Rocco: March 2015 Archives

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Tom wrote in:

"Hi there,

I am looking at getting a frenchy. I am obsessed and have been researching them for the past year or so on and off.

My only issue is health costs. I'm a student and am worried about the potential vet bills that may arise. I have noticed a lot seem to be due to their soft palate and hips/back.

Do you have any idea on the actual chances of Surgery if bought from a reputable breeder and how much you think a frenchys vet bills would on average cost? Are all these health issues actually a big issue or are they more of a buyer beware notice and are actually not that common?

This will be my second dog (first was a family one).

Thanks so much"

I can't speak for all French Bulldogs, but have learned the following:

1. Any pure bred dog should be bought from an AKC certified breeder, and its probably in your best interest to do your research on the breeder. Rocco was from a hobby breeder who bred Frenchies for a short while and stopped. From what I learned about the breeders they loved Frenchies and had some champion dogs over the years.

2. Often you get what you pay for. Buying a dog at a pet store is an exceptionally bad idea. Buying a dog online can be hazardous (Full disclosure: I did this, but did my research from previous owners and talked to the owner who lived in Ohio before buying Rocco).

3. Most people will tell you that the healthiest dogs are often mutts. Not all of them. But a lot of the mixed dogs you can find at shelters are great dogs. I wanted a Frenchie, and I think everyone has a right to get the dog they want. If I had a big farm, I would own 10 dogs. But I have a small condo in the city, and I felt I needed a lower energy dog that was good for small living. Yes, there are rescues that are certainly going to fit into that category, but believe it or not I had trouble finding French bulldog rescues. Also Rocco was my first dog, and I kind of wanted to learn how to raise a dog properly first before learning how to raise a rescue. I think the next time I get a dog, I will lean towards a rescue more now since I am more well versed in raising a dog.

4. Rocco had some issues early on. Of course as a protective dad - every sniffle and cough I would rush him to the vet and was convinced he was dying. I would say over the years from the neutering costs to shots and basic vet visits I paid out at least $1,000. At least, if not more. This is something to consider when you get a dog. You also can look into getting Pet Insurance. It is a bit of a gamble, but often the costs of insurance is a break even if you get it early enough. I looked into Pet Insurance for Rocco, and did the math - I figured I would opt out and simply pay out of pocket.

The two things you want to consider when getting a dog is Time and Money.

you have enough time to spend with your dog? You can't keep them trapped, alone for 12 hours while you are at work only to spend 4 hours with your pooch and then go to bed for 8 hours. That isn't fair.

Do you have enough money to spend on your dog? There are vet bills, doggie day care or dog walker costs, food costs, and emergency costs that do add up. You should seriously be prepared for this. Also a French Bulldog from a good breeder often costs from $2000 to $4500 for ONE dog. There is no such thing as a "cheap French bulldog". If you Googled that and found my page - HELLO. I'll repeat that - if you are looking for cheap French bulldogs, they do not exist. You are probably being swindled by someone who claims they have cheap French Bulldogs when they really just took a pug and crossed it with a bulldog and got something similar looking. Do your research. Are they AKC certified? Does the breeder have a history of breeding reputable Frenchies? Is the breeder located in the US or Canada (watch out for foreign breeders who ship to the U.S. - they can be organized crime related activities especially when they offer a dog at the "low price" of $1000).

This falls into the buyer beware category. Do your homework. And good luck!!

Living alone - should I own a dog?

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We had an email this week from Jenn:


I stumbled upon your blog while googling about french Bulldogs. Rocco is such a beautiful dog btw. I am dying to own a dog, a french bulldog in particular however, I live alone in a condo in NJ, I work in the city and gone from 7am til 7pm most days. Given that scenario, is it practically impossible to own a dog? I have the funds for a dog walker a few times a week but still, my work schedule is pretty routine. How can I make this work, if at all?

Would love some advice!

Thank you,

This is a tough call.

I work from 7am to 4pm. So i'm back after a day of work and Rocco seems just fine. I walk him a lot and he seems happy enough.

I would say that you can do it, as long as you don't stick your dog in an apartment all day. If you are willing to do doggie day care 5 days a week and not a dog walker, then I think that is more fair to the dog. Especially in the early formative years. Rocco I had a dog walker walk him twice a day at 11am and then at 2pm, and I would get home by 5pm. I tried to make sure he didn't go more than 3-4 hours before a walk up until he was 6 months old.

After 6 months I then had doggie day care two days a week on Tuesday and Thursday. I would have the dog walker see him Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This cost me $100+ a week. I was spending $400 a month or more on my French Bulldog for dog walks and doggie day care. It paid dividends in the long run, he's a socially well adjusted dog and now that he's older, he is OK with hanging around at home by himself. Would he even be happier in doggie day care - I bet he would, but like I said I considered it to be more necessary when he was younger.

Also if not a French Bulldog - what about adopting a rescue? If you think about it, dogs are killed every day because they can't get a good home. Even if you are working 12 hours a day, I think that's a better home than a poor pooch locked up in a cage.

My advice would be not to get a French Bulldog, or any dog, unless you have the money to keep them happy. I waited until I was 38 before I had the financial security to own a dog and properly care for him. I suggest you do the same.



I have explained this before, but feel like it needs to be its own post. I get the "Wee Pad" question a lot via email from Frenchie owners, like this one from Karen:

"I came upon your blog online when I was researching on house training our Frenchie. We are picking him up from the breeder next week. He is 4.5 months old. My only concern is when I go back to work, I don't know how what I should do. We thought about blocking the kitchen and keeping him in the kitchen and hoping he will pee on the training pads. We don't know much about crate training but would rather let him have all the kitchen block off so he doesn't get to the carpet and pee."

The simple answer is: Do not use Wee Pads.

Why? Using a wee pad creates association for the dog. Recently, researchers claim that dogs "forget" in 2 minutes everything that happened to them. They way they do remember things is by routine. If you use Wee Pads in a home, he will associate "going to the bathroom" with indoors, not Wee Pads. This will cause you considerable issues for the future, especially when you go on a vacation and bring your dog to someone else's home - and your dog pees on their new carpet.

See, dogs aren't human. Some dogs will understand that "Wee Pad" means a place to pee. I'm sure it works for some dogs. But you really need to focus your training on "outdoors equals potty". It sounds like a drag, and a lot of people won't do it - but it pays dividends in the future. I will repeat what I wrote before about training your dog:

"When I first had Rocco I would walk him every hour on the hour. Every. Hour. Not when he was sniffing - every single hour of a day I would take him outside for a 5 minute "walk". If he peed, I would be all "GOOD BOY GOOD BOY" and give him a treat. Also I lived in a 3rd floor walk-up with no backyard when I did this. If I can do it, you can, too.

This was for the first 10 days. I know, its winter, and the weather stinks, but if you can't do hourly, how about every 2 hours?

Also if you have her in the house, tie her leash to your belt buckle. Everywhere you go - she goes. If you take a shower - she's in the crate. If you take a nap - she's in the crate. Anytime you cannot see your dog, crate your dog. You aren't hurting your dog. The crate should be out, in the open, with the door open, with toys and a nice blanket in there for her to snuggle on.

Puppy pads are a terrible idea because it makes the dog think that "potty indoors is OK!". Do not, at any cost, use a puppy pad or for the next 10 years you will have a dog that pees inside. I have seen in a hundred times."

Don't use Wee Pads. Please. It only takes a few weeks of consistent training. Today, I walk Rocco at 6:30am and then again at night. He only needs 2 walks a day and pees and poops on each walk. He hasn't had an accident in my condo in 4 years (and he's 5 now). I bring him into stores or other people's houses and he doesn't pee anywhere.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Rocco category from March 2015.

Rocco: January 2015 is the previous archive.

Rocco: November 2016 is the next archive.

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