Dogs are a fickle bunch. From a dog owner’s perspective, it is hard to put a finger on why they do certain things. Why is my French Bulldog so hyper? Do not go breaking your head over such a complex answer.
I will provide you with enough information to never ask that question again. Believe me when I say that Frenchies are designer dogs with a soft spot for unwanted behavior. I am not bashing the breed. It is simply saying the truth.
Let the fact not discourage you from trying to prevent this behavior with a few easy tips that work wonders for most dog breeds, but particularly for French Bulldogs. First, let us put the reasons on the table for everyone to see.
Hyper French Bulldog Equals Lack Of Something
No matter what you say, a Frenchie that acts like Taz the Tasmanian beast most of the time has a lack of something for sure. You might not be noticing it, and you would not be the first owner to miss things right under your nose.
As a behaviorist and dog trainer, I mostly see people with large and giant breeds that exhibit unwanted behavior on a daily basis. However surprising it may come, designer dogs like Chihuahuas, Frenchies, and some toy breeds are a close second.
Take solace in the fact that other Frenchie owners have their dogs behave in a number of weird and seemingly irrational ways. A hyper dog is generally a problem you would prefer to some other behavioral issues.
Having a part of the English Bulldog’s genetic code in them, Frenchies can be stubborn and unruly. Size is relatively unimportant in the interaction of dogs with people, so an owner might consider their French Bulldog a cute little baby despite it being a menace.
A hyperactive Frenchie is most likely full of pent-up energy that needs to be spent. Due to their weight of under twenty-eight pounds and a rather small height of eleven to thirteen inches, humans do not see them as fully-fledged dogs. This Frenchie growth chart might be useful.
This mistake is very common among dog owners, especially those who seek a French Bulldog only for companionship. It is all fun and games while you are enjoying a nap with your dog on the couch, but once playtime comes, all hell breaks loose.
Sometimes it seems as though there is nothing in this world that might give you a break from your Frenchie’s ceaseless reserves of energy. The fixes are easy, but require dedication and consistence. Before that, we have to explore the reasons why your French Bulldog is hyper.
Lack Of Physical Activity
This is pretty much the chief reason why any dog would be hyper. French Bulldogs are now considered a pure breed by the American Kennel Club and other authoritative dog associations in the US, but it was not so back in the mid-nineteenth century.
We easily forget about the ratter dogs that were bred to toy Bulldogs to produce what we know today as French Bulldogs. The Bouledogue Français has terrier blood in its body. Everybody and their dog knows that the terrier group of dogs is very energetic and work-driven.
Frenchies do not have the stamina pool of terrier dogs, but their need for exercise is equally intense. It goes in your favor, as a Frenchie owner, that a little physical activity goes a long way.
Dogs get bored when doing nothing, just like humans. The difference is that they are not fond of Netflix, Amazon Prime, reading books, etc. Playing some fetch, obedience training and other mental and physical activities make them feel good about themselves.
Walking slowly for a kilometer or two is often not enough for a Frenchie. Go to a park and play fetch. Sprinting and jumping stretches the dog’s muscles and reduces stress by getting them tired. A tired dog will love to snooze back at home.
The Mind Needs Exercise, Too
No dog is stupid or unintelligent. They simply have different levels of interest for brain acrobatics. Your average Frenchie will have quite a memory module and a decent problem-solving ability.
French Bulldogs are nowhere near Chaser the Dog’s level of smarts, but you would be shocked at how well they take to dog training. Even if a dog has plenty of physical activity, leaving the brain to idle for long periods of time can create serious behavioral problems.
For Frenchie owners who like spending every moment of their free time with their dog(s), obedience training, nose work, dog puzzles, etc., are a great way of bonding and releasing stress.
You will notice that at the beginning of these more complex activities, your Frenchie will quickly lose focus. Assuming you already trained your dog in basic obedience, using positive reinforcement that includes treats or favorite toys is going to be your go-to method.
Having trouble with potty training? Our guide on how to teach your Frenchie to potty has helped many owners get rid of that poopy stress, so have at it.
Some people just do not have the time to dedicate hours of their day to “entertaining” a dog, and there are tools for them, too. Frenchies are gluttons, so any puzzle feeder or way to make them earn the food will be great to keep their brain busy.
Interaction with other dogs and participating in dog events can help your Frenchie unleash its inner Will Hunting. Experiencing new scents, sounds, etc., can be big stimuli for the canine brain, so make sure you visit new places and explore different things.
Age Is A Factor In Frenchie Madness
You might have noticed that it is mostly younger dogs that are hyper. Senior dogs cannot be bothered to be hyper, but there are cases for sure. French Bulldog puppies can be a handful to deal with, but when properly taken care of, they should settle once they are fully mature.
Growing puppies have a lot of energy simply because they are learning new things each day. Testing their boundaries includes being as wild as possible, not to annoy you, but feel great once they reach the next level.
Often times you will see that a young dog will be full of excitement trying to get the older dog to play with it, but the senior will snap back to correct the behavior. Even though Frenchies are not even close to being the most energetic dog, at a young age they will be hyperactive.
Be mindful of correcting bad behavior and rewarding good one. French Bulldogs might be smaller than many other breeds, but early signs of aggression in Frenchies have to be fixed to avoid greater behavioral problems.
Smaller dogs are at a higher risk of developing separation anxiety. Due to their size, many small dog breeds become overwhelmed by the giant world around them. It comes down to a matter of proportion – the smaller the dog, the less self-confident it is.
Because of this feeling of constant fearfulness, Frenchies become extremely attached to their owner(s). The problem becomes even greater when owning a miniature French Bulldog that follows you anywhere you go.
Many people encourage this type of behavior by letting the dog become so confused about itself and the pecking order of its “pack” that it becomes hyperactive like it does not know what to do. Common signs of this behavior include sitting on you, laying on your lap, or following you to the bathroom.
With that being said, busy owners who spend most of their time away from their French Bulldog create a sense of anxiety when it is time to leave for work, or when returning home.
Your overly attached dog is like an addict – you are the drug, and they need you badly, even though they would be perfectly fine on their own. In their brain, it is completely logical to become hyperactive before you go, thinking you are making an active choice of leaving them.
Most owners make things worse on their return home. The high levels of excitement you fill your Frenchie with by baby talking, aggressive cuddling, letting it jump all over you, etc., make it even worse than before.
How To Fix Hyperactivity Caused By Separation Anxiety
This is probably one of the toughest challenges a French Bulldog owner can have. Separation anxiety is not easy to deal with. The best course of action would be consulting a dog behaviorist or dog trainer, but here are a few things to try on your own first.
Create a relaxed environment before leaving the house. Play with your Frenchie so that it becomes tired before you are off to work. This way there will be less energy to transform into anxiety.
Make sure that your dog’s crate is an oasis of peace and enjoyment. Crates are not only for sleeping. They are incredibly useful tools to keep your dog in a serene state of mind. Of course, you should never use the crate as a punishment.
What you want to achieve here is to teach your dog to associate you leaving the house with a calm state of mind. Greeting you on your return should be done in a respectful manner.
Excitement has its uses, but they are not supposed to be part of your departure and arrival “rituals”. A dog that is mentally and physically exhausted will not spend its last few drops of energy on getting all worked up about you leaving.
Physical exercise and mental stimulation are a deadly combo for separation anxiety, but do read about these 11 ways to help your Frenchie get rid of this dreaded state of mind.
While consistency in physical and mental training works exceptionally well, the proper diet is equally important. Small dog breeds can eat a lot, so obesity is a real problem. Even if your French Bulldog is not obese, excessive daily calorie intake can make them hyper.
Feeding table scraps to the dog is negative in terms of health and behavior. Removing any bad diet habits, such as giving treats too often, feeding them low quality food, or irregular eating schedules will provide that additional bit of structure to keep stress under control.
It is essential to use a French Bulldog feeding chart for growing puppies, but if you feel like going the extra mile, raw diets might not be a bad idea if executed properly.
A Calm Conclusion
Do not fear my dear Frenchie owner. Stop asking yourself that “Why is my French Bulldog so hyper?” question, and act promptly. It is never too early or late to start with dog training, regardless of breed.
French Bulldogs are amazing dogs that require a fair amount of attention and dedication from their owners, so remind yourself that companionship is a two-way street. Do not punish your dog for a behavior that you potentially caused. Instead, consult a professional first.
Finally, do not despair or give up. Achieving balance in life is difficult, but with a Frenchie by your side, the scales might even out.