Why Are Pugs So Clingy? The Attention They Need Might Shock You!

why are pugs so clingy

While all dogs are faithful, Pugs are especially known for constantly walking in their owner’s shadow. They are a true people-dog who adore any and all attention. They have been bred as companion and lap dogs so their clingy nature it something all Pug owners can identify with.

But how much attention will a Pug need, and why exactly are Pugs so clingy? Let’s take a closer look…

Why is my Pug so clingy? Pugs are renowned as having a clingy nature due to how they have been bred; as dogs designed for human companionship. Because of this, Pugs will follow their owners everywhere and are prone to suffering with separation anxiety.

If you don’t think you can handle this neediness, a Pug really isn’t the dog for you. They will constantly need you to be in close attention, so won’t suit someone with a busy lifestyle you cannot give the Pug the attention it needs.

They are also low in energy and much prefer to sit around on the couch.

If this is going to annoy you, look at different small dog breeds that are known to be more independent such as Beagles, Cairn Terriers, Jack Russells, Miniature Pinschers, and Scottish Terriers.

Do Pugs require a lot of attention?

Because of their clingy nature, Pugs are rather anxious dogs and are also rather susceptible to separation anxiety, meaning that they dislike being left at home for even short periods of time. Here’s a list of things you might not be able to do due to how much attention pugs need:

  • You might not be able to leave the house.
  • You might not be able to shut them in a room when the doorbell goes.
  • You might not be able to cuddle your partner or kids.
  • You might not be able to go to the toilet without them barking and scratching at the door.
  • You might not be able to go to work from 9 to 5 without doggy daycare help.
  • You might not be able to leave them in the car for a few minutes when you run in a store.

However, because of their small size they are also easy to take with you. Leaving your pug at home on its own for a long period of time can lead to destructive behaviour, either from anxiety or boredom.

If you have things like work commitments, or a life so busy that you can’t give the Pug the attention it needs then don’t get one. The other alternative is to possibly think about getting more than one Pug… many owners say Pugs are better in pairs.

why is my pug so clingy
If you have a clingy pug you might want to consider getting some companions.

The bottom line is this; Pugs require a lot of attention and if you can’t give them that it could not only impact on their mental health, but also cause you untold problems around your home.

Do Pugs get attached to one person?

In many cases, Pugs do become attached to just the one person. Their chief care giver will become the focus on their world and can result in clingy behavior, and sometimes even aggression towards others.

However, this isn’t a blanket rule by any stretch, but compared to other dog breeds, Pugs do tend to be very clingy towards just one person.

Handy Hint: Pugs are expensive to buy, but do you know why? I’ve detailed the costs involved in Pug ownership, so you know what you’re letting yourself in for.

My pug has just started getting more clingy than usual

Whilst the majority of pugs have a large degree of clinginess, sometimes the clingy behaviour can accelerate and become more intense than usual.

There are some common reasons for this including:

  1. A change in your behavior: for example, if you have started a new job or have changed the times you come in and out of the house.
  2. A new person in the house: Pugs have known to become clingier when a new arrival comes into the house. That could be a baby, a visitor, or a new partner who takes the attention away from them.
  3. A change to their environment: if you move to a new house, or even move their bed into a new room, this could trigger your Pug’s anxiety, making them even more needy than before.
  4. A change in their health: other aspects that make your Pug more clingy than usual can be their own health. For example, if their eyesight or hearing has started to reduce, and they get scared.
  5. A sudden noise or act of aggression: classic Pug neediness can be triggered by the stress of fireworks or an aggressive interaction they have had with another dog.
  6. A lack of mental stimulation: all dogs like to play, and if your Pug doesn’t have enough toys, he could become more needy and clingy around you.
  7. A case of separation anxiety: Pugs cannot be left alone for longer than an hour or two. Any more than that and they could develop separation anxiety, but more about that in a moment.

What does Pug separation anxiety look like?

These factors above all come into play with separation anxiety. Pugs should not be left alone for hours, as they simply won’t be able to cope with the stress.

The signs below are classic signals to look out for if your Pug is suffering separation anxiety:

  • Urinating and defecating in a new place (here’s how to retrain them).
  • Pacing, heavy panting, and drooling.
  • Barking and howling more than usual.
  • Digging your garden, chewing your stuff, and being destructive.
  • Trying to escape the yard or house.

You can reduce your Pug’s separation anxiety when you leave your home by adopting the following routines:

  • Always stay calm and put them at ease.
  • Don’t make a big thing of it when you leave the house.
  • Build them a safe and comfortable place to sleep in.
  • Only leave the house for short absences at first.
  • Use positive reinforcement.
  • Keep your pug happy and entertained with toys.
  • Keep your pug well exercised to burn off excess energy.
  • Employ a dog walker or doggy day care if you are away for a few hours.
  • Speak with your vet for professional advice and possible medication.

Check if your pug is happy (and smiling)

If you still not sure whether your pug is happy or not, then you might want to check out other signs to look out for. I wrote a post about how much pugs can smile, and in there you can find the most obvious signs of happiness your pug will show you.


If you want a dog that doesn’t require constant attention, a Pug really isn’t for you. They are renowned as being clingy and needy and cannot be left alone at home.

However, if it’s a side by side companion you want who will be your life partner until the end, a Pug is a great choice.

But before you do jump in and buy one, please do your research first. Pugs are renowned for suffering with a range of health issues, some of which I’ve detailed in the blog posts below.

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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