Since I am currently busy with work, I’ve asked Tessa to fill in and write a few guest blogs for me. She was busy working on her tan on the back deck, and suggested I re-print this column she wrote back in 2001. She then told me to get her some cookies and a glass of iced tea, which I happily did. Apparently, her training methods work.
The following column is intended to give French Bulldogs advice on how to better train their humans to be loyal, obedient and semi-intelligent pets. Tessa does not condone biting or other cruel methods of training your pet human, but is actually pretty flexible about shock collars. If you are a French Bulldog and have a question on human training you’d like to see addressed here, you may email Tessa at TessaIsQueen@bullmarketfrogs.com
Congratulations on the adoption of your new human! Humans can provide French Bulldogs with hours of fun and entertainment, and an almost unlimited source of tasty things to eat. However, your new human needs love, attention and, above all, training. Remember, a well trained human is a happy human, and a happy human is much easier for a French Bulldog to live with. And manipulate.
First of all, let’s go over a quick check list of things you need for your new human:
GreenPapers or Plasticy-Card-Things
These items provide much needed amusement for humans. They will spend hours playing with them, worrying about them, and caressing them. Most importantly of all, though, are the many tricks you can train your human to perform with them. A well trained human can learn to trade all of her GreenPapers for an entire sack of pig ears, given proper training.
A moving den is vital to the well being of all humans, as it gives them a place to yell at other humans from behind the safety of their glass windshields. Unlike French Bulldogs, humans can be shy about yelling at each other from behind the fence or front door, so the moving den (or car/truck/van, as humans like to call them) provides a valuable place for your new human to let off steam. Your human can also be taught to transport you to dog parks, cafes and pet treat emporiums with just a little bit of work on your part.
Plastic Yelling Toy
A plastic yelling toy, or ‘phone’, as humans like to call it, is essential to your new human. They will spend hours using it to extoll your beauty to all of the other members of their pack. Remember, though, that humans can become so absorbed in their talking toy that they might neglect you, or ignore their training lessons. Learn to pull the cord from the wall with your teeth if this happens.
Plastic Yelling Box (aka ‘Computer’)
See Plastic Yelling Toy for details.
DammitHerEyeWereShutAgain Toy (aka Camera and/or Digital Video Camera)
Absolutely essential accessories for your new human. They will allow your human to take endless photographs of you, which they will then use their Plastic Yelling Box to distribute around the world. This will allow us to further our quest for global domination via unspeakably cute head tilts and yodelling noises – but more about that later.
Now that you’ve got the items you need for your new human, let’s move on to basic training.
The first thing you need to do is teach your human to respond to basic commands. This is not as easy as it may sound, and there are a few basics you need to master yourself before beginning. Mastering “The Stare” is the foundation of all good human training, and no one excells at it better than French Bulldogs. The basics of the stare are as follows:
The S T A R E is a combination of love, pathetic longing and hypnotism. Practice it, and the world is your oyster. Or steak, in the case of French Bulldogs. Few humans have proven to be immune to this technique, but if you happen to find yourself saddled with one who is, feel free to trade them in for a more tractable example of the breed. There are too many good humans out there looking for their own French Bulldog to waste time on a dim one.
Basic technique for the S T A R E is as follows:
Corner human someplace where they have limited opportunity for movement. For example, try using the S T A R E when your human is distracted by their plastic yelling box, or the large-hot-thing-which-makes-food.
Gaze unblinkingly into your human’s eyes. Do NOT break eye contact — this is vital. When you are certain the human has your full attention, signal your intent to them with a long, soft, quietly drawn out whine. In essence, you are telling them “Pay attention to me — I have something to tell you.”
The whine combined with the S T A R E should by now have your human fully mesmerized. It is time for the full frontal approach, and this is where it gets tricky. Gently place your paw on the human’s leg, not in a frantic clawing motion, but rather with a calming pat. Clawing is best left to Golden Retrievers and other such uncouth beasts. The gentleness of your action reassures the human of your good intentions, and keeps them from panicking.
French Bulldogs confident of their training techniques can employ the dreaded SWHTPS combination (stare-whine-head tilt-paw swipe), but I feel this tool is so powerful that it is best reserved for the most serious of command training.
Since humans are, believe it or not, actually quite eager to learn, yours should by now be trying out various options to see just what action it is you want them to perform. In short order, they will usually begin to list off “Wanna go out?” “Do you need a cookie?” “Are you hungry?” and various other inquisitive statements. When they finally arrive at the correct trick you require them to perform, signal your approval with a series of bum wiggles, spins and dashes in the direction which you would like your human to go.
Remember, be patient! Unlike French Bulldogs, humans can take quite a while to learn to respond immediately with exactly what you had in mind. The human ‘mind’ is not as evolved as that of a French Bulldog, so frequent and prolonged repetition of the above training session will be required. Personally, I feel a minimum of 60 to 100 sessions per day will suffice at the beginning of training, but feel free to vary as needed. I have managed to train some in as little as one hour, whereas it once took almost an entire month to train a male human to cook me steak at 4 am on command.
Let’s finish up with some basics that all French Bulldogs need to remember whenever they are dealing with lower forms of animal life (which is, let’s face it, ALL other dogs, humans, and heaven forbid – cats).
Being a French Bulldog is a state of mind.
It is being able to convey to your human with merely a whimper the statement : “You may walk upright, but we both know who makes the rules around here, don’t we?”
Being a French Bulldog means never letting them see you sweat. Or fetch, for that matter. It means knowing that you were put on this earth to be cute, spoiled and worshipped. It means no matter how bad you act, a cute head tilt can *always* get you out of it.
Being a French Bulldog means never, ever letting the human have the upper hand. You are the alpha, they are the omega, and everything else comes somewhere after that. It means knowing that accesories do make the dog, be they faux fur coats, maribou collars, or little bumblebee costumes. And it means knowing you can kick a Golden Retriever’s butt even if you’re wearing all of the above.
Next month, we shall cover “GreenPapers” training, or, the art of teaching your human to fetch you whatever you desire. After all, someone has to provide you with all that fur and maribou.�