In Which Tula Drives Me Up a Wall
French Bulldogs are not known for being the most agile of animals. To be honest, your average Frenchie has a hard time climbing on to the couch, let alone climbing an obstacle. As with all things, however, there are exceptions.
Years back, I owned a gorgeous little brindle pied girl named Chicky. She was a wonderful dog, and the love of my daughter Nicole’s life. Unfortunately, she was also an escape artist – Chicky could climb fences.
The first time a neighbor told me that they’d seen her do it, I thought they were nuts. “Frenchies don’t climb fences” I muttered to him, and then spent the rest of the afternoon patrolling the fence and looking for holes. It took seeing her myself as she went over it to convince me that he wasn’t kidding, and to phone a fence company to come out and fix the area she’d been climbing – a spot where the chain link was pushed up against a tree, allowing her to get a foothold and catapult herself to the top. Unfortunately, the fence repair company never had a chance to come out – it took less than 24 hours after that first time I’d seen her for her to climb it, one more time, and drown in my other neighbor’s pool. Now I never assume a Frenchie can’t climb. Now I assume the opposite – that they can – and plan accordingly.
When we purchased our new house, I spent thousands having it securely fenced before we’d ever moved in. Tight bottom lines, pegged to the ground. Top rails. Heavy gauge wire. Height a foot higher than I could conceivably need for Frenchies. Separate areas around the pool, off the dog room, under the deck. We were set – or so I thought, until I found Tula skipping along behind me as I went out to the barn to empty the trash cans. I knew she’d gotten out somehow, but I couldn’t figure out how, or where. It took me one afternoon to find it, and hopefully to fix it.
Here’s a pictorial essay in which I illustrate that yes – Frenchies can and do climb fences, or in this case, five foot high sheer retaining walls.
Hopefully, that’s the end of Tula’s adventures in rock wall climbing, but now at least I know that I have to be hyper vigilant with her in my life. I’ve always made a habit of checking my fences daily – my fence installer said I’d make a ‘Good farmer’s wife’ – but now I also know I have to look for more than just the average escape opportunity.
The picture of her mid jump/climb up the wall is way too perfect! That absolutely captures (in a split second of time) the dynamic personality of most frenchies. I’m sure within a couple of hours after her valorous escape she was snuggled up with her people or her brothers and sisters for a loving snooze. Great shot!
What a clever girl! No surprise, though. Dax, my Frenchie, loves Agility and has no fear, whatsoever, of any of the obstacles!
Holly, what’s funny is that I’ve been reading your blog with the details you’ve written about Dax and Agility, and I’ve been thinking “Hmm, I think I’ve found Tula’s dream sport”.
Now I just need to find a club in my area – not the easiest thing to do up here, I’m afraid.
How old was Dax when you started training her?
Dax has been in agility for only about six months, and she’s three, so I guess we started her at about 2 1/2. And, as you know, she loves, loves, loves it!
I hope you’re able to find a club or agility trainer. Tula deserves to show off her talents!
Hey cool pictures….. just wondering if any one can help me with my new frenchie male that I bought from the breeder he’s two and he will climb the stairs but he will not go down the stairs by himself.