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Meet My Little Pug - Charlie

Updated on June 20, 2014

Meet Charlie! My Little Pug

Are you a Pug lover? Have you ever had a Pug? Maybe you know someone who has? In a life that's engaged with many dog breeds, I confess that I didn't know much about Pugs--until Charlie sauntered into my life. Pugs are adorable little dogs and fantastically popular these days. Do a search on videos about Pugs and watch the results populate your screen. But somehow I'd managed to escape their siren's call. For me they were cute funny looking little dogs that did silly things on TV, in photos, and on video. Pugs didn't have a place in my backyard.

Enter Charlie.

Charlie the Pug became an inhabitant of my world as the result of Facebook. Yes, he's a social media puppy. He'd been a major impulse buy when he was a tiny puppy--I bet most pugs are impulse buys from folks browsing the aisles of pet stores--and had grown into a small problem. He was a bad, bad Pug. My friend posted about her intractable Pug puppy on Facebook several times and I finally contacted her privately. I'd been working with a trainer for a number of months and wondered if she'd like me to see if there was something I could do. Charlie was only six months old. How much trouble could he be?

Lip-smacking Charlie the Pug Puppy

Lip-smacking Charlie the Pug Puppy
Lip-smacking Charlie the Pug Puppy
Charlie the Pug puppy-2009 copyright Vikk Simmons
Charlie the Pug puppy-2009 copyright Vikk Simmons

Charlie the Pug Enters Puppy Bootcamp

A happy dog is a trained dog

Charlie came accompanied by a growing list of complaints. He pottied in his crate all the time. Not satisfied with a little splash, he'd fill the crate with his poo. Worse, he played in it. Charlie couldn't be housebroken. He wouldn't listen. He wasn't leash-trained. He was a bad, bad, bad little Pug. I'm surprised he didn't show up wearing prison garb. He was in so much trouble.

As I listened to the litany of complaints, I looked at Charlie. What had I done? Was he really all this bad? I'd never worked with a Pug and this was a 5-month old puppy. I suddenly had visions of poop and pee all over my den and sunroom. I smiled, nodded and asked a few questions.

What was the daily routine with Charlie? How long was he left in the crate unattended? How often was he taken outside to do his business? How much food and when? How was the interaction? How many times a day was he walked? And on and on and on and as the answers came in I began to wonder if the problem was really Charlie.

No walks. No regular potty breaks. Left in the crate for extensive hours PLUS he was fed right before he was put in the crate. Well, no wonder he was using the crate as a bathroom area. He couldn't help himself. The poor thing hadn't had any consistent training or even behavior from his new owner so Charlie didn't know what to do. Worse, he was itching, scratching and having all kinds of problems. I put him on Benedryl, got him to the vet, started him on a crate-training regimen and imposed an orderly system of expectations, rewards, and training.

Waco the Great Pyrenees and Charlie the Pug on the mat--2010 copyright Vikk Simmons
Waco the Great Pyrenees and Charlie the Pug on the mat--2010 copyright Vikk Simmons

Charlie Graduates from Boot Camp and Gains a New Home

Waco the Wonder Dog mentors the little Pug

By the end of the week Charlie was behaving beautifully. I never had a potty problem with him. As it turned out, he wasn't rolling in his poo for play. He was itching to death and jumping inside the crate to try and scratch himself and couldn't get away from the poo. The itching stopped after some skin allergy treatments. Leash training was a breeze. I found little Charlie adapted to proper crate training and proved to be a dream to train. No more Bad-Boy Charlie, now he was a Good-Times Charlie.

Charlie and Waco, my Great Pyrenees, became great pals. In fact, Charlie absolutely adores Waco. He looks up to Waco, watches Waco and mimics Waco whenever he can. I was working with Waco with my trainer-friend and took Charlie along so he could go through the paces, too. It was a lot of fun for all of us and Charlie took to training right away. He'd throw his little chest out and do his bully-walk right next to the big white mountain of fur alongside him. We had to laugh.

As time went on I kept telling my friend Charlie was ready to go home; however, she decided that she wasn't up to taking care of a puppy. She had an older dog and, for some reason, thought the little puppy would act just like that one without any work or training. So, she said, "Charlie loves you so much. Why don't you keep him."

Charlie is a food hog

KONG Pudge Braidz Pig Dog Toy, Medium/Large
KONG Pudge Braidz Pig Dog Toy, Medium/Large
Kong is a great brand of dog toy, especially for the larger dogs who have a greater chance of tearing up a toy. This little piggy would be ideal for Charlie.
Charlie the Pug practices bull dog face-2011 copyright Vikk Simmons
Charlie the Pug practices bull dog face-2011 copyright Vikk Simmons

Life with Charlie the Pug in the Pack

Charlie responded beautifully to his new structured home environment. Over the next few months he had a bit of a weight bloom so he went off treats and on weight-controlled food and dropped down to a better weight. He still has skin allergies, always will, but they're totally under control. When he turned one, I learned he had an eye problem that requires daily drops to prevent any blindness but so far so good. Every morning and every evening I say "Medicine" and he hops onto the recliner and puts his head up for the drops. He's a good boy, my Charlie.

Charlie's a Pug, therefore he's funny. Charlie practices his "bulldog face" and it cracks me up whenever he does. He runs after Waco and is like a small shadow following the big guy in the garden. They play outside and relax in the sunroom together. Charlie loves the pond. He thinks it's his private water fountain. Sometimes he sits so still by the pond that when I or a friend looks out we think there's a new dog statue out among the plants.

Approaching two years old, Charlie is learning how to do his "bully" thing. He thrusts his chest out and will suddenly dart around and run toward a dog. He's testing things out. Teddy the Shih Tsu refuses to give up the alpha position and Waco barely acknowledges those minor brush-ups. Freddie and Charlie rough house together constantly. Their favorite is tug of war. But when HoneyBun came along, Charlie fell in love.

Charlie and HoneyBun-2011 copyright Vikk Simmons
Charlie and HoneyBun-2011 copyright Vikk Simmons

Charlie's in Love with a Little Mi-Ki named Honeybun

Last year the Easter Bunny dropped a pink Easter basket off at the door with a pink blanket and a small furry little creature inside--for my mom. We learned her name was HoneyBun and she's a very toy-toy dog. She was six months old and weighed 3 1/2 pounds. It wasn't long before Charlie's heart had been captured and he and HoneyBun became quite the item. They are a hoot.

Charlie is very protective of HoneyBun. He guards her when she's walking among the larger dogs. He curls up next to her in a doggie bed. He even puts his paw/arm around her. I swear. It's the funniest thing to see. And she, well, she adores him. (Although I think she has a major crush on the big guy, Waco.)

Charlie is a Noisy Boy

Charlie makes noises all the time. He snores, he snuffles, he snorts and I love it.

A Closer Look at Life with Charlie the Pug

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Charlie and HoneyBunCharlie practicing more bulldog facesFreddie, Teddy and CharlieWaco and CharlieWho's the lion?Waco and Charlie trainingWaco and Charlie still training
Charlie and HoneyBun
Charlie and HoneyBun
Charlie practicing more bulldog faces
Charlie practicing more bulldog faces
Freddie, Teddy and Charlie
Freddie, Teddy and Charlie
Waco and Charlie
Waco and Charlie
Who's the lion?
Who's the lion?
Waco and Charlie training
Waco and Charlie training
Waco and Charlie still training
Waco and Charlie still training

Know Your Pug Before You Buy One

Pugs (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
Pugs (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
Because of his experience, Charlie thinks it's important for Pug owners to get to know his breed and their needs BEFORE they bring a little Pug home. So if you're thinking about getting one, buy the book and learn more about Pugs so you won't be surprised later.

Charlie loves his daily dental chews

Virbac C.E.T. HEXtra Premium Oral Hygiene Chews, Large Dog, 30 Count
Virbac C.E.T. HEXtra Premium Oral Hygiene Chews, Large Dog, 30 Count
If I let him, Charlie would chew these things all day long. They give him a great work out and help him burn off excess energy, too. All the dogs love these chewies.

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