Bringing Home Your New Puppy

May 09, 2009

You have done your homework, decided a Frenchie was the perfect breed for you, developed a rapport with a
reputable breeder and decided on just the right French Bulldog to share your life with. Now is the time to “Go
Shopping” and prepare for your puppy’s arrival.

A crate is a must have. There are two basic types of crate, metal and plastic. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

A metal crate is good for visibility, the puppy can see what is going on and you can more easily
what he is doing. If you select a suitcase style (collapsible), you will be able to move your crate easily from
room to room. If showing your Frenchie is in your plans, this type of crate is much easier to transport. But, the
metal crates cannot be used for airline travel without adaptation. They can also be drafty in colder weather.
The plastic type of crate is required for airline travel. A plastic crate offers more warmth in the winter and is
more private for your dog. Plastic is also easier clean, which is great for that beginning housebreaking stage.
Keep in mind, a puppy, or any dog for that matter, should NOT be kept crated for more than a few hours
at a time, occasionally. I do not agree, personally, with keeping a dog in a crate all day while you are at
work…letting him out for a few hours at night to play and then crating him again to sleep all night – that could
be almost 20 hours a day in a crate!

A puppy should not have run of the house, especially when they are learning to be housebroken. Usually the
kitchen is the best choices for a place to keep your new Frenchie when you are not there. Floors are easily
mopped and we all know that mop will be out in full force until your Frenchie is 100% housebroken. I strongly
suggest using a doggy gate to contain the puppy in the kitchen. This allows the puppy to see out and feel a
part of things. Even if there is a door, the doggy/baby gate is a better option. We recommend that you get the
plastic, pressure-fitted mesh type. It is preferable to the wooden slatted type, a puppy can get his head stuck in the slats too easily!

Many people have had very good results using an exercise pen in the kitchen. Exercise pens are available at
your pet supply store or through pet supply catalogs. Exercise pens, or X-pens as they are called, resemble
small portable fences and are found in a variety of sizes. I always set up an exercise pen with the puppy’s food
and water and a comfortable bed in one end and newspapers in the other. For Frenchies, I recommend the 30”
height. You can easily reach over it and pick up your puppy, papers, or whatever. If you have an escape artist,
you may have to invest in a taller one. This is the method I strongly recommend.

Of course, you need to invest in high quality, easily cleaned food and water bowls. There are many varieties
on the market. Stainless steel will last a lifetime and can be easily cleaned. Your pet supply store or catalog
should have just the ones for your new Frenchie. Your breeder should have recommended a premium puppy
food. If not, consult your veterinarian.

Collars come next. The inexpensive, smooth nylon type that the buckle makes its own hole in the collar is a good starter collar. Select one that is at least two inches longer than the puppy’s neck, so he will have growing room and you won’t be buying a new collar every week! A thin matching lead will work to begin leash-breaking. Do not buy such a heavy collar and leash that your puppy is “weighed down” by it. When your Frenchie is approximately nine or ten months old you should be able to select a permanent collar and lead.
Frenchie necks are exceptionally thick and if you have a male Frenchie his neck may continue to grow until he is two or more. There are so many stylish, durable collars and leads on the market, I know you can select a suitable one for your Frenchie.

The retractable type leash is great to give your puppy freedom, while keeping him under control. These leashes range in length from ten feet to twenty six feet.

A suitable bed is next. For a growing, teething puppy you do not want to invest in an expensive, designer
type bed, also I would steer away from the beds that have the exposed foam on the bottom. The temptation
to flip that bed over and chew may be too great for your puppy! The thick, comfy lambswool type beds work
well in my house. There are a variety of styles available, from flat pads to donut shaped beds that Frenchies
love to curl up in! Most are warm, easily washed and stay good looking for a long time. When teething and
housebreaking are over you can invest in that designer dog bed of your dreams.

Now to the most important category of all (at least to your Frenchie) TOYS! There are literally hundreds, if not
thousands, of dog toys available now. The ones that I have recommended are based on a ten years career in
the pet industry (conning the vendors out of as many free samples as I could) and my own in-house panel of
French Bulldog toy testers.

There are many types of Nylabones® and Gumabones® available now, from chicken or liver flavored to glow
in the dark! I would recommend the Regular to Wolf size for most Frenchies. My Frenchies seem to really enjoy
the Galileo® style Nylabones®. The Plaque Attacker® line of therapeutic chew toys allows your Frenchie to
chew while cleaning their teeth. There are raised tips on the toys that massage the gums while they chew.
Joker likes the Plaque Attacker® dinosaurs, especially the T.Rex. Booda® makes a wonderful edible bone, the
Booda Velvet®, that is a corn starch based, odorless completely digestible chew bone. It takes a couple of
weeks for Joker to devour one of the Medium sized bones.

Any of the sherpa, lambswool type fleece toys, or the fuzzy ones with the different sounds, are a big hit at my
house. These toys can be comforting to young puppies away from home for the first time. Keep an eye on your
Frenchie to ensure that they do not chew off an ear and swallow it.

I do not recommend either pig ears or hooves for Frenchies. The ears get really soft and can easily get stuck in
their flat French Bulldog throats and they can choke. The hooves can also break teeth and splinter. I do have
some that will spend hours chewing a hoof, so I relent occasionally, but with caution. For the same reason, I do
not recommend any type of rawhide chew. I will let mine have the occasional granulated rawhide chew. This
is a type of rawhide that was ground into bits and then reshaped into the desired shape, somewhat like a rice
cake in texture. So, never, ever rawhide or ears and maybe a hoof every now and then.

The little latex squeak toys are allowed at my house, but only under supervision. The puppies love these toys,
but can tear them apart and possibly swallow the squeaker or the latex.

Many experts recommend that you allow a puppy to have no more than three toys at a time. This keeps them
from thinking that everything in the house is theirs, it also keeps them from becoming bored with their toys. I
will put the toys away for a while and when I bring them back out, they think they have all new toys!

Having a new Frenchie puppy can be one of the most exciting times of all. With a little planning and shopping, you should be able to have a safe and happy homecoming for your new addition. But most importantly, have fun and enjoy each day with your new puppy, they do not stay puppies long!

Give your new Frenchie a hug and a kiss from me.

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