April 25, 2014

Ode to my BeBe

Pugs are not only hilarious, but
sophisticated and laid back.

After 15 years of reading about them, studying them, learning about their traits and health challenges, I finally have my own little bundle of wrinkles, snot, and eye gubers. I adopted a 3 year old pug! He was a rescue and came with a very bad attitude, but after hiring a personal trainer and finding a fabulous guy who takes him on daily pack walks with larger dogs, he is finding his place in our home. 

Of course, when I got him I decided to learn as much as I could about dog psychology, behaviour, and training. So I turned to the guru of dogs (as I quickly learned)....Caesar Millan (sorry if I spelled his name wrong). I absorbed his books and began to understand why dogs act the way they do. The barking, begging, biting, whining, growling, and butt smelling all made sense once I finished reading Caesar's books. It became quite clear that there is no such thing as a bad dog but a bad dog owner. 

So tired after a long walk. OMG...he's soooo cute!
I was raised on teeny tiny toy poodles, which my mom would coddle and spoil.  In my house, dog poop on the lawn was normal, barking and whining came with the territory, and whatever the dog wanted, he got. I had no idea how they communicated or that treating (and dressing) them like humans was not only unhealthy for the dog, but downright humiliating. 
The only drawback is his face
screams, "please, sir, I would
like some more..."
I now understand the power of the pack walk and that butt smelling is the human equivalent to a handshake.  It's important for dogs to learn their rank in the pack (and the family) and that exercise, discipline, and affection (in that order) is important for a dog to be healthy and happy and live in harmony with his family.

It was interesting to me that the rules for healthy and happy dogs did not deviate that much from the rules of health for humans. We all need exercise, discipline, and affection to grow up healthy and well. We need structure, rules and understanding of boundaries to be able to function in the world...don't we? After reading Caesar's books, I know refer to these lessons in my own health promotion courses and find I pull from what he has written when I talk about mental fitness and social health.

Who's the cutest little bebe in the world?

At any rate, I am so in love with my pug. He has gotten me out of the house more walking up to 3 hours a day. I'm meeting people in my community I wouldn't have met if it wasn't for being a dog owner (it's like they just come up to you to talk about and pat your dog).  Pugs are hilarious little entertainers that have been bred for the sole purpose of companionship and want to do anything to please you.  Even when I'm in one of my "woe is me" moods, he can bring me out of just by looking at me.  If you can see past the snorting, snoring, and snotting...they are one of the cutest breeds (in my opinion).  I have the pictures to prove it!


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