Pug Socialization 101 – Tips for Ensuring your Pug is Happy and Well-Adjusted

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

As an incredibly sociable breed, Pugs are one of the easiest dogs to socialize, and they should be socialized early to help them keep that nearly unlimited potential to love everyone and everything. Pugs are fun when they play the jester and try to keep everyone laughing; not when they are scared, nervous, or upset. You want your companion to be comfortable everywhere the two of you go, and that is the ultimate goal of socialization.

Pug grass
Photo Courtesy – Mandy Saglik

Despite how easy it is to socialize a Pug, you still have to plan for it. Without planning and a controlled environment, socialization can go very wrong, very quickly. If you keep things simple and under control, your Pug will learn to relax and enjoy the company of other people and dogs.

Benefits of Socialization

It is always important to socialize dogs, but even more so with small dogs. People are inclined to being overprotective and cautious with small dogs and puppies, and this can lead to serious problems later. The benefits of early socialization are that it can make things that much more enjoyable for everyone involved, no matter what the situation is. A socialized dog will approach the world from a much better place than a dog that is not socialized.

Problem Arising from Lack of Socialization

Pug biting stickSocialization starts the moment your puppy arrives. Without socialization, no amount of training is going to help your Pug better interact with other animals and humans. All other rules still apply during socialization, so keep that in mind while you help your dog meet new friends.

If you treat your dog like a doll or infant, protecting it from everything and everyone, the dog is going to develop small dog syndrome; even a breed as notoriously personable as the Pug can develop it. They need to be allowed to learn how to interact with others so that they aren’t always terrified or upset with you when there are other people or dogs around them. It isn’t healthy for your Pug to always be anxious or nervous around others, especially when you can easily avoid it. Make time to socialize your puppy to make his life enjoyable and so that he is as happy to meet new people and dogs as you and your family are.

Why Genetics Matter

Pug grass
Photo Courtesy – Evie Vorpagel

Genetics are important in terms of not only the dog’s health but his personality. Pugs don’t tend to be aggressive or unpleasant, but there are always exceptions. Early socialization can help bring out the Pug heritage of loving new people, dogs, and experiences. You will want to learn whether or not his parents are skittish or standoffish so you will know what to expect and can watch for those traits and correct them.

Some Interesting Training

Pugs may or may not be easy to train, depending on what kind of learners they are. Since they tend to pick up their behavior from others, you can use peer pressure to your advantage. If your Pug sees you reacting positively to another dog’s tricks, your Pug is very likely to try to do the same tricks to get the same reaction from you. Early socialization can help develop a positive relationship with other dogs so that you can show your Pug new tricks that he has watched other dogs do and your Pug will learn to do them.

Common Problems

Pug swimming
Photo Courtesy – Ian Nosek

Pugs don’t typically have problems as long as they are socialized from an early age. They love almost any living creature if they learn not to be afraid when they are young. However, they can develop small dog syndrome if you don’t take the time to introduce them to others early. They can be real terrors if they are uncomfortable around others.

Properly Greeting New People

It can be a lot of fun, so it isn’t something most people avoid. (Who doesn’t love meeting and playing with a lovable little dog?) The difficult part is finding the time to do it often enough to reinforce the positive behaviors and teach the puppy that the world is a fun place to live in.

Pug funny face
Photo Courtesy – Joseph Mallozzi

Greeting new people is usually a pretty easy task outside of the home, but it can be a bit tricky when you are at home. Training your Pug how to treat visitors may take a little longer because he will very excited and will want to be the center of attention. In the end, it is worth the effort as your Pug becomes an enjoyable companion for you and anyone who visits.

Behavior around Other Dogs

Pugs are incredibly agreeable dogs. They do not need to be alphas, but they can believe that things should always be fun and exciting. If you have an older dog, most Pugs will be able to peacefully work out who is alpha and who isn’t without too many problems. Since Pugs hate to be alone, it is probably better to have another dog if you are absent from the home for several hours every day.

To read more from "The Complete Guide to Pugs" by David Anderson, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below:

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