Caring for pug puppies is both a delight and sometimes a challenge to your self discipline. Their soulful eyes and expressive faces encourage you to give them whatever they want. But overall they're easy pups to take care of and only have a few special needs.
Start training your pug pup the moment you get him home. The first six months of his life are when he learns most of the behavior that he continues to use as an adult. If you don't want your puppy to sit on the sofa, lift him off every time he jumps up and firmly tell him "no." Because your pug will do absolutely anything for food, train him to obey command words such as "sit," "stay" and "come" using small treats and lots of praise. Start with short training sessions of about five to 10 minutes, as he finds it difficult to concentrate for longer. You also need to teach him to walk on a leash with you. A harness is usually better for a pug because there is no risk of damaging his windpipe.
Take your pug puppy out for potty breaks every two to four hours, or even more frequently. By the age of 6 to 7 months his bladder control improves and with patient and firm training early on, he should not have many accidents in the house. One thing to remember with a pug is his tendency to laziness and a desire to see what he can get away with. If he can sneak behind a curtain and pee, he might just do that instead of waiting until you take him out. If you spot him coming out from behind furniture or curtains, it's a good idea to check what he was doing there. Deal with it by saying "no" and then take him to his pottying place.
Groom him regularly. Your pug, with his double coat, sheds relentlessly. Brushing him twice a week helps to contain this shedding a little, but be prepared to vacuum a lot. Bathing him also helps. Pugs usually enjoy a bath or shower, which is unusual for a dog. Choose a shampoo formulated for a puppy. As pugs are prone to skin irritation, an oatmeal-based shampoo will help keep his coat soft and reduce any itchiness. Never use your own shampoo on your pug because it damages his coat. Make sure you don't get any water in his ears, as he is at risk of ear infections. Put a cotton ball in each ear to protect them. However, his fondness for bathing doesn't mean that he can swim, so keep him away from the sea and swimming pools where he is at risk of drowning. He may enthusiastically jump in water, but you should go in with him if he does.
Clean his facial folds at least once a week. His face wrinkles collect dirt, dust and food, and if you don't clean them out, he will develop a fungal infection. It only takes a few minutes to dip a cotton swab in warm water and gently run it inside his folds. After you've cleaned the folds, put some petroleum jelly on a cotton swab and apply this inside the folds. This helps prevent an infection starting as a result of him rubbing his face into the carpet or furniture. His nose also needs a regular wipe with a damp tissue and you can clean his ears with a soft tissue or cotton ball. Don't use a cotton swab as this could damage his ear drum. Take him to the vet if he starts shaking his head, scratching his ears or you detect a strong smell from them, as these are signs of an infection. Although he needs regular exercise, don't let him overheat or over exert himself, as this gives him breathing problems.
Feed your pug puppy high quality pet food suitable for his breed. With so many brands available, have a chat with your vet about the best one for your pug. Pugs are very prone to developing weight problems, so take care not to overfeed your pup. Start him off on the food his breeder gave him and change to another brand gradually to avoid upsetting his tummy. When he is between 3 and 6 months, feed him three times a day. Change this to two meals daily of 3/4 cup from 6 months to 1 year. Pet food packaging provides quantity guidelines and you can always talk to your vet about this if you're unsure. I-love-pugs.com recommends getting your pug a medium-sized, stainless steel feeding bowl that is a little elevated off the ground for easier feeding.
- Pugs are curious about everything and everybody. As part of his socialization, take him to an outdoor cafe where he can see plenty of activity, but also learn not to investigate everything.
- Don't leave your pug puppy alone for long periods of time. He needs lots of attention and stimulation during the first months of life, which prevents behavior problems developing later.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.