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All About Olive, Our French Bulldog

I’ve been getting TONS of questions about Olive and wanted to just sit down and jot it all down in a post for easy reference! Here are some of my dog training answers, puppy must-haves, and so on.

First….what happened to Austin and Zoe?

Austin and Zoe (my old dogs) both passed away within 3 months of each other last year. Those two were stuck at the hip, so I’m not really surprised.

One random afternoon in July Zoe stood up and just collapsed. She then couldn’t get back up and was panting heavily. We rushed her to the vet and they told she had a small growth near her heart that had filled with fluid and it popped. They essentially told us they could drain it but it would continue to fill over and over every 1-7 days. Not to mention, it was causing her quite a bit of pain so it wouldn’t be any quality of life. She passed away in my arms.

Now Austin hadn’t been doing too well for about a year at this point. He was almost 2 years older than Zoe (she was 12, he was 14). We had taken him in for many vet appointment and done a handful of tests but nothing had come back. They believed it was something neurological, as he was losing some normal functions, forgetting who we were, where he was, etc. And, as he got to the end of his life other things made them they believe it was a brain tumor (we didn’t bother to do a scan to check because at this point he was now 15 years old and we wouldn’t have done brain surgery at that age either way). When Zoe died, he went even more downhill. Like I said, he occasionally forgot who Michael and I were but always knew Zoe, she was like his rock. Not to mention, we moved into our new house 5 days after Zoe passed. It was a whole lot of change all at once, and his brain didn’t handle it well. I don’t really like to remember his last few months as they aren’t the Austin we loved. But, if you can imagine someone with severe alzheimer’s, that’s basically what it was like. A few times he fell down the stairs just because he literally had no idea what stairs were. We started to get very concerned that he was going to do something the severely hurt himself. Not to mention, we really had to take into consideration his quality of life. Just like with Zoe, Austin passed away in my arms.

It was hard losing them both so close to one another, but also sort of made sense, too. They were just best buds, and it made sense that they’d leave this earth together.

Where did you get Olive?

I’m just going to pull this off like a bandaid, yes we purchased Olive from a breeder. I’m very aware some people are adamantly against breeding dogs and believe you should ONLY adopt. Growing up we had a purebred Golden Retriever from a breeder. After that, my mom adopted a mix when I was in high school. When Michael and I moved in together we purchased Austin, purebred Papillon, from a breeder, and the adopted Zoe from the animal shelter. My point here, is I have experiences on both sides of this fence.

And, the long story short is, I am not against purchasing a dog if you are doing it from a REPUTABLE breeder. We did extensive and heavy research on the breeder we got Olive from. We made sure the breeder was someone who had been doing this for decades and did it for a love of the dog and the breed, not purely for profit. And, I highly urge others to do the same. Because, unfortunately there are many people out there breeding dogs in the wrong ways and circumstances simply for profit and I don’t believe in that.

Why did we adopt to go purebred this time around? Well, firstly we wanted a young puppy as it’s just easier to introduce with a toddler. If you bring in a dog as a young puppy, they really don’t know much of life without a toddler running around the house screaming and throwing yogurt. If you bring in an 8-month or 12-month old dog, this could be very bizarre to them. And, young puppies are hard to come by at shelters. Secondly, with a young toddler at home, we really did a lot of research on the right type of dog for our family. Unfortunately, the one downside to adopting is you (usually) don’t get to know about the dog’s mix of breed or their mom and dad and other previous siblings and temperament. When you work with a reputable breeder you can really get a feel for the personality and family history. While you can never know for sure what you’re getting into with a dog, purchasing a specific breed and knowing their parents, gives you a little bit of a better idea of what you’re “getting into.”

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How old is Olive?

Olive was born on January 29th. So, she’s about 6 months old at the time I am writing this.

How did you choose a French Bulldog?

We did a lot of research on the right breed for us and Frenchies matched a lot of what we wanted.

Pros:

  • They tend to be lower maintenance from grooming to exercise. We had a Aussie Shepherd mix before we loved but she needed at least 2-3 miles a day, and we didn’t want that high-energy of dog while raising babies.
  • They are well-known for being good for families and kids
  • They are on the smaller side (which I was leaning towards), but still very sturdy for kids
  • Goofy and fun-loving

Cons:

  • They are a bully-breed so they can be strong-willed/stubborn making some aspected of training harder.
  • They are also very popular right now, so you REALLY need to do your due diligence to find a reputable breeder. And, due to this, they are a pricier breed right now.

Essential new dog products?

Here are some of my go-to’s with the obvious “bowl, food, leash, etc.” left out.

  • Crate – I crate trained all my dogs (more on that below)
  • Bed – This is the one I got from Amazon Olive LOVES
  • Variety of toys as many dogs prefer different kinds
  • Nature’s Miracle for potty training
  • Harness (I prefer a harness to collar especially when training)
  • Training treats – small, soft treats for training.
  • Furminator – Olive does shed and we own the short hair Furminator. If I brush her every 7-14 days it makes a HUGE difference
  • Nail clippers – I opted for this nail grinder and it’s been so easy
  • Poop bags – so you can be a responsible dog owner
  • Gates – when training it’s good to be able to control where your dog goes in the house to prevent accidents and chewing. We already had toddler gates up so we were good to go.

How did you potty train Olive?

I was very worried about potty training Olive because, as I mentioned we did a lot of research on this breed, and one thing I read a lot is they are hard to potty train. I was ready for a long-haul with it. I’m not sure if I’m the best dog potty-trainer ever or Olive was an outlier, but she was pretty much fully potty-trained in 2 weeks. Granted, she occasionally has an accident once and awhile. The other day it was pouring rain and he refused to go outside and had an accident. But, in general she was a potty-training pro.

What I did:

  • I kept a close watch on when she went the first 3-4 days to get to know her schedule.
  • Then, I basically set up a schedule where I’d take her out 20-30 minutes before she would usually go. If she didn’t go potty, I’d take her out every 15 minutes until she went. Obviously, lots of love and treats when she went.
  • If she did have an accident inside I didn’t stress. If I caught her in the act I just said “no!” and put her outside to finish. If I missed it, I didn’t do anything. They don’t really make a connection to getting in trouble for an accident that ALREADY happened, from my experience.
  • We crate trained at night and when we couldn’t be with her. Dogs don’t like to go to the bathroom where they sleep and are better at holding it when in a crate.
  • I also controlled her water intake at first, and just kept tabs on how much she had to avoid an accident. I’d also remove all water 1 hr before bed.
  • I would have liked to use dog potty bells, as they are super effective, but I knew Miles would just ring them all the time and defeat the purpose. But a great option if you don’t have a little one at home.
  • Puppy pads can be helpful as a transition, especially for dogs with a small bladder-like Frenchies. We bought some and planned to use them, but since she ended up potty training so quick, we didn’t really need them.
  • Just be prepared. It can take dogs awhile to fully catch on. Pick up any expensive rugs for the potty training period, or consider keeping the dog in an area of the house with hard floors. Buy some Nature’s Miracle and be patient. They’ll have some accidents throughout but they will get it with consistency and positive reinforcement!
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Did you crate train?

Yes. I’ve crate trained all my dogs and strongly believe in it. I find it helps IMMENSELY with potty training and separation anxiety when you have to leave the house.

Olive sleeps in her crate most nights (sometimes we let her sleep with us but she’s a beg hog and usually ends up in her crate in the middle of the night).

Setting boundaries with toddlers? Teaching the toddler to be gentle?

We’re still learning. Miles definitely knows the difference between gentle pets and not. However, when his toddler emotions get the better of him, he has been too rough before. We set boundaries like we would with anything else, just decide what’s OK and what’s not and stick to it.

We don’t let Miles near Olive when she’s eating. I purposely go near Olive while she’s eating and even take the food away and replace it, to avoid her getting food possessive. But, I also want Miles to learn he shouldn’t go up to a dog while they eat as a general rule of thumb.

We’ve also worked to give Olive her own spaces. She has the crate, her bed, and when she gets overly stimulated (or annoyed) by Miles, we give her a break by putting her in another room or Michael takes her into his office for a while. It’s about setting boundaries with Miles but also giving Olive her space, too.

Tips for walking with the stroller?

Pretty much all of Olive’s leash training has happened with a stroller so she really didn’t know anything else. The first few weeks required LOTS of treats. When she stopped or slowed I’d encourage her and bribe her to keep going with treats. She was slower to catch on to this than to potty training believe it or not. But, she finally got it!

As far as general leash training that’s next on our list. Now that Olive is older she is starting to pull and jump when she sees other dogs, so we have to tackle that next.

How did you teach her to be so good with Miles?!

Again, this is part of why we got a puppy. It really does help them to know most of their life with a toddler around. We also did research on breeds best for smaller children.

But, we also still know she’s a dog. As sweet as she is, we really don’t let Olive and Miles be totally alone. At the end of the day, dogs are still dogs. And, as talked about above, we’re working to teach Miles the proper boundaries.