Once the excitement of bringing your French Bulldog puppy home for the first time is over, the reality will soon start to bite (as will the puppy). I remember my wife and I wondering what we had let ourselves in for on that first night of crying and howling!
Make no mistake, owning a Frenchie is a HUGE responsibility and should not be taken lightly. If you are regular reader of this blog, you will know that we’ve learned a lot by trial and error and like to share our stories and experiences with you.
But one thing I’ve never explained before is what it’s like to bring a French Bulldog puppy home, or even what their first day and night is like. I wanted to share this with you today with a timeline of a French Bulldog’s first day at home, followed by their first night, and then what else to expect.
A lot of this is from memory, but I’ve tried to make it as accurate as possible.
Bringing your French bulldog puppy home
0800 am: Paid via online bank transfer
It was the morning of the pick-up!
Three days before we had first met Claude at the breeder’s house and had agreed to pay the money before we collected him. I transferred the money via online banking, then called the breeder who confirmed receipt (you can see how much it costs to buy a Frenchie here) – it was now time to go pick up our Frenchie puppy!
1000 am: The pick-up
We drove the 3 miles to the breeder’s house to pick Claude up. The breeder gave us all the paperwork and confirmation on Claude’s vaccinations, and we were ready to take him home.
Injections and vaccinations are super important, and I explain more about it in the questions you should ask a breeder before you buy a Frenchie.
We were now the proud owners of a French Bulldog and were ready to bring him home!
1030 am: The drive home
Because we only lived a few miles down the road, my wife held Claude in the passenger seat for the short journey back to our house. Ideally any dog should be properly restrained in your car when driving, and now Claude is older we use his own car booster seat.
Claude the puppy was fine with the drive, but in some cases Frenchies can get car sick. Thankfully this didn’t happen on the journey back to start the first day at his new home.
Our French Bulldog puppy’s first day home
1045 am: Arriving at home
As it was a week day, our three year old son was at nursery. This meant my wife and I had until 3pm to get Claude settled into our house so he was ready for his first day home.
The things that I remember very clearly are how he wanted to run around the house sniffing at everything and getting used to his new surroundings.
And then, we had to introduce him to our cat!
1300 pm: Meeting the cat
We already had a cat, so had to be very careful. Claude was a lot smaller than her, but being a puppy, he just wanted to run up to her and find out what she was all about.
I won’t go into the detail of how we handled it here, instead go and read my blog post about how we introduced our cat and puppy to each other and watch the video below for more details.
1330 pm: His first feed
On your French bulldog’s first day home you will need to get them into their feeding routine. Frenchie puppies need to eat 3 times a day, so it was now time for Claude’s lunch.
We fed him Royal Canin French Bulldog Junior Puppy food and topped his water bowl up. As you would expect, he wolfed it all down in super quick time!
For guidance on how much to feed a Frenchie puppy, take a look at this feeding chart.
1500 pm: Meeting my son for the first time
The most heart-warming moment of our French Bulldog’s first day at home was him meeting our son. I went to pick our 3-year-old up from nursery – he had no idea we had bought a dog!
In the video below you can see the moment when my son met Claude for the first time!
1530 pm: His first walk outdoors
It was now time to let Claude explore the great outdoors. It’s important to note, that puppies at this age (8 weeks old) are fine to go in your back yard or garden, but should not be walked in public places, or near other adult dogs.
This is all because of their vaccinations, with public walks only advisable 2 weeks after their final set of injections which is around the 16-week point. You can read more about how this work in this guide to when your puppy can go outside.
You can see some video footage of our French bulldog puppy’s first walk out in our garden in the video shown below.
1630 pm: The rest of the first day at home
For the remainder of the day we placed with Claude indoors, showing him his new toys and crate and generally just having so much fun with him. He also had his third and final feed of the day at around 1700.
He was starting to get tired though, so it would soon be time for our French Bulldog’s first night at home… here’s what happened!
Your French Bulldog puppy’s first night at home
1900 pm: Getting him settled
Once our son was asleep, we decided to bring Claude upstairs into our bedroom and let him stay on our bed with us for a few hours. Because he wasn’t toilet trained yet (here’s how we did it eventually), he was peeing a lot, so we used puppy pads on our bed – this would become invaluable over the coming months!
He was quite happy to snuggle up to us (Frenchies are very cuddly), but we did make sure to take him downstairs every hour to try to get him used to peeing in the same place. You should try to get your puppy into a routine as soon as possible.
2200 pm: Time for his first night sleeping
By 10pm my wife and I were exhausted from all the fun and excitement that we’d had. Bringing our French Bulldog puppy home for the first time had proven to be an exhausting experience. It was now time for us to go to sleep, and we were hoping Claude would too!
And, oh, how mistaken we were.
What we did was place his crate in the corner of our bedroom. We didn’t think he should be downstairs in his crate yet, as this was his first night away from his mother and siblings.
We put him in the crate, shut the door, and switched our lights off.
Within 10 seconds he started crying and howling. It was heart-wrenching. We let him cry in his crate for a few minutes before we could take it no more.
Handy Hint: Read my guide about French Bulldog crying and how you can start to stop them whining in their crate at night.
We got him out and let him come back onto our bed for another 45 minutes then tried again.
1045 pm: Trying to put him in his crate again
We tried again, but he did the same thing with lots of crying, whimpering, howling, and scratching at the crate bars.
Frenchies really do suffer quite badly with separation anxiety, and at this age need you so much. In fact, it’s kind of like having a baby, but more about that later.
We let him come back onto bed for another cuddle and gave him lots of reassurance.
1130 pm: Finally getting him to sleep
45 minutes later he was really starting to tire, so we placed him back in his crate in the corner of our room again. He had a comfy blanket in there and lots of cuddly toys (here are the toys we used) and this time fell to sleep… success!
I imagine your French Bulldog puppy’s first night at home will be very similar to this. But it does get better… over time he will forget about his mother and siblings and start to view you as his family.
The crying will stop over time, and a regular sleeping pattern will develop. In the graphic below you can see what to expect as your Frenchie gets older and how many hours they will sleep a day.
The following days…
Over the following days we tried to get Claude to sleep in his crate downstairs. It was impossible to do without lots of crying.
We tried putting him in the crate at the bottom of the stairs so he could hear us call out when he cried, but that didn’t work… the crying would just get worse and worse.
In the end we gave up and kept him in his crate in our room for about 8 weeks. After two months we decided it was time for his crate to go in the kitchen.
We had to be quite tough at first, as he cried the first couple of nights, but soon developed into his routine – him and our cat actually now share a bed!
Other things to expect
Once you got your French Bulldog’s first night at home out of the way, the reality will very quickly hit you for what a big responsibility you’ve taken on.
I asked my wife to give me a quote of her memories of the first couple of months after bringing our Frenchie home, and here’s what she said:
“Bringing a French Bulldog home for the first time is just like having a baby again. They pee constantly all over the floor and need your 100% attention. Claude would constantly be attacking our feet, chasing our shoelaces, chewing things like tables, door mats, shoes, and we would have to hide everything away out of his sight!”
How to prepare for your first day and night with a Frenchie
Now you’ve heard our real-life experience of what it’s like with French bulldog puppy on the first night and day, what will you need to make it a success?
1. Prepare to puppy-proof your home
Firstly, prepare your home. You almost need to chew-proof everything. I’ve put some tips together explaining why they chew and how to stop it.
Also make sure that any potential escape routes and sealed off!
2. Get a suitably sized crate
We didn’t get anything special here, just the Amazon Basics Dog Crate. We got a 42 inch one knowing that it would be ok for him as he got bigger and older.
Inside his crate we placed some soft bedding and a few toys, plus laid down a puppy pad (view on Amazon) in the corner for him to pee on in the night.
3. Get some toys and things to play with
4. Get the right type of food
You can buy Royal Canin Frenchie puppy food on Amazon.
When a French Bulldog spends his first night away from his mother and the only home he’s ever known, it will be tough on him. Be prepared to give him your undivided attention and be prepared for lots of crying at night.
It’s important that you start their potty training immediately. The sooner you can get this behavior ingrained into them, the quicker they will learn.