July 12, 2008
It wasn’t a surprise today to see that local news channel WRAL selected a Puggle (pug, beagle mix) as their first prospect for a new program they’re calling the Bad Dog Challenge. The program helps pet owners with unbelievably bad pets attempt to provide some obedience through teaching tips on how to handle specific bad behaviors. For instance, the Puggle Albie featured in this issue enjoyed chewing everything in sight, stealing things (probably clothing, towels, and blankets if I had to guess), and barking and shaking her crate while caged up.
I wasn’t surprised because of my recent (since November 2006) experiences with Puggles. In fact, to make their lack of obedience even more fun we got a boy and girl from the same litter so they enjoy each other more than us and always follow each other’s lead before ours. For dogs that have been described as having the best features of Pugs (I haven’t found one yet) combined with the positive aspects of Beagles (very loving but strongly instinctive) I would have to say something is missing upstairs. Maybe they’re stubborn, maybe they just don’t learn, or both, as our professional dog trainer shouted as he returned them back into our handling after three very expensive months living within his facility. In result they returned to us very happy to be back home, very loving, and sort of house broken. Biting, barking, screaming (a unique Pug characteristic), house soiling, sock stealing, shoe and sandal licking, feces eating, jumping, aggressively playing inside, and attention getting remained.
But, they sure are cute and loving when they’re sleepy (possibly the only redeeming quality of a Puggle). As some advice to future Puggle owners… crate train religiously in the beginning (probably for 1-2 years straight), never ever give them the freedom to roam the house without supervision, buy lots of Nylabones in an attempt to allow them to wear themselves out, and no matter how cute they are at the breeders facility DO NOT get two (especially not a brother and sister from the same litter).
We’ve also found that because of their sensitive noses (probably from the Beagle side considering the Pug has no talents to speak of) they need twice as much time as a normal dog to go to the bathroom outside even when they have to go badly. This is where a fenced in yard comes in really handy and is a must-have with this breed. Just make sure to get a privacy fence or a picket fence at least four feet tall and with a 1.5 inch or less gap between the pickets (they are small dogs after all). Expect them to ignore people passing by but to bark and scream at each other ferociously when another dog walks near (we still haven’t figured this behavior out because they don’t really bark at the passing dog).