The French bulldog is the UK’s most popular dog breed by a long chalk, and every year thousands of new first-time owners buy or adopt a Frenchie puppy and make the commitment to care for them and take care of all of their needs.
One of the most important parts of French bulldog training is toilet training, and this can also be one of the hardest to master. Some dog breeds tend to take to this faster than others, and many French bulldog owners will tell you that this breed is one of the ones that can take longer than most to get to grips with house training.
However, if your French bulldog is house trained and yet you find them toileting in the house sometimes, you’re likely a confused as you are annoyed. So, why is my French bulldog toileting in the house? Read on to find out.
First up, the main reason why a French bulldog (or any other dog) would be doing their business in the house is because you’re simply expecting them to hold their bowels or bladder for too long at a time.
This is particularly true for puppies and younger dogs, but can be true for any dog of any age.
Ideally, dogs should be taken out or offered the chance to toilet every two hours, but four hours is the absolute limit of how long a dog should be left. This four-hour limit also applies only to adult dogs that have been gradually conditioned to be able to wait that long between toilet trips and may not be realistic for all dogs of the breed either.
Your dog might be asking to go out to the toilet but you’re missing it – such as if they’re scratching at the back door but you’re in another room and don’t realise it.
Additionally, if you aren’t consistent – you only let your dog out some of the time when they ask, but ignore it (or miss it accidentally) at others, your dog might not ask to go out at all.
Train your dog to come to you and give a clear cue when they need to go out, and learn to recognise their subtle behaviours (such as restlessness) that might serve as a cue they need to go out.
For a dog to hold their bowel or bladder and also ask to go out when they need to, they have to understand that this is what you want from them. Just because your French bulldog has successfully done this a couple of times does not mean they fully understand, or that the desirability of this behaviour has been sufficiently reinforced as to turn it into a habit.
The first few times your dog successfully executes their toilet training, make a big fuss and reward them – but do not leave it there. For them to fully understand and their house training to hold good, you need to reward and confirm the behaviour every single time, until they’re adults and very used to it all.
If your dog pees in the house and there’s no underlying medical cause for this and they don’t actually need to toilet, they could be scent marking or more simply, marking their territory. This is a behaviour we associate with unneutered male dogs mainly, but not exclusively; and female dogs too may do this, as well as neutered males.
If you own several dogs or often have other dogs coming and going, or your dog doesn’t really feel secure or feels that their territory is threatened or impinged upon by other dogs, they might pee to mark it out.
This is particularly likely to be the case if you have a French bulldog stud dog.
A dog that feels insecure, stressed, or jealous (such as of another dog or person) is more likely to act out and develop behavioural problems of all types, and toileting in the house is one of the most common of these as this universally garners a reaction from their owner – albeit a negative one.
French bulldogs are very soulful and loving dogs that form strong bonds with their owners, but it is important to get them used to accepting other company and also spending time alone, to avoid problems like jealousy and also separation anxiety from developing.
Dogs need a set routine to their lives to feel secure and ensure that all of their needs are met, which includes being fed, walked, and taken to the toilet at regular and predictable times each day.
It is also important that this general routine synchronises well – for instance, a dog that is fed at the same time each day is apt to need the toilet at the same time each day too, but how long this is after their meal can be variable!
Identify when in relation to meals your dog needs to do their business, and ensure that their walks or chances to go out match up with this appropriately.