Pugs are a perfect dog for families in small spaces. Well-behaved pugs have a calm demeanor and are incredible companion animals for handlers with special needs. However, when they are young or poorly trained, they can cause quite a wave of destruction. “Why is my pug so hyper?” is a question every experienced dog trainer has heard at least once.
Several circumstances can be causing your furry friend to demonstrate an extreme case of the pug zoomies. As with most dogs and their cat housemates, pugs tend to be more hyper at night. So, why are pugs so hyper? It has much to do with their energy and anxiety levels and how you choose to adapt to their mental and physical needs.
Bred for Companionship
Originally bred as a lapdog in China, these dogs do best with constant companionship. They are one of the few breeds that have never seen a shift in their purpose. Pugs were a popular pup, sought after as far back as 400; that’s a lot of years for them to become perfect cuddle buddies. Historically, pugs were the furry friends preferred by Chinese emperors and Tibetan Budhist Monks to keep them company in long meetings and meditations.
Unfortunately, companionship instinct often leads to separation anxiety and hyperactivity. These dogs are great for small apartments, so long as you’re going to be home with them most of the time. Staying home wasn’t an issue during the pandemic, but as people return to the workplace, many pugs find themselves worrying about their human charges.
Separation Anxiety in Pugs
Pugs are not the only breed of companion dog that struggles with separation. However, given that the hereditary instinct is to be with their people, time away can cause emotional distress. One study shows evidence of higher stress levels through the hyperactivity of the dogs’ greeting behaviors.
Further, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that somewhere between 20-40% of all dogs in the US suffer from separation anxiety.
The most common signs your pug is struggling with stress are as follows:
- Excessive Drooling
- Barking, whining, and excessive vocalization from the moment you leave
- Indoor potty accidents
- Destruction to flooring, walls, kennel, crate, or other barricades
- Obvious anxious behaviors such as pacing, panting or trying to block your exit
- Extreme hyperactivity and excitement upon your return to the house
- Reluctance to leave your side once you’ve returned
How Can I Prevent Separation Anxiety and Hyperactivity in My Pug?
Like us, when an animal is feeling anxious or irritable, they need a way to blow off steam. Ensuring that your pug friend gets a nice long walk or chases a ball in the yard and a good cuddle session will help in the short term.
As a long-term solution, you should work with your dog to teach them that you will come back and they are safe at home. Crate training will make this easier, even if you choose not to lock the crate. Creating a safe space for the dog to retreat when they feel anxious or overwhelmed will give them the confidence to handle your absence more easily.
While you work on this process, ensure that the safe zone you set up for your pup is puppy safe. Remove access to cords, toxic chemicals, dangerous toys, and other things that may cause your pooch harm. Spend time in the safe zone with your doggo friend to show that it’s a safe space that you can share with them. As they get confident in their safe space, you should increase the distance and time you spend out of their reach.
Continuing this will help them understand that you come back, give them a task to please their handler, and create a space to retreat with a given signal or when they notice you’re preparing to leave or are overwhelmed. Pugs may also find that their safe space is where they are least bored.
Creating activities to keep their minds engaged while you’re gone will also help curb the hyperactivity. Puzzle bowls, treat dispensers, interactive toys, and snuffle mats with healthy treats will give them tons of stimulating cognitive entertainment and increase the cute factor for those watching them.
Pugs are a sturdy and boxy breed, but their curiosity and excitement around discoveries mean they are likely to get overly hyper when they’re younger. For new pug owners, this can seem very confusing. Taking your pug on a long walk and giving them plenty of time to sniff and explore will curb their curiosity and make them sleepy for a large part of the time you’re out of the house.
Excitement is contagious for pugs; when the other dogs in the house or the human they’ve learned to love are excited about something happening, they are more likely to become hyperactive. Another reason to take your dog on long or frequent walks around your neighborhood is to let their snorting noses explore and satiate their curiosity before you leave or before you settle for bed.
Disputing Myths About Lazy Pugs
When a pug is young, the question heard most often is, “why is my pug so hyper?” Some variations of “why closely follows this question do they snort?”. Pugs that have outgrown their initial puppy phase and started to calm down may still have a few cases of the zoomies. Scientifically called Frenetic Random Activity Periods are short bursts of energy and excitement in a new activity or stimulus.
After the age of two, most pugs settle into a more cuddly attitude. Watch out for excess weight gain in later years, as the stagnant lifestyle can create more stress on your furry friend’s body. According to the American Kennel Club Official Pug standards, a healthy pug should weigh around 14-18 lbs. Aim to match that number, and you’re likely to have a happy and healthy pug companion.
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.