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.