First Day with Two Pugs or "What the Heck was I Thinking?"

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t need another pug. Jack has been the perfect family member in every way. Plus, there’s a big difference between needs and wants so while I didn’t need one, I sure did want one. I kept an eye on various websites and checked in with Jack’s breeder hoping she would have another litter so I could snatch one of Jack’s younger siblings. A litter came last year but I was too slow to get one.  It’s a tired cliché but timing really is everything.

A few weeks ago I learned that Jack’s breeder was getting out of the breeding business and looking to sell off her dogs. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add Jack’s mom to our household.  I couldn’t bear the thought of this six year old spending her golden years churning out more litters of puppies. I wanted her to live out her golden years in peace with Jack and a house full of kids. Much to my surprise my wife agreed. The kids met her and fell in love at first sight.

Haleigh, Jack’s mom, came to live with us yesterday. She just celebrated her birthday two weeks ago. I have no idea how many litters she’s had over the years (Jack was born two years ago this June). She had shared a pen in a barn with Jack’s dad. When I brought her home I immediately took her to the backyard because she still reeked of the barn (she shared the barn with a couple boxers and a half dozen other pugs all of whom are in need of homes). After a few minutes of play and introduction to Jack I brought her in for a bath but unfortunately, I have not been able to get rid of that smell so we may be off to see a professional groomer this weekend.

Considering how much I’ve spoiled Jack, I’m impressed with how well he’s taken the change. He just wants her to play with him and Haleigh just doesn’t have much interest. She took one of his bones and when he came near she growled at him. When food goes into the bowl she snarfs it down and he gets shut out. I’m hoping this behavior will change if she realizes she no longer has anyone competing with her for food (she was only fed once a day and the Dad seemed to get the bulk of it).  I’ve told him to stand his ground but of course he has no idea what I’m saying. Haleigh could stand to put on about five pounds and Jack can easily shed at least 5 so maybe this is a good thing.

Haleigh was not housetrained but had spent some time inside. I have been using the crate and taking her out regularly. She is doing quite well and seems to understand the word “potty” as she goes right after I say it but not before she runs back to the door and then back to me and then around in circles before going.  She doesn’t mind the crate if the TV is on or she can hear our voices. She spent most of last night barking so I’ve moved her crate closer to Jack so she knows she’s not alone.

Jack loves to play and Haleigh seems not to want to play if she even knows how. She is incredibly sweet and loves to stand on her hind legs and put her front paws on you while you rub her head. She really seems to be enjoying living inside again. I think once the adjustment period is over it’ll turn out to be a good move for all of us.

Unlike Jack, I am not Haleigh’s favorite. She follows my wife everywhere which is good for me as Jack’s favorite spot is my lap.  I do get the sense that my lap will rarely be empty with two pugs around.

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Comment by Di's spoiled kids on March 29, 2012 at 11:23am

Oh this is a wonderful story, had no idea that Haleigh was Jack's mom.  I think you did a wonderful thing here. even if it is hard for you right now.  I think everything will workout great

Comment by Jack on March 29, 2012 at 10:53am

Oh Helena, poor Jack has been pushed around this week. If he has something, she tries to take it. If I pet him, she gets in the way. I've taken to correcting her. If we are doing chores around the house and can't watch her, Jack strolls by her crate as if to taunt her with his freedom. She is unable or unwilling to jump on the furniture so Jack is outsmarting her by taking his bone to the foot stool. I'm happy to see it because the first few days I felt he was too passive but today and yesterday he's asserting himself. I admit when she woke me at 330 this morning and I had to go down and clean her mess from her crate I questioned if I'd done the right thing. I'm tired but I have plenty of patience and doing my best to help her overcome her upbringing. It'll take time.

Comment by Helena Brown on March 29, 2012 at 10:03am

She will take time, and she may never want to play I am sorry to say. some Pugs are just not players. My Henry wasn't one for playing and he passed it on to his nephew so when I got Hektor boy did i get my eyes open. Even now at four he likes a game but not as much as he used to but he still loves to chew his bones. I think that what you are doing is the best way, they will accommodate each other in time, you just cannot force it. As long as Jack goes on as he likes, Mum will have to work round her son, it was his house first. I think it is curious that she has taken to your wife, but maybe not as strange if the breeder also was a woman and her main contact. So you have one each, that is what happened to us, when we got Angus, he became my boy and Henry was my Husband's. They both seemed to love us both but each had THEIR human.

Comment by Jackie Hiras on March 27, 2012 at 2:24pm

Awww I'm sorry to hear that.  I guess she probably knows nothing else, as she lived outside and went as she pleased.  It will get better, just will take some time and patience.

Comment by Jack on March 27, 2012 at 1:42pm

Well since this blog was posted she's pooped on the floor twice and peed once. Both poops happened when I wasn't around. Haleigh snarfs down anything that resembles food. I told my wife to make sure she goes outside within 15 minutes of eating and well, she forgot. On the bright side, I didn't have to clean it up. Her first night she barked for at least 30 minutes before going to sleep. Last night it was maybe 10. I held her for a half hour this morning just so Jack could enjoy his bone in peace.

Our youngest felt bad for Jack last night so he'd open the door to Jack's crate for him to go into eat and then close it when Jack came out. Jack has never had regular meal times. He's more of a snacker so he's not used to having to woof down his food. When I get ready for work in the morning I put Haleigh in her crate and leave food out for Jack if he wants to eat.

Comment by Jackie Hiras on March 27, 2012 at 12:53pm

Lovely story Eric!  I'm confident that they will adjust and sounds like the behavior is nothing out of the ordinary or anything to be concerned about.  Poor Jack, he's such a sweet boy.  Sooner or later, I hope Mom will play with you.  It will be great once you see them cuddle for the first time!  Can't wait to see more pictures and get to know her better!  btw, she REALLY does look like Jack in that one picture.

Comment by Paul Knight on March 26, 2012 at 3:13pm

This is positive news for me, as I think I may be in the market for a pug in the summer. Trying to convince the GF that a silver gray pug is the way to go, but she wants a black girl... not sure, after hearing about Terri's Pixie though.

Comment by Pug Chick on March 26, 2012 at 10:27am

How wonderful that she is now with you.  I can see a lot of similarities in her behavior that Louie had when he first came to us at 5 yrs old.  He did not have a clue about how to play.  Still doesn't really.  He wants nothing to do with toys but will chew on bones.  He just started in the last few months to wrestle around with Pixie and Puga a bit.  I feed mine separately for the most part so there are no food aggressions.  The Bostons eat together and Louie and Puga together. Pixie eats by herself as she is super scarf pug.  Not sure yet where Miss Ginger shall dine.  Totally get the not needing another pug just wanting....LOL  As for her showing more of a likeing towards your wife that is interesting.  Usually girls go gor the man and boys for the woman.  Maybe she senses Jacks claim on  She shall warm up to all in time.  Pugs seem to adjust extrememly fast to new surroundings.  They just want to be loved and adored and  Welcome home Miss Haleigh.

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