Updated: Mar 16, 2021
Chewed shoes, nibbled baseboards, and gnawed furniture are all common nuisances during your Frenchie’s early months. After all, teething puppies need to chew to help relieve the discomfort of erupting teeth. But they grow out of that, right? Nope! Adult French Bulldogs love to chew, and if they don’t learn appropriate chewing behavior, you can expect many more years of household destruction. If you’ve ever wondered why your Frenchie is chewing everything they can get into their mouth, read on to learn why they do it and how to stop it.
Learning How Fun Chewing Can Be
When your French Bulldog was a puppy, they likely tried chewing all kinds of things. And every time they chewed, they got relief from teething pain. That rewarded them for their destruction. It also taught them that those items were fun to chew. Just because your pup’s teething ended doesn’t mean those lessons were forgotten.
Now that your French Bulldog is fully grown, they still remember the enjoyment provided by all those inappropriate items. So expect them to keep experimenting with their teeth. However, the better job you did preventing inappropriate chewing when your dog was a puppy, the easier time you will have when they are an adult. After all, if they never learn that shoes make good chew toys, they may never try gnawing on one. But if your puppy got away with a chewing free-for-all, your work is cut out for you.
Chewing is Natural for French Bulldogs
Chewing is a natural canine behavior. Think about your French Bulldog’s wolf ancestors tearing apart a prey animal. Those sharp teeth are there for a reason. Chewing also helps Frenchies clean their teeth and exercise their jaws. And most importantly, it’s fun. Chewing is a great way for them to pass time and amuse themselves. It’s unrealistic to expect your Frenchie to never express this instinctive behavior.
But why do Frenchies chew such odd things like stinky shoes or the remote control? The key is thinking like a Frenchie. Those shoes may smell bad to you, but to your Frenchie they are rich in olfactory information and, critically, they smell like you. The same is true for the remote control and other objects you wear or interact with frequently. Taste isn’t a factor, smell rules in a Frenchie’s world.
But what about wooden table legs or baseboards? It may simply be your Frenchie using the only objects available. A stressed or bored Frenchie needs an outlet and the baseboards are right there at mouth level. Texture may play a role too. Plastic and wood are firm yet likely have enough give for a satisfying chomp. However, destructive chewing, such as around window or door frames, can be a sign of separation anxiety.
Providing Chew Toys for Your French Bulldog
The first step in dealing with inappropriate chewing is to provide appropriate alternatives. However, throwing a bunch of chew toys on the ground and hoping for the best is not likely to help. Remember to think like a Frenchie. The chew toy is an unknown object, but that shoe is a proven delight. You need to encourage your Frenchie to select the toys by making them as appealing as possible. To prevent boredom, you can also rotate the toys so there are new options every few days.
Food dispensing chew toys are perfect. They are made of a durable rubber so they’re long-lasting with just enough give. But better than that, you can stuff them with food like peanut butter or cream cheese. To add extra oomph, layer the soft food with harder pieces like liver treats or homemade biscuits so your dog gets extra special surprises as they chew and explore the toy. You can also freeze the toy after stuffing it to make the treats last longer.
Edible chews are another excellent choice. They obviously won’t last as long as a quality toy, but they are incredibly exciting to Frenchies. They also help clean their teeth and gums. Look for options that are safe for your dog’s chewing style. For example, rawhide may not be the best selection for vigorous chewers who are able to break off large chunks which can cause intestinal obstructions or pose a choking hazard. We recommend Healthy Treatz.
Teaching Your French Bulldog Appropriate Chewing Behavior
So, you’ve provided enticing chew toys, but your Frenchie is still chewing household items. To ensure your Frenchie picks correctly, control their choices. Put away what you can to limit temptation. For example, put shoes in the closet and remote controls in a drawer. For other objects, block access or make them less appealing. Bitter tasting sprays may help deter your Frenchie. Apply the spray on baseboards, furniture, or other unmoveable items every day for at least three or four weeks. That should be long enough to break the habit, especially if you’re using that time to establish new habits.
The key is to instill a chew toy addiction in your Frenchie. If you offer wonderful chews and prevent inappropriate chewing, in no time your Frenchie will learn what they can and cannot chew. Add some positive reinforcement to the mix and you will really convince your Frenchie that the appropriate chews are the best option. When they choose the right item, be sure to praise and reward them to increase the chance they will make that same choice in the future.
While you’re teaching proper chewing behavior, always supervise your Frenchie. Anytime you see them about to chew something they shouldn’t, redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy or edible chew. When you can’t supervise, consider using a crate or safe area to protect your house. Always provide appropriate chews in the crate to help your Frenchie pass the time. Once your Frenchie understands what they can and cannot chew, then they are ready for freedom.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of adequate mental stimulation and physical exercise. Boredom in dogs is a big contributor to inappropriate chewing. If you don’t give your Frenchie enough to do, they will look for their own fun, and that often involves their teeth. But if your Frenchie gets enough playtime, training, and exercise, their chew toys will be more than enough to keep them busy.