Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

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.

ChickyYears 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.

Fencing around property Before we moved in, we spent a lot of money making sure our property was securely fenced. This meant a seperate dog area off of the house, fencing around the pool, and a third fenced area off of the family room downstairs. This area runs off of the dog run area, and underneath the deck. It’s bordered on one side by a sheer retaining wall, about five feet high.
Fenced area underneath deck Here’s a closer view of the fenced area under the deck. The double doors lead to the family room, while the open door to the right leads into the dog room. To the lower and middle left, you can see the retaining wall in the shadows.
Retaining Wall Here’s the lowest part of the retaining wall. I first assumed that Tula must somehow be climbing into the open gap left near the fence post – that’s why I attempted to fill it to the level of the rest of the wall using large stones.
Tula Looking Up Here’s Tula looking straight up the retaining wall. As you can see, it’s almost completely sheer. The edges of each retaining stone leave a lip that is, at most, only about 1/4 inch wide.
Tula Climbs the Wall There goes Tula! One good jump takes her most of the way up, then she quickly grips the wall and is at the top.
Tula the top Tula at the top. She can do this jump in about ten seconds, tops. She doesn’t even hesitate – and bear in mind that she’s only six months old in these photos.
Retaining Wall fixed Here’s the repaired retaining wall. We laid some left over split rail fencing against the retaining stones, leaving Tula without a solid surface to climb. The cedar rails make her nervous – the wobble if she leans on them. She spent the afternoon after I added them patrolling the yard and trilling in frustration while she looked for an alternate way out….

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.


5 replies
  1. Adam Gothelf
    Adam Gothelf says:

    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!

  2. Hope
    Hope says:

    What a clever girl! No surprise, though. Dax, my Frenchie, loves Agility and has no fear, whatsoever, of any of the obstacles!

  3. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    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?


  4. Hope
    Hope says:

    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!

  5. steven
    steven says:

    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.

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