Getting “Pug-Ready” – Preparing your Home, Family, and Pets for the Arrival of your new Pug

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Pugs" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: David Anderson

Those months, weeks, and particularly the days before your new Pug arrives are incredibly exciting. Before you get too carried away though, you should take the time to focus and get your home fully prepared for your new canine. It will take you about the same amount of time to puppy-proof your home as it does to childproof it, so you should plan to spend a good bit of time and money preparing before the new family member arrives. Perhaps it isn’t the most enjoyable aspect of having a dog, but it is definitely worth the time and effort you put into it. Making sure your new Pug has a safe space with all of the essentials (especially the toys) will make his arrival a great time for everyone—especially your new canine companion.

Preparing Your Kids

Pugs are absolutely adorable, but they are not nearly as hardy as they look. To make sure that everyone has a great time, you need to make sure your children understand how to play with the Pug in a way that won’t potentially cause harm to your cutie. You can actually begin to prepare your kids as soon as you decide to adopt a Pug—no matter what age the Pug is. You will need to take a different approach to preparing a toddler than a teen, but there are many aspects of the preparation that are universal.

PugBe prepared to refresh these points with your children periodically before the puppy arrives, as well as the day your Pug comes home. When your kids begin to play with the puppy for the first time, you must be present to monitor the entire time they are interacting with your new family member. Remember that you will need to be very firm to make sure that the puppy is not hurt.

The following are the five golden rules that you want to make sure your children follow from the very first interaction.

  1. Always be gentle. Those little Pugs are absolutely adorable, but they are also fairly fragile, despite their sturdy appearance. At no time should anyone play rough with the puppy (or any adult Pug.)

This rule must be applied consistently every time your children play with the puppy. Be firm if you see your children getting too excited or rough. You don’t want the puppy to get overly excited either because puppies may end up nipping or biting. It isn’t their fault because they haven’t learned better yet—it is the child’s fault. Make sure your child understands the possible repercussions if they get too rough.

  1. Chasing is an outside game. It can be easy for children to forget as they start to play and everyone gets excited. That short game of getting away can quickly devolve into a chase, so you will need to make sure your children understand not to start running. Once they get outside, chasing is perfectly fine (though you will still need to monitor the playtime).

Running inside the home is dangerous for two primary reasons. It gives your Pug puppy the impression that your home isn’t safe inside because he is being chased, or worse, he will hurt. Or your puppy will learn that running inside is fine, which can be very dangerous as he gets older. One of the last things you want is for your Pug to go barreling through your home, knocking people off their feet, because it was fine for him to do that when he was a puppy.

  1. Always leave the puppy alone during mealtime. This is true whenever your puppy is eating (this can apply to when your kids are eating as well since you don’t want your Pug to get accustomed to eating people food when your kids are eating). You don’t want your Pug to think that anyone is trying to take the food away. Pugs aren’t typically aggressive, so it isn’t likely they will nip or bite because someone is near their food. However, they can feel insecure about eating if they feel like someone may take their food, which is obviously not fair to your Pug. And older Pugs can be a bit more protective of their food, which could lead to some conflicts. Save yourself, your family, and your Pug trouble by making sure everyone knows that eating time is your Pug’s time alone.
  2. The Pug should always remain firmly on the ground. This is something that will likely require a good bit of explaining to your children as Pugs look a lot like toys, especially Pug puppies. No one should be picking the puppy up off the ground. You may want to carry your new family member around or play with the pup like a baby, but you and your family will need to resist that urge. Kids, particularly, have trouble understanding since they will see the Pug more like a toy than a living creature. The younger your children are, the more difficult it will be for them to understand the difference. It is so tempting to treat the Pug like a baby and to try to carry it like one, but this is incredibly uncomfortable and unhealthy for the canine. Older kids will quickly learn that a puppy nip or bite hurts a lot more than you would think. Those little teeth are incredibly sharp, and you do not want the puppy to be dropped. If your children learn never to pick up the puppy, things will go a lot better. Remember, this also applies to you, so don’t make things difficult by doing something you constantly tell your children not to do.
  3. All of your valuables should be well out of reach of your children, even your teens. Valuables are also not something you want to end up in the puppy’s mouth, but that is almost guaranteed to happen if you leave jewelry where someone can easily pick it up. Teenagers are just as likely to grab whatever is within easy reach to play with the puppy, so they are nearly as much of a threat to your valuables as tweens and kids who are older than toddlers. If your kids get curious, they are not likely to stop to consider if they should be doing something because they want to know what will happen if they use something to play with the puppy. The end result will be an incident that will certainly not make you happy, nor your children when you get upset with them. If you don’t want your puppy or children to destroy something valuable, make sure it is never easily accessible.

Preparing Your Current Dogs

If you already have a dog, you are going to need to plan to prepare that canine or canines for the introduction of another canine companion. Start by teaching your kids the rules, then turn your attention (and that of your kids, if they are old enough) to preparing your current furry companions. The approach you take with a dog is completely different than what you do with children because you are not going to be explaining rules—you are going to let them know that you still love them.

Here are the things you can do to help ease the transition to having a new Pug around the home.

  • Think about your dog’s personality to help you decide the best way to prepare for that first day, week, and month. Each dog is unique, so you will need to consider your dog’s personality to determine how things will go when the new dog arrives. If your dog loves other dogs, this will probably hold true when the puppy shows up. If your dog has any territorial tendencies, you will need to be cautious about the introduction and first couple of months so that your current dog learns that the Pug is now a part of the pack. Excitable dogs will need special attention to keep them from getting overly excited when a new dog comes home. You don’t want them to be so excited they accidently hurt the new Pug.
  • Consider other times when you have had other dogs in your home and how your dog reacted to these other furry visitors. If your canine displayed territorial tendencies, you are going to need to be extra careful with how you introduce your new pup. If you haven’t invited another dog to your home, you need to have a couple of playdates with other dogs at your home before your new Pug arrives. You have to know how your current furry babies will react to dogs in the house so you can properly prepare. Meeting a dog at home is very different from encountering one outside the home.
  • Think about your dog’s interactions with other dogs for as long as you have known the pup. Has your dog shown either protective or possessive behavior, either with you or others? Food is one of the reasons that most dogs will display some kind of aggression because they don’t want anyone trying to eat what is theirs. Some dogs can be protective of people and toys too.

pug playing outdoorYou should have a place specially designated for your puppy too. This is where the puppy will sleep, eat, and spend the day when you cannot give him your full attention. This should be an area where no other dog can go either. Make sure that none of your other dog’s stuff is where your puppy will spend the majority of the time. You don’t want your dog to feel like the puppy is taking over his territory. This means setting up the area in a space that doesn’t include your current dog’s favorite bed, couch, or other items. Make sure your children understand never to put your dog’s stuff in the puppy’s area as well.

When it comes time for your dog to meet the puppy, you will need to do that away from home to ensure that territorial instincts do not kick in. Plan ahead with neutral ground where the dog and puppy will have their first encounter. This gives them a chance to get to know each other before entering the house together.

When you go to introduce your dog and puppy, make sure you have at least one other adult with you. It is best to have the whole family if possible, but having at least one other adult means that there is someone to manage each canine. If you have more than one dog, then you should have one adult per dog. This will make it easier to keep everyone under control. Even the best dogs can get overly excited about meeting a puppy. One of the people who needs to be there is the person who is in charge in the home (or people, if you have more than one person in charge). This helps establish the pack hierarchy.

The introductory time could take a while, depending on the personality of your dog. The friendlier and more accepting your dog is of the puppy, the easier it will be to incorporate your new puppy into the home. For some dogs, a week is enough for them to start feeling comfortable together. For other dogs, it could take a couple of months before they are fully accepting of the new puppy. Since this is a completely new dynamic in your household, your current dog may not be pleased with you bringing a little bundle of energy into his daily life. This is enough to make anyone unhappy, but especially a dog that has grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle. The older your dog is, the more likely it is that a puppy will be an unwelcome addition. With their abilities limited, older dogs can get cranky around puppies who don’t understand the rules or don’t seem to know when enough is enough. The goal is to make your puppy feel welcome and safe while letting your dog know that your love is just as strong as ever.

The same rules apply, no matter how many dogs you have. Think about the personalities of all of them as individuals, as well as how they interact together. Just like people, you may find that when they are together, your dogs act differently, which you will need to keep in mind when they are around the puppy. The introduction may need to be done with one dog at a time so that you do not overwhelm the puppy. Introducing each dog, one at a time, will help them calm down a bit before bringing all of the dogs together at the same time.

Your dog and the puppy will need to be kept apart in the early days (even if they seem friendly) until your puppy is done with vaccinations. Puppies are more susceptible to illness during these days, so wait until the puppy is protected before the dogs spend time together.

Dangerous Foods

Dogs digest foods differently to humans, and there are a number of things that are safe for people to eat that are dangerous to dogs. Most people know that dogs shouldn’t have chocolate, and many have heard that grapes are on dogs’ Do Not Eat List, but there are a lot more than just those two foods.

The problem is that your Pug is going to think that whatever you are eating is just fine for everyone in the family. However, there are a lot of things that go into people food that definitely should not be given to Pugs. Given their small stature, it does not take as much to harm a Pug as it takes to harm a larger dog (though none of these foods should be given to any dog since they hurt dogs of all sizes). The following is a list of foods that you need to make sure your Pug can never get to as they are potentially fatal if consumed by a dog.

  • Apple seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Cooked bones (they can kill a dog when the bones splinter in the dog’s mouth or stomach)
  • Corn on the cob (it is the cob that is deadly to dogs, corn off the cob is fine, but you need to make sure that your Pug cannot reach any corn that is still on the cob)
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions and chives
  • Peaches, persimmons, and plums
  • Tobacco (your Pug will not know that it is not a food and may eat it if left out)
  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute in candies and baked goods)
  • Yeast

In addition to these potentially deadly foods, there is a long list of things that your dog shouldn’t eat for health reasons. The Canine Journal has a lengthy list of foods that should be avoided. It includes foods like alcohol and other things that people give dogs, thinking it is funny. Remember that dogs have a very different metabolism and the effect that these foods have on them is much stronger than the effect they have on people.

For the sake of your Pug’s health, it is best just to keep all of these foods out of reach, even if the items are nonlethal.

Hazards to Fix

Just as there is a lengthy process for preparing your home for a baby or toddler, you have work ahead of you to get your place puppy ready. Since Pug puppies are so small, they can get into so many things that really are not safe. For the month or three leading up to your puppy’s arrival, you are going to be puppy- proofing your home. It is going to require a considerable amount of time, so make sure you set aside at least a month (more time is better) to get your home puppy-ready. The time you put into making your home safe for the puppy is well worth any extra effort.

This section details the areas of the home where you should really focus your attention to make sure you don’t miss anything important that could be dangerous for your little darling.

Also, be aware that Pugs (puppies in general) will try to eat virtually anything, even if it isn’t food. Nothing is safe—not even your furniture. Puppies will gnaw on wood and metal. Anything else within their reach is fair game. Keep this in mind as you go about puppy-proofing your home.

Kitchen and Eating Areas

Easily the most dangerous room in the house, the kitchen is a combination of poisonous foods, dangerous items, and poisons. It is the room where you should probably plan to spend most of your time when puppy-proofing your home. Everything you would do to protect a small child in this room is something you will need to do for a Pug. This could include making sure the cabinets are locked in case your Pug is clever enough to figure out how to open them. He is going to be following you around like a little shadow once he is allowed out of the puppy area, and he will be learning that things open. Some Pugs are clever enough to be able to get into cabinets, especially the cabinets where you do not want them to go.

pug puppy
Photo Courtesy – Nate Novicki

You will need to make sure that all poisons are put in places where your Pug cannot reach them (whether in the kitchen, in other rooms of the house, the garage, and all outdoor areas). Pugs can get into nearly everything, and they will be exploring a lot when given the opportunity. Anything that may catch your attention or draw your interest is worth a try—that’s what centuries have taught them. Being vigilant about making sure they can’t hurt themselves is vital to keeping your Pug safe. At no time should you leave poisons in an unsecured place in your kitchen,

Trash cans are equally dangerous because that’s where all kinds of great smells exist to lure your Pug to misbehave. Having just gone over the list of foods that they shouldn’t eat, having any of these foods in the trash is a serious risk to a Pug puppy. There are also things like poisons, plastics, and other items your puppy may think should be taste-tested. Just because your Pug is small does not mean that it is impossible for him to knock over a trash can. Take all of the necessary precautions, such as getting a trash can you can lock or storing it under a cabinet that is locked. This will keep your puppy from getting into too much trouble or creating a mess for you to clean up.

All electrical cords need to be up and out of reach of little Pug puppies that could be curious as to what cords are and how they work. You don’t want the puppy to trip or get tangled in a cord any more than you want your puppy to try to eat the cord. Then there are things like blender cords and other wires that connect to heavier items that you don’t want pulled on top of your puppy. Cords aren’t just electrical either—if you have long cords for your blinds, these need to be shortened or put where they will not fall to the floor where your Pug can reach them.

Bathroom and Laundry

The dangers in the bathroom are almost the same as those in the kitchen, just in a smaller space. There are so many poisons in bathrooms that keeping the doors closed could be the best way to go. Since that is really not an option for many families (particularly if you have children or teenagers who are likely to forget), you need to make sure to keep everything that could attract attention or pose danger locked up or out of reach.

Keep the toilet seat closed, and don’t use any automatic cleaners. Some Pugs are clever enough to learn how to drink out of toilets, which means it is up to you to keep the toilets inaccessible to your curious pup. If the toilet seat is left open (as is bound to happen occasionally), make sure there aren’t any poisons in it by avoiding having any automatic cleaners in the water.

Though it doesn’t seem likely at first, the laundry room can actually be a dangerous room as well. The easiest way to deal with it is to keep the door shut if you can. Many families keep a number of miscellaneous items (including poisons) in the laundry room because it is kind of a catch-all place. You may only have bleach, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and other clothing cleaners, but even those can be very dangerous to a Pug. This is particularly true of items like laundry pods. You also need to keep all dirty clothing off of the floor—if for no other reason than to keep your Pug puppy from dragging the most embarrassing garments all around your home. There is also a chance that your Pug may try to eat some of the clothing, which would not be great for your Pug. Nor is it a great time for you as you have to take an emergency trip to the vet’s office or animal hospital.

Other Rooms

Most of the other rooms of the house should be relatively safe since people don’t tend to keep chemicals outside of cabinets.

pug in bed
Photo Courtesy – Judi Otto

You will need to do a thorough inspection for cords that are low to the ground or within jumping distance of your Pug’s reach. All of these will need to be secured well above where your Pug can go. Don’t forget about spaces like the computer area and entertainment center where there is typically a lot of wiring. You will also need to check the window cords to make sure they are too high for your puppy to reach.

All cleaning products need to be stored someplace that your puppy cannot go, too. If you keep objects like air fresheners on counter surfaces, make sure that these areas are not places where your Pug can go. Since most Pugs are allowed on couches and beds, you will need to clear off end tables and nightstands—and anything accessible from the furniture that contains chemicals.

If you have a fireplace, all cleaning supplies and tools will need to be stored in a place where the puppy cannot get into them. The area where the fire is also needs to be made inaccessible to curious puppies. This needs to be true all of the time so that your puppy does not play in the ashes or with the wiring in the fireplace.

If you have stairs in your home, they will need to be cordoned off so that your puppy cannot try to go up or down them. Tables (including end tables and coffee tables) need to be cleared of dangerous objects, such as scissors, sewing equipment, pens, and pencils. All valuables should be kept in safe locations away from furniture where your puppy will go.

If you have a cat, you are going to need to keep the litter box off the floor. It needs to be somewhere that your cat can easily go, but your Pug cannot. Since this could include teaching your cat to use the new area, it is something you should do well in advance of the puppy’s arrival. You don’t want your cat to undergo too many significant changes all at once. The puppy will be enough of a disruption—if your cat associates the litter box change with the puppy, you may find your cat protesting the change by refusing to use the litter box.


The best way to deal with the garage is to make sure your Pug cannot go into it. There are so many dangerous things in garages that keeping puppies out is the best policy. However, given their size, it is certain that the little Pug will manage to slip into the garage when you don’t expect it. With all of the chemicals, sharp implements, and other dangerous tools that are stored there, the garage is one of the most hazardous places in any home. Never leave your Pug alone in the garage, even when it is an adult. It is likely that your puppy will be in the garage when you take car trips, which is why it is important to puppy-proof it.

All items related to your car and its maintenance have to be stowed high off the ground where your puppy cannot go, and a locked area is the safest way to store them. This includes all lubricants, oils, and cleaners, as well as wrenches and tools. You will need to do the same for all of your lawn-maintenance items, bike tools, and anything used for heavy machinery or that includes chemicals.

Puppies will chew anything, including tires, cans, tools, and bags. Everything that can be placed up high or locked in a cabinet should be.

You will need to do this with all of your hobbies too. Things like fishing tackle are incredibly dangerous and should be stored somewhere out of reach, too. You will need to make sure there is nothing hanging over the countertops where the puppy can try to pull it down.

The best way to tackle the problem is to enter the garage from a toddler’s perspective. Anything that you would immediately move for a toddler should be moved for your puppy. Get down low and see the garage from your puppy’s perspective. If you keep your cars in the garage, you can move them out to get a better view. Move anything that could be a potential danger.

Outdoors and Fencing

Your puppy should never be outside alone because there are too many hazards, even after you puppy-proof it. Keep in mind that you should never have your puppy outside of the designated puppy area without constant supervision. This is just as true in your yard as it is inside your home. Even if you have a fence, your puppy should not be left unattended when he is outside.

Puppy-proofing the yard won’t be nearly as time-consuming as puppy-proofing the inside. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as important though, especially if you plan to play with your puppy in your yard. Plan to spend between an hour or two outside inspecting and cleaning up in preparation for the arrival of your puppy.

Begin by inspecting the fence to make sure there are no breaks, holes, or other potential problems. You will also need to look for areas that dip under the fence that would be easy for a dog to make bigger. Make sure to have all problems with the fence repaired and fill in holes under the fence. You want to make sure the cute little puppy can’t escape and given its size, it won’t take much for him to slip through or under the fence.

Determine where in your backyard you want your puppy to go to the bathroom. You will want to make sure this area is cleared of all potential dangers because your puppy is going to be spending a good bit of time in the spot every day. All poisons and dangerous tools need to be stored elsewhere, such as in a shed or a secure place in the garage. If you have objects like a birdbath or other artificial structures in the puppy’s bathroom area, move them somewhere else. Of course, it is easiest to select an area that is already open and close to the door for rainy, hot, or cold days. It will be easier to maintain an area that is already clear.

Choose a different area in the yard for your puppy to play. Having a place for play and a place for going to the bathroom is important because you want the Pug to focus on using the bathroom in one place, and not be distracted by trying to play with you. This also lets your Pug know that it is time to play when you go to the different spot, which will make your little puppy that much more excited. Give this area the same inspection that you gave the house-training space.

Stroll around the rest of your yard to look for other chemicals and dangers. All of them should be moved somewhere that you can secure them. Even with dedicated places for using the bathroom and playing, your Pug is probably going to go to other areas of the yard, particularly if you have children. Make sure there is nothing dangerous in the entire yard.

Make sure all of your current plants are safe for dogs. Puppies will just as happily chew on plants as toys, making it essential to ensure there is nothing that can harm them.

Secure all water sources, such as pools, ponds, and streams. If you have a firepit or grill, make sure it is secure so that your puppy cannot access anything potentially dangerous.

Just like the garage, inspect your yard as if you were a toddler. Keep your eyes open for anything that could be interesting to a Pug, then determine what is too dangerous to remain.

Supplies and Tools to Purchase and Prepare

Planning for the arrival of your puppy includes buying all of the necessary supplies, like a crate, food, toys, and brushes. Start buying these things a month or two before your puppy arrives so that you can break up the cost over time. Bringing home a puppy can get very expensive; spare your budget by breaking the expenses up over a long period of time.

  • Crate
  • Bed
  • Leash
  • Doggie bags for walks
  • Collar
  • Tags
  • Puppy food
  • Water and food bowls (sharing a water bowl is usually okay, but your puppy needs his or her own food dish if you have multiple dogs)
  • Toothbrush
  • Brush
  • Toys

Feel free to add anything else you think of or want to have when your puppy arrives. Health-care items like flea treatments can be purchased (they are expensive), even though you won’t be able to use them for a while. Puppies should not be treated until they reach the specified age.

Planning the First Year’s Budget

The budget for having a puppy is a lot more than you would think—it’s still less expensive to bring in a puppy than a new infant. You will need to have a budget, which is another reason to start purchasing supplies a few months in advance. When you buy the items you need, you will begin to see exactly how much you will spend a month. Of course, there are some items that are one-time purchases, such as the crate, but many other items you will need to purchase regularly, like food.

You also need to have a budget for the one-time purchases. This means doing some research ahead of time for those purchases. It is almost guaranteed that you are going to overspend, but you want to stick to the budget as much as possible.

Begin budgeting the day you decide to get your Pug puppy. The cost will include the adoption cost, which is typically higher for a purebred dog than for a rescue. If you want to rescue a Pug, you should figure out where you want to find your newest family member. Plan to spend a lot of time researching costs for bringing your puppy home, as well as the other costs.

The vet and other health-care costs should be included in your budget. Regular vaccinations are required, and an annual checkup should be included in the budget. Vet prices vary a lot between different states, even between cities, making it difficult to average the cost. It is always worth the cost, but you want to know what it will be before your puppy arrives.

There are a lot of activities that you can do with your dog. Pugs are great pets because you will pretty much always want to enjoy your Pug without ever leaving home. A simple Google search yields pages of recommendations on ways to entertain and be entertained by your new family member. The Pug community is worldwide, and people who have Pugs tend to adore their dogs and are constantly thinking of new ways to enjoy the company of their canine companions.

Keep Things out of Reach

Pugs are going to right there with you wherever you go, which means that they are going to be able to get to nearly everything within your reach. It is very important to keep a lot of things out of their reach, especially for the times when you are not home. They can knock things over, like plants and decorations. Pugs can have anxiety issues, and they may knock things over while trying to look out windows to see you.

The Puppy Area

When you set up an area for your puppy, it needs to be in a place that won’t disrupt your current routines, especially for other pets. It would also be best to have an area where it will be easy to clean the floors. Your puppy is going to have a lot of accidents in those early days, and you don’t want to have nice carpeting, rugs, or flooring ruined. It should also be close to where you sleep unless you want to set up two puppy areas, one for the day and one for the night. Breeders also recommend that it be somewhere a bit quieter so that it isn’t too overwhelming for the puppy in the early days.

Most breeders also recommend safety gates and fencing. You will need to test it to make sure that your puppy can’t get out, and other animals and children cannot get into the area.

There should not be any furniture in the puppy’s area either. Given puppies’ penchant to chew anything, you want to make sure that the only thing constantly in their reach is their puppy paraphernalia. A few safe toys, water, bedding, and maybe a blanket that is difficult to tear up should be the only things in the puppy area.

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