With his bulging eyes, smooshy face, and wrinkly facial skin, the pug almost resembles a cartoon as much he does a dog. His unique look helps generate irresistible charm at first sight, but it’s his goofy personality that endears him to many. How does a pug’s play maximize this persona?
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Pugs in Brief
The fact that pugs carry more facial wrinkles that a wet raisin is no accident. The Chinese deliberately bred this toy breed to have deep, distinctive wrinkles in their face to mimic Chinese characters symbolizing luck. If a pug had wrinkles that resembled the word “prince,” he was considered a rock star.
The wrinkles are not the only thing that distinguishes the look of this unique dog. It’s said the breed derives its name from the Latin word for fist because of the quasi-uncanny resemblance between a fist and their flat faces. Add a pair of bulging, expressive eyes that can express heart-melting remorse whenever he pleases, and you have a pooch that can charm the socks off you.
Because pugs are a toy breed bred to be companion dogs, pugs make an excellent choice for dog lovers that live in apartments or small spaces. They are also happy and loving dogs that, when properly socialized and trained, can get along great with other dogs and children. They also know how to walk the fine line between being a watchdog and being “yappy.”
While pugs are charming little doggies, they aren’t entirely angels. Pugs are quite intelligent, and their smarts may sometimes manifest itself into a serious stubborn streak. This independent mindset could make training the pooch a slow and sometimes quite frustrating process.
Also, you should prepare yourself for some, shall we say, interesting sounds and smells. Because of the breed’s flat face and the breathing problems that traditionally go with such a visage, pugs will make all sorts of snorting and wheezing noises. Plus, the dog has a tendency to be quite gassy, which could be a bit unpleasant.
Also, pugs tend to shed a bunch of fur on a daily basis. This tendency to leave hair behind, combined with his presupposition to slobbering, makes him a bit of a messy dog that people looking for a low-maintenance dog may not appreciate.
However, many people feel that what this dog seemingly lacks in etiquette, he more than makes up for in loveable charm. The breed’s pretty much been this way since it hit the scene before 400 B.C., and there’s really no sign of this changing anytime soon.
Pugs at Play
One of the reasons why people fall in love with pugs so deeply is that they are simply dorky little dogs that love to clown around. They also love to be the center of attention, and they have a tendency to feel shunned if you ignore them when you don’t acknowledge their presence. However, they are so goofy, you’ll find them hard to ignore.
Their goofball nature, combined with their need to be validated by their owners, largely dictates their preferred style of play. They really don’t like to play by themselves -remember, this was a breed specifically designed for companionship. As such, they will practically expect you to initiate and engage.
And you should expect to control the action when playtime is afoot. Pugs are extremely content to simply be by your side; if this translates to simply being curled up next to you all day, they’ll do so. While this devotion has a certain charm, it also means that he can turn into an overly-sedentary pooch.
Therefore, you need to make sure your pug is getting a decent amount of exercise. Fortunately, because pugs are so loyal to you, getting up and encouraging playtime is all he’ll need to get off his curly-tailed butt and get moving.
Once you do start playing, know that pugs love interactive games. This could be something as simple as playing tug of war with a chew toy or chasing your pug around the house in a friendly game of “tag.” He can also be trained to retrieval-type games that can flex his mental muscle.
One thing to consider: You may want to do all of your playtime in a temperature controlled environment in the summer time. Because pugs have a smashed-in face, they don’t handle extreme heat or cold all that well. If you think that your pug may be the least bit uncomfortable outdoors, don’t push things.
What Toys Will Make a Pug Happy?
Any toy that would allow your pug to be near you will put him over the moon. Rope and tug toys work particularly well because they can be used in a friendly game of tug-of-war with you. This will allow him to release whatever aggressions he may have pent up in his sturdy little body. More importantly, he’ll be nearby you, which is what makes him happiest.
Chew toys are also good for this breed, but you should optimally be prepared to use this as an interactive toy whenever possible. While a sturdy chew toy makes for a nice alternative to, say, your sofa, it can also be the main object of a gentle game of fetch. Again, your dog will enjoy playing this way because you’re involved.
What are the Worst Toys for Pugs?
You really should skip out on any toy that is built for solo play, unless you really have an affinity for dog toys that will go virtually untouched. Yes, it is possible for you to create a den for him to have periods of alone time. But if given the choice between playing by himself or cuddled next to you, he’s going to choose the latter option pretty much every time.
Because pugs are an indoor breed, you should also skip out on getting toys designed for the outdoors. While it’s a good idea to get your pug to romp outside on occasion with your or even another dog, this is still a pooch built for indoor activity. It’s best to keep his playthings in line with this motif.
Our Final Recommendations
Dean & Tyler Training Bite Tug
It’s highly advisable that you add at least one rope or tug/type toy in your arsenal of pug toys. If you don’t mind getting a toy that’s built for business, then you should check out the Dean & Tyler Training Bite Tug. It doesn’t have a fancy design, nor is it built like a goofy, whimsical character, but that’s what makes it ideal.
Your pug is not going to really care what the toy your using to engage him looks like. All he is going to be concerned with is that you’re taking the time out of your day to play with him. This is all that’s going to matter in the moment.
Your pug is also going to benefit by the sturdiness of the toy. Even though pugs can be sedentary lumps, if you give him the opportunity to play with you, he can go at it for a long time. This will stand up to his marathon demands – quite possibly better than you will.
Being built for business is the reason that we also recommend the KONG Classic Dog Toy. Again, your dog won’t mind that it’s a unique conical shape presented in one solid color. He’ll be too busy playing with you.
And this versatile toy is an ideal anchor for a gentle game of fetch with your pup. One of the reasons is that its shape allows it to bounce in unexpected directions. This may have your pug contorting in all kinds of fun, funky shapes to track the toy – something that's sure to put a smile on your face.
Another reason this toy works for fetch is because it allows you to stuff it with treats. Your pug will appreciate the type of mental stimulation that's required to dig into the middle of the toy to extract the goodie. Meanwhile, you'll get a kick out of the sight (and accompanying sounds) of your dog feverishly working to get to the snack.
The reason both of these toys work as well as they do is because they provide your pug with a means to exercise without him realizing he’s working out. It is of the utmost of importance that you make sure your pooch maintains some level of help. You may as well have some fun in the process.
And from your pug’s perspective, taking the time to play with him easily translates into him having quality fun time with you. He was more or less bred to have this level of companionship be the most important thing in his life, and allowing him to achieve this goal will fill him with joy every time you engage him in a playful manner.
Sigh. Obviously written by someone who has never owned a pug in their life.