December 2014 Archives

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Q: Alex writes, "Hi there, thinking about getting a Frenchie puppy, researching it now. Read your great post, we are in the same situation - both work, apartment in the city, etc. So how is it going with Rocco? How is his health? Any issues? I am scared sh...less of vet bills (we had a toy poodle, and at the end it was non-stop). How is his snoring? Is it getting any worse as he matures?"

A: First off, Rocco is great. 5 years old now and (knock on wood) no health issues. I have normal regular check ups at the Vet, and usually get a clean bill of health along with his recommended vaccinations. His only issue is allergies, and I have to combat that by washing his paws a bit because he licks them because they get itchy. Otherwise, nothing major. As for snoring - it is light. Nothing that keeps me up. My key recommendation with any kind of dog is don't buy one from a pet store, rescue one! If you can't rescue, buy from a certified breeder, and not a puppy mill. This may require some research and some leg work - but in the end you often get what you pay for. I was really lucky with Rocco, but also had a long interview with his breeder and found out a lot about him before buying. I would recommend them here, but they were a AKC certified breeder that simply stopped.

Q: Nicole writes, "Hello!

I just did a Google search about Frenchies and your blog popped up. I really loved your post entitled, "10 Months Later, With My French Bulldog." I have an 8 month old Frenchie named Max and two things are concerning me and I haven't found answers for in my many internet searches. I thought maybe you could help!

1- We give Max a treat (chicken jerky) when we eat so he can get distracted and leave us alone. When we do this, he usually will leave us alone while we are eating. However, he just eats the whole thing at once and gags. He does this with any treat that isn't training size. Any tips/tricks, or certain treats that work for you?

2-Max is very....excitable? I don't want to say aggressive, but maybe overzealous during play time. He goes on three 20 minute walks every day, but we leave him from 7-12 PM, then 1-3 PM every day so he really revs up from around 5-8pm. But when he plays, he jumps all over us and accidentally bites our hands trying to get to toys and has no regard for us. Any tips?

Any help you could give would be great. Thank you!"

A: As for question one, I find that Rocco loves raw bones. I go to the supermarket, find the meat section and ask if they have soup bones or thigh bones they can slice for me to 1 inch thick. Often, they will have the marrow and some tendons still attached - Rocco loves bones. He has the same exact problem with jerky, he wants to EAT the entire thing.

As for excitable that is easy. You need to walk Max more. Every dog has a different energy level. Plus he's a puppy. PLUS I am guessing he isn't neutered yet. Yes, long walks are in store for you, right as you come home from work at 5pm. You will have to figure out how long those walks need to be - but he needs to work off that energy. Also everyone loves playing with dogs. I do! But the key would be learning how to properly play with a dog versus getting a dog riled up and over excited. My suggestion would be contacting someone in your area like Joana Watsky from Sit and Stay. You should hire someone in Behavioral Counseling rather than relying on my advice - and it is what I did with Rocco. I hired her to help me in a one-on-one session when Rocco was 3 months old and then I took group classes when he was older. It was the best investment I made with Rocco (aside from teaching him crate training!!).

Q: Mike asks, "Hi. I checked out your blog and it has helped me tremendously! thanks so much! I am getting my Frenchie in a couple weeks but I have a quick question about the potty training part. I also live in an apartment but I have a little fenced off balcony. If I took him out there to pee on the wee wee pads, is it safe to say that he would associate it will "pee pee outside only"? I know you're not a huge fan of the pads, and I am not opposed to going downstairs to walk him. I was just curious to see if it was a viable option. Thanks so much"

A: Much like I suggested in the last question about getting a person like Joana in there to help, my feeling is that your dog won't be able to distinguish "balcony" from "inside". Dogs don't see the balcony, like we do, as the outside, they see it as part of the home, because the smells of the house also are part of the smells of the balcony. Whereas if you bring your dog outside - those smells are TOTALLY different than your house or your balcony. I am sure people will email in and tell me that their dog is able to figure out the difference between a balcony and their house, but lets talk about another issue - do you REALLY want your dog peeing near your home? Do you want neighbors who live next to you or below you smelling doggie poop? It is also a question of being considerate, too. I don't think the balcony is the best action here, and I go up and down three flights with Rocco twice a day to walk him. Good news is that Rocco can "hold it" from when I leave at 7am until 9pm at night. I trained him to do that, and was worth the time and energy to teach proper housebreaking to him. I think you will be happy you did, too.

If you have questions for me, shoot me an email at philly2hoboken AT gmail.com, or join Rocco on his Facebook Page.

How I Sleep Better - AND YOU CAN TOO!

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Yeah, it sounds like an infomercial. Use my patented techniques - and you can win at sleeping.

Actually most of this has been trial and error, and I can't say that my sleep is perfect but I sleep better than I did in years. Most are just quick hits but I think the #1 reason is diet. No, I won't bore you with my paleo diet rant now, but I would throw out there that the #1 thing about sleeping well is cutting out/down sugar or caffeine at least 6 hours before sleeping. But here's what else I have learned:

  1. Sleep in a cold room. I keep my room at 64 degrees. I used to be 68 degrees or so, but I have learned is that colder equals better. I sleep with a down comforter to keep me warm.
  2. Sleep in a dark room. I bought black-out curtains to stop any street lights from invading my room. I turn around my alarm clocks so they face the wall. Any LED lights I block. My room is pitch black. If I wake up at 10am, there is a small amount of light that filters in - but otherwise I keep it as dark as I can.
  3. Wear full length clothing or pajamas to bed. This is a strange one, I know. I used to sleep in just underwear. I don't know the science behind this, but this is pretty important and goes hand in hand with the cold room. I wear flannel bottoms and a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt to bed. No socks.
  4. Cut out caffeine. I drink one 16 ounce coffee a day in the morning. I don't drink coffee (or anything with caffeine) after 10am.
  5. Drink lots of water. I drink about 80 ounces of water a day (which includes the coffee), which is 10 cups. I have read other websites and their suggestions which have me at 148 ounces I should be drinking a day, which is a bit absurd. My suggestion, however, is buy a water pitcher or water bottle, keep it at your desk at work, and refill it at your water cooler to keep you drinking while at your desk.
  6. Exercise. I don't care if you just walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes or do Crossfit, but you have to get moving. I think the only valid excuse is you are handicapped or you have a baby - otherwise shut the fuck up and figure out a way to get in AT LEAST 30 minutes a day. You can get a great stretch done in 10 minutes and a vigorous exercise done in 15 minutes if you wanted to every day. I set my schedule AROUND my exercise.
  7. Keep regular sleep hours and get at least 7 hours of sleep - I personally aim for 8 hours a night. I wake up for work at 6am. I have to force myself to sleep by 10pm. I'm a night owl. I love staying up. I set an alarm on my iPhone every night at 9:45pm. Its my warning bell to floss, brush my teeth and go to bed. Which leads me to...
  8. Stop using your bedroom for anything other than sleep (or sex). I used to read in bed or watch TV in bed. I got rid of my TV in my bedroom. My bedroom is now for sleeping. That's it. This was a tough habit to break. After i'm done brushing my teeth, I go into my bed, turn off my light and lie down. If I am not sleepy, I will just wait. Calm my mind. I'm asleep in 10 minutes.
  9. Take a warm bath. This is optional, but I have found I LOVE taking a bath before going to sleep. Not a shower. A nice soak in hot water. No reading or watching TV - just a soak.
  10. Nap! I'm a big fan of napping. Interestingly enough once I adhered to my rules above, my afternoon sleepiness has greatly lessened. Occasionally I still like a snooze, but try to keep it at 15 minutes but no longer than 40 minutes.

I used to make some of these optional, and never could sleep well. Trust me, just try what I say for 1 week and you will notice a great difference. If I had to say the most important things would be a cold room and a dark room, and turning the LED lights from alarm clocks OFF. When I wake up at 3am, I don't look at my alarm clock anymore. I wake up, think "I wonder what time it is..." and then fall back asleep. Is my sleep perfect? No. But it is a billion times better after I learned those steps above. Get into the bed - just sleep in it. If you need to read or watch TV - do it outside the bedroom. Good luck!

One of the major issues I have in Hoboken is that drivers and pedestrians are selfish. In our "me me me" world - everyone thinks they have the right of way. Car drivers gnash their teeth at the stupid pedestrians jumping in front of them and the pedestrians snarl at drivers who don't let them cross the street first. Everyday I walk to the PATH train, I see car drivers who think stop signs are optional and yellow lights mean "hit the gas". I also see pedestrians who pay zero attention to their surroundings, reading their smartphones and glaring at car drivers while they jaywalk. The speed limit in Hoboken is 20 MPH. There is zero point zero percent chance that people are driving 20 MPH in Hoboken. It's like a war zone.

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Some might say we need more police to fix this. I agree. But the issue I have with our police is the majority of their days they are reacting to crime in our town, and what we need is a dedicated division of the police force that has the following goals:

1. Setting up DUI/DWI checkpoints.
2. Combat speeding with speed traps.
3. Ticket for reckless driving.
4. Ticket for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians.
5. Ticket for disobeying traffic control signal or STOP sign.
6. Ticket for double parked cars.
7. Ticket for jaywalkers.
8. Ticket not using seat belt or using a cell phone while driving.
9. Failure to stop for a school bus or disobeying a school crossing guard.
10. Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

The HRP would be similar to what they have in California, The California Highway Patrol. The HRP would be a law enforcement agency which has patrol jurisdiction over all Hoboken roadways (including any county roads within Hoboken's borders). The HRP would be a branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Public Works. Local police are primarily responsible for investigating and enforcing traffic laws - but having a HRP frees local police to focus on other tasks not related to the roadways. HRP officers enforce the New Jersey Vehicle Code, pursue fugitives spotted on the roadways or sidewalks and attend to all significant obstructions and accidents within their jurisdiction. HRP officers are responsible for investigating and disposing of car accidents, disabled vehicles, debris, and other impediments to the free flow of traffic. They are often the first responders at the scene of an accident (or obstruction), and in turn summon paramedics, firefighters or tow truck drivers.

Of course, hiring more police would mean higher taxes to pay for them. I think these costs could be offset in various ways:

1. I would suggest that the police we hire for the HRP can work very flexible shifts - if they were setting up speed traps or patrolling for double parked cars, they could do this during the times of the day in which we see the most issues. Wouldn't you like Hoboken to have that "extra patrol" of police when the bars are open at night - setting up checkpoints for drunk drivers?

2. I'd like to see HRP use Class 2 police officers, if possible. Plus it would be a good way to create a pool of "good officers" to choose from if openings become available within the main Hoboken Police Department ranks, too.

3. The revenue generated by tickets would offset many if not all of these costs for hiring a patrol.

What you do you think?

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

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