When a one-Puggie home is not enough
Haylo Hooman’s and Puggies,
As you know, I am a proud Puggie-mom to Winston and Charles, whom Andrew and I adopted 8 years ago. They were from the same litter and had never know a time apart which is why Pug Rescue decided to put them up for adoption together luckily for us.
Then this year Winston had health problems that caused us all a large amount of stress and anxiety. On two occasions, the Specialist told us that Winston had a 1 in 100 chance of not making it through, and we had to make the horrible choice of forging ahead or stopping treatment. Winston is still with us and fully recovered, so you know what we decided to do.
However, throughout this period in the back of our minds, Andrew and I had to consider Charles’ needs should we have lost Winston. How would Charles cope with the loss of his “big brother”; the brother that had been there during the bad times as well as the good.
Picture 1: Mother and Son Neeoo and Bernie
Pugs are bred to be companions and they thrive in company, every Puggie-Parent knows it, and Andrew and I were faced with the possibility that we would need to find Charles a friend sooner rather than later to make sure his long-term mental health was not further impacted by the sudden loss of his brother. Then came the questions; do we get a boy or a girl? How old should they be? How long should we wait before introducing Charles to a new companion? Are we making things worse for Charles by introducing a new friend when he struggles to leave our sides at play group each week? And the list went on as you can imagine.
So, I hit the internet to find out what those that have boldly gone on before me to see what they did when introducing a Puggie-addition to the family grumble and what not to do. There are some great articles out there about doggie-addition, but I read a particular article form pugloversguide.com which had some great advice as well as their ‘10 tips to successfully introduce your second pug’:
- ‘When is the right time? Patience is key. The best thing to do when introducing your second pug to your first, is to not rush into it. Ideally, they can meet on multiple occasions, even before bringing them both home.
- Desensitize. Desensitize your pug from the new pug’s scent by bringing home items such as clothing you have worn while visiting, towels, etc that bear the other’s scent. If you are planning on a rescue pug, let them know your intentions they should be able to help with providing items for this.
- Take them to an area that is neutral to both dogs, such as a public park.
- By having the two meeting in a neutral area, away from marked territory such as your backyard, it sets the tone on a level playing field, which will help (with) avoiding dominance of one (over) the other.
- Let them off leash. Once they have checked each other out and are calm. Let them off their leash so that you can observe their behaviour and interactions from a distance. Make sure to supervise at all times.
- Repeat the above. It may take a few of these bonding sessions before they are comfortable with each other – then you know your second pug is ready to come home.
- Don’t forget to show them some one-on-one love. Especially with your first pug, as jealousy can kick in if you don’t show them enough affection after being the only pug in the household for quite some time.
- Separate food bowls, separate play toys. In order to avoid potentially aggressive disputes around what belongs to who, it is recommended to keep the food bowls, play toys, beds, crates etc. all separate.
- Use a crate to separate where necessary. Don’t be afraid to crate your pugs separately to give them some quiet down time. In preparation, crate training your pug in advance will be key to get them comfortable in their crates.
- Don’t leave them together unattended. At least, not until you are fully comfortable with them being okay with each other and not going to cause any trouble while they’re not under your supervision. Until then, utilize crates, or other barriers to separate them when you’re not home.’
I highly recommend reading from a few different sources to see what advice is out there, and I have included links to the ones I used for this blog post if you’re interested in learning more.
Picture 2: Adoptive Siblings, Benny, Bella and Buddy
On top of the articles, I also jumped into a number of forums to see what other Puggie-Parents found worked for them when they introduced their next Puggie, and the common themes across the posts were:
- Be careful about introducing a pup or young Puggie to an older Puggie due to the differing levels of energy
- Introducing clothing or a towel with the other Puggies smell prior to the first meet really helped, and that the first meeting in a neutral place made a big difference
- If possible, arrange for a slow introduction over a couple of meetings to give the Puggies time to get to know one another without your interference
- Providing a separate space for both Puggies for time out on their terms, especially in the first few weeks made for a better transition
- Be careful to provide equal love to both Puggies, especially if your current Puggie has only ever know life in a single Puggie household; one person reported that they had unknowingly given more attention to the newest member of the grumble and fights ensued
Picture 3: Adoptive Brothers, Oscar and Gerald
I also think that the above advice is great for Puggie-sitting. Our play group helps each other out from time to time by Puggie-sitting for a week or weekend so that our Puggie-Parents don’t have to find a lodge or not so willing family member to care for their Puggie(s) whilst they’re away.
But offering to Puggie-sit is easy enough to do until your Puggie(s) let you know they don’t feel the same way; especially if they don’t know the Puggie that is coming to visit/stay. Using the advice provided in the forums by other Puggie-Parents will at least avert a potential disaster or a need to find another Puggie-sitter at short notice!
Picture 4: Adoptive Siblings, Max and Mia
As much as Andrew and I were so happy that we didn’t end up needing to use our research, we know that eventually we may still need it. Plus, we also recognise that what may work for Winston will more than likely not work for Charles. They may be litter-brothers, but they have very distinct personalities and finding the right match will take some homework on our behalf.
We would love to hear about your experiences with your grumble, and what worked for you when introducing a new Puggie to the family. Did it go as expected? Would you do something different or would you do it again? We’d love to know!
So, until next week Puggies have a wonderful week and look forward to seeing your adventures and photos on Facebook and Instagram.
Proud Pug-mum to Winston and Charles
Founder of Pug Parties
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