An In-Depth Guide On Why Pugs Are The Best Apartment Dogs


Not everyone owns and lives in a house, especially considering how expensive the real estate market is these days. But that doesn’t mean that people living in apartments cannot own a pet; it just means they have to be more selective with their decision. There are specific dog breeds that are very compatible with living in smaller spaces, and here’s why pugs are one of the best.

Pugs make great apartment dogs due to their size, adaptability, temperament, energy levels, and low noise factor. They’re easy to care for and don’t require much space, making them fantastic companion dogs for those living in smaller spaces.

However, there are many responsibilities and considerations to factor in while living in an apartment with a pug. Owners need to be mindful of things like housing regulations, pet isolation, safe living conditions, and providing adequate care for the dog. Adhering to these standards will allow your pug to thrive in an apartment.

Best Qualities for Apartment Dogs

Before getting a pet, there are important considerations that an owner must make if they’re living in an apartment. That’s because not all dog breeds are suitable to living in smaller spaces, so they must contain certain qualities and traits in order to flourish. Pugs check a lot of these boxes, making them one of, if not, the best dog breed for apartments. Here’s why:

ConsiderationsDetailPugs
Energy levelLower energy breeds are easier to manage in smaller spaces. Pugs are typically classified as low-medium energy dogs. Adult pugs can sleep up to 14 hours a day and only requires 20-30 minutes of daily exercise. They’re perfect for full-time workers, those with a busier schedule, and for people that have sedentary lifestyles.
Noise levelWhen living in close proximity to neighbors, they must be a less vocal breed and less noise sensitive.Pugs don’t bark much when compared to other breeds, unless they feel threatened. You can also train them to limit their barking so the neighbors aren’t being bothered.
Social levelThere are much more people that come and go in apartment complexes. Guard dog breeds are likely to be more aggressive and vocal in these environments. Pugs are rarely aggressive and are very sociable dogs. They won’t have any problem getting along with neighbors, their pets, and children.
SizeHow much space will they occupy when already limited?Adult pugs only weigh 14-18 pounds on average, and are the perfect size for an apartment. Their small yet sturdy stature means they don’t occupy much space and will usually meet any size related regulations.
IndependenceCan the dog be left alone for extended periods of time?While pugs do have a tendency to be clingy, you can definitely teach them to be independent. Training and leaving them with things to do will help them stay occupied.
TrainabilityHouse and potty training becomes much more of an important factor when living in an apartment.Pugs are easy to potty train and this is especially important in apartments, as they won’t have access to a yard.

An Owner’s Responsibilities and Duty of Care

Living in an apartment shouldn’t restrict someone from owning a pet. But it does mean there are extra responsibilities that come with it. A pug can offer you great companionship but there is a lot of commitment that you’ll need to make during this time. You must be able to adequately train, care, exercise, and socialize the dog.

Being stuck in an apartment on their own while you’re out for extended periods of time can result in destructive behaviors that stem from boredom. Implementing an exercise schedule, e.g. going for walks before and after work, can help settle them while you’re gone. It’s important that they’re kept physically and mentally stimulated, as this will help them adapt to living in an apartment more easily. This structure also gives them an opportunity to use the bathroom outside, so they’re not doing it indoors while you’re not there.

Basic training is important so they’re not destroying property, attempting to escape, and barking while you’re gone. It’s also valuable time that you’re spending with each other, and this is important because dogs are social creatures. They crave interactions and not having enough leads to behavioral problems. They’re not suited to being left alone for long periods of time, and if you think getting a second dog will fix this, then you’re wrong. That’s just putting a bandaid on the issue, and that may eventually make the problem twice as bad for your neighbors and for yourself. You must meet their physical and mental needs in order to confidently leave them alone while you’re at work.

Dog Proofing Your Apartment

Pugs are known to be very playful and even mischievous. They can be a bit of a trouble maker when left alone due to their curios nature to explore. For those reasons, there are specific things to look for in a pet friendly apartment. These include:

  • Balconies: are they safe and a suitable size for your dog? While pugs don’t need much space, having access to a balcony is going to be welcomed by any dog living in an apartment. But these need to be completely barricaded so there is no risk of falling from high floors.
  • Floors: floorboards and coverings need to be suitable and up to standard so they’re safe for your dog.
  • Insulation: keeping the temperature consistently comfortable is important as pugs don’t do well in extreme heat. They’re a brachycephalic breed, meaning they can overheat and face breathing issues if it gets too hot.
  • Soundproofing: while pugs don’t bark much, it’s important that the sound is kept to a minimum when they do when living in close proximity to your neighbors.
  • Window access: not only do windows bring in sunlight for your pug to sunbathe in during colder months, it gives them an opportunity to look outside and stay occupied when left alone.
  • Accessibility: is the layout appropriate for your dog to roam freely around the apartment? If not, doggy doors and baby gates can help section off or give additional access within the space.
  • Location: is the apartment in close proximity to dog-friendly parks and walking areas? Not having a yard of your own makes this factor more important when compared to living in a house.
  • Regulations: what are the rules and regulations for your apartment complex? Not all body corporates are pet friendly, and some even require you to pay a non-refundable pet deposit that can be quite costly.

House Training A Pug

House training, often referred to as potty training, your pug while living in an apartment is very achievable. However, accidents are part of the process, and it will require a lot of patience, discipline, and commitment to stay consistent. Like all forms of training, starting as early as possible while they’re still a puppy is going to be key. This will no doubt lay the foundations for the rest of their lives. By stringently enforcing the following processes and rules, you can expect your pug to be fully house trained within a few weeks.

Routine

Firstly, you must establish a routine to teach them that there are set times to sleep, eat, play, and to use the bathroom. Having a regular schedule allows their body clock to adapt to your day as well. Initially, you’d want to take your puppy outside to use the bathroom very frequently. Starting from when they first wake up; through to anytime they eat, drink, or play; and then right before bed. It’s advised that you should aim to take them outside every two hours, before slowly extending that timeframe as they progress and age.

When taking your puppy out to relieve themselves, you’d want to pick a regular bathroom spot. When doing their business, make sure you praise and reward them afterwards to positively reinforce this. You can also teach them to associate this action by using a word or phrase like “toilet” while they’re going. Only play with them or go for an extended walk past the regular bathroom spot after they’ve relieved themselves. This will force them to prioritize using the toilet before doing anything else, and in future, taking them outside will be an indication that it’s time to use the bathroom, rather than it being playtime.

As mentioned, always remember to positively reinforce the action of going to the bathroom outside with treats or praises. It needs to be done immediately after they’ve finished doing their business so they can associate the action appropriately. This is the best way to teach what’s expected of them. Don’t reward them during the action as puppies are easily distracted. They may stop momentarily and end up finishing indoors.

Placing your pug puppy on a regular feeding schedule will increase the likelihood of them need to use the bathroom at more consistent times. Puppies usually need to be fed three or four times per day (depending on age), so try and spread them out evenly throughout the day. To reduce the chances of your pup needing to relieve themselves during the night, limit their water intake about 2-3 hours before bedtime. Ensure they have a final drink before removing their water dish at night. Most puppies will be able to effectively hold it in for about seven hours during their sleep.

Supervision

Keeping a close eye on your pup while they’re inside is very important in preventing them from soiling indoors. You should look for signs that your pooch needs to use the bathroom. These can include: barking, door scratching, circling, restlessness, squatting, and sniffing. When noticed, immediately take them to their bathroom spot outside. Again, reward them if they end up doing their business outdoors.

Another technique you can implement is to leave them on a leash all day, whether indoors or outdoors. Especially early on, you can keep them tethered to nearby furniture, so you can easily supervise them throughout the day. The yard should be no different, as keeping them on a leash lets you stay in control. Only allow them to play in the yard after going to the bathroom or until fully potty-trained.

Confinement

When unable to supervise, you can try confining them to specific areas within the apartment by limiting their access. The space should be small enough where they won’t want to urinate or defecate in, while big enough so they can comfortably roam in. Using a baby gate in different sections or specific rooms can help you achieve this.

Alternatively, you can try and implement “crate training“. However, it is controversial in the sense that some don’t believe it’s very ethical to keep a dog locked in a cage for an extended period of time. On the flip side, dogs have a natural instinct to seek refuge in a den, one where it’s confined, quiet, and comfortable. If you do decide to go ahead with crate training your pup, then there is a way to do this in a humanely manner. Start by leaving their favorite treats, toys, and blankets in the crate to make it comfortable for them. They will eventually see it as their “safe haven”, so don’t use it as a means to punish them, otherwise it will end up being negatively associated with getting in trouble. You want it to do the opposite, so ensure that they’re rewarded every time they enter the crate.

Accidents Will Happen

Accidents are bound to happen at one time or another during the house training process. Don’t punish your pup if they’ve already soiled themselves or after finding the mess inside the home. Doing so will do more harm than good, and that’s because they probably won’t be able to associate the punishment with the action. Additionally, taking them to the soiled area and scolding them in front of it will likely make them fear you, which might even make them afraid to use the bathroom in your presence. Rather, the best course of action is to thoroughly clean the mess up, so they don’t attempt to urinate or defecate in the same spot. There are commercial pet cleaning products that can be sprayed in the soiled area to help eliminate their odor.

If you do catch them in the act however, you should try and interrupt them with a loud noise or word like “stop!”. Immediately take them outside to their bathroom spot, and if they finish doing their business there, make sure to praise and reward them with treats. Overtime, they’ll eventually figure out that the bathroom should only be used while outside.

Contingency Plan

When you can’t tend to your puppy for long extended periods of time, you will need to think of a “Plan B“. For example, if you have an outing planned straight after work and can’t get home to take your pug out for their afternoon walk, you’ll need to look at some alternative options. This includes asking for help from friends, neighbors, or even a professional dog sitter to take them outside to use the toilet.

If this is not possible, you can try to train them to spoil indoors, but only on newspaper, pee pads, and plastic pads. Doing so may prolong the house training process, as some dogs develop a preference to pee or poop on these alternatives. While this isn’t ideal, it’s better to isolate the mess indoors during these situations, than to have your pup making the whole apartment their bathroom.

Leaving your Pug at Home All Day

Pugs are known to be quite clingy and are often referred to as “velcro dogs”. This essentially means they’re likely to be stuck to you and will continuously follow you around like they’re your shadow. The reason being is that they were bred to be companion dogs, so giving you their constant attention and being a lapdog is one of their main priorities in life. While they were specifically bred to be more dependent, sometimes it can lead to a more detrimental behavioral problem known as “separation anxiety”.

The key difference is that a clingy pug will prefer to be by their owner’s side but will be quite independent when alone. In contrast, a pug suffering from separation anxiety will panic when their owner is not there. For this reason, you must be able to manage their clinginess before it develops into a problem. Otherwise, you can forget about leaving your pug home alone during the day. This can be achieved through:

  • Physical and mental stimulation – daily activities that exert energy will help calm your pug for the rest of the day. This can be achieved through walks, jogs, fetch, and playing tug with your pup. Not only is this good for controlling their hyperactivity and maintaining their weight, but it is also great for their mental stimulation as they’ll likely be exposed to new environments. They’ll get tired more quickly and probably prefer to sleep and relax for the rest of their day. I recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise per day.
  • Desensitizing your dog to specific actions and movements – certain actions and movements of their owner may trigger a dog’s anxiety. Your pug will associate specific actions negatively, and to them, it will mean that you’re about to leave them alone. For example, putting on socks and shoes or grabbing your keys usually means that you’re about to leave home. A great way to desensitize your dog is by performing these everyday actions purposely but without leaving them alone. Eventually, they’ll see it enough times and get tired of responding to these triggers.
  • Give your pug the attention that it needs – it can be as simple as giving it the right amount of attention that’s needed so that it won’t feel neglected. Sometimes, it’s not enough to go on a 30-minute walk. The quality of your interactions makes a big difference too. Take the time to play with your dog and give them a much-deserved belly rub!
  • Setting boundaries – when your dog is exhibiting clingy behaviors like whining, whimpering, pawing at you, or jumping on you, it is advised to ignore them, as giving any attention to them will enable that behavior. They’ll repeatedly do this as they’ll know it’ll catch your attention, and a response will be given to them. Additionally, teaching them to “wait”, “stay”, or “stop” when they tend to follow you is a great way to set boundaries. If they follow your command, make sure to reward them with praise and treats to reinforce this more desired behavior.
  • Create a safe space for them – give your pug an alternative special place to go when you’re looking for some privacy. Rather than deterring them from following you into the bathroom, create a safe and comforting space for them where they can feel at ease. Perhaps it’s their bed or playpen, and you can decorate the area with your dog’s favorite toys, blankets, and long-lasting treats. This would be a great spot to keep them in when you need to leave the apartment.

Hopefully, these tips can be implemented to successfully manage your pug’s anxieties. It will certainly take some time and even a combination of these techniques to make your dog feel at ease while left alone. Being patient and disciplined with your approach is essential if you want your pug to become more independent.

The Cons of Owning a Pug for Apartment Living

Pugs are a heavy shedding breed that sheds all year around, rather than seasonally like most other dog breeds. They have short but dense fur that needs to be maintained regularly. This means a lot more grooming and cleaning after them. If you’re a person that likes to have a clean apartment, then this is something you’re going to have to deal with when owning a pug. What I can suggest is to look for an apartment with tiles or hardwood floors as it’ll be easier to clean compared to carpet. If you don’t mind the mess so much, then carpet is actually better for you as the fur is harder to see on these surfaces.

If this is a big deal for you then it should also be noted that the color of the pug will determine how much they shed. Black pugs are single coated, while fawn pugs are double coated. This means fawn pugs shed twice as much. Additionally, males are typically bigger than females, and this equates to a larger surface area. Ultimately, it will mean that males shed slightly more than their female counterparts. It’s vital to keep your pug brushed 1-2 per week to promote proper airflow of their coat so they can stay cool. Removing their dead fur will also promote a better smell pug.

When it comes to cleaning, I personally have two different types of vacuums. The first one being a robot vacuum that I’ll turn on once or twice per week. The second is a regular vacuum that I’ll use just to maintain specific areas when necessary. Owning a pug isn’t going to be cheap, so think of this as an investment.

Other Factors to Consider

When it comes to living in an apartment with a pug, owners should also be mindful of some external factors that come with it. Apartments are usually built in cities and more densely populated areas. Being in such close proximity to so many neighbors means that your pug needs to be on a leash at all times. You’ll also need to be wary of other pets in the building that may not be as social. An aggressive dog can really ruin your day and they can even do some permanent damage to your pug if not careful. Furthermore, the likelihood of there being cars and busy traffic is also high, which can be extremely dangerous if you let your pug off their leash. For those reasons, I’d recommend getting pet insurance for these unforeseen circumstances.

As previously mentioned, your corporate body may require you to pay a non-refundable pet deposit. Each place of residence will have their own rules for pets, including: size, breed, and the number of pets allowed. If your landlord needs access to the apartment, you’ll need to be there to supervise your dog. If your pug ends up causing any damage to the property, you will also have to cover the cost of the repairs. However, proper training and care is likely to prevent a lot of these minor issues from becoming a bigger problem.

Related Questions

Can pugs be left alone? Yes, while they can be quite clingy, it is possible to leave an adult pug alone during the day with proper training and adequate care.

What are the best apartment dogs? Pugs, Boston Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Great Danes, Chihuahuas, Greyhounds, Mastiffs, Basset Hounds, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Are pugs dumb? Contrary to popular belief, pugs are actually quite smart. While they can be slow learners due to their stubbornness, pugs are adaptively smart, and learn from experiences.

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