This saturday will mark the one year anniversary since I brought Pixel home. It’s hard to believe that that 3 pounds of fur is now a full grown dog.
One thing she did as puppy that she still does is lie on her back – I love when she does this, so when she did it the other day on her bed, I went to grab a photo. Then it hit me, that was pretty close to a shot I had when she was just a smidge of a dog. It seemed like the perfect way to mark this passage of time. If I was a bit more organized (or obsessed), I could have collected photos each month and done a time lapse, but we will just have to make due with these!
She fills it out just a bit more now! Happy 1 year anniversary homecoming Pixel!
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, but just didn’t get around to it for so many reasons, but, here it is now!
I had a conversation a while ago with someone who said they thought it was cruel to have a dog in the city, that dogs need space & a home with a yard. I don’t buy that for a second – but, I also had numerous conversations with people about the process of housebreaking a puppy in the city vs. the ‘burbs. So here’s my take on it all.
From the moment we were allowed, I started going to the park with Pixel. Almost every day we would go, and she played (plays) with dogs of all sizes, from the tiny chihuahua to a huge newfoundland. Pixel likes every dog she meets, she does not bark or growl at a single dog. Now granted, pugs are not aggressive dogs by nature, but I have to believe being exposed to all types of dogs from such an early age has only had a positive influence on her temperment.
Besides the actual excursions to the park, we also see other dogs on almost every walk we go on. Pixel has her ‘friends’ in the neighborhood, dogs that get excited to see her & her right back. She even has a boyfriend on the block who barks (and the owner tells me this is the only time he barks) from his house when we walk by.
I often stay at my brother’s house on Long Island, and I try to take Pixel on walks there instead of just using his backyard, since that is what she is used to, but I don’t think we have ever been on a walk & run into another dog. When we are out at his house, there is no playing with other dogs. I have to plan play dates & go over to my cousins house, so Pixel can terrorize her two dogs.
City +1 – Suburbs 0
Part of this is related to Socialization, but because of the ease of access, I decided to talk about this separately. Having a backyard is a huge plus for a dog, they have a safe place to play that doesn’t require a special trip somewhere. But, like the socialization, this is all dependent on how much use is made of having a backyard. Is the dog just let out to pee, and then comes back in? Does the dog play on it’s own when it’s in the backyard? Again, it’s really up to us what is made of what we have to work with. It’s great to have a backyard, but is it used to it’s full advantage? So, I am going to call this one a wash because for me at least, I get Pixel outside as much as someone with a backyard – it is what you make of it!
City +1 – Suburbs +1
This is where I think having a backyard is HUGE! When I first got Pixel I could not take her out for walks until she had all her shots, b/c we are in the city, and if she encountered dogs that did not have all of their shots, she could get very sick. That’s not an issue when you have your own backyard. So from the get-go, you can train your dog to go outside when you have a backyard. We had to start on wee wee pads & transition to going outside, and I an say without a doubt that this had a big effect on the housebreaking process for us.
City 0 – Suburbs +1
You didn’t really think I would say one was better than the other, did you?
I can only say for my dog, city living is for her. She LOVES socializing, and I can see the difference in her when we can’t get out to play for a few days (like this past rainy week). Housebreaking was a bitch for us, with the tough winter we had, and a backyard would have made such a difference, but now that we are past that point, I get so much enjoyment watching her play with other dogs, whether it be at the dog park, the local park or the pug meetups we go to.
What do you think, is there an advantage to one over the other?
Pixel is an amazing puppy, sweet as can be, likes every person & every dog & just is full of personality. She is also an extremely high energy puppy & very smart, both of which have made training her challenging. I have also made some mistakes along the way. These factors are what led me to decide to hire a trainer to help both of us!
Here’s what we needed/need to tackle:
- Housebreaking: We’ve had some difficulty with this because I let Pixel use wee wee pads for too long due to the bad winter here in New York. This meant that she never had to learn to hold it, so she didn’t grow her bladder. Now at 9 months, we are doing what should have been done at 5 months, but, better late than never!
- Leave It/Drop It: Pixel likes to pick up little treasures she finds on the streets. In the city, that can mean many things. Her favorites seem to be chewing gum (I had no idea so many people chewed gum & spit it out on the sidewalk!) and cigarette butts. But she is willing to give anything a try – she is a pug, after all!
- Jumping: As mentioned, she loves EVERYBODY & she wants to play as soon as she sees anyone. Most kids that see her want to say hi, and I really didn’t want a dog that knocked little kids off their feet. Not a way to be popular in the neighborhood!
Of course there are other things we want to work on, but those are the majors. After two sessions with Jenny at Give Paw Dog Training, we have made some great progress. The housebreaking has remained challenging, but we are slowing expanding her hold time, but Pixel has really taken to the drop it/leave it in exchange for tasty treats. Since pugs are so food oriented, the will pretty much do anything for a tasty treat.
During our last session, we learned some leash walking techniques. I know what you’re thinking, you just put the leash on and walk – if only it were that easy! First, Jenny had us switch to a front clasp harness which immediately helped with Pixel’s tendency to pull. Then we worked on me keeping Pixel’s attention while we walked, so she didn’t pick up everything on the street. See us in action below:
We are making great progress, although my little puglet is definitely filling out a bit!
..hopefully now you have West Side Story stuck in your head!
Wow, I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted. We have already been to two pug meetups, and although I have talked about them on Facebook & Twitter, I haven’t done a post yet. There are a lot of things that make pugs, pugs – the pushed in faces, the bulgy eyes, the small compact but solid bodies, the snorthing, the sneezing, but the most amazing characteristic to me is their total lack of aggression. You just never hear of a aggressive pug. I’m sure there have been incidents, but the number has got to be extremely small. I only mention this because that is what makes a pug meetup so appealing, to be able to let your pug loose in room filled with 30 others and KNOW there will be no incidents is an amazing thing. I might not have even gone to a pug meet up if Pixel had not been attacked at the dog park, but I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to let her play with abandon & know she was safe.
The first meetup we went to was in February, and it was like Pixel was one of the little kids let loose in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – she was one happy little puglet. She was the youngest pug there, and she was chasing all the other pugs around. She was definitely a little terror!
The second meetup was in March (it’s once a month, in case you didn’t catch that!) and this time, she was NOT the youngest pug there. She started strong, and seemed to be wearing the other puppy out, but that puppy played it like Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter, she let Pixel wear herself out a little, and then she dominated.
So now we look forward each month to the pug meetups because I know Pixel will have a blast & be safe, and pugs are pugs!
I’m still not quite sure what a tail is, but it just always seems to follow me around, and sometimes that gets annoying. So, sometimes I give it a good chase – around and around we go. It’s actually kind of fun. You can see me in action below – I got it a few times, but then…
I always see my human typing away on that damn computer and I didn’t even know it was about me – I mean, that just doesn’t seem right, it’s all about me and I wasn’t even consulted!!! Isn’t there a law against that or something, invasion of privacy law? Well, I decided I wanted to have my say too, so I snuck out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to put in my two cents!
I just read her last post about the pug meetup, oh boy was that fun!! It did make me a little nervous though – a lot of those older pugs were, hmm, how do I put this..portly. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with them, but most of them just could not keep up with me! I think someone was calling me a clown, that’s good right, that means I’m funny, right?
My human also wrote about how I eat everything off the street (hmm, maybe I need to watch that considering the above!) – well, what does she expect, all this stuff has been left there for me. I mean, wouldn’t it be rude if I didn’t eat it? All these kind people left me gum, cigarette butts & pieces of muffins, they must have meant for me to have it, right? Now that the snow is mostly gone, what else am I supposed to eat when I go for a walk – a girl needs her energy!
I’m kinda liking this… writing my ‘counterpoint’ down – I might need to make this a regular thing!
oh no, I think I hear her…better get back to bed…
It’s been a while – we passed many of the early milestones, and now being in the dead of winter, there just hasn’t been much to do, let alone say.
That all changed this past weekend when I decided to take Pixel to a pug meetup group. I never took Bandit in the 15 years I had her. I took her to the dog run all the time, but she was a people dog, and not much interested in the other dogs. Pixel, she’s interested in everyone and everything!
It’s been a rough winter to have a puppy, it’s been quite cold, and we’ve had one of the snowiest winter’s on record. That’s enough in itself, but because we are in the city, garbage has been an issue. There is all kinds of garbage on the streets because the street cleaners have not been able to get to it since before the big storm the day after Christmas. I am lucky enough to have one of those puppies that puts every object in her mouth! As you can guess, the two are not a good combination. So, when the meetup reminder came in my email, I knew I had to take her. Here was an opportunity to let her play indoors & with other pugs. After our incident at the dog park, I was much more open to a pug only gathering, because I know they are such good natured dog, it is extremely rare to hear of a pug with any kind of aggression issues.
Well, best decision ever…she had the time of her life. She was the youngest pug in attendance, so she was the ‘class clown’ running around, chasing every pug she could find & throwing herself at people’s faces so she could lick them. And even though she was designated ‘class clown’ she was not the pug that got to the donuts on the food table & pulled a whole box down!