Before Any Adoption
Evaluate a pug from a breed rescue or animal shelter to make sure the dog will suit your family and lifestyle. If you're considering an adolescent or mature dog, ask ahead of time if you can take the dog for a walk through the neighborhood or at a nearby park. Note the dog's reaction to the approach of bicycles, cars, or strollers, and to sudden sounds or movements. Ideally, he will be confident and relaxed, recovering quickly from a startling or unusual situation.
As you approach people, pay attention to the dog's response. Be wary of taking home a pug that shrinks away from people or tries frantically to climb up into your arms. This dog will require lots of socialization. Acceptable reactions range from indifference to cautiousness to friendliness to curiosity.
Ask what type of situation the dog came from. If he was given up because he didn't get along with a family's children or other pets, you don't want to take him home to your children or other pets. Some pugs simply want to be the center of attention, and they do best with childless or older couples, that is, people who can give them the time they need. On the other hand, if the dog was given up for behavior problems caused by lack of attention, that's something you can remedy with training and time. Ask yourself the following questions before adopting a pug:
What is the dog's activity level?
How much exercise does he need? (Some pugs are more active than others.)
Does he have any severe health problems, and do I have the time, money, and desire to deal with them?
Does he get along with children and other animals?
Does someone need to be home with him during the day?
Adoption is by no means the route to a free dog, but the return on investment can be tremendous. Having a pug means you have a guaranteed best friend for life, a dog that wants to be with you every minute of the day. If that's what you want, that's what you get.