Confessions of a Pug Mum: I was so Naive about Pugs

When I got Ref over 7 years ago, I was so naive about pugs. I’d always wanted one but didn’t really know anything about them. Not a single thing. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I got a pug puppy.

Confessions of a Pug Mum: I was so Naive about Pugs |

I was in my mid-20’s and knew I wanted a pug. I got one for my birthday. I met Ref when he was just 2 weeks old. That gave me 6 weeks to learn what I needed to about raising a puppy. I researched what food and how much to give a puppy. I researched where a puppy should sleep. I researched when a puppy should get vaccinated, desexed and go to the vet. I bought everything I needed. I got a bed for inside, a kennel for outside, water bowl, food bowl, kibble, puppy milk, blankets, collars, leads, toys, pee pads and a pen. I totally thought I was ready to raise a puppy.

Confessions of a Pug Mum: I was so Naive about Pugs |

Turns out a pug puppy is not anything like all the puppy books and websites I read. A pug puppy is the total opposite. I worked it all out the hard way. I didn’t take Ref to puppy school. I taught him to sit and drop at home. I played with him so he’d like toys. I took him for walks. I fed him kibble 3 times a day. When I wasn’t at home with him, he was in the spare room in a pen lined with newspaper, pee pads and had toys, a bed, water and given treats when he went into the pen.

Confessions of a Pug Mum: I was so Naive about Pugs |

I had decided that no matter what, Ref would sleep in the spare room. He wasn’t to sleep in my room or in my bed. I persisted for 6 weeks of Ref crying every single night. What I didn’t get was that pugs craved human companionship all of the time. He hated being in the pen during the day too. I would give him his breakfast in a treat ball to keep him entertained and rewarded for going in the pen. Every time it was a struggle to get him in there. It broke my heart as I left the house. And he would hear me walking down the driveway and would cry until I got him out of the pen.

Confessions of a Pug Mum: I was so Naive about Pugs |

Everything changed when I ditched the pen for him. He was toilet trained so could roam the house and no longer cried when I left him. At night he slept with me. He would sleep through the night, no crying.

I wish I knew so much more about pugs before I got one. I would have done everything different. Whilst I was so naive about pugs, it was the best learning experience. I wouldn’t be the pug mum I am today if it wasn’t for getting Ref when I did. He changed my life. I didn’t give up on him. I craved him as much as he craved me. It doesn’t matter now that I was so naive about pugs cause now I am here sharing my experiences with you.

Were you as naive about pugs as I was when you got your first pug? Tell me your stories in the comments below!

Confessions of a Pug Mum: I was so Naive about Pugs |

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Kristy Beck

Kristy Beck

Owner & Content Producer at The Pug Diary
Kristy is the founder and editor of The Pug Diary, a photographer and pug mum extraordinaire to Ref + Serina. Kristy has combined her passion for photography with the love of pugs to bring you all of her knowledge of pugs and more to you through The Pug Diary.


  1. Avatar Patty Ruebling Cate on February 20, 2018 at 4:56 am

    I had never had a puppy before….my pug Chloe was my first. I thought to myself before I got her that pugs were probably on the low energy end of dogs…..but she was FAR from that. I definitely made some mistakes along the way. I was not going to crate train her….thought it was cruel. But I could not get her potty trained. She was just SO stubborn. I broke down, crate trained her, and she was potty trained in less than a week. Thank God for a doggy day care for while I was working……a 15 minute walk after work did nothing to get rid of her energy!! Although getting a pug puppy was a challenge at times, it was by far the BEST decision I ever made. She is my soul mate and best friend.

    • Kristy Beck Kristy Beck on May 27, 2018 at 11:53 am

      You never really know what it is like to own a pug until you have one.

  2. Avatar Michelle on August 20, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I knew nothing about a pug either. But I was pleasantly surprised instantly! My baby boy James was indoor potty trained in the house quickly and easily. No issues with chewing or damaging personal property, like my previous lab Lexi lol.
    But quickly I learned he was 100% of the time needing snuggles and love… which I was all about providing. Although some may think he’s needy, I embrace his affectionate ways! Now the shedding and dog hair everywhere…. that’s another story! Lol

    • Kristy Beck Kristy Beck on August 21, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Totally agree. I do think you were pretty lucky with the toilet training as I see so many struggle with that. And you know what, I don’t know if the shedding is more than other dogs either. My sister had a beagle who was allowed in one room of their house and you found hair in the rest of the house. With good grooming and vacuum, it is not that bad. It could be worse if they were long haired.

  3. Avatar Marnie on November 17, 2018 at 12:45 am

    My Pug Bell crate trained,left door open in spare room she slept there till she was 3 then let her on to my bed but her snoring was too much,one night I poked her to stop and I guess I startled her she bit me though not hard. Then started her sleeping in a bed by my bed but she kept jumping on and off bed as she got older around 9 years I had to train her to sleep only in her bed jumping down from the high bed was not good for her joints. Bought stairs but she still would jump down

    • Kristy Beck Kristy Beck on November 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Pugs sure are stubborn. I bought stairs for my bed for Serina and she stopped jumping off the bed straight away thankfully. Can’t get Ref to use them though.

  4. Avatar Meagan on October 15, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Hello, I am getting my first pug puppy soon! Out of interest, if you had your time over… what would you have done differently!? Thanks, Meagan

    • Kristy Beck Kristy Beck on October 15, 2019 at 7:08 pm

      Hi Meagan,
      Thanks for stopping by. How exciting about getting your first puppy soon.

      If I was to get a pug puppy today, I would do so much differently to what I did with Ref. For starters, I would NOT feed any processed food like kibble, dental chews or raw hide. I would 100% feed raw from day one. I would also only do puppy vaccinations and then switch to tiger testing to ensure I’m not over vaccinating. I would teach them from day one to be ok with their paws being touched so that they will be ok with nail clipping. I would do crate training so they don’t fret when they need to go to the vet and be in a crate. And I would definitely do puppy school for the socialisation aspect. There’s probably more things but these are the key ones that come to mind.

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