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French Bulldog Aggression: Why It Happens & How To Stop It

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While aggression in french bulldogs isn’t common, it’s still possible and some people really have their hands full with an aggressive frenchie.

Having an aggressive french bulldog can rule your life and make being around them or taking them places far more stressful than you’d like.

So how do you stop a french bulldog from being aggressive?

The only way to stop a french bulldog from being aggressive is to know the reason for them to be acting out. Once you know what’s triggering them to behave aggressively you can work on desensitizing them to their trigger.

In this post you’ll discover everything you need to know about french bulldog aggression, from why it happens to how to solve it.

Let’s jump right in.

The 3 Core Causes Of French Bulldog Aggression

There are only 3 main reasons why your french bulldog has become aggressive. They’ve gone through a traumatic experience, were too isolated when they were young or careless breeding.

Let’s discuss these reasons a little further.

1) Traumatic Experiences When Young

The most common reason for aggression in french bulldogs is trauma when they were young.

This could be abuse from another dog or person, severe neglect, abandonment or they got seriously scared by something when young.

Whatever it may be, something happened to them that has left them feeling scared or anxious and now they lash out because they feel like they need to protect themselves.

This is the most common cause of aggression in french bulldogs and unfortunately, it can be the hardest to fix.

If your french bulldog was abused or neglected, they may never completely trust people again and you’ll need to be extra careful with them around other people and animals.

2) Not Enough Socialization

The second most common reason for aggression is not enough socialization when they were young.

This is usually because the breeder or owner kept them isolated from other people and animals and as a result, they never learned how to interact properly with others.

Which now means they view unfamiliar people, dogs or animals in general as potential threats as opposed to potential friends.

Whether it’s a threat to their relationship with you or a threat to their loved ones safety.

3) Reckless Breeding

The third and final reason your french bulldog may be aggressive is due to reckless breeding.

Some breeders will intentionally or unknowingly breed two dogs with aggression issues in the hopes of getting a “tough” dog.

Or they’ll just breed two dogs without taking into account their temperaments which can also lead to aggression problems.

The 8 Different Types Of French Bulldog Aggression

Territorial/Protective Aggression

Territorial or protective aggression is when they become aggressive towards people or animals that come near their home, you or their favorite toys/food.

This is the most common form of aggression because it’s instinctual for dogs to protect what they see as theirs.

Especially when they didn’t learn to share or feel as though they’re the leader of their pack.

Possessive Aggression

Possessive aggression is similar to territorial/protective aggression but specifically towards things they feel are theirs.

Such as food, toys, certain areas in your home or anything else they have a strong attachment to.

This is usually due to a combination of things such as feeling threatened, not being taught to share or feeling like they need to protect what’s theirs.

Fear/Defensive Aggression

Fear or defensive aggression is when they become aggressive out of fear.

This could be because they’re afraid of people, dogs, animals, loud noises or anything else that scares them.

It’s important to note that this type of aggression can quickly escalate into biting if not dealt with properly.

Fear triggers a flight or fight response and if they feel running isn’t an option it leads to fighting (aggressive behaviors).

Frustration Aggression

Frustration aggression usually happens when they’re trying to get something (like a toy or food) and can’t, or when they want to go somewhere (outside) and can’t.

It can also happen when you ignore them or if someone is taking too long to pet them.

Redirected Aggression

Redirected aggression happens when they’re feeling frustrated, threatened or scared and they take it out on someone or something else that’s nearby.

For example, if your french bulldog is growling at another dog but you try to stop them, they may redirect their aggression towards you.

This is one of the more dangerous forms of aggression because it can happen quickly and without warning.

Sexual Aggression

Sexual aggression is when they become aggressive towards people or animals during mating season (usually springtime).

This is usually due to hormones and can be controlled with spaying/neutering.

However, if your french bulldog was already spayed/neutered and is still exhibiting this behavior it’s best to consult with a professional.

Pain Aggression

If your french bulldog is in pain (that you’re aware of or not) it could cause them to behave aggressively.

This could be from an injury, illness or something else that’s causing them discomfort.

It’s important to note that this type of aggression can happen without warning and may seem unprovoked.

Social Aggression

Social aggression is when your french bulldog feels a social hierarchy has been discredited/disobeyed.

If they feel as though they’re a higher status than other family members or animals/people they’re around, they may behave aggressively if the other person/dog stepped out of turn.

For example if you have two dogs and the other starts eating first when your french bulldog feels they should eat first because they have higher status, it can result in aggression.

5 Tips To Help Stop Your French Bulldog From Being Aggressive

1) Get Reactivity Training Help

Aggression is often very difficult for owners to solve on their own.

It takes a skilled eye to figure out what’s really the root behind your french bulldogs aggression.

Which is why getting help from a professional dog trainer is generally a good idea when a dog starts behaving aggressively.

Whether it’s online or in-person, getting advice from a professional to help with your frenchies aggression is never a bad idea.

Related reading: reactivity

2) Gradual Desensitization & Counterconditioning

This process is often used to help dogs with fear/defensive aggression but can work for other situations as well.

It involves slowly exposing your french bulldog to the things that are triggering them (people, other animals, loud noises, etc.) in a controlled and safe environment.

While doing this you’ll want to pair the exposure with something positive like high value treats or their favorite toy.

This helps change their association with the trigger from being negative to positive.

It’s important to take things slowly and not push your french bulldog too far too fast, as this could make their aggression worse.

3) Give More Socializing Opportunities

If your french bulldog is displaying aggression due to social reasons, one of the best things you can do is give them more opportunities to socialize.

This means things like enrolling them in obedience training classes, taking them on walks in busy areas or having play dates with well behaved, friendly dogs.

The goal is to help them become more comfortable and confident around other people and animals.

Again, you’ll want to take things slowly at first and only do what your french bulldog is comfortable with.

Forcing them into situations they’re not ready for can make their aggression worse.

4) More Training In General

When a french bulldog hasn’t received much training up until now in their life, they may not be sure who’s the leader of your pack.

Which means they’ll take matters into their own hands when they feel threatened as opposed to trusting your judgement of the situation.

Training helps establish yourself as the leader of the pack/family and lets your french bulldog know they’re to look to you for what to do.

As opposed to reacting and being aggressive to any situation they’re unfamiliar with.

5) Have a Vet Look At Them

Sometimes aggression can be caused by an underlying health condition.

If your french bulldog has never been aggressive before and suddenly starts acting out, it’s always a good idea to have them checked out by a vet.

This is especially true if their aggression seems to be unprovoked or comes out of nowhere.

Bonus: Keep Them Away From Situations Where They’re Aggressive

If the times or places your french bulldog is aggressive aren’t common, you can simply choose not to go there anymore with your frenchie.

This can be rather inconvenient if it’s happening in many different situations.

But, if it only happens in a couple situations, you might be able to get away with simply stopping bringing them around these situations.

It’s always best to train aggression out of your frenchie, but this can be a quick fix until they’ve learned how to behave nicely.


Why Is My French Bulldog So Aggressive To Other Dogs?

There could be a number of reasons. It could be that they’re not well socialized and are therefore scared of other dogs.

It could also be that they’re territorial and think the other dog is going to take their food or toys away.

Or it could be that they simply haven’t been trained properly on how to behave around other dogs.

Why Is My French Bulldog Aggressive Toward Me (And Their Other Owners)?

There could be an underlying health condition causing this behavior.

If your french bulldog has never been aggressive before and suddenly starts acting out, it’s always a good idea to have them checked out by a vet.

It’s also possible that they’re not getting enough exercise or attention and are therefore acting out in aggression.

Why Is My French Bulldog Suddenly Aggressive?

If your french bulldog has never been aggressive before and suddenly starts acting out, it’s always a good idea to have them checked out by a vet.

It’s possible that there’s an underlying health condition causing this behavior.

If they’re moving from puppyhood to their teenage stage it could be because they weren’t socialized enough as a puppy.

How Do I Stop My French Bulldogs Biting Aggression?

The first step is to have them checked out by a vet to rule out any underlying health conditions.

If there are none, then you’ll want to start socializing them more and giving them more training in general.

Or you may also have to do some desensitization & counterconditioning if they’re acting out because they’re afraid.

How Do I Stop My French Bulldog’s Possessive Aggression?

Possessive aggression usually occurs when a french bulldog is afraid they’re going to lose something they have, like their food or toys.

The best way to stop it is by using positive reinforcement training to show them that good things happen when other people are around their things.

You’ll also want to make sure they’re getting enough exercise so they don’t have as much pent up energy to be possessively aggressive.

Other posts you might find interesting:

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Complete Isabella French Bulldog Guide (Quick Answers!)

French Bulldog Snoring: Why It Happens & How To Stop It

9 Reasons Why French Bulldogs Are Always Hungry + 4 Tips