French bulldogs, or Frenchies as they are popularly known, are among the most favorite pet dogs in America. They were rated the second most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club. It is obvious why they easily win the hearts of many dog lovers around the country. They are small, friendly, and cute. They also don’t bark much, are easy to groom, and adaptable. However, Frenchies have a brachycephalic nose and have strong personalities. Thus, they require unique engagement activities.
If you are struggling to identify activities to engage the mind and muscles of a French Bulldog, we can help you. Here are four – easy to do – mental and physical engagement tips to keep your Frenchie happy.
Play hide and seek
Hide and seek is an all-time favorite game for all dog parents (and their dogs). Apart from having lots of fun, your Frenchie trains his brain when you play. He can learn the stay instruction and the most crucial dog command – come.
How do you do it? Begin with baby steps. Teach the pup to sit at a particular position by saying a firm “stay.” Then, instruct him to “come” or “come and find” when you are just a few feet away. Repeat this until the pup gets the idea. Do not forget to get excited and reward him every time he makes the right move.
After a few rounds of the activity, increase the distance and level of difficulty. You could start by hiding within the house. When he has mastered all the hiding spots in the house, go outside or involve another person. Your Frenchie will have tons of fun, learn new instructions and get a good workout.
Play treasure hunt
Treasure hunt is yet another golden oldie that will challenge your Frenchie’s intellectual ability while having loads of fun. You can do it inside the home or outside. It depends on how well he can take instructions. So, start by checking how well he can follow simple commands like “go find” or “find”. If he needs some training, here are quick steps to help you do it at home.
- Pick something in the house, like a toy, and let him sniff it.
- Restrain the dog as you put the toy away (hide it) in plain sight.
- Instruct the dog to “go find it!”
- Reward and praise the dog only when he spots the correct item.
- Repeat the above steps but make it harder for the dog to find the treasure.
Once the pup grasps what you expect, use other accessories or simple materials available at home like paper cups, boxes, or grocery bags to hide treats all over the house. Let him sniff the treat. Then give your pup the instruction to go and find. As he masters the game, you can increase complexity by hiding multiple items or going outdoors.
Go for regular dates at the dog park
Frenchies are muscular but petite and come in a variety of colors. According to AKC there are 11 approved codes for French Bulldog colors, from classic fawn and Brindle, to rarer blue French bulldogs and even lilac.
French bulldogs grow to about 12 inches tall and weigh 16-28 pounds. They have a brachycephalic nose, and they do not like hot environments. These factors may cause you to think twice about taking him out to the dog park, especially during summer.
But Frenchies also love to play, are kid-friendly, and are friendly to other animals. A dog park is a perfect place for your Frenchie to play and learn how to behave around other animals and pets. Plus, many dog parks have walk paths and obstacle courses to build his muscles and brain. So taking him to the dog park is a big plus for his physical and mental engagement.
However, concerns about hanging out with your cute little Frenchie at the park could be overwhelming. If that is the case, consider going early in the morning – before it gets too hot and many people and dogs arrive.
Take multiple walks around the neighborhood
If you are still not settled about visiting the dog park, consider taking your Frenchie for a walk around the neighborhood. But that is if you have the right accessories and can access a safe walk path.
Your Frenchie may not require lots of exercises and will still thrive even if he spends plenty of time indoors. But a walk outside is excellent exercise and will elate him. Plus, it is an opportunity to flex his brain muscles too. As you stroll down the block, he explores different scents and sights. You can make the strolls even more mentally stimulating by frequently changing the route.
But keep in mind that due to the brachycephalic nose, you should avoid exerting your Frenchie. French Bulldogs also find it hard to breathe in hot and humid environments. So keep the stroll short if you live in such a location. You can start with a single short stroll around the neighborhood once a day. But as he learns the area and becomes more comfortable with the exercise, do multiple short walks per day.
French Bulldogs are excellent companions, especially for folks in cities. They do not bark much, are cute, and do not require lots of grooming. It is no wonder they are among the most popular breeds in the US. But Frenchies, like all other dogs, thrive when you stimulate their muscles and brains. The above mental and physical engagement activities will keep your Frenchie healthy, happy, and intelligent. Plus, you will have tons of fun and tighten your bond.