The French bulldog is an adorable and affable companion, but how would they do as a service animal?
With their wide-set, big eyes and cute heats, they'll definitely brighten your day, but service dogs must also be able to perform tasks and be your eyes as a service companion.
If you are a Frenchie owner, then you probably wondered if your bully could also help as a service animal.
While they may not make the best guide dogs, many people get their French bulldogs trained in and certified as a therapy or emotional support companion.
Truthfully, Frenchies aren't always the most on-task pup in the squad. They may have difficulty focusing, which is a major issue if you need a dog to help you cross the road if you're unable to see.
The main thing to keep in mind is your own dog's personality. If they have the right mindset, then it's possible you could train your Frenchie to be an excellent service animal.
French Bulldogs as Service Animals
Service animals are defined as dogs that are singularly trained to work and perform tasks for people who have disabilities.
There are different types of service dogs as well, such as guide dogs, emotional support, PTSD, mobility assistance, and seizure alert dogs.
While some French bulldogs may be able to work as service companions, not all tasks are suited for their stature and personality.
According to VeryWellMind, Here are some of the typical duties of a service dog:
- Fetching medication
- Turning on lights and waking up the owner in cases of a night terror
- Searching the home to help with hypervigilant issues
- Calming handlers during stressful, dissociative episodes
- Distracting an owner during sensory overload
- Grounding owners when they're having a flashback
- Guiding owners through dangerous situations if blind
- Walking with owners if they are disabled
- Hearing for their owners in case of alarms
- Alert owners when they need insulin after detecting changes in blood sugar
While this covers many different types of service animal tasks, it's up to you whether you think your French bulldog's personality and temperament can handle some of these tasks.
In many cases, Frenchies work best to help with psychiatric problems, as they can calm handlers during an episode or give them comfort in settings that are stressful due to PTSD.
The Frenchie's favorite place is right by your side, so it makes sense that they would be a good service companion.
However, sometimes bulldogs aren't so calm and even-tempered as we'd like them to be. They may bark and jump, so it's really important to analyze your own bully's behavior before signing up for service companion training.
Most Frenchies resemble the behavior of their owners. If you're calm, quiet, and affectionate, they will copy your behavior as they are generally sweet and lovable companions.
To train a French bulldog to become a service animal, they need to be able to help their owners in dire situations, such as pull a leash in a certain direction to show where to go if you're unable to see.
If they spot something dangerous, they need to be able to warn you with a calculated bark so that you don't walk into traffic or head straight into a fence.
Another point to understand is that service dogs are typically larger breeds, such as golden retrievers or Labradors.
This is because they may need to defend you or pull on the leash hard to stop you. French bulldogs have the capacity to learn service dog behaviors, but they may not be the strongest dog out there.
One other thing: French bulldogs are really smart, so it's possible that they'd do really well in service pet training. This is necessary before your Frenchie can become a certified service companion.
Service Animal Tasks vs. Emotional Support Animals
To become a service animal, you must complete certification through the National Service Animal Registry or NSAR.
Service dogs typically must also be a guide dog. This means that they can help with certain disabilities, such as a handler with blindness or deafness. They can also be trained for the hypersensitive smell, as in the case of diabetic alert dogs.
These service dogs also need to pass qualified training and receive a certification for service. Their senses and abilities are trained to help handlers with specific disabilities in most cases, such as learning how-to guide in a public place for a blind handler or how to retrieve medication for a person with epilepsy.
French bulldogs are intelligent and incredibly buoyant, so they can learn many tasks that fall into a service animal's purview. If you think that your Frenchie has what it takes, they'll still need to pass training and earn a certification.
Once certified, a certified service animal with papers can go into almost any public place with you.
One of the main problems with French bulldogs becoming service animals is their lack of focus and sudden laser-focus on particular activities.
It may be difficult for a Frenchie with this personality to have the discipline to remain attentive, observant, and quiet for certain tasks as a service animal.
However, there is a whole other category to the label "service dog." There are also emotional support animals. These dogs don't need any official training, they typically help handlers with depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
They may go to hospitals, nursing homes, or cancer units to brighten up someone's day, and they know just how to work a room. That's what is so special about a Frenchie in the first place.
As emotional support or therapy dog, there isn't an official certification, so they're not welcome in malls or other similar public places like a service animal with certification.
How Would You Train a Frenchie to Be a Service Dog
If you know that your French bully would still make an excellent service dog, then you'll need to take a look at ADA Title II and Title III to understand the definition more precisely.
This is important for passing the certification test, as it may not make sense why your bully has to learn different tasks even if it won't be around a certain disability, such as alerting an owner of low blood sugar after sensing it.
French bulldogs are eligible to become service dogs just like any other dog breed. While every breed has the option to be a service dog, they typically work best in different categories.
Still, there are no finite descriptions or restrictions on what type of service dog your Frenchie can be. It's really up to how you identify your dog's personality.
One thing to note is that service dogs need to be in good health standing. The ADA will confirm the age and health of your bully to make sure that they are suitable for the tasks needed.
Certain aggressive dog breeds that are prone to aggression or easily scared are not always the best suited for this type of work. However, bullies are the epitome of friendly and energetic (except for some stray cousins perhaps!).
Step 1: Find a Trainer for Your Frenchie
While the ADA doesn't state you need a professional trainer, sometimes it's best to work with a professional at first to learn what you need to teach your pup.
However, service animal training doesn't need to be done in a facility. You can do it right at home. By training your dog yourself, you also strengthen the bond between you and your Frenchie.
In almost all cases, it's better to work hands-on with your Frenchie if you'll be the handler.
Step 2: Training Tasks for Your Service Dog
To help your bully become a service animal, you'll need to put in some hours. While there isn't a time requirement by law, it's standard practice to train dogs for 120 hours or more over six months.
In addition, 30 to 50 of those hours should be in a public place to help train dogs in areas where they are distractions and other people.
The most important tasks will be those related to your disabilities or tasks that you want your service Frenchie to learn.
For example, if you want your pup to fetch medication or learn how to ground you during a terror, then you'll need to train those specific tasks.
You can read the Minimum Training Standards for Public Access by the IAADP on what to expect and how to prepare.
Step 3: Public Access Test
Once you feel like your Frenchie is ready with specific tasks, then you'll need your pup to pass the certification test.
It's important that you follow this list to pass:
- Dog displays no aggressive behavior
- Does not use sniff behaviors unless for a task
- Does not solicit others for affection or food
- Does not display over-excitement and hyperactivity while in a public place
According to the National Service Animal Registry, If your bully is read, you can take the Public Access Test to ensure that your furry friend is up to the task.
In addition, the handler must qualify for a service animal by having a disability. You'll need to provide this information when you register your Frenchie as a service animal.
Step 4: Get Certification and Equip Your Bully for Public Places
You may need to present documents to show that your Frenchie is fully certified as a service animal. You can get a service dog ID card or a service dog vest to make it more clear in public places.
Benefits of Frenchies as ESAs
Frenchies are energetic, fun-loving, and downright goofy. They know how to cheer up anyone, and because they are so intuitive to human emotion, they are truly a blessing for those who have depression, autism, PTSD, and other psychiatric problems.
With their attentive observation and need to be close to handlers, they are incredibly helpful with social anxiety as well.
Some of the pros of a Frenchie ESA would be:
- Emotionally intelligent
- Energetic and lightweight
- Very attached to handlers
- Work well with all people and other dogs
Do You Qualify to Have a Frenchie As a Service Dog?
If you want to go to public places with your Frenchie as a service dog, you must have a diagnosed disability.
This is important as the rules have changed recently. By law, the ADA requires that you have a disability in order to receive a certification for your Frenchie.
When you qualify to bring your service animal with you, they must be able to go everywhere with you and not show aggression or stress.
For example, they must be able to help you on an airplane in mid-flight. This means that you may also have to purchase special equipment like NSAR pet carriers that are designated for service animals.
If you are not able to qualify for a service animal, your Frenchie can still be an emotional support animal. However, stores, airplanes, restaurants, and other public places are not required to allow in an ESA like a certified service animal.
Conclusion: Should You Train Your Frenchie as an ESA or Service Dog?
For those handlers with disabilities, your French bulldog may be the best option because of their quickness, intelligence, and loyalty.
These bullies have a lot of love for their owners and will do anything to be close to you, but that does mean they may not always work as a service dog.
However, they can still make wonderful ESAs who visit hospitals with you and help you when you need to feel calm.
Training is the big factor when it comes to determining if your Frenchie has what it takes.
As you take your bully to training for different tasks, you'll be able to learn quickly whether or not they have a suitable personality for service training.
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.