To Get a Pug?

My boyfriend loves the breed. He had one when he was growing up, and since I’ve met him (6 years ago), he’s always talked about how he’s wanted another (going as far as to have already picked out the name, and speaking of it like he’s already a member of the family). I’ve continually ribbed him on the subject, talking about how they always look so confused / dense, showing him the Onion article about the “breeder’s recall on the 2007 model of pug”, etc. Honestly, though, I don’t have anything against them; I just enjoy joking about them.

I, in turn, would talk about how I’m more of a cat-guy, seeing as how cats are typically independent and self-sufficient, not demanding attention at all hours. I’d said that I wanted to get a Bengal kitten at the same time, so the animals could be reared together, and there wouldn’t be as much of a “territory” issue, having both animals introduced to the new environment at the same time.

So, here’s the deal. For the past year, he’s talked about how he wants to get a fawn pug puppy in the Spring. At first, I dismissed his comments, but as they kept coming, I began to express my misgivings. Finally, a few months ago, I laid it all out for him.

Puppies require a lot of attention, and since we both work, that’s 8 - 10 hours during the day that it would be crated, if the dog is “raised” as he wants. It is true that I am able to work from home during most days, but I don’t want him to rely on the idea that I would be able to do so all the time (especially since my job has become more turbulent these past few months, given the state of the oil and gas industry). I’d mentioned how I wasn’t ready for a cat, yet, but then said that it wouldn’t be fair to use my unreadiness for “my end of the deal” as rationale to prevent him from getting his dog.

He recently took a new job, and although he’s now working in his preferred field, it was at the cost of $3k - 5k / year. He does alright, financially, but money is a factor in many of the decisions he makes - forgoing getting particular “luxury” items and whatnot. Without being too insensitive, I tried to raise the issue that the cost of the dog, necessary medical bills, food, etc. might be something he wants to avoid at this point in his life. We have friends who make less than we do and yet have more dogs. I really don’t factor my income in this situation because I joke with him that, if he is going to call the dog “his” and not “ours”, then he’ll be responsible for it in most ways. The plan was for him to be “responsible” for the dog, and me the cat. Since I’m not sure if I would want to get a cat yet, I’m sure I’d contribute with the bills for the pug, but on the other hand, I don’t know if I’d resent him for relying on me to help out with the bills for a dog he got when I wasn’t sure if I was ready to own one.

Another factor, albeit minor is the amount of damage a puppy can do. Chewing on things, staining carpets, etc. Honestly, that is not the biggest deal to me (except for the likely possibility of our townhouse obtaining a distinct “smell”), but I wanted to present that as another thing to consider. He’s made joking comments that we would not inform the property company that we obtained a pet, so as to avoid the pet-deposit. I think if I were to agree to “withhold” that knowledge, he wouldn’t have an issue with it, but inversely, he won’t put up much resistance if I tell him that we need to make that payment.

Probably my biggest concern is the time-commitment. We have many friends who have dogs, and the animals are either always in tow, or they’ve had to cut dinners and nights-out short because they need to get home in time to check on their animals. We haven’t been able to travel much, because he used to work weekends, and we always wanted to take road trips. Granted, due to my current work-situation, I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel in asking for a few days off for a vacation (we had two rounds of lay-offs in December), but a pet would surely hinder any future attempts to “get away.” It isn’t that we are the type to stay out late at nights - in fact, most weekends, we’re lounging at home. These are just things that I want to consider in making the decision.

After laying it out like that, he acquiesced. Unfortunately, there’s some passive-aggressiveness in his comments, whenever the breed is mentioned. (“It doesn’t matter, we aren’t getting one anyway.”) I told him that I wasn’t completely opposed to getting a pug now, but that these were things that concerned me.

So, now I’m at a point where I feel like “the bad guy” for raising points that I feel are valid things to consider. The thing is, I think I’d like a dog. After being subject to YouTube videos of “pug bowling”, puppies jumping through snow, etc., I’ve grown fond of the breed.

Was I wrong for bringing those points up? I tried to be as fair and accurate as possible, in posting what I told him. I continually stress that getting a dog is a big deal, and I just want to make sure that we know how it is going to affect us, since ideally it would be around for a decade or more. And, although I hate to liken dog-ownership to parenting, I wonder if the whole “you’re never completely ready for a baby” thing I hear from all my friends applies in this situation. Are there things I’m overlooking? I don’t see us crossing this bridge for a month or so, at least, but any input would be greatly appreciated.

I don’t think you’re being unreasonable at all, and I’m of the opinion that EVERYONE should have a pug.

A few thoughts:

  • You’re very right about the amount of time a dog takes. I know people who are gone 8-10 hours a day have dogs, but I’m always sad when I hear that. Pugs, in particular, seem to be more people-oriented than most dogs, and I think you may have problems with one that’s left alone that much every day. We have two, and that helps some - they keep each other company.

And really, for any dog, I think 8-10 hours is too long to be in a crate. I’m sure people will disagree with me. But that’s a long time, every day.

And as an aside - I really, really don’t understand crate training. Sure, when they’re puppies, it’s nice to be able to restrain them. But I’ve never had a dog in my life that couldn’t be left alone in the house as an adult, and I’ve had plenty of dogs. If they’re properly house trained and socialized, they don’t cause problems.

  • Cats: pugs have buggy eyes. Cats have claws. I love cats, and would like to have one, but the only way I’d get one is if it were declawed. I’ve heard too many horror stories about pug’s eyes & cat claws. I’m not a big fan of declawing, so, for me, no cat. That makes me sad at times.

On the other hand, pugs have all the good characteristics of both dogs and cats. They like to snuggle like a cat, and I can’t sit down for more than 30 seconds without one of them climbing into my lap. So I don’t miss cats that much.

  • Finances: Pugs are pretty hardy little critters, so there’s no need to assume they’ll need more than the basic health care/food/toys. But it’s good to know what your limits are, and think about what you’d do if something big did come up.

  • Puppy damage: The worst mine have done is chew up a pricey sweater I had. No major damage to furniture or carpets. But I work at home, so I kept an eye on them throughout their puppyhood.

  • Time commitment: Yeah, having dogs puts a crimp on things at times. On the other hand, once the dog is grown, you can go out for 6 hours or so without it being a big deal. I don’t think I’d want to do that if the doggy had been alone all day - there’s limits to how long you can leave them - but if you work at home then want to leave at, say, 6, and won’t get home until midnight I don’t see any issues.

Going out of town is a bigger deal. Find a good kennel or pet sitter. We’re lucky in that my mother-in-law is always happy to dog-sit for us when we leave. Before she moved into the area, we had a steady stream of nieces/cousins/etc who were happy to house sit for a fee. But you can’t just decide on Friday to leave for the weekend anymore, you have to plan ahead.

I’ve heard that tan pugs shed a lot and black pugs don’t.

You were not wrong to bring the points up but it might have helped to have some sort of attainable goal to reach before getting the pug. If you said between the two of you there needed to be another $2,000 coming in and you had to find someone who could watch the dog during the day or something I think that would be easier for him to accept and make him feel less like this is about you not wanting a pug and actually about you wanting to do what is best for your future pet.

I went through something like this when my boyfriend wanted to get an exotic pet. He wanted either a flying squirrel or a marten. After lots of, “Honey it would be difficult and expensive to find them a vet and how would you find them a new home if you decided you couldn’t keep them, etc. etc.” I finally just had to say, “Look, if you get a flying squirrel my cats will eat it. If you get a marten it might very well eat or kill my cats. No weird-ass pets! Get a dog or cat!” He stopped for a second and said, “You’re right. I hadn’t thought about that.” Now we are planning to get him a small dog after we move in together and once he gets a raise or a better paying job.

Having one of each, I can attest that both shed in a different but equal way.

This thread has bummed be out, because I too want a Pug, but realized just now that I’m gone 8-10 hours a day as well…

Dammit! I REALLY REALLY wanted one when I grew up…

I also want a pug desperately, but I won’t be able to have one anytime soon. Someday…

Yeah, that’s how I tried to pose my “argument.” The money issue isn’t my biggest qualm. It’s the “time / care” needed. I completely agree with Athena that leaving a young animal alone for an extended period of time can be somewhat cruel - especially “social” animals, like pugs. That, in part, was the logic behind our “Milo & Otis”-esque plan of getting a dog and a cat. When I grew up, we had two cats, and they seemed to be able to keep each other company when the family was not around. I just don’t know if we could go from being a zero-pet household to a two-pet household overnight, for various reasons.

I’m not sure if I’d be too keen on having someone watch the pug during the day. It strikes me too much like a child day-care or something, and I don’t even know who would be able to do such a thing, since most, if not all, of our friends work the same hours that we do.

In my current work situation, I’m able to work from home often, and so he thinks that it would not be an issue, as I’d be around for most of the day. However, I wonder what happens when I go back to a more “traditional” arrangement of having to go into the office for the day, and the pug is left alone. I’ve never had a dog, so I wonder about certain things, such as how often they have to go outside to “do their business” and the sort. The boyfriend grew up in the country, so I think the dog would just go outside via a “doggy-door” whenever he needed to. Can dogs “hold it” for the typical work-day?

I have 6 dogs. (Yes, 6 dogs. And 4 cats and two horses) They hold it all day, and seem happy enough with each other as company. However, I think having a solitary pet and expecting it to be happy, especially crated, for 10 hours, is asking too much. What do you think your dog is going to do all day by himself - write the Great American Novel? if you have a fenced back yard, the dog door option isn’t bad, but they still need some sort of companionship. Ask your BF if he went to a zoo and saw and animal in a cage where they all they could do is stand up, turn around and lay down, would he think that’s the best habitat? Doesn’t his pet deserve better?

Your BF doesn’t want to be one of those people who, 6 weeks after having got a dog, is posting on Craigslist “don’t have the time Fluffy deserves”. They don’t need to be the axis upon which your world revolves, but they do need to be part of the family.


I think some older dogs can. That said, most people I know who have dogs & work for a living either come home at lunch at let their dogs out, or live in climates where they can leave the dog in a fenced backyard all day.

My pugs are pretty much on a schedule - they go out in the morning when we get up, then I need to let them out again before about 1pm, then they’re good until 6 at night or so.

I never worry about leaving them if we go out in the evenings.

The only times now that they’re both adults that we’ve had accidents is when one of them gets sick (poooor lil pugslies can’t help that) or when it’s really, really cold out and their feet freeze when we let them out. We try to force them to go quickly in that situation, but they really hate it, and it’s not out of the question to have an accident in the house if we aren’t diligent about taking them out every hour or so until they go.

Overall, though, they are delightful dogs, and I can’t imagine life without them. Every day they do silly, stupid things that make us smile, and they’re always happy to crawl into a lap for a nap. I’ve had plenty of pets in my life, and I can flat out say I hope I never go through a period without a pug. They are the best!

Trust me, that’s one thing he wouldn’t ever do. Once he gets the pug, outside of certain mandatory demands (work and the sort), he wouldn’t ever leave the pug’s side. I could easily see myself becoming a second-class citizen once the dog arrives. :stuck_out_tongue:

So, the mid-day break is a necessity?

An adult dog can generally hold it through the course of the workday, but that’s out of the question for a baby. A good rule of thumb is the dog’s age in months plus 1 hours is how long you can really expect them to hold it.

One thing you should make sure you can afford before getting a pug is a trip to the emergency vet to deal with an ocular avulsion, which is when those bulgy little eyes pop right out of the socket. Yes, that’s every bit as gross as it sounds, and it’s unfortunately common in pop-eyed breeds. Any sort of knock to the head can do it, even sometimes stress or overexcitement. Sometimes you can save the eye, sometimes you can’t. Many pug owners never need to deal with this issue, and I sincerely hope you’re one of them, but you really do need to be prepared if it should arise.

Another financial consideration you need to take into account is airway issues. Pugs and all other smooshy-faced dogs are prone to what’s known as brachycephalic airway syndrome–their abnormal physiology tends to cause pinched nostrils and elongated soft palates which compromise their airway, which is why they tend to snort and snore so and some of them are such couch potatoes. Think about those miserable stuffy colds where it feels like you’re breathing through a pinhole in your nose–it’s like going through your whole freaking life like that.

You might find a pup with a good airway at a fairly low price, but odds are pretty decent you’ll either be shelling a quite a bit of extra money, or having surgery done on your dog’s nostrils and/or palate so it can breathe. The nostrils aren’t a huge deal, an extra 5-10 minutes when you get it sterilized, but the soft palate resection can be a hefty chunk of change. And an elongated soft palate can seriously drive up the anesthetic risk, because it makes it harder for them to guard their airways in the period between extubation and being fully awake. We watch those patients extra closely, but there’s still more risk than for a physiologically normal animal.

Before you pick out a puppy, talk to your breeder about brachycephalic airway syndrome, joint issues, skin infections, and popped out eyeballs. If they pooh-pooh these concerns, find another breeder, because that one’s an irresponsible idiot. If you have to come up off a few hundred extra bucks to get a puppy from someone who isn’t an irresponsible idiot, do it. It’ll save you money in the long run.

I believe it is. We’ve found, um, “presents” when they don’t get to go out in the middle of the day.

Wow. I’d done some research on pug medical problems, and I didn’t think anything could top the “having to express the pug’s anal glands”, but that easily takes the cake. I just tried to do a search on Google for the phrase, to see how frequently it occurs. I’m terrified to click on any links, though, for fear images will accompany the article.

I immediately thought of Winston - the pug cat

Propose to him that you make yourselves available for pet sitting. Borrow friends’ dogs for the weekend (just for fun), or for a week or two when they go on vacation. It’s really the only way it’ll become clear– ‘Oh wait, we can’t see a movie after work, we have to stop home first and let the dog out’ and ‘One of us is going to have to get up 30 minutes earlier to feed and walk Rufus.’

Pugs are hardly the only breed that needs this. Lots of dogs have issues with anal glands.

My two critters get extra fiber in their diet every day, currently in the form of All-Bran. Yup, they each get a little bowl of cereal for breakfast every morning.

That takes care of things for a while. Every 2-3 months I take 'em to the vet for their anal glands and to get their toenails clipped. Think it costs about $25-$35 total, and I don’t have to hold 'em down and clip their nails. Money well spent IMO.

So, here’s a follow-up. What did you do to find reputable breeders? I’ve thought about contacting DFW Pug Groups and asking for recommendations, as I’m a little wary of merely searching on Google and the sort.

There are several pug rescue groups around the country. Maybe instead of a puppy you can find one who’s a year or two older. I understand wanting to raise them up from an itty bitty puppy but maybe getting an older one who’s been well socialized would be better for your current working situation? Google has numerous listings for rescue groups. Also the breed’s club website has a page with links to reputable rescue groups:

Maybe when the time is right for a dog, this might be a little easier on you both?

Opps, cross posting!

Calatin, I usually start with the American Kennel Club breeders lists, when I’m looking for dogs. Each breed in the AKC has its own “club” and they’ll have info on breeders in your area and usually rescue networks as well. That link I posted above is the official page for the Pug Dog Club of America. Here’s the link to the AKC’s pug page: