What Do Pugs Like to Play With? 10 Fun Pug Activities

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by Lily Ferreras

fun-pug-activities

Pug puppies are playful. When they reach adulthood, Pugs will continue to enjoy playtime, especially if you played games with them whilst they were growing up.

But, what do Pugs like to play with?

Pugs like to play with chew toys, flavoured ones in particular. Pugs also like toys that make noises, like squeaky toys.

Continue reading to discover 10 fun Pug activities to enjoy with your pooch!

What Do Pugs Like to Play With?

Understand what Pugs like to play with and how to choose the right toys for your dog is an important step in providing the right mental stimulation and play!

Let’s start with this 🙂

What Type of Toys Do Pugs Like?

The Pug breed belongs to the Toy group and they are companion dogs. This means that their only job is to keep you company, rather than retrieve or herd.

Pugs like chew toys, especially if they have flavour. I will give you some examples further down.

As part of their playful nature, Pugs will also enjoy playing with squeaky toys with you and on their own.

This breed will enjoy mental stimulation activities like learning new tricks or playing fetch games.

According to a study by researchers at the University of Bristol’s Veterinary School, novelty is the most important quality in a toy.

The study, published in the animal behaviour journal Animal Cognition, researched dog’s preferences on toys.

Regardless of the characteristics of a toy, dogs were more likely to go for the toy that was new versus the toy they had already played with.

That’s why monthly toy services can be a great option. They provide a variety of new toys and treats each month. Find out more at my favourite toys and treats solution.

But it’s not all about novelty!

The research team concluded that when we get involved with the toys, our dogs have way more of an attention span. 🙂

“For an animal as social as a dog, toys only become really excited when they are part of a game with a person. Few toys will sustain a dog’s interest for long if the owner is not around to offer encouragement.”

John Bradshaw, study co-author and University of Bristol Veterinary School researcher.

So, what should you consider when choosing a dog toy?

pug-activities-choosing-dog-toys

How Do I Choose a Toy for My Pug?

Many Pugs love fetching frisbees. Others enjoy chasing after an unpredictable bouncy ball.

The challenge comes when you are not sure what toys are suitable for your dog, or if your Pug will like it!

Here’s how you can choose a safe toy for your Pug:

#1 – Assess Your Pug’s Instincts

Your Pug’s toy preference depends highly on her personal style of playing and chewing. This is dictated by your dog’s breed.

Most dogs have been bred for a specific trait or job. As a result, some instincts have gone through further development than others.

This means your dog has specific instinctive behaviours and this is why not all dogs play the same way.

Pugs are companion dogs, so they are not likely to chase, dig and track. Pugs like chewing, like most dogs. But, your Pug can also have fun retrieving or tugging.

They also like playing with squeaky toys and have fun with tricks (especially if they get a treat as a reward!)

Using my dog toy finder, you’ll quickly discover which toy would best suit your Pug’s personality.

#2 – Choose Toys According to Age

When choosing a toy, your Pug’s age is a key consideration:

  • A three-week-old puppy: Still has baby teeth and needs toys with softer rubber or plush toys.
  • From three to nine months: Your puppy will be teething, so avoid hard rubber. To help her cope with the pain and discomfort, have a good variety of chew toys that will keep her distracted from chewing everything else!
  • Once the teething phase passes: Your dog will have a strong enough jaw for harder rubber toys, depending on her being an average or extreme chewer. Also, focus on her endless energy to play with balls or tug toys.
  • By age seven or so: Your senior dog’s mouth strength will decrease. It’s time to give her softer toys to chew. Also, encourage her to stay active by playing with other toys that she might like.
dog-training-airplane-game
Download the Airplane Game for free!

#3 – Pay Attention to the Size of the Toy

Be sure to buy toys of appropriate size for your Pug:

  • Toys that are too small: They can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s throat.
  • Toys that are too big: It becomes difficult and frustrating or even discouraging for your pooch to play with them.

As a general rule, when choosing a toy’s size make sure your Pug can carry the toy easily whilst also checking that it’s not small enough to become a choking hazard.

For example, fetch balls should be large enough to carry, but not too small that your dog can swallow them.

Use the guide in my favourite dog toys for a complete range of toys.

#4 – Select Appropriate Characteristics in a Toy

There are three helpful characteristics to look in dog toys:

  • Durability: Pugs can be tough chewers. So consider rubber chew toys, frisbees and balls since they are nearly indestructible. They withstand the wear and tear without damaging your Pug’s teeth.
  • Scent or Flavor: Chew toys with flavour are particularly appealing to Pugs. A fun extra incentive to chew. 🙂
  • Easy to Clean: The same way you want your dog’s bed to be easy to clean, the same rule applies to toys i.e. you want to cut down on the bacteria. Rubber toys can easily be washed with dish soap and some plush toys are machine washable!

#5 – Prioritize Your Pug’s Safety

I’m sure you’ll agree that safety is a top priority and should never be neglected.

Here’s how to make sure that your Pug’s toys are dog-proof, i.e. safe:

  1. Buy toys made with non-toxic materials. Check that the toy is made of non-toxic materials since your pooch will be licking and chewing on it. The label of the toy should read non-toxic and safe for dogs.
  2. Avoid or alter any toys that aren’t “dog-proof” by removing ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed off and ingested.
  3. Discard toys when they start to break into pieces or are torn. 
  4. Playtime should be supervised, especially with extreme chewers.
  5. Plush toys can be unsafe for some dog, especially a soft stuffed toy.

“Because we think that dogs perceive toys in the same way that wolves perceive prey, they prefer toys that either taste like food or can be torn apart. However the latter can cause health problems if the dog accidentally swallows some of the pieces.”

John Bradshaw, study co-author and University of Bristol Veterinary School researcher.

Also…

“The perfect toys should be soft, easily manipulable toys that can be chewed easily and/or make a noise. Dogs quickly lose interest in toys with hard, unyielding surfaces, and those that don’t make a noise when manipulated.”

Anne Pullen, study co-author and researcher at University of Bristol.
pug-activities

10 Fun Pug Activities

So what do pugs like to do for fun?

Here’s a list of fun Pug activities and what Pugs like to play with:

#1 – Walking and Sniffing

Low-intensity activities like daily walks are easy, mostly leisurely/casual and don’t require much effort from your Pug. But your dog will definitely benefit from it. 😉

A daily walk is the most simple way for your Pug to release some stored-up energy. It also stimulates her mind with the sights, sounds and smells she comes across.

The length of the walk will depend on your Pug’s age, health and energy levels. An adult Pug can walk a minimum of 15 minutes a day.

Insider Tip: Dogs thrive on routine, so try to schedule the walk at the same time each day.

Duration: 15 – 30 min.

Items needed: 

  • Harness: Since Pugs are a brachycephalic breed, collars should be avoided during walks. Dog harnesses, however, don’t disrupt their breathing. A harness also gives you better control of your dog when walking, thanks to the back and front attachment points.
  • Leash: A short fixed-length dog leash is ideal to train your Pug to walk by your side. These are 4 or 6-foot long.

Environment: indoors (leash training starts at home) and outdoors.

pug-activities-daily-walks

#2 – Fetch Games

Playing fetch can be highly rewarding for your pooch and adds some extra exercise to the daily routine.

If your Pug has good recall and comes on command, you can play this game outdoors and off-leash. Otherwise, start in the hallway or your back garden!

For playing fetch with your dog, rubber balls and frisbees are ideal.

Duration: 10min.

Items needed: 

Environment: mostly outdoors, but can be indoors.

pug-activities-fetch-games

#3 – Tug Games

Playing tug doesn’t take up a lot of room or time, but it uses a lot of your Pug’s physical energy!

You can even engage in a short session of tug whilst you are on the phone, for instance.

Also, it’s a great game where you get to practice commands during the game.

Duration: 5min.

Items needed: KONG Goodie Bone with Rope Dog Toy and KONG Tug Toy: the last one is more resistant than the former.

Environment: indoors and outdoors.

pug-activities-tug-games

#4 – Scent Games

This game is a great alternative for very hot or cold days.

Scent games are mentally stimulating. Hiding treats around is a great way to challenge your Pug.

Start easy, hiding the treats in obvious places. Once your Pugs knows the game, spice it up and increase the level of difficulty!

After some time, your pooch will learn to rely on his sense of smell to find the treats, rather than relying on your guidance.

Duration: 10min.

Items needed: Some healthy treats. Alternatively, you can get a snuffle mat that is foldable, which avoids getting treats all over the room/house.

Environment: indoors and outdoors.

pug-activities-scent-games

#5 – Swimming

Some Pugs love water and they are happy to paddle for a bit.

If you are trying to get your Pug to swim, I recommend taking her to classes first or teach her how to swim yourself.

To make it more exciting and help with the initial hesitation of getting into the water, you can bring a floating toy along.

Duration: 5 – 15min.

Items needed: A dog life jacket (Amazon link) to ensure your dog’s safety.

Environment: outdoors (in a foldable pool, in your swimming pool, at a lake or the beach).

Read also: Can Pugs Swim? 6 Swimming Safety Tips for Dogs.

pug-activities-swimming

#6 – Agility Games

You can easily set up an obstacle course, in your hallway or backyard, that can include tasks such as:

  • The weave.
  • Hurdle jumps.
  • Tunnels.
  • Jumping through hoops, etc.

If you don’t have space, you can take your pooch to a local indoor dog park to practice agility.

Alternatively, you can enrol your dog at a local club, where you can enter your pooch as a serious competitor or simply for fun!

Duration: 10min.

Items needed: A foldable agility set.

Environment: indoors and outdoors.

pug-activities-agility-games

#7 – Trick Games

Learning new tricks is another for your Pug to get some mental stimulation.

You can try the Airplane Game, for example, which you can download the game for free by following the link. 🙂

dog-training-airplane-game
Download the Airplane Game for free!

And if you are thinking… How do I bond with my Pug?

Playtime and short training sessions are a great opportunity to bond with your Pug whilst keeping her mentally and physically active!

pug-activities-trick-games

#8 – Free Play with Mental Stimulation Toys

Here are some toys to challenge your Pug, which are also suitable to leave around when your pooch is home alone:

  • Dispenser toys: Toys where you can put treats and even part of your dog’s meal, so she works for her food (this is a good thing btw!).
    • Kong Classic comes in different sizes. They also have different rubber strengths for puppies (pink or blue), average chewers (red), senior dogs (purple) and power chewers (black).
  • Puzzle toys: A way to enhance your dog’s intelligence and improve her problem-solving skills.
  • Chew toys: They fulfil their natural desire to chew. Plus, they keep their teeth clean and gums healthy.
  • Squeaky toys: Sound toys come in many shapes and sizes like squeaky balls, whistle balls or non-plush soft toys.
pug-toys-mental-stimulation

#9 – Comforting Plush Toys

Soft toys like plush toys are a source of emotional comfort for dogs.

They will sleep with them and carry them around like babies. Smart Pet Love’s Snuggle Puppy Toy is specifically designed to soothe dogs.

These soft toys are not appropriate for big chewers.

You can go for an extra tough plush toy for longer-lasting chew time and stuffing-free toy instead.

pug-toys-comforting

#10 – Soothing Teething Toys

Pug puppies go through teething twice by the time they are 1 year old. Chewing is a way to relieve pain when teething.

So, a great way to prevent nipping is to provide chew toys like Kong Puppy Goodie Bone and Nylabone Puppy Chew that are appropriate for puppies’ teeth.

pug-toys-teething

P.S. For more ideas, go to my dog toy finder, you’ll quickly discover which toy would best suit your Pug’s personality.

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