We all heard the phrase that dogs are a man’s best friend. What we don’t hear in the dog world as often is that friendship and loyalty needs to be earned. So today I wanted to briefly talk about why so many people struggle with their Pugs and what it actually takes to raise a happy and healthy Pug that you can feel proud of.
Before we get started though, I want you to keep in mind something as you continue reading – no two dogs are the same. Even if they are both Pugs they can both have very different personalities with different wants/needs. In fact, even if they both are siblings they can be completely different.
Having said that, they are still dogs and will require what any other dog would. This includes necessities such as proper grooming, training, socialization, proper diet, etc. Plus don’t forget it’s Pugs that we are dealing with here. This tiny, wrinkly and funny shaped breed comes with its own set of unique problems. Denying your dog any of that can lead to some serious problems.
As expected, over time small problems start turning bigger and bigger. Let’s look at a problem that can start off very innocently and then turn ugly if nothing is done about it – your Pug playing too rough with you.
The rough playing slowly starts getting worse. You start playing with him less and less – no one wants to play with a dog that bites. Since he gets to play less, every time he does have the chance to play with someone he will get even more excited and rough. On top of that, your Pug starts developing possessiveness over his toys every time he bites you when you touch them. And as this behavior goes on, aggressive and dominant behavior starts showing its ugly face outside of just playing.
Now what would happen if the problem was fixed early…
You show the pup that there are other ways to play. Playing with your Pug continues to be enjoyable and the games you play won’t contribute to any behavior issues later down the road.
Source: Stop Puppy Biting
A lot of behavior issues that all dog owners (not just Pug owners) have can easily be avoided. This includes all the big “behavior problems” that dog owners struggle with – dominance issues, destructive behavior, disobedience, etc. The problem is that owners don’t really know how to avoid them. Let’s face it, no one wants to neglect their dog. People that get dogs get them because they love them.
And this isn’t just true for behavior. This applies to all aspects of owning a dog – as in diet, grooming, health, etc.
To start off, the most obvious one of all is to take your Pug to a vet. You should schedule an appointment at least once a year for a checkup just to make sure everything is ok. With their training and experience, they will be able to spot problems that you might not have even realized exist. So even though your pooch might not want to go, you do.
As important as visits to the vet are, they are only the beginning. There are a lot of important factors that play a role in your Pugs health – and most of it starts at home. You need to pay attention to things like:
Diet plays a crucial role when it comes to health. Sometimes you can even tell if a Pug is eating healthy by the way he looks and acts. Ask your vet to suggest a healthy diet. Most of the big brand food is complete junk. There is a lot to discuss when it comes to a healthy die, but you get the general idea. If you want to learn more, read: Feeding my Pug.
Although pugs don’t really need too much exercise compared to other breeds, they still need to stay physically active. As long as you take him out for walks often enough and include some playing throughout the day, you should be fine. Lack of physical activity can lead to heart problems as well as other health issues.
It might not seem that grooming has any beneficial effects on your dog’s health, but it’s very important – especially for Pugs. Proper grooming will allow you to personally inspect your dog on a regular basis for any abnormalities. Due to your Pugs wrinkly face, you will need to clean between the folds and wrinkles otherwise they can get infected. These dogs are also known to shed quite badly. Weekly brushing will mean less fur on your clothes and furniture.
All this is just for the physical side of health – and I’m just glossing over it. Then there is also the mental health.
Everyone knows about the physical aspect of health, but unfortunately it’s the mental health that often is left ignored. And as we already know, it’s only a matter of time until small problems turn into something big.
So what does it mean for a Pug to be “mentally healthy”? Well it boils down to a few factors:
As we learned previously, physical activity is important for physical health. Well it’s not just their little bodies that need to be stimulated, it’s also their brains. Most of it can be done through games, fun activities and trick training. Sometimes you might not be around so get him a nice chew-able treat to play with while you’re gone. If you have more than one dog, then they can keep each other company. You don’t want your Pug to find his own way to keep himself busy. Most of the time it will leave to trouble – excessive barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc.
Dogs are social creatures. Pugs are no different, they need social interaction. So don’t be shy to take your Pug with you whenever you have the opportunity. If your little guy doesn’t have enough positive social interactions he will slowly become distrustful of others. Combine that with some unpleasant interaction and you got all the ingredients for aggression towards strangers.
Obedience doesn’t just end with the “sit” and “come here” commands. It’s actually more about the “unsaid” commands. For example, having your Pug sitting and waiting for you to greet him instead of him jumping up on you, him not begging for food while you eat, staying off furniture, housebreaking, etc. – basically it’s about teaching manners. So how does this effect your Pug’s mental state? It’s simple really. Your Pug actually wants your approval. A well behaved dog will get himself in less trouble. This will make the owner appreciate and love him more.
The actual secret to a happy and well behaved Pug is actually very simple when you think about it. Sure there is a lot to it – good diet, activity, proper grooming, fun activities, socialization and obedience – but these things are a necessity. And if you do your research, you will realize that it’s not that hard to keep up with all of that. It just takes a little patience in the beginning.
And trust me you will thank yourself for going through with it. Think about all the benefits
Less Stress – Don’t have to worry about your Pug misbehaving or getting himself in trouble. You can also say goodbye to those embarrassing moments when he misbehaves around others. Just imagine the difference between a well behaved Pug and another one that enjoys being a little hooligan.
Spend Less Money – Long broken nails is one of the most common problems seen by a vet. The painful trip to the vet and the expensive bill that comes with it could be prevented with a pair of clippers (if you know how to use them). You can avoid throwing out things that are bound to be destroyed by a Pug with destructive chewing habit because your Pug won’t have it.
Happier and Healthier Pug – and most importantly of course is the fact that you will have a happy, healthy and loyal companion that will love you for it. Sure, sometimes he will act out a little grouchy when given a bath, but trust me he will be very thankful after it’s all over and he is all clean.
Since you’re on this website doing research about the breed, then you’re probably on top of a lot of those things already – great! Hopefully this inspired or pointed something out that you might not have considered.
If you haven’t started yet, don’t worry, it’s easy. Just take it one step at a time and I guarantee you that your relationship with your furball will improve a lot.
Pug Perfect: If you’re looking for a guide on Pugs, check out the Pug Perfect Guide