White Pug looking very excited looking through fence opening

Are Pugs Always Hyper?

Anyone who has had a Pug puppy can attest to how excitable and hyper they can be. Like any puppy, Pugs display playful bursts of energy before they suddenly collapse for a nap. They seem to have two speeds fast and stop!

The good news is that Pug pups will not always be this hyperactive. They usually settle down after a couple of years and morph into more sedate lap dogs who love to take a lot of naps. Pugs are very happy, excitable dogs who want nothing more than to play and hang out with you. Their natural exuberance is what makes Pugs so fun to be around. Pugs slow down a bit as they grow older, but fortunately, they never lose their zeal for having fun!

Why Pugs May Seem to be Hyper

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Most Pugs have enthusiastic personalities with sweet dispositions making them great companions. Whether they are hanging out on your lap or begging you to throw the ball for them, they demand a lot of attention! Combine this with youthful puppy energy and you have a pretty lively little dog! However, for the most part, Pugs are not high maintenance (click here to read more).

I actually think of Pugs as being more joyous and playful than hyper. But they are prone to some crazy antics at times and can become obsessive about their playtime. Pugs need quality playtime but they also need to be taught moderation as they mature.

A good example of this is my Pug-mix dog, Georgia, who absolutely loves her balls! She gets particularly attached to tennis balls and softer rubber balls that she can hold and squish in her mouth. She could walk around all day with a ball in her mouth if I allowed it!

My black dog Georgia sneaking around with her favorite soft rubber Chew King ball.
Georgia sneaks around with her favorite
Chew King ball.

In addition to her Insum Tennis Balls, Georgia really loves her Chew King balls which are easy for her to catch and hold in her mouth. She loves me to throw these balls for her, but she doesn’t always bring them back! If she senses that our game of fetch is almost over and I start picking up the balls, she grabs a ball and won’t let go of it. Getting the ball back is a major challenge which usually involves high-value special food!

When she gets a hold of one of her favorite balls, she won’t eat or drink and walks around with it until she becomes exhausted. So I don’t use these balls very often. I mostly use the harder Snub dog balls when we go to the dog park to play fetch. These are slightly bigger, very durable, and practically indestructible. And, because they are not as fun and squishable, she will actually bring them back to me. You can see more about my recommendations for balls and other toys on my recommended products page for dog toys.

Pug Puppies Have Two Speeds–Stop and Go

Pug puppy excited about teddy bear
This cute Pug puppy stops to play with his new teddy bear.

I think another reason Pugs get branded as being hyper is due to their incredibly high energy and playfulness, especially as puppies. A Pug pup will race around, bouncing from one thing to the next. Then he will suddenly crash in a heap and take a nap. Pugs only seem to know two speeds– fast forward and drop dead!

Pugs get these incredible bursts of energy, which may seem like hyperactivity. But it is really just the way Pugs have fun and let off pent-up steam. I think Pugs invented the concept of dog “zoomies”, which often involve suddenly jumping up, racing around the room for several minutes, then crashing on the floor for a nap.

As puppies, Pugs are probably more prone to zoomies and excitable behavior than other breeds. This will usually go on for about two years until they finally begin to mellow. Eventually, they will be content to hang out by your side and lounge around on the sofa. Mature Pugs have a reputation for being lap dogs who love to nap, which is why Chinese royalty loved them so much!

Pugs Love to Lick and Explore Everything

My black dog Georgia licking and tasting things in the back patio.
My Pug-mix dog Georgia licking and tasting things in the back patio.

An additional reason Pugs can sometimes become a little hyper is their love to explore! And, this often involves tasting the world with their tongue. Pugs are very motivated by anything they can taste, and they love to eat. If you want a Pug to do a trick, give her a treat!

My dog Georgia wakes me up every morning by licking my nose (see my post). She wants me to know that it is time for her breakfast and she is quite anxious about getting it! She will do just about anything for a small bit of food or even a crumb. My kitchen floors have never been so clean!

How to Get a Pug to Settle Down

Set Limits — Be careful not to give in to their every whim, but do make sure you pay attention to your Pug. And as a puppy, your Pug will need more frequent attention and brief play times at least 2-4 times a day.

Ensure Your Pug Gets Adequate Sleep — Whether your Pug is a puppy or an adult, having a consistent sleeping and waking schedule is extremely helpful. Consider using a crate as a quiet den for your new puppy for the first few months. Then when your dog gets older, make sure she has a comfy bed in a quiet space. Otherwise, your Pug may get overly tired, which can lead to hyperactive behavior when she becomes “wired, tired.”

Manage Obsessive Behavior — If your Pug becomes obsessed with toys or habits (like stealing and running around with your socks), try to limit and control this behavior. A little bit is fine. But as in the case of my dog and her favorite balls, don’t let your dog’s crazy habits become obsessions which may lead to hyperactivity.

Pugs Need at Least 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise — A good brisk walk each day will really help your Pug release energy. But keep in mind that Pugs are not athletes. They have short little legs and stout bodies. So, don’t take your Pug with you on a rigorous run or bike ride each morning. A fun walk to the park or around the neighborhood should suffice. A couple of additional play times during the day for an adult is good, and a puppy will need 3-4 play periods in between naps.

Puzzle Games — Since Pugs love to eat, dog puzzle games that involve food keep them very engaged. I have two Outward Hound interactive food puzzles for my dogs and they love them. It keeps them engaged for at least 15-20 minutes. These puzzles are fun and work their minds, which will help with pent-up energy. Sometimes simple Kong toys stuffed with kibble, peanut butter, or Cheese Whiz work pretty well for a quick distraction.

Pugs Do Not Like to Be Alone — Pugs were bred to be companion dogs and they love nothing more than to be right by our side. Therefore, leaving a Pug alone for several hours each day could lead to separation anxiety (click this link to see my post). Pugs do best in a family in which someone will be home at least for part of the day. If this is not possible, have a friend or neighbor spend some time with your pooch each day. If you want a really independent dog, a Pug may not be the best choice for you. But if you work at home, a Pug could be ideal.

Training — Obedience training is always helpful, but especially with a Pug who has a tendency to be a bit stubborn and even mischievous at times. Training classes will help to socialize your Pug, provide your Pug with a routine, and help with discipline issues. Going to classes together is also a great way to bond with him. Training is also a great way to help a dog stay calm as he learns what you want him to do, and he will be more clear about what is expected of him.

Final Thoughts

Pugs may seem hyper, but they are mostly just happy energetic dogs. Once you get through the puppy stage and have some training and a routine established, your Pug will become a fun, relaxed dog who will sleep on your lap, play with you, lick you, and be a great companion!

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