Q: Casey writes "Hi! I just came upon your article online. My 12 year old was given a Frenchie for xmas a few days ago. He was given by my mother who could no longer handle him. Ryder will be 1 next month on the 3rd, & we are bringing him home next week to become a part of our family. We are very excited & this will be our first experience owning a dog together as a mom & son team. I would like to hear your suggestions on bedtime routines & if Ryder needs to be crated during the day for naps? My family have been crating him a couple times a day & during the night for naps & bedtime. My personal feeling is that I don't agree with crating during the day for naps. He should only be crated during the times we are not home & bedtimes. I figure he will nap when he's tired & nap where he wants to. Am I wrong? I hope to hear from u, & I enjoyed reading your insights as a Frenchie owner. Thanks for your time."
A: The only reason I ever used to crate Rocco was when I was unable to watch him. For example, I would keep the crate in my bedroom at night so he was close to me, and would not experience separation anxiety or whine/bark if crated in another room. You could keep the crate open, with comfy bedding and toys. The idea of a good crate is a place where the dog can go to take a nap (with the door open). Make it like his little den. So when you need to leave him alone in the crate and you close the crate door, he isn't worried. Everyone wins.
Q: Alison writes: "Hello there, I wonder if you have any advice for me. I've had my Frenchie for two months now, he is 17 weeks now and is still peeing in his crate. Not pooling just pee. He just sits there and it flows out. I've tried everything I can, small crate. Vet bedding. Changing it, not changing it. Feeding schedules, and water schedules. The only thing I've not been able to include is walking....because he won't. He's very stubborn. I've had a dog trainer round and he was great regards getting me to think like a dog but nothing really helped with the peeing. I really don't know what to do. its such a shame because he a precious little thing but this is stressing me out and its ruining my enjoyment of having a pup. I read that your Rocco peed in crate from 6 weeks until 12 weeks. this seems a long time and i kind of have hope that things will settle down. Do you recommend anything??? I forgot to mention that he would only be in his crate for 3-4 hours during the night. 1-2 at a time during the day. We treat him loads for peeing outside and seems to know that the word pee pee means to go and always does when we take him out. Which is after food, water, sleep, play and of he moves at all really."
A: 4+ months and still peeing in the crate isn't abnormal. But lets talk about the walking. Rocco was very stubborn walking as a puppy. I think the best advice is you have to be consistent and timely when it comes to walking. I remember I was walking with Rocco once and he came to a complete stop. I kept walking. Slowly, but walking. It was comical. A friend saw me and even said, "Oh, I see you are taking your dog for a drag." Obviously, you need to be careful not to hurt your dog when I suggest this, but you can't let your dog dictate to you the walk. Rocco, to this day, sometimes comes to a dead halt in our walks. If I stop, he then learns that "Stopping equals owner stopping". That is a bad habit you can't let your dog learn. YOU are the one walking. YOU are choosing where to go. YOU are the pack leader. I do not suggest you keep dragging your dog around, but I do suggest that the first place to teach your dog to follow you is inside your house. Use treats and walk your dog inside on 10-15 foot "walks". Walk from the kitchen into the dining room and then into the garage, with him following you. Reward him with treats. Then try it in your backyard or (in my case) the hallway of your condo. Walk up and down the hallway. Good boy! Here's a treat! Then once you have advanced to him following you up and down the hallway or the backyard, advance to longer walks. This is something you will not fix in a week, it took me months. I used to carry a bag of treats with me on walks. I remember how ANGRY I got when Rocco stopped, but also I had to consider that his puppy legs got tired easily. Again, you mention a trainer - I don't care what people say about stubborn dogs, they can be fixed and trainers are your best bet here.
OK, once you fix the walking the second issue you mention is peeing. Again, consistency is key. If your dog pees in the crate you have to establish a better walk schedule. I used to do Rocco every hour on the hour. I set my iPhone to an hour alarm, we would go outside for literally a 3 minute walk - he would sniff around, maybe he pees and maybe he doesn't. But over and over and over and over until I was SICK of walking him outside I walked him. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it is annoying. Yes, it is work. Welcome to dog ownership. Some dogs are better than others in learning. You have a 4 month old dog that you might be able to get away with every 2 hours, if you watch him like a hawk. Everytime he needs to go into the crate, first walk, then crate. Also keep the crate to a 2 hour schedule, then walk, then re-crate. I would say if you really stick to this pattern, you can beat it in 2 or 3 weeks. Small price to pay now for a lifetime. After 3 weeks, you might be able to extend the schedule to every 3 hours. Then do that for 2 more weeks and then extend it to 4 hours.
Q: Alex writes: "Hello, my name is Alex and I just recently got my beautiful Frenchie Miklo! He is 2 months old or 10 weeks old. I've had him for 4 days now and he's great he "goes" outside when I take him and "goes" inside on a pad at 2 AM because it's just so cold outside I can't take him out. So far he's doing great at going outside, but the reason for my email is whenever I try to crate him so I can take a shower or eat he cries non stop loud sad cries. Should I just let him cry or what should I do?! Luckily I have a whole week off of work so I can spend almost every minute with him, but what will happen when I have to go to work?! Also he sleeps with me on my bed should I continue that or let him cry in his crate at night?"
A: Lots of questions here, lets break down a few. First stop with the complaint about it being too cold at 2am. Come on. Too cold? It's fine your dog will be OK, and you just need a coat, scarf and hat. Do not use a wee pad. As for the crate issues you need to stop letting him sleep on your bed. Put the crate in the bedroom at night. Read what I wrote before about crating. That crate needs to be his bed now. When you wake up - take the crate into the living room when you watch TV, so he has a place to nap and play with toys. Just keep the door open. Let him cry. Don't respond. If you respond the dog learns that "crying equals owner reacting". That's it. As for what to do when you go to work you better have a dog walker for twice a day walks. A 2 month old puppy can only "hold it" for about 3 hours before they pee their crate. My suggestion would be a dog walker twice a day or doggie day care. I spent $15 per walk (two times a day I got a discount at $25) per day on Rocco when I went to work. One week cost me $125. One month was $500 I spent on Rocco for walks. I did this until about his 4th or 5th month. You can reduce it as they get older. Right now Rocco can hold it for 12-15 hours before needing to go outside.