Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I think we've finally made some head-way with house breaking Jacques.  I've been giving him treats after he goes on his pad and this has coincided with a significant decrease in the number of accidents.  This evening alone he's stopped playing out in the living room twice to go to the pad to poop--this is awesome because he's never done this before.

I was hesitant to use the treats as a training tool despite knowing that French bulldogs as a breed are typically motivated by food.  Treats notoriously have lots of empty calories which can cause obesity in dogs, so I was thrilled to find some natural treats at my local Pet Valu that are simply freeze-dried cows liver and nothing more. And the dog loves them!  So does the cat, for that matter.  Also, Jacques isn't eating nearly as much as I expected he would so I figure a few nutritious treats won't kill him.

Having said all this, I really hope I haven't jinxed myself.  I've been lulled into a false sense of security by this puppy before--remember the first 24 hours?  I will remain cautiously optimistic until he can prove himself over the next several days.

In the meantime, please head over to my photoblog and vote for your favourite picture of Jacques.  Sadly, I couldn't convince Jax to pose with him....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trying to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

I decided to not put up a Christmas tree this year.  I've had a Christmas tree every single year since being on my own at age 19.  I bought my first tree for $9.99 at Canadian Tire--it was 3 feet tall and that first Christmas I decorated it with a homemade popcorn garland (which was entirely too much work and I never did that again!)  A couple of years ago, when we moved into our current apartment, I bought a larger tree since we had a bigger space that would make a larger tree fit better.  It was also purchased at Canadian Tire, cost $24.99 and was 4 1/2 feet tall.

The other reason I had to get a larger tree was I've accumulated a tonne of ornaments.  I try every year to get a "special" ornament and these have grown to a large number which just couldn't all fit on a 3 foot tree.  Then, last year my Mom gave me the family collection of "special" ornaments so now even my 4 foot tree seems to bend under the strain.

So why did I forgo the tree this year?  A few reasons--I am concerned about the potential danger to Jacques who is a quick little bugger and might do some damage to it or himself if I let my guard down for even a second; I won't be here at Christmas, I'll be in Huntsville with my brother and his family so I will get my fair share of tree there; My Honey isn't able to come home for Christmas this year since he's used up all his vacation time so he won't be here to appreciate it; and lastly, it's been a tough year with more losses than I care to name and I just don't feel like it.

Now I know some of you will think these excuses are just that--excuses.  You'll think it would be good for me to put up the tree, embrace the Christmas spirit and chase away the blues with tinsel and lights.  I appreciate your concern, but I'm here to tell you you're wrong.  There's nothing more depressing than putting up a tree by yourself that no one (besides yourself) will see and then taking it down by yourself after Christmas when the sugar-high has worn off and the reality of 3 more months of freezing cold and snow is setting in.

By not putting up a tree, I can worry less about my dog, I can get my fill of Christmas cheer back in Huntsville without the work of putting up or taking down the tree, and lastly I don't have to look at all those "special" ornaments that will flood me with bittersweet memories of Christmas's past with my Mom.  I'm just not ready for that.  Instead, I'll be making new memories with my adorable nieces and my wonderful brother and sister-in-law who really need me there this year to bring the festive and not the sad and depressed.

So, instead of having my own tree, I've installed a Photos of Christmas Trees widget on the right-hand side of my blog.  Here I go, bringing the festive!  You're welcome.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So Freaking Tired

Okay, no more talk about pee an poop except to say this--the diarrhea seems to be improving and we still have a long way to go with house-breaking.

Today I had to go back to work so Jacques was left to his own devices.  As far as I can tell, he didn't get into anything he shouldn't have and didn't destroy his bed, his kennel or any of the plethora of toys I left him with. Mind you, he was confined to the bathroom so there wasn't much he could get into.  I came home at lunch to feed and water him but other than that he was on his own for just over 8 hours.

Jax is still handling things like a champ--I have to say he's doing way better than I thought he would.  We had a nice snuggle on the couch tonight while watching TV.  It would appear he's forgiven me for "the interloper."

Didn't get the best sleep last night--Jacques woke me up 3 times to "do his business" so I'm absolutely exhausted and going to bed.  Right.  Now.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hours 49 to 72

Jacques and I had another terrific night with no accidents and a pee break at 1am.  We woke up at 6 this morning (there's been too much sleeping in going on around here) and he ate all his breakfast.  Then the first set back occurred--he pooped (not diarrhea, thankfully) on the floor in the hall.  Not on his pad.  Accidents happen, but as it turns out this was going to be a harbinger of things to come.

We had a good play-time in the living room whereupon Jacques again raided Jax's toys, discovering items long since forgotten.  Speaking of Jax, he's pretty much behaving completely normally now--he's back to being his snuggly, needy self and he's eating normally, too.  He still hisses at Jacques and keeps his distance for the most part, although he is daring to come closer.  He's not sniffing/tasting the air as much and he seems perfectly content to nap on the back of the sofa while I sit on said sofa and hold Jacques.  Hey, if this is as good as it ever gets then I'm a happy camper!

At 10, Jacques and I went to visit my Dad and his wife (aka Grampy and Grammy).  They were babysitting her niece and all three of them instantly fell in love with Jacques.  Unfortunately, Jacques promptly christened the living room carpet, despite my excellent plan to bring a dry but used pee pad and making sure he knew where it was right away.  He proceeded to pee on the floor a total of 3 times.  Granted it wasn't much--just a few dribbles--but I was getting frustrated.  He had been doing so well at home but here he was going all over the place!  I was glad I'd not brought any food or allowed him any water which probably helped to minimize the damage.

We left around 12:30, Jacques thoroughly worn out and nodding off in the car (despite the pee issues, my Dad and his wife absolutely adore Jacques and can't wait for another visit.)  Back at home he again ate all his lunch and I left him to have a little nap while I snuggled with Jax.  After an hour or so I let Jacques out for another romp in the living room but this turned out to be a bad idea.  After briefly playing with a few toys and taunting the cat, Jacques started to sniff and circle suspiciously.  Just as he was about to "assume the position" I chased him back to the bathroom and corralled him onto the pad.  After a few escape attempts he eventually made a small poop on the pad (just barely) so I let him back out to play.  Well, the next thing I know he's crouching again, this time on the carpet.  I quickly scooped him up and brought him back to the pad, but he frustratingly refused to go.  By now I've finally smartened up and I leave him in the bathroom for a while.  His accident in the living room is small--only a few drops--but it's a wake up call.  He's still a puppy and now he's feeling confident enough to test me.  Clearly we still have a long way to go with this training business.

Unfortunately the set-backs didn't end there--I got a call from the vet and apparently Jacques has an intestinal parasite.  It's pretty common and easily treated but it's probably the cause of the diarrhea he's been having.  At a cost of about $25 I have to give him a pill every day for 10 days at which point he should be cured.  There's no risk of it being transmitted to me or the cat but I do have to thoroughly clean up his poop to prevent him from reinfecting himself.

And lastly, Jacques has really bad farts.  And I don't mean "oh isn't that cute, he farted!"  I'm talking eye-watering "silent but deadly" emissions of noxious gases.  On the bright side, now I can blame mine on him.

To finish off, here are a few pics I took of Jacques this morning playing desperately with all the cat's toys:

That's it--bite him right on the bum.


Aaaaaaand the diarrhea's back again.  Big time.  So for now, Jacques is confined to quarters (ie the bathroom) until further notice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hours 25 to 48

Last evening was fairly uneventful--I played a bit with Jacques and tried to snuggle with the cat, chatted a bit online with My Honey, watched some TV.  A nice relaxing evening with my happy, wonderful pets.  Yeah, right.

Anyway, Jacques went to bed very well and I was smart enough to set the alarm clock for 1:30am at which time we got up and he did a pee (no accidents!) and then we went back to bed.  He slept through to 7 again and then right away did another pee and poop on his pad (yay!) while I got Jax fed and the coffee on for me.  Unfortunately, the poop was, well, "loose" shall we say.  I was a tad bit dismayed but he seemed to be feeling fine so I didn't worry about it.  I did start worrying when he refused to eat--he had some water but he wouldn't touch his food.  I left it with him for about 15 minutes and then gave up.

After that I decided to let him roam the living room a bit--he'd already peed and pooped and since he hadn't eaten anything I figured we were safe for a little while.  Jacques frolicked and took off with Jax's toys while I snapped a few pics (head on over to my photoblog for a peek) and Jax eyed us warily from the safety of the dining room which I had blocked of with a baby gate.  At one point, however, Jax decided to take a closer look.  Jacques of course took this as an invitation to play--not what Jax had in mind.  Jacques playfully "barked" (I put this in quotes because his bark is so quiet and non-eardrum-piercing that I'm a little embarrassed to actually call it a bark) and sorta darted toward Jax.  Well, Jax decided that was a little too close and gave Jacques a good swat with his (thankfully declawed) left paw.  Evidently Jacques is a very smart little puppy because he correctly interpreted this bell-ringer as a sign the cat was not in the mood to play and he backed off post haste.

The rest of the morning was uneventful and at 12:30 (after unsuccessfully trying to entice Jacques to eat) he and I took a little trip to the vet for a quick look-see.  After scoring a clean bill of health (and thoroughly charming the vet and her staff with his good manners and even better looks) we took a swing by the parking lot of my work-place (where he charmed a few of my co-workers and showed off his adorable new winter jacket) an finally arrived back home for a nap.

While Jacques dreamed his puppy dreams, Jax and I had some alone time on the couch.  He's much more snuggly today and that makes me very happy.  He's also not hissing at Jacques unless the dog intentionally comes toward him--before he would just hiss if the dog was in his vague general vicinity.

Jacques and I just spent some time playing on the floor and he (finally!) ate some dinner, but he's still having diarrhea issues which I hope will clear up by tomorrow.  At least he's still pretty consistently going on his pad and doesn't appear to be sick.  I'll set the alarm for 1:30 again and see how things go.

Here's a pic from Jacques first trip to the vet:

No shots of him in his new coat today--the weather was crappy and neither one of us wanted to hang around outside.  Maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The First 24 Hours

My dog is so full of the win it is unbelievable.  And my cat's no slouch, either.

Jacques arrived at about 6pm last night and Jax was not impressed.  Jacques was greeted with hisses and growls--not exactly a warm welcome.  But there was no violence; in fact Jax was very friendly with the breeder, letting her pet him even.  So long as she wasn't holding the dog.  Jax was having none of that--he gave the dog a wide berth and I can't really say I blame him.  He didn't run an hide, though--he hung around the whole time which I count under the "victory" column.

After the breeder left, I took Jacques over to what will be his domain for the next several weeks--the bathroom. I want to make sure he's fully house-broken before I let him have unfettered access to the rest of he apartment (except for the bedroom, of course.)  I put down a pee pad and immediately he went pee and poo on the pad!  I was thrilled!  I let him acclimate to his crate and toys--he took to one particular chew toy right away so I put it in his crate and he gradually followed it in.  We experimented with closing the door a few times, but he didn't seem to mind that one bit.

While all this was going on, Jax was watching us and occasionally hissing but he made no attempt to jump over the gate and enter the bathroom even though I knew full well he could if he wanted to.  I left Jacques alone in the bathroom with his stuff for a while and spent some time with Jax but he was too keyed up to snuggle for long.  At around 9:30 Jacques was clearly worn out and went into his crate with no fuss, did a little "decorating" with his blanket and promptly fell asleep.  I brought him into the bedroom with me so I could hear him whine in the night (if he had to pee, which I knew he would) and off we went to sleep.

Now, this is where I made a mistake--I didn't set my alarm to wake up in 4 hours (how long I figured Jacques would be good for until he had to pee again) and just assumed I'd hear him whine and that would be enough to wake me up.  Sadly, it wasn't, mostly because he didn't whine he just sorta snuffled and that was too quiet for me to hear until it was too late.  I did wake up, but he had already peed (I think I just missed it) but I whisked him off to the bathroom anyway and that was a good thing because he promptly pooped on his pad. Once he was done his business we went back to bed and he settled down and went back to sleep almost immediately.  He slept right through to 7 when I woke him up, no more accidents!  And he went pee and poo right away on his pad immediately after I let him out of the crate.  So, It would seem we might have a handle on this house-breaking thing after all!

Jax has been much more relaxed around Jacques today, which has filled me with hope that this will be less painful than I had feared.  Jacques is fine to be left to his own devices in his "area" which encompasses the bathroom and the hallway, although he pretty much sticks to the bathroom.  A couple of times he's whined and sorta barked for attention, but that was short-lived once he realized I wasn't coming.  This makes me feel much better about leaving him alone for a few hours while I'm at work and leads me to believe he won't bark too much and be a nuisance to other tenants.  He also hasn't had a single accident, going to the bathroom on his pad every single time.  I'm not prepared to give him free-reign in the apartment yet (it has only been one day) but I'm very encouraged.

We went out to Pet Valu to get him fitted for a halter and a warm coat and he was very well behaved and didn't pee at all in the store.  He's not a fan of his leash so we'll have to work on making a positive association for him.  I might try taking him outside tomorrow with it on and bring some treats.  I'll take a picture of him in his little coat tomorrow so you can see how freakin' adorable he looks in it.

As for Jax, he's spent most of the day either on the window sill or on the dining room chairs.  I've really tried hard to give him lots of attention, petting him a lot and trying to encourage him to snuggle when Jacques is in his "area", but he hasn't been very receptive to snuggling.  He's still eating well and he seems very calm so I'm hoping this is just his way of punishing me.  I'm sitting here eating my dinner right now and he's making no effort to come over and check it out which is very unlike him.  But all things considered I think he's doing very well with all this and it gives me hope he'll eventually come around.  The first 24 hours have gone way better than I could have hoped--keep your fingers crossed the next 24 go just as well.


I spoke too soon--Jacques just pooped on the floor in the hall.  It's a good thing I'm keeping him where I can easily find his little "presents."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today Is The Big Day!

As many of you already know, I'm welcoming a new addition to my family.  No, I'm not pregnant--I'm getting a dog.  Today.

He's a French bulldog and his name is Jacques.

French bulldogs are great for apartment-dwellers like me--they don't need a lot of space or exercise and they generally don't bark very much.  They are small dogs--adults weigh around 20lbs--but they think they're large dogs so they don't have the tendency to yap a lot like small dogs often do.  I've been over to my breeder's house several times and I haven't heard the mother bark at all and the puppies very rarely.  They do make the snorting and snuffling sounds typical of bulldog breeds due to their smooshed-in faces.

In case you're wondering what French bulldogs look like, they're much smaller than English or American bulldogs and their ears stand up instead of folding over.  When mine's full-grown, he'll look much like this guy, but right now he looks like this:

Now, I know what you're thinking--"Hey Kendall, don't you already have a cat?  What's he gonna think of this?"  Yes, I am a little worried about how Jax will react to Jacques, but I'm hoping if I don't make a big deal about it, keep myself calm and let them take their time, eventually they'll at least tolerate one another.  I'm ensuring that the bedroom remains Jax's domain, giving him a place where he can get away from the puppy and where we can spend time together just the two of us.  Jacques will only be allowed in the bedroom at night and only in his crate.  I've also purchased a couple of baby-gates that I plan on using in various configurations to keep the two of them separated when I'm not around to supervise.

It's going to be a lot of work and I probably won't get much sleep over the next several days, but it's something I've been thinking about for quite a while now and I'm well prepared for what's to come.  I know many of you will think I'm completely mad for doing this and maybe I am.  Look at it this way:  it will make good blog-fodder!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Backin' Up

My friend Katie posted this link a few days ago, but I just had to share it here.  Trust me--you're gonna love it!