxiety? Here’s everything you need to know about French Bulldogs and separation anxiety.
Do French Bulldogs Get Separation Anxiety? Yes, French Bulldogs are prone to getting separation anxiety. They have been specifically bred as companion dogs, so form closer bonds with their owners than other breeds. This can make it difficult for them to be separated from you for any length of time.
Read on to find out what separation anxiety symptoms look like in French Bulldogs, and what you can do to help them to cope when you’re not there.
Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years.
What Is Separation Anxiety In French Bulldogs
Separation anxiety happens when your French Bulldog gets too attached and struggles to cope on their own when you’re not around. This can lead to anxiety, distress and destructive behaviours.
French Bulldogs aren’t the only ones though, because separation anxiety is a very common issue for many dog breeds.
Unfortunately, your French Bulldog’s separation anxiety can quickly spiral out of control, if you don’t put in careful and consistent training with them.
They need to be taught that it’s okay to be left alone and that nothing terrible will happen to them while you’re not there. This can be a long process though, so you need to patient and understanding.
Separation anxiety is classed as a behavioural problem for your French Bulldog. But, always remember they’re not acting-out just to be intentionally naughty. They’re doing it because they feel stressed, anxious and scared when alone.
What Are The Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety In French Bulldogs?
If your French Bulldog shows any of these behaviours when they’re left alone, then it’s likely they could be suffering from separation anxiety:
- Urinating or pooing in the house even though they’re potty trained
- Howling, barking, whining, or crying excessively
- Trying to escape from the room they’re in
- Coprophagia (eating their own poop)
- Pacing around the house unable to settle down
- Attention seeking before you actually leave them
- Licking or biting at their feet, fur or skin excessively
- Refusing treats or food left for them
- Destroying furniture, carpets, cushions, doors, walls etc
- Ripping up their toys
- Shredding or chewing up items like tissues or clothes
- Hyperactive behaviour when you return home
How Can I Help My French Bulldog With Their Separation Anxiety?
If you think your French Bulldog has separation anxiety, there are some things you can do to help them overcome it.
This is how to help your French Bulldog with separation anxiety:
Leave The Radio Or TV On For Your French Bulldog
Creating some background noise can help your French Bulldog feel a little less lonely when you’re out. Especially if you come from a busy household where there’s usually kids running around and a lot going on.
Research suggests that playing classical music has the most calming effect on French Bulldogs, but yours may prefer something else!
Avoid anything too fast tempo or too loud as this can unsettle your Frenchie even more.
Get A Camera To Watch Your French Bulldog
Getting a camera to keep an eye on your French Bulldog can be really useful.
Brands like Furbo are very popular because not only can you see and hear your French Bulldog, you can even dispense them a treat!
You can also talk to them too, which can help reassure them you’re not too far away.
Keep Calm And Be Patient With Your French Bulldog
Overcoming separation anxiety can be a very long process. So, it’s crucial you stay calm and patient with your French Bulldog.
If you get frustrated or try and rush the process before they’re ready, it can make their anxiety worse.
Remind yourself they’re not behaving this way on purpose. They’re simply having a hard time and need your help to feel better about being left alone.
Desensitise Your French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are smart! So, they’ll quickly learn what you do directly before you’re about to leave the house without them. Just the act of your getting ready to go out can start their anxiety spiraling.
This is why desensitising them to the triggers of you leaving the house is key to getting their separation anxiety under control.
So put your shoes on, grab your keys and then make something to eat or have a cup of tea. You’re basically doing the exact opposite of what they expect you to do!
By doing this over and over again, your French Bulldog will become desensitised to these triggers and less bothered about them in future.
Next, do the same thing but go into a different room for just a couple of minutes to begin with.
When your Frenchie is okay with this, step outside your front door for a few minutes and then come back inside.
This shows your French Bulldog that you won’t always be leaving for a long time, when you do your ‘leaving routine.’
Exercise Your French Bulldog Before Leaving Them
Although adult French Bulldogs only need around an hours exercise a day, it’s still important they’ve been out before they’re left alone for any length of time.
This gives them chance to go potty as well as giving them some physical and mental stimulation.
Try and encourage them to sniff and explore, instead of doing lots of fast-paced exercise. This helps to keep them calmer, making it easier for them to relax when they’re at home on their own.
Don’t Feed Your French Bulldog Right Before You Leave
Try to avoid giving your French Bulldog a meal directly before you leave them. Otherwise, it’s likely they’ll need to go potty while you’re away from them.
This can increase their anxiety levels because they’ll feel stressed about not being able to get outside to go potty.
So leave at least 1-2 hours after feeding them before you go out, to give them time to digest their food first.
Setting out a regular routine so they know what happens when, can really help calm any separation anxiety.
Give Your French Bulldog A Safe Space
A safe space will be different for each dog.
Some French Bulldogs prefer the safety and comfort of an open crate with a comfy bed inside. Others will feel better not being enclosed and having the run of the room or house instead.
You’ll know what’s best for your own French Bulldog and your personal situation.
However, if you’re going out for a long time, don’t leave your Frenchie crated with the door shut.
Leave Your French Bulldog For Short Periods
To begin with, you can leave you French Bulldog for a just a few minutes at a time. Once they’re comfortable with this, extend the time gradually.
This can increase their confidence about being left alone because they know you’ll always be back with them soon.
Don’t Give Your French Bulldog Too Much Attention When You Leave
If you shower your French Bulldog with too much affection before you leave, it can make it more difficult for them to let you go without them!
Instead, calmly leave and return as if it was no big deal. This will actually be harder for you than it is for your French Bulldog!
Keep To A Routine When Leaving Your French Bulldog
If possible, leave your French Bulldog at the same time each day for a similar length of time.
This can help reduce their anxiety and make them better prepared for being left alone in the future.
This way, they know you’ll definitely be returning and won’t be left wondering if you’re ever coming back to them!
Form Positive Associations For Your French Bulldog
Giving your French Bulldog a food toy or a snuffle mat when you leave them can help form a positive association for them. This pairs up getting a tasty treat, with you leaving them alone.
They soon learn that when they’re left something good happens, which can reduce their separation anxiety.
Stuffed Kongs are good here, because it’ll take your French Bulldog a while to empty them which should help to keep them distracted.
Give Your French Bulldog Regular Breaks
It’s best to not leave your French Bulldog alone for more than 4 hours at a time if you can help it.
You could ask a dog walker, daycare service, friends or family to help out if you need to leave them longer than this.
Even if their separation anxiety isn’t severe, they’ll still get lonely and need to go potty during the day!
Encourage Your French Bulldog To Do Independent Activities
Increasing your French Bulldog’s independence may also help with their separation anxiety.
If they’re already more comfortable doing things on their own, then they’ll find it easier when you’re not with them.
Give them a tasty chew in a different room or encourage them to find treats hidden in the garden by themselves.
So, there you have it! Sadly, French Bulldogs are more prone to getting separation anxiety than some other dog breeds. However, this can often be overcome with incremental training, patience and time. Desensitising them to the triggers of you leaving the house is the best place to start!
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