So you’ve done it. You’ve made one of the best choices you may ever make in your lifetime – buying a Frenchie puppy!
Congratulations, you’re about to embark on one of the most exciting, funny, and (sometimes!) challenging adventures yet.
I still remember having a countdown on my phone as I waited a grueling eight weeks to pick up my red-fawn French Bulldog, Steven. I had endured a long waitlist with a particular breeder while I waited for the right puppy, and it was finally happening!
I wasn’t a first-time dog owner; we had many different pups join our family growing up, but this was my first adventure as a solo dog mom and Frenchie mom.
If you’ve raised a child or any puppy, you’ll have a good idea about what to expect in that exciting but also challenging first week after you bring them home.
But, if you’re anything like me, you’ve likely landed on this page because you’re curiously searching for some tips and an insight into what that first week with your Frenchie puppy may look like.
So, based on my own personal experiences and preferences alone, here are a few quick tips from my first week raising Steven.
Pre-Pickup checklist: What Does My
French Bulldog Puppy Really Need?
As I waited those long 8 weeks for the day I could finally pick up Steven, it’s safe to say I went a tad overboard on the preparation!
I had online orders landing on my doorstep almost every day, and I learned two key lessons.
- Aside from buying too much, it did save me money. If you have the time, it’s much cheaper to shop around for deals and wait for delivery instead of flash buying at the last minute at a local pet shop.
- I learned puppies don’t need much!
And with that in mind, here is my personal refined list:
- A non-spill water bowl
- A raised food bowl
- A bag or two of the food your breeder has your puppy on
- Little puppy-approved training treats
- A medium-sized crate
- A medium-sized bed and blanket
- Fun toys & chew toys
- A bigger soft dog toy – For those lonely nights in the crate!
- A lead & harness
- Crate fencing/playpen – I needed to section off an area of my home to keep him out of trouble in those early days.
- Puppy pads & a deodorizer spray
- Doggy bags
- A fine-toothed dog brush & sensitive dog shampoo
- A medium dog car seat – this makes a world of difference to our car routine.
Pick-up day! What Do I Need From My
French Bulldog Breeder?
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of picking up your new little pup. Steven, who was hardly bigger than my hand, was running around the breeder’s house on his little uncoordinated legs, exploring and getting up to all sorts of mischief!
But there are a few key details you don’t want to miss.
- Ask the breeder for an old towel or blanket that has the smell of Mum to take home with you. Steven had his own personal blanket, which our breeder had prepared with this in mind.
- Our breeder supplied an A4 clearfile with his official papers and health records, including his vaccination and deworming schedules.
- Check what brand of food your breeder has your pup on – it’s not wise to immediately change their food, especially with Frenchies and their typically sensitive tummies.
The Trip Home: How Do I Get My Frenchie Puppy Used to The Car?
Taking your pup home can sometimes be an interesting exercise! When I was little, we held our pups in the passenger seat while we brought them home, that was until one of our dogs, Monica, threw up!
Take a towel to cover either your lap or their car seat or crate – whatever you decide. Aside from potentially being car sick, it’s common for little puppies to pee; their tiny bladders don’t hold long! And if they haven’t been outside right before you leave, there’s a chance they may go on the journey home.
I clipped Steven into his car seat and comforted him on his journey home. He was such a gem, and luckily, we had no accidents.
But that leads me to my next point – getting your pup used to the car.
This is my top tip for new dog owners! Nowadays, Steven gets in the car, curls up, or immediately spreads out on his back and goes to sleep when I clip him into his car seat.
We have road-tripped New Zealand’s roads for hours and hours on end, and Steven won’t make a single noise. He’s the best little traveler, and I put it down to some early hard work when he was tiny.
I recommend taking your pup for a 10-15 minute drive every day while he’s little.
At first, Steven cried and wailed while his car seat was in the backseat, so for the first week, I had him next to me in the passenger seat while he got used to it, and then I moved him to the back.
Every time your pup gets put in their car seat, a lot of praise and a treat go a long way!
It’s also a great way to safely expose them to the big wide world before they’ve had their final jabs.
Crate Training & The First Night Home With Your Frenchie Puppy: Help! Why is My Puppy Crying?
Ahh, the first night… and for Steven and I, every night for the first couple of weeks… screams and tears.
It’s very normal for your pup to cry all night long in their crate on the first night or two; they just miss Mum! However, Steven really struggled to be apart from me in the early days, and it required a lot of patience and training.
My biggest tip is don’t give in; a bit of tough love will do them good!
There are many crate training methods online, and finding what works for you can be tricky, but this routine worked for us.
9.30pm – Outside to go to the toilet one last time before bed
10.00pm – In bed with the crate cover down
5.00am – Wake up and go straight outside to go to the toilet
I didn’t let Steven out at night to go to the toilet like some owners do. I found that with a late bedtime and an early wake-up, he was fine, and we never had an accident during the night.
Use earmuffs if you have to! A Frenchie piercing scream because they miss their mum is never a nice sound to endure, but in the long run, it pays off.
Try not to neglect crate training during the day; lots of treats and proper training where you slowly increase the puppy’s time spent in the crate, combined with how far away you are in the room, really helps.
Now, Steven loves his own bed, and it’s also made him extremely adaptable if, say, you move house or if they go to stay with friends and family, they always have the familiarity of their own bed with them.
My Puppy’s First Bath: How Do I Get My Frenchie Puppy Used to Grooming?
I wish I had done more of this when Steven was tiny.
It’s safe to say Steven and any kind of grooming technique aren’t friends. He’s not a huge fan of water; he doesn’t like his face being touched, and if you go near his nails, well… it’s all over.
I have heard I’m not alone, which is common among Frenchies, so do yourself a favor: trim their nails, brush and bathe them regularly, even if it’s just in lukewarm water to get them used to it. Stock up on the treats and make it a fun affair.
Early Socialisation and Training Hacks: How do I Start Training My
French Bulldog Puppy?
I still remember standing out in the winter cold at 5 a.m., waiting for Steven to go to the toilet, dreaming of the day he would be potty trained. Sometimes, it took him over half an hour!
From potty training to crate training, grooming, and obedience commands, here are a few hacks that worked for me.
Puppies like routine; it gives them stability, and they learn to trust you as their pack guardian. Find a way that works for you and your life, and stick to it as best as possible.
Deodorize the carpet!!
The early potty training days are brutal. Their tiny bladders don’t hold on for long, and even though I was working from home and watching Steven’s every move, we still had accidents – it’s inevitable.
A good carpet deodorizer should be your best friend in this instance. If your pup can’t smell where he’s been before, he won’t instinctively feel like relieving himself in the same place.
Always be more interesting than the distraction.
Later in Steven’s puppy life, the recall was a big issue. It took us months to figure out how to be more interesting than the distraction. I even tried the best treats, including his favorite, cheese! We’ve since learned a tennis ball is our holy grail to fixing this issue, but developing a strong bond with your pup from day one goes a long way to helping with some trickier training later in life.
If you can, start looking into ‘puppy schools’ in your area. Many provide a safe space for young puppies to start a puppy school program before they’ve had their last jabs.
It’s fantastic for early socialization and a great bonding opportunity for you and your little pup.
Your puppy will never be upset with you for not saying goodbye
This was one of the best pieces of advice I found. I was guilty of imagining scenarios in my head where I believed Steven would be upset with me if I didn’t say goodbye before leaving the house.
Leaving your puppy is never fun, but they feed off your energy, and an over-the-top goodbye with lots of fuss only heightens their anxiety.
The same goes for returning home. Suppose you make leaving and returning a low-fuss event. In that case, you’re communicating to your dog that this is a routine affair and you have everything under control.
You only get the first week with your puppy once. Soak up all the puppy cuddles and enjoy the start of your new adventure. If it’s anything like mine, you’ll laugh every single day and create memories that will last a lifetime.
And if you still haven’t found a name for your cutie, check out our article listing all the best names for French Bulldog puppies.