Pug Life Magazine is the premier pug culture and lifestyle online magazine for pug owners and enthusiasts. Pug people are a passionate group who love to interact with fellow pug people and share their common threads of living the 'pug life.' Pug Life Mag provides a one-stop home for all things pug.
Oh summer, you beast you. While puggies love romps and scuttles in the yard, it doesn't take long for the heavy breathing to kick in. So, fellow pugs, my advice to you is drink plenty of water, find a nice shady spot, and enjoy the heat while it lasts. And, don't forget to smell the flowers (not eat them).
After a long snowy (or not snowy) winter, the sun is finally out longer, which means more fun in the sun for all Tepsi's fellow pug freens out there. Tepsi is the playing machine. It's all in until she is all burnt out. If you lover playing too, give Tepsi a follow on Instagram.
One of the charms of pugs is their cute little smooshed faces. The pug-look is one of those aspects that draws people to the breed time and time again.
When a dog has a flat face (like Shih Tzus, Bostons, Pekinese and yes, pugs) it’s called brachycephalic, meaning “shortened head.” There are many bigger dogs that fall into this category like Bull Mastiffs, Boxers and Bulldogs, as well. The shortened head look is a trait we’ve bred into our canine companions over time.
When you look back at pug art through history, you’ll notice, while they still had a distinctly pug look, over time, pugs have been bred to be more and more pug-like. This means big, alien eyes, shorter and shorter snouts and more wrinkles.
As cute as this look is, it’s also not healthy for the pug. Sadly through breeding we’ve caused many problems for pugs that are hard to overcome. In fact, many pugs struggle to give birth naturally and for this reason (and many others) you must always spay and neuter your pug.
The challenges faced by pugs are why we strongly advocate for supporting pug-rescues over pug-breeders. So many people buy a pug puppy because they love the look, not realizing the many problems pugs can face. When they aren’t prepared to deal with these challenges, the pug is often tragically abandoned or dumped. Irresponsible and horrible backyard breeders and puppy mills abound and sadly, they don’t focus on pug health, but on increasing the pug characteristics that are actually unhealthy and tough for the breed.
If you long for a pug, don’t worry--there are so many that need good homes! Check out our guide to pug rescues to find a pug in your neck of the woods who’s ready for a forever home. Not only will you be saving a dog in need, but you’ll come to love and enjoy one of the most charming, sweet, loyal and fun dogs out there. Pugs are perfect, not because of their cute looks, but because of their great personalities!
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about brachycephalic dogs.
Among the challenges brachycephalic dogs face are:
Dental issues: Because brachycephalic dogs have small mouths, they’re more prone to tooth loss and decay. Often their small front teeth will get loose and fall out, simply because there’s not enough gum tissue to hold the teeth in place. While there’s not much you can do to prevent tooth loss, keeping your pugs
teeth cleaned regularly will help. If you start brushing at a young age, it’s easy to get your pug comfortable with a toothbrush.
Elongated soft palate: The soft-palate tissue covers or obstructs the airway. This condition may require corrective surgery and almost always results in snoring, loud breathing and frequent panting.
Everted laryngeal saccules: This causes pouches in the larynx to become everted or turned, which causes major breathing obstruction. Again, this is a condition that requires surgery to correct.
. Because the eyes protrude from the skull, they’re more vulnerable to damage and injury. Ulcerations and dry eye are common issues. Consult with your vet on your pugs eyes regularly, early and often. Sometimes a simple lubricating gel can help prevent the eyes from getting dry and thus, more prone to infection. Eyelid canthoplasty can also be performed to help close the eyelid slightly, protecting the eye from injury and problems.
Stenotic nares: This is another term for collapsed nostrils. If your pug is a mouth-breather, this is often the cause. While this condition is particularly common in puppies (and some grow out of it), the surgery to correct it is very simple.
Tracheal stenosis: This means the trachea narrows or collapses, resulting in a loud, honking cough. If the pug is young, this can be corrected with surgery. In older pugs, this is often treated with steroids, bronchodilators and a recommendation for weight loss (obesity can cause undue pressure on the windpipe, making this condition more likely and severe).
The Best Ways to Protect Your Pug from Brachycephalic Problems
While we wish we could wrap our pug babies in protective bubble wrap or put them in a pug-sized hamster bubble, we can only do so much to keep them safe. At the end of the day, pugs are dogs, and they love to play, romp and run around like dogs--it’s important to their quality of life.
To protect your pug as much as possible, we recommend the following:
1. Always Use a Harness & A Leash
Collars can cause undue pressure on your pug’s trachea, neck and eyes. Because of pug’s unique shape, a harness is a much better choice and fit. Some pugs can easily slip a collar anyway (a hazard of having a thick neck). Always keep your pug on a leash as well and avoid retractable leashes. These leashes don’t offer as much control over your pug and it’s hard to “reel them in” when your pug is charging toward a sharp hazard. Instead use a 6-8 foot leash and think of it as holding your pug’s “hand” when they go out into the world. You are their best protector against injury and harm.
2. Keep Your Pug Cool
Brachycephalic dogs and heat don’t mix. Because dogs don’t sweat, they pant to cool off. Panting or mouth breathing is much tougher for brachycephalic dogs. Keep your pug cool. They should always have plenty of access to water. On hot days your pug should be kept in air-conditioned or cool areas. Provide them with a cooling bed to rest and don’t push them too much when the weather’s warm.
3. Keep Your Pugs Weight in Check
One of the best things you can do to help your pug breath-easy is to keep their weight in check. Pugs are prone to obesity and it’s one of the top causes of pug health problems. Even if your pug struggles with breathing, they need regular exercise and healthy snacks (carrots and green beans are great options your pug will love)! Don’t allow pugs to free-feed as a pug appetite knows no bounds. Also, watch the table scraps and people food--pugs should have a high protein, healthy diet.
4. Spay or Neuter Your Pug
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: spay or neuter your pug. Always. Breeding is quite dangerous for pugs and many struggle with the birthing process. Keeping your pug spayed or neutered will keep them calmer, healthier and less prone to the many problems that intact animals can face (like cancer).
5. Don’t Support Bad Breeding
The AKC has very strong guidelines for registered breeders, but unfortunately scams are everywhere. Puppies listed on Craigslist, at “puppy stores” in the mall and even online are often victims of poor breeding practices. If you choose to purchase a pug, you should only buy from an AKC registered breeder who allows you to visit and pick up your puppy. Breeders that offer to ship your puppy (brachycephalic dogs struggle with air travel) or offer “teacup” breeds are especially dangerous. Expect to pay $2000+ for a pug puppy. If you find a puppy for much less, chances are high they’re from an irresponsible breeder.
A far better option is to get your pug from a rescue. This method is even recommended by the AKC Pug Dog Club of America. There are thousands of pugs discarded every year because the owners didn’t realize the responsibilities of raising a healthy pug. Even if you’re seeking a young pug or puppy, you can often find many great pugs through rescues--perfectly healthy, beautiful pugs who are just waiting for their forever home.
6. Brush Your Pugs Teeth
Keep your brachycephalic dog’s teeth in good shape with regular brushing. You can use a finger brush or a small, soft toothbrush made for toddlers. Always use toothpaste formulated for dogs! Many brands of “people toothpaste” contain artificial sweeteners which can be toxic to dogs if swallowed (and it’s impossible to brush a dog’s teeth without them swallowing the paste). With regular practice your pug will let you brush his teeth without a fuss. Start slow, treat often and work up to a regular brushing practice. Just like humans, it’s best if teeth are brushed at least daily (yes, really).
7. Take Your Pug to the Vet Regularly
After reading this, you probably realize the importance of regular vet visits for your pug. Your vet can quickly identify any of the brachycephalic issues outlined above. They will help you figure out what to do if your pug is facing health concerns and they can guide you with the best practices to protect your pug. Your pug should visit the “dogtor” every year for a check up, even if they’re in top health. They should be on a flea and tick preventative as well as heartworm preventative and be regularly vaccinated. With breathing issues, any illness can quickly turn life-threatening. Prevention is the best course of action.
8. Pay Attention to Your Pug
Remember, you know your pug better than anyone else. If you notice any health issues or something that doesn’t quite seem right, get it checked out quickly. Listen to your pug’s breathing and snoring. Yes, sometimes it can seem excessive but if you notice a marked increase in wheezing, panting or struggling, it’s cause for concern. Coughing is another issue that should be addressed as well. Regularly check your pugs eyes and teeth to ensure everything looks to be in tip top shape. If your pug is pawing at their eyes, squinting or frequently blinking, get them to the vet right away. You’re the best defender of your pug!
Pugs truly are wonderful dogs. They’re great family dogs and have perfect, sweet, laid back personalities. They’re little goofballs who make us smile all the time. With that cute pug face comes a few issues, but the good far outweighs the challenges.
Pugs are the best! Being aware of the issues faced by brachycephalic dogs, will help you keep your pug healthy and happy for years to come.
Ah spring has sprung. Everypuggy knows when the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, pugs are in their prime!
Spring brings tons of exciting smells, places to dig, rabbits and squirrels to chase and more. The weather’s perfect for pugs, as long as it’s not raining. It’s not too hot and not too cold. The sun is up, the sky is blue…
But like every season it’s important to be aware of some of the common springtime hazards and safety concerns for your pug. It’s a great time of year, so let’s make it a happy, healthy time too. Here’s what you need to know to keep your dog safe and happy in the spring!
1. Take Advantage of the Temperate Weather
When the weather hits that perfect range between 55-80 degrees (that’s 12-26 celcius), your pug is their sweet spot. We all know that heat is tough on our flat-faced friends but they don’t love the cold weather either.
For pugs with a single coat (usually black pugs and some fawn) you may want to include a light jacket or sweater until the weather warms up to 65 degrees. Double-coated pugs (often fawn) are quite comfortable at 55, but would still love a fun spring bandana or a new harness to jazz up their wardrobe.
Spring is primetime to get in extra walkies! Pugs love walks and it will help them maintain their weight, or work off any extra winter pounds. If your pug has been slacking on the exercise front, work up to regular walks by starting small. A block or two is usually plenty to start, but eventually aim for 20-30 minute walks twice a day, with a few shorter jaunts in between. While pugs don’t need as much exercise as some dogs, it’s important that they still get regular activity so they don’t struggle with weight.
If you choose to take your pug to the dog park, keep in mind they should be up on all vaccines, and of COURSE spayed or neutered. Many dog parks have a small dog area, which can be a safer spot for pugs who love to run with the big dogs, but aren’t always aware of their size and limits. Always always keep your pug on a leash or in a fenced area. Pugs shouldn’t be left outdoors unsupervised.
2. Smell (Don’t Eat) the Flowers
May flowers are beautiful! Pugs have a good sense of smell and there’s nothing your sweet puggy loves more than a leisurely chance to sniff the flowers (and the dirt, and anything else they pass on their walk). Give pugs a little extra time to linger during their spring walks.
There are many spring plants coming into season, but it’s important to remember some are poisonous to pugs. Pay particular attention to lillies and plants in the onion family (chives, allium and green onions). Foxglove and Bleeding Hearts are also poisonous, and some bulbs (tulips, iris and daffodils) can cause tummy upset.
Other spring yard hazards to watch for: mushrooms and toadstools. Pugs can be curious about these fungi, but they can be poisonous and deadly. Keep your yard cleaned up and keep pugs away from these plants.
Spring also brings bunnies, geese and yes, droppings. Some pugs just can’t get enough of these gross snacks. Not only are they yucky but they can also contain bacteria and parasites. Keep your pug away from any bunny biscuits around the yard. Always walk them on a leash and supervise pugs when they’re outside.
3. April Showers Bring...Poop Strike
A minor hazard of springtime is that some pugs REFUSE to do their business when the weather is rainy. If your pug is sensitive about the weather, you may want to walk using a large umbrella to keep them nice and dry while they go.
If the weather is very bad, you can train your pug to use a certain area of the yard for their bathroom, covered with a tarp, umbrella or another overhang. Some pugs are more willing to go if they’ve got a little overhead protection.
It’s important your pug goes potty frequently. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, take them out as often as possible so they have the opportunity to go. If you provide your pug with pee-pads or an indoor space to “go” keep it very clean and dispose of it right away. Bear in mind, that allowing your pug to go indoors can cause some training regression, so you may need to patiently brush up on skills once the weather settles down.
As we’ve stressed many times before, an accident is never your pug’s “fault” and they shouldn’t be punished for potty accidents. An indoor whoops is a failure on the part of the owner not the dog. Often they won’t understand what they’re being punished for, and it will only make them fearful.
Instead, clean the area thoroughly and resolve to take your dog out MORE frequently. An accident is a sign that your pug needs an increase in his or her potty breaks. Remember they’re dependent on you to do their biz. So, grab an umbrella, put on your raincoat and promise plenty of treats once the deed is done.
4. Flea & Tick Season is Here
We recommend you follow your vets advice, but our vets recommend flea and tick preventative as well as heartworm preventative all year round. If this is the case, there’s no need to fear flea, mosquito and tick season.
If you took a break over the winter, don’t hesitate to start up flea and tick preventative right away (heartworm prevention should be given all year long). Spring weather means bugs larvae may hatch before you know it or start to see the results. Keep your pug protected.
Discourage your dog from exploring tall grasses, scrub brush and piles of rotting leaves. These areas are very interesting to dogs, but they’re also home to many critters you don’t want living on your pet.
5. Watch Out for the Easter Puggy
Spring brings Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day and other chocolate-friendly holidays. While chocolates and lilies make beautiful gifts for mom, they’re no good for canine pals. Keep treats safely out of the reach of your furbabies.
These spring holidays also mean get-togethers and parties. While often these aren’t quite as robust as Christmas and Thanksgiving, there can still be a lot going on. People coming in and out of the house may not know the details of pug care. Doors can get left open and treats can be given that aren’t so terrific for your pug.
Let guests know you have a pug (don’t worry, your pug will probably let them know first) and explain your dog is on a special diet, watching their weight or you’re simply concerned about them getting table scraps and treats. Most good guests are happy to oblige. You may also want to put a note on your door to remind guests to pull it shut (or put the toilet seat down) so your fur friend doesn’t get into trouble.
Spring also means travel and spring break. If you leave your pug with a sitter, be sure they know all the details of how to contact your vet should something go awry. Include the number of emergency care and explain your preferences in a dire situation. You may even wish to leave them access to emergency money (or provide your vets office with a credit card to keep on file) should anything arise. Leave clear instructions and of course, always make sure your pet is tagged and microchipped in case they stray.
6. Spring Cleaning for Pugs
Aaahchoo! Pugs are often sensitive to allergies and respiratory trigger, especially in the spring season. The same pollen and dust that awaken your hayfever can also affect your pug. If your pug seems to be suffering from the sniffles you may want to visit your vet who can advise you on allergy treatments.
Similarly, keep pugs out of the room when you dust and clean. Chemical cleaners and irritants can really bother pugs with their sensitive breathing. Keep them safely in the other room as you mop up the mop-bunnies (made of pug hair).
Clean up your yard as well. If your pug plays outside remove brush, leaves, mold and other items that might present a hazard to your dog. If you spray your grass, be sure to keep pugs off the lawn for time beyond what’s specified. Remember, they aren’t wearing shoes and toxic chemicals can get on their feet. Plus, pugs are extra low to the ground, getting a big dose of whatever you’re spraying.
These few, simple steps will keep your pug happy and healthy all spring long. Spring is a fantastic time of year, so get out there with your dog and enjoy all the beauty!
Giulia the Easter Puggy is on her way! In tow, she's carrying thousands of cute little easter baskets full of treaties and stuffies for her super pug freens. Hiding them in all sorts of silly places, all these puggies are going to have to use their 'next level' sniffers to find the goods. You won't see her, she's too stealth. But you will reap the rewards of her labor.
Here at Pug Life Magazine, we like to keep our advice practical. We oftenfocus on health tips and advice on pug care rather than simply telling you how to spoil your dog. But sometimes, you’ve got to get just a little frivolous.
After all, pugs don’t take life too seriously and neither should we, right?
Recently, our oldest pug, Frankie has been going through some serious eye problems with idiopathic uveitis, we can’t seem to get past. We’ve been going on weekly (sometimes multiple) trips to the eye specialist and he’s on a regimen of 25-30 eye drops a day. He’s been bummed out about it and to be honest, so are we. As pug parents, we’ve decided it’s our duty to spend some extra time spoiling our sweet boy while he gets through this tough time.
When humans are feeling poorly, we often think we need some self-care: a trip to the spa, eating our favorite comfort foods, a massage. Pugs are no different! Frankie (and his brothers, who have been taking such good care of him) are getting some special pampering these days--even more than usual.
Pug owners know just how important our little fur-babies are. Pugs are a breed that inspires hyper-loyalty and fandom. We can’t help but fall in love and want to treat our pugs to all they deserve. So here’s how to spoil your dog, treat them like the amazing little creatures they are, and give them all the extras in life.
1. Spoil Your Dog with Their Favorite Snackies
Let’s just be honest here--the easiest way to your pug’s heart is through her stomach. Pugs love food (sometimes to a fault). While it’s important to maintain a healthy weight and avoid snacks that could be bad for their health, a treat is always appreciated and deserved.
Our pugs love Bil-Jacs which are great training treats because they’re small and apparently quite high value. Newman’s Own Organics Peanut Butter Treats are a favorite cookie. Greenies are another super treat they love, but have to enjoy separately, because they can cause a scuffle and some jealousy. We f
ound that rawhide and bully sticks cause a lot of stomach upset for our pugs (who tended to eat them too fast) so we offer Kong toys and Nylabones as chew treats.Kong toys are particularly great because you can fill them with peanut butter and freeze them for an extra special treat.
Other snackies that pugs love? Veggies! Green beans, small chunks of carrot, sweet potato, pureed pumpkin or peas are great options. Our pugs LOVE veggies nearly as much as any of the commercial treats we buy for them. Plus, veggies are low calorie healthy treats.
2. Treat Your Pug to a Spa Day
Pugs need to go to the groomer regularly all year round. A groomer can help your pug by grinding their nails, expressing anal glands, washing and furminating your pup. However, many of these jobs can also be done at home and it’s important for pug owners to keep up with routine pug care.
Dog’s teeth should be regularly brushed. How regularly? Well, some sources say daily, believe it or not. If you’re not up for that, a few times a week will help your pug avoid some of the major health issues that come from poor dental hygiene. Use a toothpaste made specially for dogs (people paste can have Xylitol which is toxic to dogs). Some owners prefer finger brushes, while others like a small tooth brush.
Pampering your pug with a bath and a
good, thorough brushing is something that most pugs enjoy. Even if they aren’t huge fans of the bath part, the brushing will help them look fluffy and keep their coat healthy. When it comes to pugs, they’re heavy shedders, so use a shed-minimizing brush like the Furminator. You may remove enough fur to make a second pug!
3. Take an Extra Long and Leisurely Walkie
Want to give your pug what he really wants? Take him for a long, leisurely walk. Let your pug stop to sniff every rock, shrub and tree they want. Allow them to roll over on the grass, or explore the rocks. Of course, you should always keep your pug on a leash and harness (collars aren’t good for pugs or brachycephalic dogs). If you want to treat your pug to something special, how about a cute new harness? We love Puppia, but Frenchie Bulldog Harnesses are also high quality and come in the cutest patterns!
Keep in mind, retractable leashes can be dangerous for both you and your pug--even though it seems like more freedom, you have less control should your pug wander into the road or near a less-friendly dog. Retractable l
eashes can cause cuts, rope burn and other injuries in humans, and they can break. Keep your pug on a regular leash instead.
Pugs aren’t speed walkers, but they definitely enjoy exploring and sniffing around. If your pug isn’t able to go for long walks, you may want toinvest in a stroller
, so they can still get some fresh air. A Pooch Pouch is another way to take your pug on adventures. Just be sure to let them down to explore a bit--exercise is important!
4. Provide a Super Luxurious Nap Spot
Pugs LOVE to sleep and nap. It’s true, they’re champion nappers in any space or sunspot. But if you want to treat your pug to something special, a new bed is a great present for them.
which help them beat the heat and chill out. Elevated beds or cots are a great option to get air circulating around your hot dog. Your pug may insist on still sleeping on you, but when you’re away it’s nice to give them some additional options.
5. Snap and Share Some Pug Love
Pugs are perfect models. If you’re looking for Instagram tips check out our ebook on how to get your pug noticed. In the meantime, snap and share photos of your beautiful pug baby! It can be fun (if your pug is willing) to photograph your pug in fun attire or enjoying different antics throughout the day.
The pug community is one of the most supportive and friendly groups out there. For some reason, pug owners (or at least, all the pug owners we’ve met) seem to be awesome, kind and helpful. They also love sharing and viewing photos of their sweet pug babies.
While your pug may never realize they have so many friends on the Internet, it can be a great place to find the answers you need when your pug is going through a tough time. Pug groups and online communities are also fun to follow and share. Many rescues, like @homeward_bound_pug_rescue, @thepugqueen, @pug_rescue_austin and @pugnationla are great places to follow and check out for all things pug! Of course, @puglifemagazine and @darklordpug (and our baby @peeweesbigpugventure) are also great accounts (even though we’re a bit biased).
6. Show Off Your Pug Pride
Want to show off your love of pugs? Pick up some pug gear to be the proudest Mama or Papa on the block. @portiathepug_paw_pal_auction often shares great pug items to purchase and the proceeds go toward pug rescues and pugs in need.
Pugs pop up in culture all the time and the breed seems to instill a loyalty like no other. Pug owners and pug fans love to show off just how much they adore these strange little alien creatures. Join team pug by showing off your pug pride!
7. Join in On Pug Games
If you want to pamper and spoil your pug, playing with them is an easy, meaningful way to bond with your dog. Some pugs are totally into fetch and other “dog games” but many pugs march to their own drum. You may find your pug loves to simply chase you around the yard, wrestle with a favorite stuffy or chew on a Kong for days.
Pugs are playful and they love to scribble scrabble with their other pug buddies. Always keep an eye on your pug when they’re around other dogs, because sometimes they forget their own size and can get into trouble with bigger dogs.
For the most part, pugs are extremely playful and love to roll around and wrestle. They’re highly trainable and really enjoy learning new tasks and tricks. Try starting with easy commands like shake or high five, and work up from there. Your pug will catch on quickly and relish the chance to show off and get praise as they master a new skill.
8. Visit a Pug Event or Meetup
There are so many pug events! Imagine a room filled with thousands of pugs, pug gear and pug people! It’s a real thing! In fact, Pug Festivals take place around the country pretty regularly. Milwaukee Pug Fest is one of the biggest pug festivals, with the proceeds benefiting pug rescues.
There are also many pug meetup groups in major cities like Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles and New York. You can find groups of fellow pug people who would love to meet you and your baby. It’s great for pugs to have other pug-pals who are the same size and temperament, especially because some pugs don’t seem to be aware they are “dogs” (we’re pretty sure our pugs believe they’re human).
If there aren’t any pug events or rescues in your area, put out some feelers on social media or start your own meetup group. Pick a dog park nearby or check for playdates at your local Humane Society. Once you have a space, invite a few other pug owners to join you. Wait for the happy snorts and heavy breathing when pugs get to play together (don’t forget to take lots of photos!).
9. Pamper Your Pug with a New Look
Pugs are extremely amicable to being dressed up. Not every pug, of course, but most will allow you to put a t-shirt, sweater or jacket on them. Some pugs quite enjoy the attention and extra warmth when the weather’s chilly.
, or bandana will add a little style to their look.
Harnesses are another fun way to change up your pug’s style. Look for cute patterns or different styles so your pug can change things up with the seasons.
10. Spend Some Quality Time with Your Pug
All of these ideas are fun and many will make you, the owner feel a little pampered as well. But let’s be real for a minute. When it comes down to it--the most important thing to your pug is spending quality time with YOU!
We all joke about how much pugs love food, toys, walks and friends, but you’re truly their best friend and they’re your loyal companion. Pugs are people-dogs. Ever since their origin, when they were bred to keep emperors warm by sitting in the sleeves of their robes. Pugs have been the ultimate sidekick, wingman and bff of dogs. If you want someone who will always be by your side, get a pug. You’ll never even go to the bathroom alone, if you don’t want to.
If you truly want to pamper and treat your pug, give them love, spend time snuggling with them on the couch or sitting with them on the porch. Pugs just want to be near your side, knowing you’re there for them. Love your pug and they’ll love you back for life. That’s why pugs are the best!
If you've got any Irish blood in you, just wait till you find yourself walking into the Curly Tail Pub in Dublin and happening upon the greatest Pugtender in the land, Helmut Newton the Pug. Not only can he serve up a drink that'll knock your little booties off, but he's not bad to look at either. One classy dresser, you'll never see this guy wearing any tacky hat or logo shirt on the hallowed St. Pugtrick's Day. In fact, he haberdashes every day like a finely pressed shirt and tie will get you a pot of golden treats delivered by leprechauns themselves. So, enjoy your Irish pride, have a sip or two, and be safe out there. Oh, and no matter how much you indulge, be kind to your pugtender. Cheers!
Irish Pug Translation: Má tá tú bhí aon fhuil Éireannach agat, ach fanacht till fhaigheann tú féin ag siúl isteach sa teach tábhairne Tail Curly i mBaile Átha Cliath agus ag tarlú ar an Pugtender mó sa talamh, Helmut Newton an Pug. Ní amháin is féidir leis a freastal ar suas deoch beidh a cnag do booties beag amach, ach níl sé olc chun breathnú ar an oiread. One Dresser classy, ní fheicfidh tú a fheiceáil Guy ag caitheamh aon hata tacky nó léine lógó ar an hallowed Lá Fhéile Pugtrick ar. Go deimhin, haberdashes sé go mbeidh gach lá mar léine mín brúite agus comhionannas vótaí a fhaigheann tú pota déileálann órga ar fáil ag leipreachain féin. Mar sin, taitneamh a bhaint as do bród Éireannach, tá sip nó dhó, agus a bheith sábháilte amach ann. Ó, agus is cuma cé mhéad indulge tú, a chineál do pugtender. Cheers!
Pugs can be a little quirky, can’t they? Now, don’t get us wrong--pugs are FULL of charm. In fact, their quirkiness and pug behavior only adds to their appeal. They’re funny little goofballs full of wrinkles, snorts, snores and (and sometimes toots).
Pug behavior can also be occasionally confusing and lead to trouble. Pugs are a big dog in a small dog body, which means they can be a little too brave when they run up to hump a German Shepherd at the dog park. They can also be a bit stubborn and seem to have selective hearing. Pugs also have voracious appetites and tend to “eat first” and ask questions later. It’s not uncommon for a pug to eat, hump or lick something that gets them into a precarious situation.
When it comes to protecting your pug baby, the good news is that pugs are HIGHLY trainable. Being food-motivated works to their advantage: they will do anything for treats and positive reinforcement. Redirecting pug behavior isn’t terribly difficult, you just need to know where to start to set your dog up for success.
Here’s what you need to know to tackle some of the most pug-like of pug behavior.
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Some dogs are humpers and some dogs don’t even think about it. Pugs tend to fall on the “humper” side of dogs. Humping feels good, it’s a way to establish dominance (remember big dog in a small body) and once your pug has discovered the joy of the hump, it’s hard to get him or her to stop.
Unfortunately, you might be feeding into your pug’s need for attention, especially if you laugh or respond immediately to the humping behavior. Not only can humping be a little embarrassing for the owner, but dogs can also get themselves into trouble by trying to mount a dog-park-pal who doesn’t want to be dominated.
If you’re battling humping, first, your dog should be spayed or neutered of course (for many reasons). Intact animals are definitely more likely to mount others, so spaying or neutering is the best prevention. If your puppy humps his or her littermates, simply redirect the behavior quietly and move on. Often, once they’re “fixed” the humping will stop.
Some rescue pugs, who may have remained intact for longer OR simply discovered the joy of humping, struggle with this behavior. This is especially true when they feel insecure (like when company or a new dog comes to visit). Redirect their behavior with a firm, “no” the moment you see them go in for the hump. Offer them an exciting alternative (like a treat or a chew toy instead). Work with your pug on the “leave it” command and reinforce their positive behavior with treats and incentives.
The objective is always to give your pug a more enticing option than the bad behavior they’re about to engage in. Punishing them after-the-fact doesn’t send a clear message and only confuses and scares your pug. Give your pug plenty of exercise so they’re too tired to be naughty. Lastly, when your pug is in a new situation or meeting a new friend, keep them on a leash so you remain in control of their behavior (yes, even in the house).
2. Eating (EVERYTHING)
Pugs love to eat! They will do ANYTHING for food and while this can be a huge advantage for training (“You want me to run through this tunnel for a treat? Sure! You want me to twirl like a ballerina for a cookie? Here I go!”) it can also be unhealthy and even dangerous in some situations.
First of all, there are two eating issues when it comes to pugs: eating things they shouldn’t (yes, like eating poo) and eating too much. Each problem can be addressed separately.
Dog-proof your house to prevent your pug from getting into foods that could make them ill. This includes, storing foods like candy and chocolate in higher cupboards and always closing and latching pantry and closet doors. Install baby-proof latches on your cupboards if your pug is a Houdini-type. Weigh down your trash bin with a brick or rock in the bottom and keep it covered or enclosed. Keep your litter box clean and scooped (we recommend the litter-robot) and pick up the house. Never leave out leftover food or garbage. Pugs will find a way.
When pugs go out, keep them on a leash always. If they see a delicious sidewalk sandwich (or a poo snack) keeping them on a leash will help you pull them away and redirect. Keep a small pouch of yummy snacks on your belt to reward your pug when they “leave it!” After all, a pug that resists food is showing an IRON will. That good pug behavior deserves a treat! Keep your own yard picked up, so pugs can avoid temptation.
To slow your pug down, we suggest a slow feeder dog bowl. This gives your pug a chance to actually taste her food before she snarfs it down. Feed your pug a high protein, wholistic food (such as Fromm’s) that offers them the nutrition they need. Most importantly: don’t free-feed or over-feed your pug. Feed your pug two or three small meals per day. A pug left to her own devices can polish off a bowl of kibble in three seconds flat. Help her control her portions.
When it comes to treats, pugs shouldn’t eat people food. It’s often too high in carbohydrates, fats, sodium and sugar for dogs. Plus, your food may contain ingredients that could make your pug ill (like avocado or chocolate). Carrots, peas and pumpkin make great healthy snackies, or try small bites of chicken, liver or trainer treats. It’s hard to resist sharing with your pug, but if you want to stop your dog from begging, never reinforce the behavior by giving in.
3. Licking Obsessively
Pugs LOVE to lick. In fact, many pugs can lick you for hours...and hours. While some people find this pug behavior charming (and preferable to destructive chewing) there are times when it can get to be a bit “much.”
If your pug licks areas they aren’t supposed to, like the wall or the couch, first clean the area thoroughly. Then wipe it with a little vinegar or lemon juice which can deter the constant licking. If they start licking, make a noise to startle them, and then redirect the behavior to a more appropriate licking toy.
As for the pug who licks you until you’re ready to scream? The first step is to stop allowing it to happen. Move away and redirect their behavior to a chew toy or other item you’d prefer they licked. Unfortunately, allowing your pug to lick sometimes and then redirecting other times can be confusing (“I’m a pug, not a mind-reader,”) so if you don’t want them to lick you, don’t send them mixed signals.
Licking is a way that pugs find comfort. It’s like other dogs and chewing. There’s no harm in licking as long as your pug is licking a toy or item that’s safe. Provide them with a frozen peanut-butter filled Kong toy if you’re looking for an involved pastime.
4. Acting Jealous
New baby or new puppy stealing your darling pug’s spotlight? It’s true, pugs like to be the CENTER of attention and the apple of your eye. They aren’t big lovers of sharing but they are very social. In fact, pugs naturally fit in a pack (incidentally, did you know a pack of pugs is called a “grumble?”).
Keep harmony in your grumble by spending plenty of one-on-one time with each individual pug. Keep playtime light and fun. Help everyone get plenty of exercise and allow breaks and downtime where the whole pack can get some moments alone to de-stress.
If you’re introducing a new pet into the mix, you may especially want to be aware at feeding time. It’s not a bad idea to feed everyone in separate areas while roles are being established. Pugs don’t usually resource guard from their humans, but they can get food aggressive, especially with new pack members. Alleviate the insecurity by giving your pug privacy during mealtimes. Put high value treats on hold and offer your resident pug treats FIRST before the newbie.
For new human (or non-canine) family members, simply be sure your pug is receiving plenty of attention and positive reinforcement whenever the new friend is around. Allow them to retreat to their crate or room if they need some alone time (especially with older pugs) and give them plenty of space. Always encourage children to be very gentle with pugs and never tease them with food or toys. Pugs are extremely gentle, but they will nip in very rare occasions, especially if they feel unsafe. Remember they are small and can get hurt or frightened.
5. Playing “Deaf”
Do you ever question your pugs hearing? Pugs are very good at pretending they don’t hear you. Drop the word “treat” and they’ll come running (“It’s a miracle!”)
Listening to their owner’s call can save a pug’s life. Having excellent recall is a vital skill and if there’s ONE area to train your pug on it’s coming when called. In order to train your pug, you have to build their trust. Find a word or command that you will only use for extreme emergencies and urgent situations (not just, “C’mon we need to go,”). Practice it and reward this command over and over.
You can practice recall with your pug on a long leash or in a fenced yard, but first begin in the house. Stand about 20 feet away from your pug with a high value treat (like hotdogs or cheese). Use the command, reward your pug when she comes running. Stand farther away, repeat. Once you’ve both got the behavior down pat, move to where your pug can see you. Give the command, reward, repeat.
Eventually you’ll move this practice to a busy area. Practice it when friends are over, or when something exciting is happening (like dinner’s being cooked). Try this command under many different distractions and scenarios. Move it to the yard. Then practice on a long leash or at the park. Reward your pug every single time. If you ever need your pug to urgently move out of danger’s way, you now have a command that will recall your pug like a rocket.
As for the many other times when your pug seems not to hear you (such as when you call their name, or ask them to come)--you can practice similarly, using different command along with a clicker and a treat. Eventually wean your pug off the treats (giving them every third or fourth response). Practice your commands regularly. This will improve your bond with your pug, build trust and let your pug know you’re reinforcing and rewarding her good behavior.
6. Barking at Nothing (or the TV)
Pugs aren’t the most vocal dogs. On the scale of barkers, pugs are nowhere near the level of say, a golden retriever’s bark or a terrier’s yip. But pugs do bark. Occasionally their “barker” seems to get stuck in the on position and it’s hard to get them to calm down. Some pugs react to passersby at the window, squirrels on the bird feeder or other dogs on TV.
If barking is a pug behavior you’d like to work on, it’s important to understand what’s triggering their barking outbursts. If it’s in response to the TV, you may need to limit your pug’s television watching or move her to her kennel (or behind a pillow) while you watch your favorite shows. If that’s not possible, you’re going to need to redirect the behavior every time your pug reacts, by asking them to do a positive behavior instead, and rewarding them. This takes practice (and you may feel like a human Pez dispenser for a while) but eventually your pug will learn that dogs on TV mean treats in their tummy!
Similarly, when your pug reacts to something outside, the doorbell or another noise with a barking frenzy, redirect their attention back to you. Ask them to sit, shake or do another command you’ve worked with them on. Then give them a treat. Practice the trigger behavior and reinforce the desired reaction over and over. Eventually, you’ll know your pug “gets it” when, instead of barking at the doorbell, they look at you expectantly for their “good dog reward.”
7. Being Stubborn
Stubborn? Pugs?! NE-VER.
Yes, it’s true, your pug can be pretty strong-willed and even obstinate when they want to be. Unfortunately owners often fall into the little dog-mentality, where it’s simply easier to pick up your small dog and carry them away then it is to train them properly. With big dogs, obedience is key--after all you can’t pick up a 90 pound Rottweiler when he misbehaves.
Even though pugs are occasionally stubborn, they are quite trainable and will rise to the occasion. If you’re struggling with getting your pug to behave on a leash, follow your instructions or come when called, it may be time for a training course or puppy school! Check with your local Humane Society or vet’s office for a listing of classes offered.
Many times, once pugs go through a basic dog manners class, you’ll see a whole new pug emerge. You see, many dogs need a “job” to keep them mentally stimulated, and pugs are no exception. Pugs are very smart, easily motivated by food and praise and love to make you happy. If your pug can channel their energy into positive behaviors, they just may surprise you with their transformation. Many pugs make excellent therapy dogs and you could even start your pug as a volunteer!
Almost all dogs benefit from the socialization and regime provided by a positive training class. Even experienced owners can brush up on their skills and connect with their pug one-on-one. Giving your pug the gift of proper training will help strengthen your relationship, boost your communication and lead to many happy years to come!
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