Most people are not fond of dogs that bite people. Most dogs will chew on your hands, legs, arms, or clothing when they want to play or interact with you.
If someone gets bitten by an adult dog, they are more likely to suffer a severe injury than if a baby dog were to bite them.
Most people try a variety of things to prevent their dogs from biting other people. This can be pretty difficult to do if you are dealing with a dog that has reached its adult age.
Adult dogs can be harder to control and are often able to resist any attempt of suppression from their owners. Also, they are more prominent, and that can make it harder to manage them.
If you own an adult French bulldog that bites people too often, it is probably because it was not taught when it was younger.
If it has a different owner before it became an adult, that person didn't show them how to take that playful or aggressive energy and put it towards its toys. Purina suggests that dog biting is often just an innocent form of social play.
Is Your French Bulldog Playful or Aggressive?
Most of the time, dogs start mouthing because they are excited and want to play. This is normal behavior for most dogs.
Some dogs will bite people because they are afraid or frustrated about something. If you see that this type of biting is happening, it can be a sign that your french bulldog is aggressive.
It can be difficult for people to find the difference between aggressive mouthing and playful mouthing. Most dogs that participate in playful mouthing will keep both the body and face relaxed.
There may be tension in the mouth area, but everything else will be soft and calm. When a dog is playful, it usually won't bite that hard if it gets a hold of someone's hand or limb.
If a dog is aggressively mouthing, it will make its body stiff. The muzzle will look wrinkled, and it will continuously expose its teeth to whoever it's trying to intimidate. If it bites someone, it will do it quickly.
If you notice that your french bulldog's mouthing is more aggressive than playful most of the time, you should immediately consult a professional animal behaviorist or a veterinarian that is educated in animal behavior.
Make sure either professional is qualified or board-certified before you go to them for help.
If you cannot find one in your area, seek out a certified dog trainer. Again, make sure that you check for their credentials before they advise you.
Checking for credentials is essential because if an amateur tries to give you advice on how to deal with a dangerous animal, that can create a situation that is more dangerous for the environment than ever before.
Professional dog trainers don't have to be educated in animal aggression to get their certificates, so that is why it is essential to inquire about this before you talk to one.
How Can You Prevent Your French Bulldog From Mouthing?
Most dogs spend a lot of time playing and finding things to chew or investigate during the day. Sometimes, toys aren't enough, and they want to play with people and interact with them. Puppies often want to play more than older dogs.
Seeing your french bulldog chew and bite people seem cute at first. It can be tempting to let it play around and enjoy itself. But once it becomes an adult, this behavior won't be so cute to people that are continually getting attacked.
You must catch this behavior while your french bulldog is at a young age. There are many ways that you can do this without punishing or disciplining the dog.
Remember that discipline and punishment can either encourage the dog to play more or make it attack to defend itself from you.
Teach Your French Bulldog to Be Gentle
You should start by learning about bite inhibition. This term refers to the way that your dog controls the amount of pressure that it uses when it bites while playing.
Puppies that haven't learned this from their owners are not aware of the fact that human skin is sensitive and rips easily. This is why they get so rough and bite too hard while they play.
WikiHow suggests that you start at an early age and keep the dog close to its mother for as long as you can.
Some behaviorists and trainers may be able to help you teach your french bulldog when to use force and when it isn't appropriate.
This will help your dog learn the difference between someone trying to play and someone that is trying to attack it.
The Next Thing to Do: Prevent the Dog From Roughly Biting Human Skin
Once your french bulldog has learned to be gentle with its mouth during playtime, you can start with the next thing you need to teach it.
According to Mikkel Becker, you should see every playtime as a learning time for the dog. You need to teach your dog how to avoid biting at people for any reason completely. Take a look at these tips:
1- Give you french bulldog a chew toy or chewing bone if it attempts to bite at anyone's fingers or toes.
2- Most dogs try to mouth on a person's fingers or arms when they are being petted or stroked. If you notice that your french bulldog is becoming aggressive when you try to pet it, distract it by giving it food with your other hand. Doing this will eventually help your dog learn not to bite when it is touched.
3- Try to play with your french bulldog in a way that doesn't involve physical touching. You can try getting it to fetch something or seeing if it can pull something out of your grip. If you are playing a tug-of-war type of game, keep in mind that this triggers the aggressive behavior in a dog.
To keep that game safe, you will have to be more stern with your dog. Once you get it to play the game the safe way finally, start keeping treats or toys on you so that you can reward the dog. If it starts to try to bite you, immediately send it back to the tug-of-war game.
This will help your dog start to look for toys or bones to chew when it wants to get aggressive. If it is seeking out other ways to take out its aggression, it will look past biting a human hand or foot.
4- Try teaching your dog specific commands that help with impulse control. Such exercises or commands can include sit, stop, wait, leave it, and many others.
5- If your dog is trying to bite at your feet and ankles, stop moving as soon as it happens. When the dog notices and stops biting, reward it with a toy or treat.
6- Make sure to keep a variety of toys readily available for your dog. Dogs can get bored with things too, just like humans can.
If you can't afford to get a vast variety, try adding a new toy to the collection every month. Dr. Sohpia Yin recommends that you also keep dog treats ready and available to distract your french bulldog from any strangers that it might be afraid of.
7- Keep your french bulldog socialized. There's nothing worse than an isolated and antisocial pet. Always give it plenty of opportunities to socialize with other dogs so that it can play the way it wants to play.
8- Discipline the dog for biting too hard but don't punish it. Give the dog time-out session every time it tries to use its teeth against your skin.
The American Kennel Club recommends that if the dog is playing with you and you feel its teeth, pretend that you have been hurt. Walk into the next room and ignore the dog for about a minute.
If you don't want to do that, you can also keep the dog on a leash while you're around, so it is better to supervise it. When it bites you, take it to another room that is safe for dogs and attach the leash to a heavy item so that it says there.
Keep it there for a few minutes until you see that it understands that biting will lead to a time-out.
9- If neither of those options works, you can try spraying a substance on your skin that the dog doesn't like. This will make it let go of your hand and submit to the taste of the spray. Once it stops, you can reward it for stopping.
10- As a last resort, some pet owners take a peppermint flavored spray and spray it into their dog's mouth to get it to stop biting.
Some people don't feel comfortable doing this because it seems to be a bit aggressive. Only do this if you genuinely believe there is no other way to get your dog to stop biting.
11- If you really can't find any other way to get your dog to stop biting, you have no other choice than to call a professional for help.
Do not rely on friends or other dog-owners for advice because it may backfire on both you and your dog since it is not professional advice.
Keep These Things in Mind
If you want your french bulldog to play, make sure that you never put your hands or fingers in its face or mouth to get it to start playing with you.
This will only make your dog want to bite and be rough with you even more. It won't remember the difference between aggression and playfulness.
Restrict the dog from biting you and using its teeth but don't make it feel like it can't ever play with you at all. Playing with your french bulldog strengthens the bond and increases its trust.
Just make sure that you are teaching it to be gentle instead of making it feel like every form of play will get it in trouble.
When your dog starts to mouth at you, try not to react so quickly and suddenly. Flinching or jerking your body away will make the dog mistake it for playful gestures.
Keep your body calm and stiff so that the dog knows that you aren't going to react to anything it's doing.
The biggest priority is making sure that you aren't acting violently towards the dog when it bites you or mouths at you.
This can be a natural reflex for some people if the dog bites them very hard at random. You might have it under control, but maybe the other people in your household don't.
Make sure you let them know that acting violent to get the dog to stop will cause it to get scared and fearful of everyone in the home.
Make sure you let friends know as well as extended family. Until your french bulldog has learned how to play gently, try to keep it separate from other people in the house. This is most important when guests come over.
Remember to take caution if you are someone with little patience. Most people that have little patience cannot handle animals that are slow to learn specific commands and discipline techniques.
A dog is very similar to a human child in that it is only doing what nature intends for it to do. That means that it will take time for it to adapt to your ways and teachings.
You might get frustrated one day because it seems like nothing you do is working. Your french bulldog is still biting people, biting you, destroying furniture, and many other things that most dog-owners detest.
But taking your anger out on the animal can have permanent consequences. It only takes one act of violence or misdemeanor to break the bond and trust between you and your french bulldog.
Always get the help of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist before you even get close to the point where you start to lose hope in improving the behavior.
Also, make sure that you take a look at this YouTube video to learn more about how you can prevent your french bulldog from biting so much.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.