How to Deal with Separation Anxiety in French Bulldogs
If you are in the market for an affectionate pooch, you may have been told to consider buying a Frenchie. Frenchies are so much attached to their owners. They don’t like to be left alone. Some even can’t handle being without their owners by their side for a few minutes. Basically, when French bulldogs are left alone for a lengthy period, they tend to exhibit some degree of discomfort: separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is no joke. It is a complex behavior that requires a multifaceted approach in order to achieve the desired results. You cannot simply let them work it out on their own. If your dog has severe separation anxiety, it is best to seek the help of a behavior expert.
French Bulldog separation anxiety symptoms
- Digging and scratching at doors, walls or windows
- Destructive chewing
- Barking and howling
- Destroying items in the house
- Uncontrolled urination and defecation
- Eating their poop
- Appetite loss
- Escape attempts
- Pacing, heavy painting and drooling
Please note that the above symptoms could also show when your pooch is suffering from other conditions. If you are not sure these are symptoms of separation anxiety, consult your vet as soon as possible.
What to do with an anxious Frenchie
In case your pooch suffers from a mild or moderate type of anxiety, consider trying the following techniques. All these techniques require some level of endurance. You will not see results right away, but you will with time if you persist.
Practice a calm routine
Practicing a calm routine when you are about to leave and when you come back can go along away into helping your pooch with their anxiety. For example, when leaving, avoid giving him too much attention. When you come back (and find him happily greeting you), also avoid too much attention until he has calmed down.
This works by associating something your dogs don’t like with a positive experience. For example, each time when leaving your house, your pooch gets his favorite treats. With time, he will associate your leaving with getting some tasty treats.
Don’t make a big deal of leaving the house
Frenchies, like other dogs, pay attention to details and can recognize you are about to leave them alone if you perform the same actions before you leave. For example, if you put on shoes before you leave, anytime you put them, they will know you are about to leave them.
Doing things differently can make a huge difference. For example, instead of putting on your shoes and leaving immediately, put them on and do something else -- Like walking in the house. That way, you will help them associate your act of wearing shoes with something positive.
Give them a comfortable and safe place
If you leave your pooch comfortable, he is less likely to feel anxious when you are away. If he loves to be crated, crate him before leaving. If he is always happy when placed in a specific room, put him there before you leave. The goal here is to find a room or area where you Frenchie is more relaxed when alone.
Frenchies don’t take the idea of being left alone politely. To them is a negative thing and some think you might never come back. Leaving them with something fun or tasty when going away can help them associate leaving with something good. Some experts recommend leaving them a KONG ball filled with peanut butter as it provides enough of a distraction when you are going.
Try short absence at first
Before you decide to leave your Frenchie alone all day, try a few cycles of short absence. For example, leave the house for three or five minutes and come back. You can also lock yourself somewhere you Frenchie will not see or hear you for a few minutes. This way, you will monitor how he behaves, and you will be able to adjust accordingly. All you are doing here is to show you Frenchie that nothing bad is happening and he shouldn’t be worried when you are out of sight.
Engage your dog using a remote camera
It is possible to monitor and engage your Frenchie remotely today, thanks to current technological advancements. With a good camera such as the Furbo Dog Camera, you can from time to time, see and talk to your puppy.
Leave them fully distracted and entertained
If you find your Frenchie loves interactive toys use them as a form of distraction when leaving. Make sure that these are toys your pooch only gets when you are about to leave. If he loves music, leave your TV or radio on. This way, your pooch will have fun for hours and won’t notice your absence. Here are some dog toys you can purchase.
Burn off excess energy
Burning off any excess energy might help as well. Taking your Frenchie for a walk before you leave can help him sleep and rest for a large period when you are out of sight. This will, in turn, make leaving him alone a lot easier.
Use a dog sitting and walking services
If you find you are spending most of the time outdoors, it makes sense to use a reliable dog sitting and walking service. This will reduce the period your Frenchie spends alone.
Seek professional help
If none of the above approaches seems to work or the behavior is out of hand, consider consulting a professional trainer or vet.
Buy a separation anxiety jacket
It is not a joke; a separation anxiety jacket does the unimaginable. It does make a pet feel like someone is there hugging him by making a gentle and constant pressure that helps calm anxiety. Try it and see how your Frenchie will react. Basically, this jacket helps dogs deal with thunderstorms, loud music, traveling, fireworks, and other stressful situations.
Separation anxiety will not go away by just snapping your fingers. You need to take action to help your Frenchie with easing the symptoms and make his life more comfortable. If you consider the above approaches, you can be sure to help your Frenchie deal with separation anxiety.