This may seem like a bizarre topic, but walking our Frenchie, Pepper, on a lead was actually one of the hardest things to get used to!
French Bulldogs are one of the more stubborn breeds, meaning it can be difficult to train them. Sure, Pepper is great at things like ‘sit’ and ‘wait’, but walking nicely on the lead took months of hard work.
If you’ve ever met her, you’ll know Pepper is rather… enthusiastic. She gets overexcited and wants to make friends with everything that moves, and that means she tends to pull on the lead and generally doesn’t want to walk in a straight line! However, that being said, these tips have really helped us improve over the past few months!
Tip 1 // Try a harness rather than a collar
You might see this tip quite often online. Most people will recommend that you walk short-nosed breeds (including French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs etc) on a harness, rather than a collar. This is apparently supposed to be better for their airways and making sure they don’t have breathing problems later in life.
We tried Pepper out on several different harnesses, but found that the cheaper, cross body ones you buy in pet stores rubbed under her arms (they probably wouldn’t if she didn’t pull so much, but there ya go!). We then invested in a Julius K9 harness* and have only used these since! They are perfect for muscular, ‘enthusiastic’ breeds.
Tip 2 // In Summer, stick to early mornings and evenings
Again, due to the short-nosed-ness and breathing difficulties bulldog breeds can get it’s incredibly important to avoid overheating. This is true for any dog, but Frenchies tend to be more prone.
It takes some planning, but make sure on hot days you’re not taking your French Bulldog out in the midday heat; enjoy an early morning of 7pm stroll instead.
Tip 3 // Practice walking nicely with treats
I took Pepper to a couple of rounds of obedience training where we worked on ‘loose-leash walking’. This involves using a good quality treat as a lure by your side to keep your pup close by, while using the command ‘Heel’. We use these treats* by Pooch & Mutt because Pepper goes crazy for them (and they’re good for her!).
Here’s a great explainer video on how to do this!
Tip 4 // Don’t use a retractable lead
Retractable leads aren’t good for when you need to have control over your dog. In fact, in my opinion they’re not a good idea in general as they’re actually quite dangerous for humans and dogs! Keeping your Frenchie as close as possible to your heel is the ultimate goal when training them to walk on the lead, so you shouldn’t need a lead that can stretch for 5, 10 or 20 metres. A good sturdy rope lead is a good idea, especially for strong, pulling French Bulldogs!
Tip 5 // Pre-empt their excitement
If you see another person or dog coming your way, and you know that your Frenchie is going to react wildly with excitement to greet them, try to pre-empt this and distract them with a treat to get their focus before they start getting wound up. This requires you to have your eye on the ball at all times to make sure you spot things first before your pup does!
Share your French Bulldog (or puppy!) walking tips below:
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