You take your Pug to the dog park and before you know it other pet parents are staring at you because your dog is harassing their furbabies. Dogs need to be socialized to learn how to play well with other dogs. If you don’t want to be caught in this situation, find out what you can do to when your Pug or the other dog starts playing too rough.
Do Pugs Play Well With Other Dogs?
It really depends. If your dog has been socialized from an early age, they will be more likely to play nicely with other dogs. Some dogs may be shy, scared, nervous, or more vocal, especially if they have grown up without any other pets around them.
You may also find that your Pug is happier being a wallflower at the dog park. When I used to take my Pug to the doggie park, she would rather spend time sniffing the grass, and hanging around me. I used to think something was wrong with her because she wasn’t trying to play with other dogs.
Until I realized that Pugs were bred to be human companionships and are much happier around humans than other dogs.
This doesn’t mean you can’t teach your pup how to play with other dogs. Before you take your pooch to the dog park, you need to know the difference between friendly playing and rough playing.
Friendly Playing vs Rough Playing
Every dog has their unique individual personality, which can make it challenging to tell if they are rough playing or actually having fun and getting along.
Here are some of the signs to help you differentiate between the two types of canine playing.
Ready for Fun
- The play bow – Your dog’s rear end will be in the air and they will slap their front paws on the ground excited and ready to play.
- Smile or grin: You might notice a smile on your dog or both dogs as they race around the park with their canine friend.
- Exposing their belly: some dogs will voluntarily fall down and expose their bellies when playing chase.
- Taking turns: Dogs that are having fun will play chase or tag, where they both take turns chasing each other.
- Exaggerated barking and growling: Puppies are known to “play growl” and it is completely normal. Most will outgrow this behavior as they become older.
- Playful biting: It can be scary to see both dogs biting each other, however, “playful biting” is normal. It’s not uncommon for dogs to nip at each other’s noses and ears while playing. As long as both dogs are enjoying it, it’s fine.
Taking it Too Seriously
- Body stiffness: The dog’s body will become stiff and you may even see the broad patch of fur on her shoulders stand up. (aka Piloerection)
- Direct stare: While it’s normal for Pugs to stare you in the eyes, for some dogs, direct eye contact from other dogs or people is a threat. If you notice your pooch giving another dog a hard stare, it could be a red flag that a fight is about to break out.
- Growling: This growling differs from the “playful growl.” An aggressive growl may be more vocal and will be followed by body language like your dog bending down on their front legs, and raising their rear-end in the air.
- Freezing: When a dog’s body becomes rigid or tense, it’s time to step in and stop the behavior before it escalates.
As a pet parent, it’s important to be able to read your dog’s body language. This will help you stop the problem before the rough playing escalates into an all out dog fight.
Is Your Pug Playing Too Rough?
Pugs are very gentle dogs and usually get along well with other dogs. That being said, with so many different types of dogs at the dog parks, you can’t expect your pup to get along with all of them.
After all, not all dogs will be as gentle as your pooch. Some may start harassing your dog and it will eventually cause your dog to snarl or growl at the other dog.
Even though your dog is just protecting themselves, this behavior is not tolerated in public places. So here are some things you can do to protect both dogs before things escalate into a dog fight.
What to Do About Bullies?
Whether your dog is playing too rough or some of the other dogs are being rough with your dog, you can take some steps to protect your pooch.
The last thing you want is your dog to be scarred for life and become scared of other dogs. These steps will help you keep both your dog safe and prevent things from escalating into a fight.
Play With The Small Dogs
Nowadays most dog parks size-appropriate areas, making it easier to keep your small dog away from the big dogs. Your dog will be less likely to get intimidated by the big dogs, even if they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Consider choosing the “little dog” area where she can play with dogs her size where she’ll feel safe.
Pull Your Dog Away
If the other dog is blatantly aggressive, you need to go get your dog. Be wary of your own safety, while trying to protect your pooch. Hopefully, the aggressive dog’s parents will step in and take control of their pooch. If not, then you will want to clap, yell, or throw dirt to get the other dog off your baby.
Once the dog is off your Pug, put the leash on your baby and leave the area. Make sure you report the incident to park officials or the police so it that dog doesn’t hurt another dog.
What If Your Pug Is The Bully?
It’s hard to think of a Pug as a bully. However, depending on how your Pug was raised, they may have an aggressive side towards other dogs.
If you have a bully on your hands, here are some things that you can take to prevent any issues or complaints at the dog park.
Socialize Your Pup
As soon as you get your puppy, start the socialization process by scheduling play dates with other dogs. You can also get a second Pug or another dog to teach your pooch how to get along with others.
Of course, having two dogs will mean more expenses. So only get another dog if you can afford to take care of more than one dog.
Discourage The Behavior
You may be encouraging the rough behavior in your dog, especially, if you’re using your hands, arms, or legs when playing with your pup. Trainers and dog specialists recommend never playing “tug-of-war” or other dominance type games with your pup. Instead, consider playing chase, fetch, or other games that won’t cause them to become aggravated or feel dominant.
Also make sure that your dog understands that you actually own their toys and they can play with them when you allow it. If your pup has too many toys, they can begin hoarding them and feeling aggressive whenever someone touches them.
Neuter or Spay Your Dog
This alone can help reduce aggressive tendencies that can occur at dog parks or around other dogs. Spaying and neutering a Pug is the best way to prevent unwanted behaviors and some medical issues.
Supervise Your Dog
If you don’t know how your dog will behave, you will want to monitor your dog at all times. Do not let your dog off the leash, until you know they will behave properly.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Never, hit, kick, scream or yell to discipline your Pug. Doing so can make your pup aggressive and lead to other behavioral issues.
Take A Time Out
As soon as you notice your dog misbehaving, it’s time to put the leash on have them come lie down next to you so they can relax.
Teach Your Pug Commands
Besides, come, sit, ad stay, you should teach your pooch other commands to help control them when out in public.
For instance, when you hear your Pug bothering your neighbor’s cat or another dog in the park, hearing the command “settle” or “chill” should help your pooch calm down and come to you.
What Causes Dog’s To Play Rough?
It’s important to understand that all dog breeds have different play styles. So while it may seem like some dogs are playing roughly, it’s actually just the way that they play.
The video below will show you the different play styles according to the dog breed.
How To Teach Your Pug To Play Nice?
As a pet parent it’s your job to understand dog park etiquette and make sure your dog is properly socialized. All dogs can be socialized to play with other dogs.
It just takes time and persistence to teach your dog how to behave properly. The sooner you start, the easier it will be to raise a well-mannered dog that respects other animals and people.
Do Pugs Need to Play With Other Dogs?
No, Pugs can get their physical, mental, and social relationships through other methods. Which is good news if your dog doesn’t enjoy the playdates or becomes stressed around other dogs. You may want to consider making a friend with another Pug as they are likely to be less stressed.
This breed has a strong companionship with their humans. If she’d rather spend time with you, she can still have a rich, healthy, happy life. Just make sure you’re giving her plenty of playtime, mental exercise, and affection.
Final Word On Pugs Playing With Other Dogs
Pugs love to play and it’s a great way for them to explore the world and socialize with other dogs and people. Once they get accustomed to learning how to play with others, your dog will look forward to their doggy playdates.
References And Further Reading
Whole Dog Journal – Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA – Dog Park Etiquette
APA PsycNet – Bekoff, Marc – Play signals as punctuation: The structure of social play in candids.
VCA Hospitals – Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB & Gary Landsberg, DVM, DACVB, DECAWBM – Dog Behavior and Training – Teaching Calm -Settle and Relaxation Training
PubMed – Tuber DS, Sanders S, Hennessy MB, Miller JA – Behavioral and glucocorticoid responses of adult domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) to companionship and social separation.