Apparently my blog may not compare to other websites around town, but I keep forgetting to write about the email I get from readers who stumbled onto my website about how I would crate train Rocco and housebreak him. Also if you are interested in seeing more of Rocco his page is here: www.facebook.com/roccothebulldog
He's been housebroken for years. Oh, sure he had his famous "accidents" when he was a puppy (sorry Randy), and has been great since he was 8-12 months.
I often get random emails from French Bulldog owners. If you want to email me, its philly2hoboken (at) gmail.com. I figure it will be fun to share with my readers my emails that I get, along with my advice.
Of course I want to clearly state for the record:
I only have Rocco as my guide, and my advice should be taken with a grain of salt. I'm not advising people about gallbladder surgery, but about how to deal with their French Bulldog pooping in their homes.
I know that some holier-than-thou expert is going to read my advice and have an opinion or their own. Feel free to email me if you must. My training came from reading books, my own experience and the wisdom of my two sisters, who will remain nameless because they said if I wrote their names on my blog they would kill me.
So. Today's letter is from "Sarah" who wrote:
"Hi we have a great puppy named Zoe;) she is 4months old and the cuties thing ever! We all adore her , lol Zoe has a very hard time being house trained.. We take her for long walks hook her up outside in the yard. Soon as she comes in she pees everywhere and poops lol. We are tring so hard with her. We give her treats when she is outside and uses the bathroom.. But for some reason she just keep going in the house. We don't want to get rid of her, but if we are not able to fix this soon she is going to have to go to another home. We are buying a new home in a few months and we cant have this issue any more. ANYTHING you could help us with will be highly appreciated ;)) thank you so much!"
After reading this letter I really hope the owners don't "get rid" of Zoe because she's not housebroken. That's so sad. But, here's what I told Sarah about how to deal with Zoe:
"Ok, here's the problem, as far as I can tell:
1. Your dog isn't associating "outside" and "inside". It's just "outside" to Zoe.
2. You hook her up outside in the yard? Frenchies really shouldn't be outside very long, especially alone. They are companion dogs, they like being near you. I hope you are outside with Zoe while she's hooked up.
OK, so how to fix it.
First off, you need to be on your dog like a hawk. LIKE. A. HAWK.
This means when Zoe is inside someone needs to be on point watching her at ALL TIMES. I used to take Rocco with me around the house, on collar, and a leash - with the leash tied to my belt. I did this for about 3 weeks.
When I had to take a shower, or a nap or I couldn't watch him like a hawk - he was in his crate. The crate was filled with his favorite bedding, and toys and was only big enough for him to sleep, not walk around. Go to a pet store with her, and someone can make sure she has the right sizes crate. It should be a crate, not a cage.
Some people think crate training is mean. It's not, especially if you make it a place that Zoe wants to sleep. So keep the crate open, and accessible. Take away all other beds and places she would sleep, and the crate should be her new "bed". It's hard, but there are books on crate training and I would suggest that you read up or just check the
internet for advice. Rocco never whined much - except when he had to pee.
So, you have the crate and your whole family is on "ZOE WATCH" for the next few days. While watching Zoe, you basically want to imagine that her bladder is the size of a thimble (well, not REALLY, but its small). If Zoe starts sniffing around, that's when she gets scooped up and taken outside.
When I first had Rocco, I used to walk him every hour on the hour. I'm not kidding. EVERY. HOUR. Now, of course this may not be realistic with your dog, but I would suggest at least every 2 hours that Zoe is getting a 10 minute walk. If you guys are at work or doing something - she should be crated, not left alone and especially not left in some kind of cage where she can walk around and poop or pee.
So you should basically have it. Zoe never leaves out of your sight. Crated when Zoe is out of your sight. Watch for signals like sniffing and scoop her up and bring her outside. If she's good for 2 hours, its "walk time" until she pees or poops and then back inside (with lots of rewards and belly rubs!). Also I used to go to sleep at 11pm, set my alarm for 4am and walk Rocco when he was about 2-3 months old. Then go back to sleep for another few hours. Zoe is 4 months so "should" be good to "hold it" for 8 hours, but since she doesn't understand inside or outside, I would suggest at night to stop any water after her final feeding (7pm?).
I know you may think it sounds like a lot, but you can do it!
It should only take you 6 weeks or so. Maybe even sooner. But the old adage "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" will apply here. Rocco hasn't had an accident since he was maybe 8-12 months. He's going to be three in July.
1. When you take her out it should be a "walk" not a "lets open the back door and let Zoe out". Walk away from your house, until she (at very least) pees. I had Rocco out for 30 minute walks until he peed, and then I was back inside.
2. Sleeping at night, keep her in the crate. Not your bed. You can keep the crate by your bedside. This is all dependent upon the dog, and if she barks or whines. If you give in, you're screwed for the rest of your life because Zoe will know that whining and barking means she will get her way.