They are perky. They are clowns. They are mischievous.
Pugs are absolutely lovely companions. But, as always, there is a ‘but’. The motto of a pug is “multum in parvo” which in Latin means “a lot in a little”. That just about sums up what these muscular little dogs are all about.
They were bred to be lap dogs and originally were the companions of Chinese royalty. Of course, there is no breed called Chinese pugs. They have brown eyes and a funny face. But are they a little too much to take? Let’s see.
A Bit Much to Handle?
Well, truth be told they can be chaotic little canines. Playful and lively are just the starting points of a pug’s energy levels. They are very popularly hyper and notorious for their ability to pee on the floor when not trained well.
They are energetic little dogs that are always ready to play. In fact, if you’ve ever taken a pug for a walk, you will notice that they pull the leash and get your arm tired halfway through the walk.
And it could be something as small as a doorbell or a bath which leaves them over-excited and you want to channel your inner Larry David if only to say the words, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
But this excitement is what makes pugs a really recommended breed for families with children. They will tire each other out and in the end, that’s a win for you.
It’s like two birds with one stone (although, keep both of them away from stones).
They are also good with other dogs when socialized at an early age. In fact, they are not too easily scared of big dogs either.
So, if you already have a canine in the house, a pug might still be a good fit even though it is a toy dog breed.
Related: Do Pugs Shed?
Does It Ever Come to an End?
If you are thinking about getting a pug, make no mistake, you’re in for some exercising. But that should not deter you from getting one.
The hyper energy levels often stay on till the pug is about a year and a half. Although, some puppies manage to keep it going for about three years.
Once they get to this phase of their lives, they are happy to sit around on a couch and bother nothing and no one. They turn into nice laid back dogs that suit their ancestry of being the favorites of Chinese royalty.
What Can You Do to Help?
If it is getting a bit much for you to handle, there are a few time-tested ways to get them to calm down. Let’s get started on the tips and tricks and you can thank us later.
When dogs are being extremely active, the best way to handle it is to lean in. Take them out, play with them.
Give them the attention and exercise that they so clearly crave. Which means, for the first few years of getting a pug you need to be prepared to make time in your schedule and utilize the source of energy that they pump into your life.
If you don’t have a nice, big backyard, take them out for a long walk. And yes, as mentioned earlier, be ready for a little tugging on the leash.
Get a Frisby and some treats and head to the nearest park. An hour of that will do you a lot of good.
Since this happens a lot in the formative years, you might want to think about consulting a vet and a trainer and putting all that energy into training your dog well. You might even be able to get them to clean up after themselves around the house.
Although, if you think they will take care of their own pee and poop, we must tell you that you’ve gone too far. That’s out of the box thinking and you might want to get back in the box.
While it is nice to see them happy and enthusiastic, you don’t want to encourage that behavior. Everything is fun only when it is done in moderation.
One of the things you can do is find a way to communicate with them when you are tired. This signals to the pup that there is a limit to how much you can keep up with them and that’s where they need to draw the line.
This is also part of their training exercise. It makes them understand that they cannot get their way with everything that they demand.
Don’t guilt yourself into doing everything they want. Pugs are happy dogs and can usually entertain themselves. Let them be. They will be okay.
One disadvantage of not maintaining that kind of self-control might also give them the wrong idea. As long as you encourage their hyperactivity, they will keep at it assuming that it makes you happy.
Remember that pugs live to please their owners. But they can also be stubborn which makes them bad students.
They are also small in size and are difficult to train at home. Pug owners have said that it takes them about three months to train their dogs with the help of a professional whereas it takes about a year to do the same at home.
It is also important to know that their feelings get hurt easily. So while you’re training them, be firm but not rude. You know what, just get a trainer if you can.
Meanwhile, you can get them toys that are like little puzzles and fill them with treats. This will keep their minds stimulated (and off your back) for a little while.
You can also improvise on the games you play with them or change the route of the daily walks. This will keep them engaged and guessing on the road. That might also reduce tugging on the leash for a bit.
You might be tempted to consider getting one of those switching or prong collars or choke chains. That is a big no-no when it comes to their face.
Since they have a pushed-in face, pugs experience a few breathing problems already. When you use negative behavior modifiers like these, it can lead to serious health problems.
And by the way, even if it is not a pug, these kinds of tactics might leave your pup confused, stressed or scared. None of that is advised.
You can try harnesses with an adjustable neck but the best way still is to train them to walk with you. You can even reward them with treats for listening to you.
Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, gets you great results. In some ways, pugs are like us.
When we get a promotion or a compliment, we tend to repeat that behavior for the same result, right? They do the same.
And let’s not forget how good we felt when we got a pat on our back. As a dog parent, wouldn’t you want the same for your baby?
Exercise is also a great solution because pugs have a tendency to get obese once they start sitting around. For all the talk about being hyper, a 20-minute walk twice a day is actually good enough for pugs.
Remember that they are enthusiastic dogs, not athletic.
They are also agile and obedient dogs. But they are meant to thrive in moderate weather. So if you live in warmer places, don’t tire them out for the sake of it.
While we’re discussing exercise, it is also worth mentioning that they should not be left outdoor unattended. They are not outdoors dogs and are susceptible to quite a few health issues, especially due to hot or cold weather.
Some dog owners are also known to use aromatherapy to keep their dog calm. This will require a little research on your part.
Make sure it doesn’t get them riled up and keep an eye on them in the beginning. Look for signs of distress to make sure your latest tactic has somehow not gone sideways.
This is also a great way to find out if your pup has allergies. You might, however, want to do this without the use of candles. It’s a hyperactive dog and candles mean fire.
You know where we’re going with this, right?
Oils are a great way to make this happen and a simple Google search will give you lots of ideas. Some of them are a treatment for fleas, anxiety, arthritis, etc. and that’s a bonus.
Early training and socialization are recommended for these dogs. Luckily for us, they are very social dogs and take to people quite easily.
So to summarize, pugs are active, agile and energetic dogs. They love people and are a great fit for families with children.
They will even get along with your other dogs if you train them early on.
The hyperactivity is every bit true when they are puppies. But they usually let it go in about a year and a half, although some pups can keep it going till they are three.
Once they get over that phase, they like chilling on a couch just as much as you and I do. That sounds lovely but they like food so keep an eye on their weight.
Honestly, you just need to take care of your pet like you’re supposed to and like Carole King sang, You’ve Got A Friend.