Almost every dog parent has left their French bulldog home alone and has come back to a mess at some point of time. Sometimes, it’s because our bulldog often gets bored. Sometimes, it’s because we left them out to see if they would be good. And sometimes, we just forget to put them in their crate before leaving. While a mess can be a sign of separation anxiety, it is important to know the difference between your Frenchie being bored and having separation anxiety when you are gone.
Signs of separation anxiety
Your dog likely has separation anxiety if any of these signs are exhibited:
- Peeing or pooping while you are gone for short periods of time, especially if the dog is in an enclosed space.
- Excessive barking
- Excessive panting/drooling when it isn’t hot.
- Escaping or trying to escape
- Destroying stuff like chewing up doorways or the bottom of doors/walls, blinds, or window coverings, or other things.
Now that you know what separation anxiety looks like, what can you do about it?
Preventing separation anxiety
There may be few possible causes of your Frenchies separation anxiety like recently moving to a new home or a change in works schedule, or any other significant lifestyle change. Situations like this can make any dog feel uneasy and nervous and they do not know how to handle the change appropriately.
French bulldogs display anxiety when they know what’s coming like when they see their owner is getting ready to leave. This can stem from over affection and attachment to the owner when the owner is home. Therefore, when the owner leaves, it is a big withdrawal that the dog does not cope with very well.
When you get a dog, it can be very tempting to spend every minute with him. But this could make it very difficult on his part when you do have to go outside. In such a case, getting back to normal routine as soon as possible is going to help.
Treating French bulldogs separation anxiety
- It is critical that we first make sure that the dog is in good overall health. It would be unfair and ineffective if we tried addressing the separation anxiety when there is an underlying medical cause. It is important to have your vet do a thorough medical checkup.
- A big component of separation anxiety in Frenchies is the withdrawal from the physical, verbal, and spatial attention that you provide them when you are home. It is normal, and a big part of dog ownership to want to be with their dogs in order to show them attention but over-indulgence can have negative repercussions.
- Instead of having your French bulldog sit right next to you on the couch, have them sit on the floor next to the sofa. Pet your Frenchie less frequently which will make petting more of a reward and reduce the over-indulgence that they will miss when you are gone. Give you and your dog some “alone time” when you are home.
- Leave your dog with a toy they love but they don’t usually have. Make sure that this is an item your dog only gets when you are about to leave.
- Frenchies are very good at noticing routines and predicting when you are getting ready to leave. You should make the act of your getting ready like picking up car keys, putting on shoes, getting dressed in work clothes, etc. to become neutral, and for the dog to no longer associate these actions with you leaving.
- Desensitizing your French bulldogs can be a very slow and gradual process. You can try shaking your keys, putting on your shoes, but never actually leaving the home. Once your dog is used to that, the next step is for you to leave for very short intervals and build up the duration of time you are gone for. This will help it to realize that when you leave, it is not always for long periods of time, it may be just for a moment.
- Unfortunately, medication is usually the last option suggested by many veterinarians and trainers in order to deal with separation anxiety. It is often thought of as the last resort once all other viable options have been exhausted. Prozac is often recommended by vets but it is always better to go to the doctor that has been doing your Frenchie’s checkup before administering the meds yourself.
It is always preferred to try and improve upon your French bulldogs separation anxiety in every physical way possible, and only look at pharmaceutical options when all else has failed.