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Simple Guide To Leash Walking a Stubborn French Bulldog

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Owning a French Bulldog can be a lot of fun, but leash walking them can sometimes be a challenge. If your Frenchie is stubborn and doesn’t like to walk on a leash, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

In this simple guide, we’ll show you exactly how to get your Frenchie walking nicely on a leash in no time.

There’s a method to the madness and after reading this post you’ll be fully equipped to get your frenchie walking calmly, confidently & cooperatively.

Simple Steps To Train a French Bulldog To Walk On a Leash

Many people skip some of the most important steps when it comes to leash training a french bulldog.

It’s not as simple as taking them out and hoping they do well on their leash.

There’s simple steps that you can follow to ensure your frenchie is always good on their leash no matter what.

Let’s jump into the 5 most important steps when it comes to leash training a french bulldog.

1) First & Foremost: Get The Right Gear

While frenchies are small, they’re strong little pups with a lot of energy. The first step in teaching your frenchie to walk on a leash is to get the right gear.

The first choice you have to make is whether or not you want to attach your leash to their collar or a harness.

Many people think harnesses are restrictive and uncomfortable, but that isn’t always the case.

Considering your french bulldog already has genetic difficulties when it comes to their breathing, a harness is highly recommended.

If your frenchie were to pull, it spreads out the pulling pressure across their chest as opposed to their throat.

Making sure they don’t injure their throat or interfere with their ability to breath.

If you decide to go the collar route, you definitely want to avoid any choke, slip, shock or prong collars.

They may be effective in the short term, but in the long term they’ve proven to be ineffective. 

Not to mention you don’t want to hurt your frenchie in order to get them to listen.

That only negatively affects your relationship with them.

Aside from poop bags and treats, the last thing you’ll obviously need is a leash.

Anything 6-10 inches in length is perfect.

You want to avoid retractable leashes in the beginning of their training as these leashes tend to encourage pulling on untrained pups.

2) Get Them Used To Their New Walking Gear

Now that you have all the right gear, it’s important that your french bulldog gets used to wearing it in your home.

Start by putting their collar or harness on them for a few minutes at a time.

Don’t attach the leash just yet, just let them wear it around and get used to the feeling.

After they’re comfortable with it, put the leash on them and have someone hold onto the other end.

Again, don’t try to walk them just yet.

Just let them get used to the feeling of having something around their neck or chest.

Once they’re comfortable with that, start slowly walking them around your house.

Make sure you have a lot of treats on hand as this is going to be a process that takes some time.

Your french bulldog will likely get frustrated and pull on the leash at first.

That’s to be expected, just keep rewarding them with treats when they walk nicely next to you.

If you’re consistent with this process, your frenchie will eventually learn that walking on a leash is a good thing.

3) Limit Distracts Outside While They’re Still Learning

Now that your french bulldog is getting used to their new walking gear, it’s time to start taking them outside.

But before you start taking them for walks around your neighborhood, make sure you limit their distractions on their first times outside when on leash.

It’s best to go to a park or somewhere where there aren’t any cars or people.

Just you and your frenchie. 

This will help them focus on their walking training and not get distracted by all the new sights and sounds.

If they start getting antsy or pull on the leash, calmly stop walking and wait for them to calm down before continuing.

Remember to keep rewarding them with treats when they walk nicely next to you.

*Important* Don’t continue if they start to lose interest/get stubborn

If your frenchie starts refusing to walk or is pulling all over the place and is clearly uninterested in training at the moment, don’t force it.

It’s important that you stay consistent, but don’t continue if it’s clear they’re not in the mood.

The last thing you want to do is make training seem like a chore and turn them off from walking altogether.

Take a break and come back to it later when they might be more cooperative.

4) Have High Value Treats In Your Hand At All Times

This is a key component to successfully leash training your french bulldog.

You want to have high value treats in your hand at all times.

What are high value treats?

Treats that your frenchie really loves and will do anything for.

Some good examples include: chicken, hot dogs, cheese, and ham.

Make sure you have them in your hand so your frenchie can smell them and continue to give them the treats as they nicely walk by your side.

This is the beginning of creating a positive association to walking beside you.

5) Only Add Distractions As They Improve (Walk Before You Run)

Now that your french bulldog is used to their walking gear and walking beside you outside with limited distractions, it’s time to start adding new challenges.

Start by taking them for walks in more populated areas.

There will be more things to distract them but as they continue to walk nicely next to you, reward them with treats.

If they start getting antsy or pull on the leash, calmly stop walking and wait for them to calm down before continuing.

Remember to keep rewarding them with treats when they walk nicely next to you.

The more consistent you are the better.

If you notice they’re having trouble walking nicely with other distractions, go back a step and take them back to where they last had success walking by your side.

Sometimes taking a step backward is necessary.

Don’t be discouraged by this.

As long as you continue to gradually increase the amount of distractions presented to them while on a walk they’ll learn how to behave.

What To Do If Your French Bulldog Is Being Stubborn & Refuses To Walk

1) Don’t Pick Them Up

One of the worst things you can do when your french bulldog is being stubborn and refusing to walk is picking them up.

This will only reinforce that bad behavior and they’ll continue to refuse to walk in the future.

In their mind, because they associate being picked up by you as a good thing, the lesson they’re learning is that refusing to walk gets them what they want.

Which is to be held by you.

If they refuse, simply be patient and wait out their stubbornness.

You can also try playing with them and getting them excited.

As long as you don’t give in (and they aren’t overly tired or injured) they’ll start walking eventually.

2) Be Sure Their Walking Gear Isn’t Uncomfortable

If your french bulldog is refusing to walk it might be because their walking gear (collar, harness, etc) is uncomfortable.

It’s important that you take the time to properly measure them and find the right gear for them.

Otherwise they’ll associate walking with being uncomfortable and will continue to refuse in the future. 

Adjust the gear as needed until it’s comfortable for them.

Whether it’s a collar or harness, you want to be able to fit 2-3 fingers between their body and their collar/harness.

Any tighter is a little (or a lot) too restrictive and any looser is too much where it could come off too easily.

You also want to make sure it’s not rubbing anywhere and causing a rash or pain in general.

The more comfortable their gear is, the higher likelihood they’ll be to walk.

3) Drive Somewhere Away From Home

Sometimes french bulldogs will refuse to leave the house and even start their walk.

This could be because they’re afraid of going outside or they simply don’t want to leave the comfort of their home.

If this is the case, the best thing to do would be to take them somewhere away from your home.

This can be a few streets over where they can’t see your home.

Or a couple blocks away where they can still see your house and it’s now motivation for them to walk toward it.

As opposed to walking away from it.

4) Walk During Less Intimidating Times

If your french bulldog refuses to walk during the day, it might be because they’re intimidated by all the people and things going on.

In this case, try walking them at night or in the early morning when there’s less people or cars around. 

This will help them become more comfortable with the sights and sounds around them.

In the beginning it’s important to be consistent with your walks, no matter what time of day it is.

Eventually, they’ll get over their fear and be able to walk during any time of day.

Other posts you might find interesting:

12 Best Beds For French Bulldogs: Beds That Last

Ultimate French Bulldog Walking Guide: 26 Things To Know

First 16 Weeks With a French Bulldog: Week By Week Guide

8 Week Old French Bulldogs: Ultimate Care Guide