Many French Bulldog owners will tell you that this comical little dog can become highly affectionate with the right love and attention. They have great ways of expressing that developing love and trust in you through their expressive faces and their behaviour.
Po has always been by my side since the day she came home. I used the ‘learn to earn’ training method with her so she was literally tethered to me during our waking hours so that I could continuously reinforce the behaviours I desired. As a result she knows my habits and moods and I know hers. I have a bond with her that I have never had with any of my other dogs.
So, what signs of French Bulldog true love should you look out for in your own pet?
How can you tell if your French Bulldog is in love with you?
Frenchies can become besotted with their owners pretty quickly and there are some key signs that you can look out for in their actions and behaviour. You may find that your dog becomes a lot more affectionate with cuddles and kisses. They may also begin to follow you around more, spend increasing amounts of time at your side, and even mimic your behaviour.
However, it is important to tell the difference between positive behaviour traits and signs of affections and those that show they are being overly possessive or anxious. The last thing that you want is your pet getting jealous of other people or suffering from separation anxiety.
5 special signs that your dog is in love with you.
1) Your Frenchie gets excited and gives you lots of kisses when you get home.
There are always going to be divided opinions about receiving kisses from dogs. But, there is no doubt that Frenchies love to lick their owner’s faces whenever they can. Licking is a common sign of affection for all dogs.
Why do they do it? Well, licking is an easy form of communication with other members of the pack, either to strengthen bonds or reinforce a position in the hierarchy. That is exactly what your dog is doing when they lick you on your arrival, whether that’s coming home from work, or just re-emrging from the bathroom! It is all about re-establishing that bond and showing they are glad you returned safe – especially if you have food. The same goes for wagging tails or bums in the case of your Frenchie, who probably doesn’t have a tail. In fact, it can be a whole body wiggle and result in a full rollover on your feet if your dog is anything like Po!
2) Your Frenchie begins to mimic your behaviour a little bit.
This is an interesting trait that you might not have noticed yet. Dogs can form such close bonds with their owners that they start to act like them. A great example of this body language is contagious yawning. This is a phenomenon that you might experience with your friends and relatives where you yawn when you see them do so. While this always feels involuntary, especially if you aren’t tired, it might actually be a sign of empathy.
“It’s reasonable to assume that dogs who yawn when their owners do are more emotionally connected to them,” says Dr. Brian Hare, author of the book The Genius of Dogs and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center at Duke University.
Well, it seems that Frenchies have the same reflex, which could mean that they show empathy towards you when you are tired according to a University Study in Tokyo. Yawn in front of your Frenchie and see how they respond.
3) Your Frenchie brings you toys and wants to cuddle up with you in the evening.
There is little better than cuddling up with your dog after a long day, even if that leads to your little friend snorting and snoring in your lap while you’re trying to watch TV. Dogs that cuddle with their owners, or with other members of the family, are content and feel safe enough to fall asleep. This is because studies have shown that even only three minutes of cuddling between a dog and its owner increases oxytocin in you both. It is also a great way to be as physically close to you as possible while they can.
You may notice that your Frenchie is more inclined to cuddle with you than other family members – or vice versa. There is no reason to feel offended by this, but it might show where there are the strongest bonds in the household.
Frenchies that bring toys and blankets with them also show a willingness to share the things that bring them joy with those they love. On a related note, you will find that loving Frenchies are more likely to go that extra mile to locate balls in games of fetch. They feel that the ball is meaningful to you and want you to have it back.
4) Your Frenchie follows you everywhere in the home.
This is where we start to move into the territory of questionable or undesirable behaviour. There are times where Frenchies seem to stick to their owners like glue.
You might find that they follow you from room to room as you are doing tasks or trying to go to the loo, or they simply stop what they are doing to follow you if you move. It is cute for a while to have that undivided attention but there are risks of over-attachment and issues of separation anxiety when left alone. Make sure that you teach your Frenchie how to spend time alone.
This can be done in tiny increments so just going out the room for one minute then returning and gradually increasing the time. It can also be done if your dog really can’t bear to be parted from you by using a child’s stair gate to keep them in one room, whilst you are in the next room so they can still see you. Then you can progress to closing the door.
5) Your Frenchie doesn’t like other people getting too close.
Finally, we have the most concerning sign of all. A Frenchie may become so attached and devoted to their owner that they don’t like anyone else getting close. At first, this could be a bit of grumpy behaviour where they show their displeasure at being ousted from the sofa by your partner. But, this could become even worse with time as they get moodier or even a little aggressive towards other people. This can be particularly difficult if you have let your Frenchie sleep in your bed, and then get a new partner.
It is important to recognise this behaviour as soon as possible and train your dog out of it before it gets too bad. You all need to live and love in harmony as a happy family. Po likes to be included in all cuddles, so if you greet someone and hug them for a long time, you’ll get a paw on your leg to say ‘hug me too’. We make Po sit and wait and then she gets plenty of fuss and attention from the visitor.
The difference between love and obsession.
As you can see from some of these behavioural traits, there are times when a French Bulldog’s love for their owners can go a bit too far. It is great to encourage a lot of these signs of affections, such as the toys, close contact and kisses if you are happy to receive them. However, some Frenchies that get overly attached to their owners may struggle to find the boundaries and know when to back off. You could end up with a dog that is too possessive, which puts a strain on other relationships, or one that struggles with separation anxiety.
Is your French Bulldog as in love with you as you are with them?
French Bulldogs can be highly affectionate animals with a lot of love to give. However, it can take time for that love to blossom and manifest through these signs of affection in their body language. Dogs that like to cuddle are those that feel secure with you and can bring their walls down. Some rescue Frenchie may take a little longer to do this than puppies you’ve raised. So, if they aren’t exhibiting all these signs right now, give them time and work on bonding and building that trust.