The temperament of French Bulldogs
This breed is humorous and fun-loving. They enjoy affection from their human companions and rarely bark without reason. Although possessing a gentle nature, they tend to be stubborn and require firm training.
French Bulldogs are affectionate, lively, alert, easygoing, and sociable. They are known to be calmer and more patient when compared to other dog breeds. Although friendly, they tend to be territorial, which makes them excellent watchdogs.
They have no problem while interacting with people, babies, and even other dogs. However, they tend to be aggressive with same-sex dogs. They are independent thinkers and, therefore, do not respond favourably to training.
Despite these wonderful traits, the French Bulldog tends to get aggressive under certain conditions. However, this holds for every dog breed. Let’s take a look the some of the reasons behind this aggression.
Why do French Bulldogs get aggressive?
Although this breed is not generally aggressive, there could be a multitude of cues that could have brought on this behaviour. Some of the common causes for this to occur are listed below.
Fear is one of the most common factors that induce aggression in French Bulldogs. If the feared stimuli are exposed to your dog regularly, this could cause an aggression problem in the long run. One way to prevent this is to expose them to the same stimuli but in a positive environment.
Positive experiences should be associated with meeting new people and visiting new places. This reduces the fear experienced by your puppy exponentially when exposed to novel stimuli. These activities will allow your dog to cope with his fears and become well-adjusted.
When your French Bulldog is in pain, his instinct would be to distance himself from his companions. He may show aggression as he would want to limit interactions that would cause more pain. Although these instances are isolated, aggression is never a good sign.
If the cause of aggression in your French Bulldog is pain, it is important to take him to a veterinarian as soon as you can. This reduces the chances of further infection as well as persistent aggression.
Most dogs experience this phenomenon, which makes them protective of things that they consider ‘theirs.’ It may be food, a toy, or even a person. This type of aggression is acceptable to a certain extent, as it is common for all dog breeds.
However, this could be a problem once your puppy is older. It is essential to train your French Bulldog to avoid uncontrollable aggression in the name of resource guarding. Therefore, teaching your puppy the ‘drop’ command is of extreme importance.
In most cases, male French Bulldogs tend to be more aggressive than female ones. Interactions with the same sex may also cause unwanted aggression. This type of aggression, however, can be curbed with patience.
Training an aggressive puppy is possible, but they require extra time and attention. This effort will prevent your French Bulldog from becoming too aggressive later on.
How to deal with French Bulldog aggression
If your puppy is perpetually aggressive, this could cause many problems in the long run. Curbing this behaviour is essential for both you and your puppy. Listed below are a few methods that you can use to contain the aggression of your French Bulldog.
Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT)
The Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) method is an effective way of dealing with aggressive behaviour. This includes removing your puppy from his comfort zone and encouraging him to confront their fears. Exposing him to a person, animal, or situation, he is afraid of will raise his adrenaline levels and make him uncomfortable.
This method will allow your puppy to accept the fact that this feared object is not going away. Isolation or hiding him from the feared factors will worsen the situation. This will force him to get comfortable with these factors and eventually alleviate his aggression.
Once this process is repeated a few times, your French Bulldog will adopt a calmer reaction to the stimuli and eliminate his aggressive tendencies.
Exposing your dog to new or strange situations is an essential part of training him. If he gets aggressive around other dogs, try using a barricade or use a sliding glass door as a barrier from other dogs. By doing this, he can witness the other dogs mingling amongst each other.
If he portrays aggression towards other dogs, a firm ‘no’ must be used to indicate your dissent with this behaviour. This is a good measure to correct aggression during the process of socialization. If he avoids this reaction in the future, award your dog with a treat or simple words of affirmation such as ‘good boy/ good girl.’
The socialization process is necessary to avoid unnecessary conflict and potential harm to other dogs by your French Bulldog. However, this process is gradual and requires sufficient time and patience to be successful.
Most often, aggression is caused by stress. Identifying the source of this stress and alleviating it can dramatically improve the emotional health of your French Bulldog. Aggression is merely a response to stressors.
Identifying and understanding as many stressors as possible and eliminate the ones that you can. Management of triggers can significantly reduce aggressive behaviour. If this is not feasible, the use of negative reinforcement can be handy.
In the case of French Bulldogs, they are not the most welcoming to the same sex, as mentioned before. Therefore, the management of aggressive behaviour is more important in a household with multiple dogs. The triggers in response to the other dog or dogs in the house need to be managed at the earliest.
Counter-conditioning and desensitization is a method of reducing aggression by changing the association of your French Bulldog with an aversive stimulus from negative to positive. Creating a positive association can be done by using heavy treats.
This method is particularly useful for dogs that are aggressive towards other dogs. Place two dogs at a distance from each other and feed them high-quality treats one at a time while the other is observing this action. Gradually get the dogs closer to each other while repeating this process.
This method creates a conditioned emotional response where the dogs associate getting closer to each other as a sign of receiving treats. This can effectively eliminate aggression if performed consistently. A barrier can be kept between the dogs for the initial stages to avoid injury.
French Bulldogs, although stubborn, respond well to effective training. Keeping an eye out for subtle aggressive cues can help you curb them before they become uncontrollable. In extreme cases, a professional trainer can be hired.
To sum up
French Bulldogs possess a loving and humorous nature. They are generally not prone to behaving aggressively due to their social temperament. However, like any other breed, a French Bulldog can express aggression for a multitude of reasons.
These must be identified and dealt with accordingly. In a household with more than one dog, aggression management is of utmost importance. The methods provided can be a start to behavior modification in your French Bulldog.