Pugs by nature are sweet, loving and eager to please their owners. They are also, stubborn, strong-willed and (yes, I’m saying it), high-maintenance. There are several things to keep in mind when raising happy, healthy baby pugs, and there are 5 “Golden Rules” that I believe in. I hope you find these golden guideposts helpful as you embark on the joy-filled, heart-warming journey that is life with a pug.

Golden Rule # 1: Make Sure You Are Ready For Raising a Pug

Oftentimes people become so enamored with pugs because of their undeniable cuteness that they think, “I want one!” and set out to welcome one into the family without looking at the big (or little, as it were) puggy picture. It is imperative that you steel yourself against the baby pug’s big, round imploring eyes that plead “take me home, please!” and ask yourself if you are indeed ready for a pug in your life. Remember, bringing a pug puppy home means that you are taking on an additional member of your family that needs attention, care, nourishment and love. If you are not ready or can not give your baby pug the thoughtful attention it needs, please wait until you can.

Golden Rule # 2: Make Sure You Have Everything Your Pug Puppy Needs Before You Bring It Home

Some of the items a new pug puppy needs include stainless steel food and water bowls (stainless steel helps prevent the dreaded pug acne), nourishing puppy food, a leash and collar, chew toys and some means of identification, such as a microchip (done at the veterinarian’s office) or a tag with your puppy’s name, home address and contact phone number. It is also important that your pug puppy has an area in the house that is its “special place.” Putting a crate, or small exercise pen in a common area of the house-such as the kitchen or living room, and adding the puppy’s food and water dishes, toys and bed in that area helps the puppy become accustomed to its place in the household and exposed to the general sights and sounds of its new home.

Golden Rule # 3: Provide Your Pug Puppy With Good Preventative Care, Grooming, a Healthy Diet and Plenty of Exercise

When you do these things, you provide your baby pugs with the best tools for living long, healthy and happy lives. Right off the bat, find a local veterinarian with whom you have utmost trust in caring for the life of your baby pug. Check to see what experience the vet has with pugs and how familiar he or she is with pug-specific health issues particularly brachycephalic (short-faced) problems such as respiratory and eye concerns. Make sure to discuss with your vet a vaccine schedule and get your pug puppy all of its shots and vaccinations. These keep it from getting an infectious disease. Keep an eye on your pug’s weight as pugs love to eat and have a tendency to become overweight quickly. P.S. As there are myriad health concerns with pugs, we will cover them more in-depth in future pug health articles.

Golden Rule # 4: Send Your Pug Puppy to School

Check your local paper, store bulletin board or online for puppy training classes or at-home, personal puppy trainers. A well-behaved and well-trained pug is a happier and healthier pug. Pugs are curious, bright, smart creatures that benefit from stimulation and having things to do. Taking your pug puppy to school allows it to reach its potential, socialize with other dogs, and communicate better with you. Pugs that respond to commands from their owners help ensure their own safety. Imagine your sweet baby tearing off after a cat into traffic while you holler helplessly, or your baby pug getting into foods or other items that could be potentially life-threatening. Learning some basic commands and following them is a good thing.

Golden Rule # 5: Keep Your Pug Puppy Active

This could certainly include going for walks to provide stimulation and much-needed exercise, playing at the local dog park, romping with the kids in the backyard, visiting a senior care center as part of healing therapy, becoming part of a local pug club, and on and on. It is important because it provides your pug puppy with socialization skills, mental and physical stimulation and allows it to enjoying its life just like we do. Imagine what our worlds would be like if we didn’t do anything but sleep and stay put in the house all day. I know, some of you like that idea just fine!

Believe in these Golden Rules for raising a happy, healthy pug puppy and apply them in your life. You and your baby pug will be glad you did!