Depending on the energy level of your French bulldog, it may be difficult to believe that some of their ancestors were the famous ratters of Paris. While some Frenchies are bundles of energy, many exhibit a more balanced temperament. Whatever their typical energy level, you can dial it up a notch by playing Frenchie games designed to appeal to the hunter in them. Wearing them out can help with problem behaviors like inappropriate chewing, so there are plenty of reasons to try these out.
Frenchies, like most of the bulldog breeds, love to play tug-o-war. They might be hanging on to one end of an old rope toy, but in their hearts, they’re holding prey. Contrary to popular belief, playing tug-o-war with your Frenchie won’t give him or her an attitude problem. Be sure to make it clear on when you’re playing and when you’re not. Also, make sure that your Frenchie has a good understanding of the command, “Drop it.”
2. “What’s This?”
Dogs have amazing senses of smell, but their eyesight isn’t so good. This game is a bit of a bonding exercise between the two of you. Get a dark color, small treat and sit on a darker surface. When your Frenchie isn’t watching, drop a treat on the floor. Gasp, bend and point, and ask “What’s this?” (or a similar phrase) in a happy tone. When your Frenchie rushes to see, they’re rewarded! Play a few times a day and watch them comb the area for more treats. When you “find” what they can’t, your Frenchie gets even more impressed with your hunting prowess!
3. Treat Stuffed Toys
Some Frenchies love to fetch, some don’t, but they all like treats. Get a puzzle ball for long feeding during the day, or load it with amazing treats for an intense game. As your Frenchie solves puzzles, rolling the ball over, shaking it, or chewing it to collect the treats, you’ll see their hunter’s mind come to the foreground. Their ratter instincts kick in. The first rule to rat catching is you have to outsmart the rat.
4. The Laser Pointer
Cats aren’t the only ones who chase a laser pointer. The little red dot is perfect for Frenchies as well. It’s small, it’s fast, and they’re determined to catch it. Since they never can, periodically reward your dog with petting or treats for doing a good job chasing the dot. Over time, they’ll come to recognize the red dot as their sworn enemy, and will use all their skills to chase it down.
Frenchie games revolve around engaging both mind and body. Whether they’re testing their limits, holding prey with tug-of-war, or figuring out how to get a puzzle-ball to drop their kibble, their hunting instincts are coming out. Keep them hunting to keep them happy and healthy.