Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “House Trained” as Want to Read:
House Trained
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

House Trained

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,257 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep...with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She de ...more
Paperback, 301 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,257 ratings  ·  183 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of House Trained
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.4 stars
The first line had me, it was laugh out loud hilarious. I expected a humorous light romantic tale after that. The story was about life’s lessons, dreams found, the damage of secrets, and ultimately trust. It was more serious than that first line hinted at. I think that threw me off balance. I spent the first part of the book searching for the few funny bits and disappointed when it dragged me into the “preach it” zone instead. (more on that later) I wasn’t completely disappointed the la
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second read from this author and She has moved firmly into my favorite author category. She incorporates her love of dogs into her stories that at their core are about family. And most readers will find a character or two that they recognize.
Alex Halstad has the perfect life. An interior designer with a wonderful husband and a fur child by the name of Marie. Of course all is not as it seems. Just below the surface there are secrets, insecurity and long standing family tensions.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
I have to admit that about 15% into this book I almost said "no thank you" and was ready to move on. Then I looked at the number of stars (I don't read reviews before I read a book) and thought I should give it a little more time. I'm so glad I did. It was laugh out loud funny in places and so sad I could cry in others. This author did an amazing job with the story, characters. Of course, being a dog lover, my favorite character was Marie! Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a g ...more
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
After loving Rescue Me, Maybe, I couldn't wait to read this new release. All I can say is it did not disappoint. I quickly felt a connection to Alex. She is in love with husband and has never felt the need to have children in her life. A lot of the book focuses on Alex having to justify to friends, family and even herself why this decision is perfectly acceptable. I saw another review which felt that perhaps this was harped on too much throughout the book, but coming from someone who has never r ...more
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
(I almost DNFed this at 3% because Alex caught her husband talking to his penis in the shower - which he named Skipper, by the way - and spent the entire first chapter ranting how he should rename it something like Copernicus.)


Alex, for the most part, is happily married. They have no children and she is a self-proclaimed "dog mom" to her puppy, Marie, who is appropriately named after Marie Curie. When money starts getting tight - and her interior design business hasn't exactly taken off
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2015-reads
* I received this ebook at no charge from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

Opening line … “This morning I overheard my husband talking to his penis.”

Alex and Barry – to all appearances a happily married couple; childless by choice, they own a lovely home (decorated – several times – by Alex, the interior designer) and dote lavishly on their much loved and very well trained dog, Marie (named by Alex – after Marie Curie). Although they are happily married each has their own secrets. Ale
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the first line in "House Trained." It was a laugh-out-loud moment, which then led to curiosity. Good hook right off the bat!

This book really resonated with me on many levels. I especially appreciated the story line in that Alex, one of the main characters never had children, nor really wants them.

For years I carried a shame around not wanting children. In a world where it is so much about women having babies, to not have felt that same maternal extinct left me feeling weird and different
Linda Rowland
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is wonderful to watch Jackie grow as a writer. I almost could not put this one down but had to, since one of my errands for the day was buying dog food. Marie would not have appreciated that, nor would my too real dogs.
My favorite bits were when Alex kisses Marie between the eyes. I love that part of a dog. It is always soft.
I felt the same connection to Alex as many others have noted. Thank you Jackie.
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good! I loved how there were parts that were funny, serious, and sad. Our main character Alex is just lovable and constantly feels the need to tell people she doesnt want kids. For her and Barry, her husband, it was not a debate, both felt the same. A lot of the book has smart quips making Alex even more humorous. So the big issues between Alex and Barry are basically secrets and sort of secrets. When Marie comes knocking with the claims that she is his kid, it is shocking.

Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second time around

I read this story before, and I remember enjoying it.

This book is quite lovely, witty, and honest.
I really appreciate the topics pertaining to motherhood in it's many forms (even to our puppies). Having children is such a personal choice, and I don't think it should be our only value to the world.. The whole working mom versus stay at home mom is unfortunately very real as well. Instead of bullying women for their choices, maybe support would be a great alternative. Not all
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'd been looking forward to reading Jackie Bouchard's third novel House Trained for quite awhile. In fact, I pre-ordered it on Amazon as soon as I could. So when Jackie offered me an advanced reader's copy, I quickly said yes! I thoroughly enjoyed her first two books, What the Dog Ate and Rescue Me, Maybe. I was pretty sure I would enjoy this one, too. And I did!

House Trained is a story about trust, love and being judgemental - with a labradoodle dog named Marie playing an essential role:

Mary Brown
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep...with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their s
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Alex, and interior designer, and Barry, a senior member of the university research library staff at the nearby university, are childless by choice and living the life they want with their labradoodle, Marie (named after Marie Curie, Barry’s favorite scientist). In comes Barry’s college age daughter, whom her never knew he had, from a relationship years ago and her 15-month old daughter. The daughter, Wren, and her daughter, Ruthie, manage to convince Alex and Barry to let her and Ruthie live wit ...more
Kelly Brown
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-z-title-2015
I received an arc from Netgalley in return for a honest review.

Loved it! This was one of those books that was hard to put down. I was reading it anytime I could. I really did not read too many previous reviews or previous descriptions of the plot. I had previously read Jackie Bouchard and loved it. I saw this was once again focusing around a dog, so I dove right in.

Alex is the main character. She is a business oriented woman that has a husband, Barry, who works at a college, and a wonderful labr
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars!
This book started out hilarious with Alex overhearing her husband of over 18 years in the shower talking to his penis. He thinks she's left the house for work. Then it got down to the serious business the next day she gets the real shocking news. Barry has an 18 year old daughter with his ex girlfriend, Jade, which he never knew about until three days ago. Alex and Barry had decided a long time ago that they did not like kids and would be okay without having any. This definitely puts a
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received and advanced copy of this book in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

I thought this was a sweet story. Totally wasn't what I was expecting from the first few chapters. By the time Alex's husband's daughter showed up I was completely confused. This wasn't at all what it seemed from the first chapter. I was kind of expecting light-hearted funny, but it wasn't.

This book delves quite deep into the importance of trust and openness in a relationship. I appreciated the fa
Tracie Banister
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From the book’s hilarious opening line to its poignant, satisfying conclusion, House Trained is Women’s Fiction at its finest. Jackie Bouchard writes dog-centric stories with mature heroines, and Alex Halstad was a protagonist I could really relate to. Focused on her career as an interior designer and feeling content and secure in her decade-plus marriage to Barry and their decision to have a dog (adorable labradoodle Marie) instead of a child, Alex’s life is on a nice, even keel until the day a ...more
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NETGALLEY and LAKE UNION PUBLISHING for allowing to read and give an honest review.

This is the 2nd book of Jackie Bouchard's that I have read, and so far I am loving her writing.
This is a perfect woman's fiction novel, it has all the elements, humor, family drama, relationships between mothers, daughters, sisters, children, friends, and husbands. This is about Alex and Barry and their doggie child, Marie, they both decided to not have children and have careers. However, someone come
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a breath of fresh air to read characters who are truly nice ~ not conniving, not self-centered, and even though they are flawed, they are humble and admit their faults/mistakes. Bouchard is one of my favorite authors, and while, House Trained was not my favorite book by her, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. She is one of the best writers to capture the human-dog connection. She gets the LOVE and devotion of a dog and the family dynamics of owning a dog. I greatly appreciated how the dog wasn ...more
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this from Amazon (for Kindle) while it was "free", not expecting much, but hey - free is free, right? "Nothing ventured" and all that.

My first thought? Oh - a dog book. Great. I mean, I love dogs and all that but after watching 22,852 "cute" dog videos on Facebook, I'm a little "dogged" out.

What I found was a really good story, some humor, believable (and "real") characters, lots of humanness (I'm sure that's a word) and some terrific writing!! (I'm looking forward to my next book from t
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this book and really enjoyed it. Alex is an interior designer and mom of a scene-stealing fur kid named Marie. Within a matter of weeks, her orderly life is turned upside down when a teenage girl with a baby shows up on her doorstep. The teen is the daughter of Alex's husband, a child he never knew he had. Bouchard does an excellent job of introducing characters who will stay with readers long after they turn the last page, and of delving into what it means t ...more
Kathleen Gray
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's much more complex than the cover suggests. An excellent story about family- the ones we know and the ones we make. These were complex characters who were very real. Alex, Wren, and even baby Ruth were well drawn. It was totally not a predictable story, which I really appreciated. Thanks NETGALLEY for the opportunity to read this one. ...more
Peggy Frezon
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
House Trained is a funny, honest look at family--the good, the bad, the messy, and the misunderstood. Childless-by-choice Alex struggles with relationship challenges, but it's lovable labradoodle Marie who reminds her of the qualities we all aspire to, but only a dog perfects. This sweet and funny book is a Fido-friendly must-read. Jackie's humor is doggone delightful! ...more
Amanda Pemberton
This book was kind of copy another reviewer, it was a "breath of fresh air". The issues weren't exactly life or death (no murder, no evil, etc). The people were real with real flaws, they were good people who made poor choices, and worked within their own means to make life better. The focus on the dog fun to read. I will go pick up her other books from the library. Enjoyed it! ...more
Gail O'Connor
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely marvelous book. You could so relate to her problems and the story flowed effortlessly.. Hated for the book to end
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a slow start I really enjoyed this book, and will certainly check for future works by the author. She made the characters real and I enjoyed seeing the growth in her characters.
Janka H.
This novel is what I call an interesting beach read, or maybe food for thought and for walk with some of my more opinionated friend. Not a great psychological novel, but also not an airheady read, this one offers both the readable story and the flicks of deep vulnerability which I like.

The Halstads are a childless couple by choice. Nice, if a bit superficial couple. But the old 'sins' have long hands and one day a young girl enters their lives. Barry's daughter-the one he never knew he has had.
Kate Loveton
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HOUSE TRAINED is the perfect beach read. What’s not to like? An amusing narrator, a sweet dog, and a cute baby. From page one, I knew I was going to enjoy this lovely bit of fluff fiction.

The story concerns Alex, a woman who keeps the perfect house, is career driven, and who has never wanted children, despite the pressure she gets from family and the pitying looks from young mothers who feel her childlessness is abnormal. Alex is happily married to Barry, who shares her desire to remain childle
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such A Heart-Warming Novel

I chose this book because I needed a laugh after reading too many psycho-killer thrillers lately!
Also,I happen to be in a similar situation with a niece and her small child, temporarily living in our home,terrorizing our cats(who,I admit,cannot hold a candle to Marie the wonder -dog,in this book).
Anyway,the story takes interesting our interior designer heroine,Alex(I, too,was an interior designer about 35 years ago) adjusts to her husband's unexpected family;
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable book. I enjoyed the characters and the plot . I just didn’t expect the fire. It was a good story on how accepting dogs are in their own space. Marie is a smart dog. How many dogs will help put away their toys? Not mine! The story also showed how one can find similarities if just given a chance. I was surprised that both Alex and Barry were not atuned to “kids”. Most people who are attentive pet parents can easily transfer those parenting skills to babies. Alex did learn ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • All the Good Parts
  • The Seahorse Cottage (Cape May Series #5)
  • The Seahorse Cottage (Cape May Series #6)
  • The Seahorse Cottage (Cape May Series #3)
  • The Seahorse Cottage (Cape May Series #4)
  • I Wish You Happy
  • Digging In
  • The First Wife's Secret
  • Heading Over the Hill
  • Chasing the Sun
  • Girl A
  • The Lost Property Office (Section 13, #1)
  • Finding Forgiveness (Bluebird Bay, #5)
  • The Role Model
  • Selfish (When Bad Things Happen)
  • Midsummer Meeting
  • The Rainbow Through The Rain
  • Axel  (Lantern Beach Blackout: The New Recruits #2)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Jackie Bouchard used to be trapped in the hamster wheel of corporate America, but she was lucky enough to escape and now fully understands the term "struggling writer." Jackie loves: reading, writing, and, yes, even 'rithmetic (seriously, algebra rocks); professional cycling; margaritas; blogging (she never thought she'd say that, but she does); dogs in general, and her crazy rescue pup specifical ...more

News & Interviews

Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
79 likes · 11 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I think she’s earned a treat,” I say. I snitch three slices of strawberry out of my fruit salad and hand each of the boys a piece to feed her.” 1 likes
“the best” 0 likes
More quotes…