How aggressive should we late the older Pug be with the new puppy Pug?
January 19, 2007 4:22 PM   Subscribe

How aggressive should we late the older Pug be with the new puppy Pug?

We've got a male pug that is 1 1/2 years old and a female puppy pug that is around 8 weeks old. The two of them like to play a lot but sometimes the older pug can be pretty aggressive with the puppy.

Should any type of aggressive behavior be allowed at all? Is it him just establishing his dominance as the older pug?

The puppy pug many times starts them playing, but he always seems to push it too far.
posted by JPigford to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what it means. In my family and my wife's family, we have something like seven pugs, and there's currently a pug puppy, and I haven't seen the older pugs be really aggressive with the puppy. In fact, they seem a little scared of the puppy.

In principle, I wouldn't have a problem with rough play, but keep in mind (you know this already, I am sure) that pugs are especially susceptible to eye injuries, so I would keep an eye on them to make sure the play doesn't put their eyes at risk.
posted by jayder at 4:28 PM on January 19, 2007

What do you mean by "aggressive"?

If the puppy is yelping in pain or trying to hide and the older dog isn't backing off, you may have a problem, but if they're just roughhousing, it's no problem. Mind you, I pretty firmly believe that puppies should never be left unsupervised with older dogs.

"Establishing dominance" is not a very useful concept when dealing with dogs, humans don't understand it well, it's not static, and it's rarely at all beneficial to our understanding of them. And besides that, odds are very good that the female will end up being the more "in charge" of the two anyway.
posted by biscotti at 4:43 PM on January 19, 2007

My experience has been similar to jayder's. Our adult pugs have always been pretty afraid of the new crazy pug puppies at first. Pugs do an amazing 180, starting off as little cracked out gremlins that mellow out into plush bean bags with mouths.

Usually the old dogs have always minded there own business until they reach a breaking point and begin to play. It's usually pretty cute; something like a snow speeder trying to take down an ATAT. As long as the little guy isn't whimpering, I think you're fine. It's ok for the older guys to get a little angry because that's how the little guys learn not to cross boundaries.

Pugs seem to develop a great sense of children/puppies and know not to become too agressive. Even if you hear a lot of growling, it's probably not a big deal.

Be prepareed to watch some epic battles as they get closer in size.
posted by Telf at 4:56 PM on January 19, 2007

Watch the puppy with the older dog. We once dog-sat my uncle's 11 year old pug when our pug puppy was about 6 months old. The puppy loved to play with the big dog by nipping at his neck. Big dog patiently put up with this behaviour, until the day puppy ripped a big chunk out of big dog's neck. Fortunately my uncle didn't mind that we returned his dog with significantly less skin than he came with.
posted by crazycanuck at 5:46 PM on January 19, 2007

It is so hard to diagnose "agression" online because it's all in the details. Two dogs can be all over each other making an awful ruckus but it can still be friendly play (like a game of football or rugby) or they can be silent and still but they're ready to kill each other at a moment's notice (like a standoff at high noon). It doesn't help that when dogs play, they usually play at fighting.

Ears up or flattened against their head? Base of the tail up or down? Tail wagging slowly or quickly? Can you see the whites of their eyes? Are their mouths open? Tongues lolling out or more of a grimace? Is the big dog playing down at her level? Is she running away to hide? Do they look relaxed or tense and stiff?

Always practice interrupting their playtime when you feel it's crossing the line. If it isn't aggression, this is the perfect time to practice and build your relationship with your dogs so that they don't learn to ignore you. If it is aggression this is a good first step to redirecting their attention and avoiding that behavior and rewarding good behavior. Wave a biscuit in their face, call them to you, reward them each for sitting nicely and let them return to playing. Practicing this will not only put a limit on how rough they play with each other, it also encourages self control and ensures that you still have verbal control when they are excited. Being able to break up playtime or even aggression before things get out of hand is so important, especially when you have two dogs.
posted by hindmost at 5:51 PM on January 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

jpigford (or anyone else): if you don't mind, would you mind talking further about your experiences bringing a new pug into the family? We've got a 3 year old pug (female) and we're probably going to get another pug (male) this spring, and although I've heard *very* positive things about having multiple dogs, I still have some concerns about added responsibilities (does it seem like a lot of extra work? we're both away from home for around 8 hours at a time.) and whether or not it is ok to leave the new puppy at home without crating. Are you crating the new pup, or otherwise separating them while away at work (if applicable)?
posted by fishfucker at 11:11 PM on January 19, 2007

In my experience, pugs are more social than some other breeds. They seem to do best in either multi-dog households or homes where the owners can spend more time with them than most 40-hour-workweek folks can.

In our house, Ripley the pug shares the house with a tiny zoo. She's crate-trained, saving us from the post-apolypocalypse that the house would be if she were allowed to run amok. Though she's separated from the other household dogs, she's in the same general area, and she seems to enjoy the company, even though at least one of the heelers doesn't always appreciate her bossy presence.

Ripley is in the post-gremlin "cough potato" stage, but still managed to rule the house and boss around all the larger life forms. This seems to be a common trait of female pugs.

She is especially aggressive in her interest in puppies and smaller animals of all kinds (the elderly cats resent this). She will sniff at others to the point where they are uncomfortable and begin running, and then it's on.
posted by answergrape at 11:05 AM on January 20, 2007

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