There are many different styles of French bulldog training, and finding the one that works best for you is important for creating a dog that is a talented, loyal and faithful member of the family.
All successful methods of training your French bulldog will work to reinforce the relationship between frenchie and handler, and the foundation of any successful training program is getting the respect of the dog. Fortunately, dogs are wired by nature to seek out leaders, and to follow the direction of those leaders.
This article focuses on one of the most popular methods of dog training – the so called leash/collar style of training.
Both leash/collar training and reward training have been around for a very long time, and they have proven their effectiveness over time. The type of training that works best will vary from each French bulldog. It is important to remember that each French bulldog has its own unique qualities, reinforced by hundreds of years of selective breeding.
Of course personalities of individual French bulldogs vary quite a bit, even within established breeds. You, as the owner of the dog, know better than anyone which style of dog training will work best, so it is important to work with the trainer you choose to achieve your goal of a willing, obedient and friendly dog.
Leash and collar training is the best way to accomplish many types of French bulldog training, particularly in situations where the dog must have a high level of reliability. For instance, dogs that have an important job to do, such as rescue dogs, police dogs and guard dogs, generally benefit from leash and collar training.
In leash and collar training, varying degrees of force can be used, ranging from slight prompts with the lead to very harsh corrections. The amount of correction used should be appropriate to the situation, since using too much correction, or too little, will be ineffective.
In a collar and leash based French bulldog training program, first the French bulldog is taught a particular behavior, generally with the leash. After the dog has demonstrated that it understands the command, the leash is then used to correct the dog if it disobeys, or when it makes a mistake. The leash is the main form of controlling and communicating with the dog in leash and collar training.
When using leash and collar training, the French bulldog must be trained to trust the handler and accept his or her directions without question. In order for the French bulldog to be fully trained, the handler must demonstrate the ability to place the dog into a posture or position he or she does not want to take. This does not mean using force, but it does generally require some level of physical manipulation. This manipulation is most easily and safely done using the main tool of leash and collar training – the leash.
It is important for every would be dog trainer to understand that the leash is simply a tool. While the leash is an important tool in this form of training, it is important for the dog trainer to be able to eventually achieve the same results using whatever tools are at hand.
Even when the only tools at hand are the owner’s body and skill, the French bulldog should be willing to obey. Creating a leader/follower relationship between handler and French bulldog is still very important, and it is important to use the leash as a tool and not a crutch. A properly trained French bulldog should be willing to obey whether the leash is present or not.
Reward training is often seen as the most modern method of training a French bulldog, but reward training is probably much older than other methods of dog training.
Many reward training enthusiasts are less enthusiastic about other methods of dog training, such as the traditional leash and collar method. However, the best approach to training any individual dog is often a combination of leash/collar training and reward training.
In addition, a training method that works perfectly for one French bulldog may be totally inappropriate for another, and vice versa. Some French bulldogs respond wonderfully to reward training and not at all to leash and collar training, while others respond to leash/collar training and are not at all motivated by reward training. Most French bulldogs fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Clicker training is one of the most popular forms of reward training these days. While clicker training is not the answer for every French bulldog, it can be a remarkably effective method of training many dogs. In clicker training, the dog is taught to associate a clicking sound with a reward, like a treat. The trainer clicks the clicker when the French bulldog does something good, followed immediately by a treat. Eventually, the dog learns to respond to the clicker alone.
Most reward training uses some sort of food reward, or a reward that is associated with getting food. In most cases, complex behaviors can only be taught using this kind of positive reinforcement, and you will find that the people who train French bulldogs for movies and television use reward training almost exclusively.
Reward training is used in all forms of dog training, including police work and military applications. Most scent detection, tracking and police dogs are trained using some form of reward training. Reward training is also a very effective way to teach many basic obedience commands.
Reward training often incorporates the use of a lure in order to get the French bulldog into the position desired by the trainer. The lure is used to get the dog to perform the desired behavior on his or her own and of his or her own free will.
It makes a great deal of sense to get the dog to perform the desired behavior without any physical intervention on the part of the handler. Getting the French bulldog to perform a behavior without being touched is important.
After the dog has performed the desired behavior, it is given a reward, also called a positive reinforcement. Treats are often used as reinforcers, but praise, such as “good dog” or a pat on the head, can also be effective rewards.
Many dog trainers make the mistake of only training the French bulldog inside the house or back yard, and only when the handler is there. In order to become a reliably trained companion, the French bulldog must be taken outside the confines of its safety zone and introduced to novel situations.
It is also important to teach the French bulldog to pay attention to the handler at all times. Having the attention of the dog means having control of the dog. Reward training is very effective at getting the respect and the attention of the French bulldog when used properly.