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?
..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…
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!
Pixel will be turning 6 months in a few days, so that will mean she has been with me 4 months. I have learned A LOT about puppies, my puppy & had quite a few revelations. In this post I am going to share them with you.
1. Every puppy is different - you can read all the books you want, but the fact of the matter is, your puppy may not fit into any of the generalizations. This could apply to bathroom trips, eating, sleeping through the night – anything!
2. What goes in, must come out – this we all know and it seems so obvious, but it needs to be repeated – we seem to forget it.
3. The amount of times your dog needs to go to the bathroom has a lot to do with how active they are. I have talked to so many puppy owners, and people whose dogs aren’t feisty, active, crazy – whatever you want to call it, take their dogs out a lot less often then I needed to. Active = more water (see #2)
4. Don’t expect anything to happen overnight. It can be frustrating, but eventually they get it, they just don’t get it the 1st, 2nd or 100th time – just keep doing it!
5. To me, a dog is housebroken when you don’t have to walk them 7 times a day and they know to wait to go outside. I have found that many, many people do not share that definition of housebroken.
6. Learn to accept that you will now be known as ‘Pixel’s mommy’ (or whatever your dog’s name is) – no one will ask your name, no one will care what your name is*.
*Note: This may apply only to city dogs, not sure if the same happens in the suburbs!
7. Carry tissues, paper towels, wipes, with you wherever you go – you will need to stick your fingers in your puppies mouth an obscene amount of times.
What revelations did you have as you made your way through your dog’s puppyhood? I would love to hear some in the comments below!
Anyway..on to the post…
I’m sitting here with Pixel thinking about how 3 days ago she was attacked at the dog park, and I was helpless to help her.
It was pretty quiet that day at the park, only a few dogs around, and all were dogs we had encountered before. Pixel was trying to play with this one dog, but I guess he wasn’t in the mood for it because out of no where he went after Pixel. I didn’t see it, I had my back to her because I was talking to the dog’s owner, but she cried out. It happened very fast, and the dog’s owner went to get her dog away, and Pixel ran under a nearby table. She was yelping the whole time she was running away. It absolutely broke my heart. After a few seconds she came out to me, and I saw she was bleeding.
My first thought was that the dog had bit her, and I was trying to find where, to see how bad it was, but Pixel was so scared, and just wanted to be held. I gave her a little bit of time and then I started to check her over. She was bleeding from her mouth, but thankfully no where else. I think that she must have bite inside her own mouth when she got frightened and was trying to get away.
It was awful. I had Bandit for 15 years and never once had an incident like this with her. Pugs are just not aggressive dogs. She was so scared, and I really couldn’t do anything to stop it.
My usual feisty little minx has been pretty subdued since it happened. It’s her first traumatic experience in the world. She’s a bit better than she was yesterday, and yesterday she was a bit better than the day it happened, but she is still nowhere near herself – my puppy now know fear.
I hope in a few more days, a week, I can post here about how well she is doing! (fingers crossed)