DIY Doggy Stool Step

After reading a few PETA articles about crate-training, I decided not to train Lafayette like I did previously with my other dog, Murphy the Pug. Sure, Murphy didn’t develop the significant behavioural problems you may come across in textbooks for canine neurosis, but its only that he hated his crate and his reluctance to welcome himself back into one after he’d grown out of his puppy phase made for traveling with him a complete nightmare. Even with a beautiful hand-crafted and spacious dog house gifted from my previous Father-in-Law, Murphy never learned to rest in his house comfortably. I explicitly followed all of the instructions for a successful crate-train in hopes that he’d learn enjoy his crate as his “special place” but maybe all those recommended hours of crating that little guy to help him wasn’t such a good idea for a Pug with a mind not suitable for crate training. Who knows? All-in-all he was successfully potty-trained and that was good enough for a couple living on carpeted floors.

French Bulldog on dog step

DONT CRATE ME!

After some debate, weighing in the pros and cons of crate-training, I’ve decided against it. Instead we will keep Lafayette in his Trolly (LINK) only when no one is home to supervise his every move or when needing to travel: visiting the Veterinarian, shopping, riding the metro, etc. Living without a dedicated crate means that we partition a small area at night next to our bed so that I’m able to hear when he wakes up and, believe me, we have every night! This means making sure we take him out every time he goes sniffing about after he’s finished playing, 1/2 hour after eating or drinking, or when waking up from a nap. So far, this little guys shouts out I-N-T-E-L-L-I-G-E-N-T! Admittedly, he’s had a few accidents on our hardwood floors but its expected as he’s a puppy whose only been with us for 11 days and sometimes we missed the obvious tell-tale signs of a dog getting ready to relieve themselves. Overall he’s a quite the fast learner and this makes us both happy to know we are providing adequate training.

Since I’ve been focusing on teaching Lafayette to “make” or “faire” on training pads on one corner of the terrace, I knew eventually he’d need to learn how to get himself to his spot when he didn’t relieve himself during our walks. Which by the way, he hasn’t mastered yet. There’s a lot of apprehension on his part and we’ve been taking it easy with him by gradually introducing him to the outdoors by upping the distance of our walks each time. When he doesn’t want to go any further, he starts crawling. It’s the cutest thing! He’s just a little guy whose getting used to the world around him.

Our terrace is situated about a foot above our living space ( who knows what reasons why these floors were designed the way they were) and he is unable to hop over the door rails until he reaches his full height. During most of the year, we’ve left our sliding glass doors open enough to allow fresh circulating air and this allows Lafaytte to easily let himself out if need be. In hopes he’ll be able to demonstrate free-will to let himself outdoors, he’ll need a step to help him for now.

What’s more creative and less inexpensive than buying a step for a pet you’ll probably be using temporarily anyways? YOUR OWN DIY STEP! Just google images for dog steps, however, you may find that you may want something more original than what’s displayed in the images. I wanted something really simple and easy to construct. Justin and I headed down to the Castorama and checked out some materials that could easily used to build a doggy step. Here’s what we found and how we did it…

DYI Step Materials

We bought this 1″ thick piece of ply wood for just 3 euros and these 6″ table legs (usually used for propping up box springs for beds) for 12 euros. I was unable to find wood thick enough for the length of the table legs so we opted for plywood. Keep in mind that plywood isn’t as durable and much harder to paint than solid wood but I think that this material will serve its temporary purpose.

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I made sure that the edges of the table leg would match up to the edge of the plywood by using two coloured pencils; one to mark the distance (a little over an inch) of where I planned to drill a hole and then using the marked pencil again to place at each corner to use as my guide.

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First, I used a screw bit to drill a small home. This purpose was to gradual break through the plywood so not to crack to the delicate edges. I was told this step wasn’t necessary and allowed Justin to drill the remaining 3 holes using just he drill bit tool.

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Using the drill bit make your hole almost until you’ve reached the other side of the plywood.

DYI Dog Step

Since your working with plywood, screw in table leg slowly to prevent splitting. Slight splitting and/or cracking  can be expected depending how close you are to the edges of your step stool. If I had a do-over I would have marked the drill space and inch or two deeper in from the corner which would still be close enough to prevent the step from toppling over.

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I had to turn the table on its side to make sure the legs were rotating evenly. I have one leg turned in a bit and when its made its first setting, its done! If you try re-screwing it straight you can expect some cracking like we did.  Oh well! Just a small cosmetic issue really…

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Ready to paint! I used the left over paint from my last DIYproject I completed here. (LINK)

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I set 3 even coats of white interior/exterior paint and set the plywood to dry overnight.

Lafayette on dog step stool

This simple and finished product is already by the sliding glass door and Lafayette is ready for training time! Who knows maybe later I might add some more material or add an embellished decor  to his doggy step, but only if I’m feeling doggy step crafty again. Maybe a wood panel to glue around the edges???  HMMM then again, only if I decide to turn his step into a low side table when he no longer needs it.

Have a great day!

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Bouledogues Français…

Ah! The French Bulldog! Just because this breed reveals the word “French” doesn’t mean this breeds ancestral bloodline originated from France. Confused? I was. The French Bulldogs history originally began in England. Making them, well English right? Well not entirely.  Here’s a little background  we can all remember easily…

English miniature bulldogs were introduced in Northern France when English textile workers migrated from Britain’s fallout during the Industrial Revolution around 1850-1860. It was during this time that miniature bulldogs popularity among the French soared! It was the French however who later developed this type of dog to have a more compact body, straighter legs and erect “bat ears.’’ Voila! The Bouledogues Français. Near the turn of the century American tourists discovered the French Bulldog and brought them over at the turn of the century where they achieved immense popularity in the United States. In fact this breed owes its existence to England, France, Germany and the United States.

Meet the French Bulldog

Meet the French Bulldog.

Don’t let their glum faces fool you. This breed is highly comical, intelligent and frisky. Just like another favorite of mine, the Pug! The French Bulldogs gentil demeanour makes them calmer and thus easier to socialize than most other breeds. No mean-spirited genes here despite their muscular bodies and somewhat combative stance. This breed is dependably amiable! I find them quite loveable and adorable. In fact, this is what this breed craves the most, your love and adoration.

Although French Bulldogs are most content lounging around the home, some exercise will keep their stocky frames strong and they’ll be less susceptible to weight gain or prone to developing problems with their hips from too much inactivity. Of course with any breed, there will always be pros and cons towards the breeds character and health. The best you can do is inform yourself of all the particularities towards that breed in order for you to make a well-informed decision when you are ready for a French Bulldog. For myself, I’ve always been fond of the snub-nosed dog breeds and despite their lists of common health problems, I end up taking the risk and doing my best in caring for my animal no matter what health issues arise.

French Bulldog Miniature

French Bulldog Miniature I picked up in Germany.

Raising dogs aren’t always easy, especially when their still puppies. But when taking the time for learning training techniques, you’ll learn how to deal with certain behavioural traits that will help you care for your dog as they develop.

Having raised a pup before, I’ve carried with me some basic know-hows on what I need to do to successfully keep my puppy happy, safe and potty-trianed so that he’ll grow into a satisfied, content and well-behaved fur child. I’ve listed a few of my personal tips below that may help anyone whose considering adopting a French bulldog.

TIP #1 The Doggy Space

Designate a little area for your pup where he/she can sleep and eat. As you know dogs don’t like to soil where they eat or sleep, and this way you reinforce the importance of maintaining this habit for when they gradually get the free reign to the rest of your home. Puppies explore, get into things they shouldn’t, and chew things that can harm them. By designating a place just for them you can keep them safe when your unable to watch their every move. I’ve partitioned out a corner of our bedroom and equipped our little guy with one large pillow for his bed and two smaller cushions to surround him.  On one side I’ve placed a few toys and at the other I’ve left space for a small water bowl. I feel its important to remove all access to water around 7pm. This will help eliminate the need to relieve themselves during the night.

Never use this space as punishment when your pet misbehaves. They won’t associate this space with their tranquil, safe, sleep and eating den area. When needing to place them in this area, I suggest placing a small treat and/or reassuring them with a “good doggy.” If they have misbehaved, a reinforced “NO” will work and then distracting them with a toy. When it’s time for bed, say “bedtime” or when it’s time to eat say, “eat  time.” Whatever time it is, use your words to describe the type of activity. This breed is highly intelligent and so it won’t be long before they come to understand you. Their propensity for stubbornness? Well as the saying goes… “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

Comfy pillows will keep his body warm and feeling secure.

Comfy pillows will keep his body warm and feeling secure.

Tip #2 Potty Training

Keep in mind that usually every time after playing, about 1/2 hour after eating, when waking up from a nap and in the middle of the night, you can expect the little pup to feel the need to relieve themselves. Take them to their designated spot every time and say a word associated with going to the bathroom. I like using the word “make.” Now that we are living in France I expect our dog to be bilingual and so I also include the french word, “faire” which also means “to make.” Because our puppy doesn’t know how to walk on a leash yet, I’ve laid puppy pads on one corner of our terrace and blocked off the area. I think it’s a good idea to pad train your French bulldogs for when he experiences an emergency or when the weathers bad and he’s unable to relieve himself outdoors. Remember, this breed doesn’t do well in hot weather or on long durations of walks. Thus pad training is a must! Most importantly, if your pup happens to have an accident indoors, and only if you catch him in the middle of the act, say, “no,” while picking him up immediately and taking him to his designated spot. From there, you’ll reinforce the potty training word.

French bulldog miniature.

My red Letts planner helps keep track of puppy needs.

Tip #3 Play Time

Toys are always a good idea for a young pup. I like plush squeaky toys that offer different textures such as twisted rope that doubles as a dental cleaning tool or hard jelly material surfaces that help massage gums. Because French Bulldogs’ teeth are very strong, the tougher the toy the better. I’ve learned to stay away from rawhide bones because these can be chewed through easily and can become a choke hazard for them. I like eco-friendly and toxic free bones or flavoured bio-safe toys. These are all sure to keep your pup busy. Try the Beco Bone from Beco Pets and hide special treats inside! I also recommend Biosafe toys from Rosewood Pet Products. Ours loves his scented and bouncy Rasberry toy

(click on the red for more information about these products)

Another important rule of thumb for me when training my pet is when playing fetch. Never play tug of war with your puppy if it doesn’t willingly release the toy from their mouth. By not promoting this tug-of-war action, this may help discourage aggressiveness or dominance issues later into adult hood. Instead, teach your pup to release the toy before you’ll partake in another game of fetch. I like saying “drop it.” Remember repetition is imperative. You’re caring for a puppy who doesn’t know any better.

This comfort monkey has a hidden squeaker and helps clean teeth.

This comforting jungle monkey from Rosewood has a hidden squeaker, a hidden chew bar and the twisted legs helps clean teeth.

When training a French Bulldog, take into account that although they are intelligent and usually eager to please their owners, French Bulldogs also have a reputation for being free thinkers. That means they can be very stubborn.Trying different training techniques are successful with this breed, so don’t give up if a certain method doesn’t work. Just remember consistency is key! I’ve provided just a few basic examples. Do your due diligence and research, research, research or consult a professional.

Thanks for reading and meeting the newest addition in our life…Lafayette!

Bisous,

Jeni