By, Katy Cable-TWR /A 4 min Read
Any day now I will be the grandmother of TWINS! I have babies in the brain! But that’s not all, with the pandemic forcing us to shelter-in-place, I know so many people who made the best of the situation by welcoming home a new “bundle-of-joy!” Most of my followers are PUG-OBSESSED like I am, but regardless of the breed (or none at all!) I want to share all the facts about your special new addition.
Believe it or not I never originally wanted a dog. I actually dreaded getting one and then I was introduced to PUGS! Now I know why people who love pugs say, "Its not just a dog, it's a PUG!" They’re darling. They’re hysterical. They tug at your heartstrings and all of the sudden you’re hooked and HAVE TO HAVE ONE!
First of all, no two pugs are alike. Don't assume that magical, snuggle bunny Pug on your neighbor's lap or that comical Pug dressed up singing on YouTube is what you’re going to get. Pugs, like all dogs can vary greatly in their temperament, energy, intelligence and independence ranging from go-with-the-flow to I'm-in-charge-of-everything. That being said, there are some gross generalizations that tend to be SPOT ON:
PUG PUPPIES: The best part of my job is having the opportunity to help out new pet parents shopping for their first puppy. Usually the puppy is cuddled in their arms dozing in and out of sleep. Just like a new sleeping baby, that in the blink of an eye turns into a high energy toddler on the move, the same holds true for puppies. Warn as I do, these parents are usually astounded when all too quickly that same puppy is a whirling dervish of energy who snuggles for 30 seconds (if at all) and then is off again to race around the house, leaving a trail of destruction in his or her path. Pug puppies are no different from any other puppy. Expect nipping, chewing, gnawing, jumping, pulling on your pant legs, shoe destroying, and lots of mayhem.
Here's the reality. The only puppy that’s a couch potato is a SICK puppy. Most are bundles of non-stop energy. You likely won't have a couch potato pug until at least the age of three and your pug may NEVER be a couch potato. Pugs from reputable breeders are more likely to have the pug temperament eventually, but they’ll all be little spitfires as puppies. If your pug is from the internet, a pet store, a newspaper ad, or rescue, then it's up for grabs what kind of temperament you may end up with. You might luck out and get a pug that has the solid and stable temperament that is the signature of the breed, but you might also end up with a pug like my Olive who has deep-seated issues stemming from horrific abuse. It may take diligent, loving, consistent, training to transform. -If ever!
One of the best ways to wear a puppy out (or any busy dog) is to engage them in activities that make them work and think. This is why I cannot say enough about obedience classes! It will be money and time very well spent. One short hour of training can do wonders for taking the edge off of a busy new pup! To be safe, I personally would hold off on indoor group classes until the pandemic is under control. I would invite a trainer to your backyard, well-ventilated room or another safe, controlled, outdoor area. Until a puppy has had their shots, it’s best to avoid exposing them to too many other dogs.
A High Maintenance Breed: Don't get me wrong. I love pugs, but they are, without a doubt, a high maintenance breed. They need and want a lot of attention. Pugs are and were bred for the sole purpose of being companion animals. They need people. They are often referred to as “VELCRO DOGS" so if you don't want a pet that is going to be wherever you are all the time (including in the bathroom!) then rethink getting a pug. If you’re going to be eventually be gone for long periods of time and/or be too tired to engage with your pug when you get home from work, or if you need to travel extensively and cannot bring your dog, then a pug likely isn't the dog for you. And puppies are developing and learning. They need stimulation, guidance, time and attention. Any pup left crated for eight to ten hours is going to be absolutely manic by the time you get home and will need you to devote the remainder of the evening to them.
House training: Pug puppies will not be house trained in a month two months. Or possibly even six. Some pick it up quickly, but most take much longer before they are completely consistent and reliable. And most pugs won't ask to go out. Pugs generally will not just go outside and do their business while you relax comfortably on the couch enjoying a cappuccino. If they’re outside, you'd better be outside with them. Most will not potty outside without your company and encouragement. (Actually the only thing they probably will do without your fanfare is EAT!) They ALWAYS prefer a lovely rug, pillow or blanket to going outside to do their business (especially in extreme heat or inclement weather.) Be aware of this!
PUG-ALICIOUS PUGS: Pugs have a variety of unique quirks that drive some people bonkers. They can be nosy, inquisitive, and often right under foot. Most are tremendously and dangerously food driven and will consume things that you don't consider edible. I'm not kidding. They will eat poop, grass, rocks, coins, sticks, basically anything they can get in their mouths. They ESPECIALLY love Kleenex and toilet paper And other contents of the trash can. It is your most important job to PUG PROOF your home to avoid tragedy! I never trust any pug around any food source, garbage or even cabinets that they can reach. Trash cans sit up high on countertops, gates are installed, locks are placed on cabinets and chairs pushed away from table tops because even a sedentary pug will muster up the energy to "table surf" if they can get FOOD. -I have many ER vet bills to prove it. Things I never knew lived under the bed and old food left in a jacket pocket or a backpack have been devoured in a NY minute. When I do home-checks for rescue groups this is my most important issue!
Pugs can be quite vocal barkers, criers, howlers, moaners and grumblers. As a breed, they have the widest assortment of noises I've ever heard. You may have watched videos of them singing and saying, "I love you". Mine all cry and howl with joy when I return home after time away. With the pandemic, that may have only been a 15 minute trip to grab take-out! And most snore louder than a 400lb man with a head cold.
Pugs are referred to as “multim in Parvo” meaning “A lot of dog in a small space.” Pugs are tough little dogs that pack a lot of punch in their compact bodies. They’re confident and have no clue how small they are. Most will not initiate a fight, but many will vigorously defend themselves or others TO THEIR DEATH if a fight starts. Often they are hopelessly outclassed in the fighting department and can get seriously hurt if owners aren't careful. To say they are a food driven breed is a huge understatement. Be prepared for issues with food aggression and resource guarding. Especially if you have black female pugs and other dogs in your pack.
Pugs are not fans of inclement or any extreme weather and will resist venturing outside in the cold, rain, snow, extreme heat or wind. And they can be prone to over-heating extremely quickly due to their "flat-noses.” Keep your environment in mind before getting a pug.
Pug Smarts: While many people perceive pugs as dumb dogs. They aren't. In fact, most are extremely smart. Their outrageous food drive usually makes them fairly easy to train. They make amazing therapy and service dogs and you won't find better sports about dawning costumes for photos and videos. And while they are so much fun to dress up and take out, it's often easy to forget they’re DOGS. They need to do dog things such as go to parks, meet other dogs, play and have fun. Because they’re smart, positive training, setting rules and boundaries is critical or you can end up with a problem on your hands. Pugs are very adept at figuring out what you will and won’t tolerate and just watch how they test the limits. You don't need to be a dictator, but all dogs want to know what the routine is and like a predictable world.
Pug Energy: While pugs aren't ideal running partners or known for being athletic, sporting or water dogs. There are some, like Surf Gidget the Pug, that excel at surfing, swimming, agility, run like Greyhounds and are fit as fiddles. Most pugs would consider running to the food dish as the day’s high-intensity workout. They are much happier flopped on the couch with you all day! However, that isn't good for either of you! One of the health benefits of dog ownership is that you both get outside for some fresh air and regular exercise. Which brings me to the next important point...
PUGS CAN EASILY GET FAT. As cute as they look with their square, barreling shoulders and chest, and the way they always act like they haven't eaten in a week, it is really easy to let them get dangerously obese! Pugs in particular need the right amount of food for their activity level. You significantly shorten their lifespan and quality of life by letting them get obese. (-See my blog on “Dog Pounds” )
PUG HEALTH: This, more than any other issue is often the undoing of many a pug owner. As with any pure breed dog, a plethora of expensive health issues may crop up. DO YOUR RESEARCH on the breed and especially on where you are getting your pug. Rescues generally have a good idea of the health issues facing a given dog--don't assume that a rescued pug is going to be a health nightmare. You do put yourself at risk for expensive health issues with pugs from pet stores, internet ads and the newspaper. Even reputable breeders who have genetic testing going back generations offer no guarantee that your pug won't have a problem.
Pugs have a very high rate of allergies—food being a big one—grains and bad carbs in particular. Pugs need a high quality diet. Grocery store kibble won't cut it and you can avoid a host of future problems if you start off feeding your pug a healthy, low-carb diet moist, raw-food diet. Check any of my food-related blogs for suggestions.
New Pug owners are always surprised to learn that fawn pugs shed like CRAZY. It's downright astonishing how much fur comes off those little bodies! They don't need extensive grooming you can't easily do yourself but they get enormous eye goobers and need regular cleaning of nose folds, ears and eye areas. And MY GOD they’re notoriously fussy about having their nails trimmed. You can see some real dramatic behavior around this. I've known several pugs to start screaming as if they were being killed at the slaughter before the nail trimming even started...
They also do a horribly scary thing called “reverse sneezing.” It sounds just like they’re gasping for air and are going to die. I ran my first pug, Raisin to the ER, TWICE, convinced he was suffocating and was politely told it was just a reverse sneeze and all pugs do it.
Pugs are one of the most affectionate, funny and overtly loving breeds you can ever own. To me, they’re worth every bit of effort, expense and time they require. I promise you these little clowns will provide hours of entertainment and completely melt your heart. But, in order to have a positive experience with this breed, I don't want anyone blindsided. As you can now see, a lot of time, and care must go into these amazing little creatures! My blog will be a great help keeping your new addition happy and healthy so I hope you’ll sign up. Feel free to message me if you have any questions or want additional resources. Pugs and kisses! -Katy 😘💝
🐾If you are interested in getting a pug, I hope you will consider rescuing one in need of a loving home. Message me for rescue groups in your area or check out the following rescues I work with here in So Cal:
The Pug Queen
Pugs and Pals
Pugs and Roses
Pug Rescue of San Diego
🐾Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.🐾