What’s New In Murphy’s World

Alternate title: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Murphy’s World.

I loved reading all of your comments (thank you, btw) on my 8-year blog birthday giveaway about what you’d like to see more and less of on CNC. There was definitely a mix (i.e. more food posts, fewer recipes, more product reviews, fewer sponsored posts, more CrossFit, less CrossFit), but the one thing that just about everyone agreed on was more Murphy posts!!


The little furball used to be the star of CNC, but ever since his human brother came along, his Internet fame has taken a bit of a backseat. I know some of you guys love hearing about the pug, so here’s an update about what’s new in Murphy’s world. And I’ll be sure to include him more in future posts!


Health-wise, Murphy is doing quite well since his surgeries last spring. He still has a permanent head tilt and some balance issues (he’s scared to go down big sets of stairs, and if he’s running around a corner real fast, he’ll sometimes wipe out), but, otherwise, he’s the same old goofy pug. He still breaks out in “elephant butt” a few times a week, so we know his pug spirit is alive and well!

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Murphy is no longer allowed on our couch (we got sick of removing pug fur), but he still sleeps in our bed every night, so he’s got that going for him. We carry him downstairs every morning and if we don’t right away, he “tap dances” at the top of the stairs with excitement because he knows breakfast is coming soon!

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Even though Murphy isn’t on CNC as much as he used to be, he’s still my #1 employee and sits on my lap for the majority of the day while I work. I know it’s terrible for my back, but I love our cuddle sessions.

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Murphy is also a good “supervisor” of everything that happens around the house, which means he is never far from the action. Pugs are nosy/needy little creatures like that!

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Murphy is truly the best pug brother. He puts up with a lot from a very active/maniac toddler and never complains about it. (Yes, pugs complain. Ask any pug owner.)

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He’s really patient and sweet with Quinn despite the frequent poking, grabbing, teasing, belly button-pointing, and attempts to sit on him.


Murphy’s health is generally good, but he still deals with frequent ulcers on his eyes, so we give him drops on a daily basis as a preventative measure.

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Once upon a time, Murphy used to be a well-behaved therapy dog. Every week, we’d visit the local nursing home to bring its residents some of his pug love. Murphy was so good with the seniors. He was calm, affectionate, and listened. Fast-forward to the present day: Our dog no longer listens to us. It’s Murphy’s world and we’re just living in it.

Post-surgery, Murphy can only hear out of one ear, so we often give him the benefit. But he easily hears food drop on the kitchen floor from just about anywhere in the house, so you would think he’d understand “get off the couch,” which we say at least a half dozen times a day to him. I don’t know what’s up with the pug, but he definitely doesn’t listen to us anymore.


Murphy is also 8 million times more obsessed with food. With Quinn carrying snacks around the house, food is frequently right in his face. We realize this is challenging for him, so we typically put Murphy in the den or gate him off in a different room when Quinn is eating. We try our best to keep the food temptations at a minimum, but it seems like things are getting worse, not better. Murphy has even eaten food right out of Quinn’s hands on a number of occasions. I know Murph would never intentionally bite Quinn, but he’s a dog, so you never know what could happen, especially when food is involved.

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Back in the day, we never had an issue leaving food out around Murphy. Like if we ate dinner in the living room, we could leave our plate and run to the kitchen for a napkin and not worry about Murphy chowing down. He’d sit right next to the coffee table and stare at our meal like a creep, but he’d never jump up and eat it. Now if we leave the room and food is left out, he will devour it in a matter of seconds. We’ve even seen him jump ONTO the coffee table to get food, which is something he’d NEVER do in the past. We’re trying our best to re-train him, but, man, it hasn’t been easy. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?



The only thing I could think of for “the ugly” was Murphy’s aggressive head tilt, which makes him look like a Gremlin, but it’s actually kind of cute, right?

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So there’s an update about Murph Dawg. I hope it didn’t sound like we don’t love him with all of those “bad” updates. We’re just surprised by how much he’s changed since his surgery/Quinn’s arrival/moving to a new house. Overall, he’s a wonderful dog and we love him very much. He just needs to re-learn some doggie manners!

Questions of the Day

Puppy (monkey)/baby parents: Does any of this sound familiar? Why is our dog misbehaving so much nowadays? Any advice?


  1. I love Murphy updates, because I’m obsessed with pugs. I really hope to have a pug one day. Our beagle is also not good with food. He can get aggressive when we go near him if he has food and often tries to take ours. Except for that he’s the sweetest dog of course. It’s just difficult to teach him to stay away from food that’s not his.

  2. I love that he’s your number one employee. When it comes to kids with food, it’s difficult to reason with dogs. We make sure to put a few Cheerios in our dog’s food dish so he knows that’s where to get treats, not by begging or stealing. But he sure is cute!

  3. Doggies need to be trained constantly! Training isn’t a one-stop shop that once is enough for life. Especially when changes occur, such as moving or the addition of new family members, they get thrown off and need a little reassurance that everything is still normal and they are still loved. Needy little creatures, huh? 😀

  4. Oh I totally get the food obsession. My daughter is 2 1/2 and having snacks and with meal times, our dog Sage is OBSESSED like never before. We also have to gate her (Sage, not our daughter) in another room or put her in her kennel (again, Sage, not our daughter) while our daughter is eating during meal times. But during snack time where our daughter is typically up and about while eating, Sage is right there with her constantly giving her begging eyes. We really try to be strict with the fact of not feeding the dog but sometimes our daughter finds it hilarious that Sage will follow her WHEREVER she goes, only because she has food (seriously, they will do figure 8’s together in the house all while our daughter is laughing and Sage running right on her heels). It is funny and we try not to laugh..oh the joys!

  5. I think it totally makes sense that Murphy is “misbehaving” and acting differently now. He had a lot go on at one time and that can really mess with anyone! (person or dog). I do think re-training him is a good idea, but I do think health issues are especially hard on dogs. I know my pug, Sebastian, started acting a lot differently when he had to have an eye removed. It’s like they don’t know how to compensate. Sebastian ended up passing shortly after the surgery (nothing to do with the surgery..he ended up having cancer and a collapsed lung as well) so enjoy the little pug while you have him!

  6. Sounds VERY familiar- our Golden is even more obsessed with food since our son was born (now 21 months old). I think it’s because the food is on his level and because he is a little jealous of that our little guy gets food and attention that he wants. I have a lot of pet Mom guilt about the change in attention our pup received once our son was born. I also think the selective hearing increases with age!

  7. I agree with all the training comments. However, when we got a second dog, our first little lady dog acted up like no-one’s-business (pooping on the couch, even!). So, I essentially had to retrain her to not be a brat. For her, it was definitely partly jealousy and partly that my attention just wasn’t on her as much, so she could get away with more bad habits and I was being inconsistent with her. But, we figured it out, and she and her bro now get along well and are (mostly) behaved members of the household (whew!) Good luck with the lil guy!

  8. We had to do crate training again when our daughter was born because our dogs started going on the floor. It was not fun!

  9. Omg, dog on the couch. The struggle is real. We get her nice beds and have them in all the main rooms, but they just don’t beat the couch for some reason!

    1. @Jen: haha My husband and I got a new couch about a month after getting our puggy… we gave up on trying to keep them off. When guests would come I would race home and vaccum the couch. Problem solved and a whole, big, happy family! hehehe

  10. Murphy sounds like he is having what my husband and I call a puppy-regression 🙂 . Our dog, Daisy, decides about every 6 months or so that she doesn’t feel like following some rule or another anymore. It throws you for a loop when you’ve grown so complacent with a well-behaved pup! When she decides to misbehave she loses her doggy-privileges 😉 and has to earn them back. For her, this means toys go away, and she earns them back as an incentive to behave herself. You just have to remind dogs that good things happen when they follow the rules!

  11. Awww murphy is so cute! All the pictures of Murphy always made me want a pug but we ended up with a giant Rhodesian Ridgeback (hubbys choice), she is still a puppy and doesn’t listen that well so I hope it gets better before it gets worse! She also tries to climb in my lap while I work at home but she is like 70lbs so that doesn’t work out well for her.

  12. We have a pug weenie dog and since we have brought our baby home, she has been a bit more standoffish and not so many antics. We miss her lively personality! Our sweet baby is only 2.5 months old, so we hope that she is just still getting used to him.

  13. LOVE THIS POST! I had a smile on my face the whole time while reading it! We have a 5 year old 12lb mix at home(Bubby), our first born. And now he has a 15 month old human brother (Bryce). They get along so well but Bubby is even more food obsessed with Bryce around! I’m trying to teach Bryce to keep his food from Bubby (sometimes he feeds him) and we’ve started saying “no, no, no Bubby” and Bryce does a little finger shake, it really is the cutest! But I can totally relate to this post 🙂

  14. Love Murphy updates! Our dog Jasmine has been so naughty lately. Anything you leave out she decides is hers and eats it. BTW, she is almost 10, so she’s not a puppy, haha!

  15. Murphy is adorable and I love this post. On training: my dog is a rescue and is trained by prisoners (part of their rehab program – cool concept!), so she came to us pretty well-trained, but she doesn’t exactly seem to have retained a lot of that four years later. That is, she used to listen and now she doesn’t really, so I relate there. We’re sort of considering hiring a trainer and re-training her.

  16. Lol, Murphy finally figured out how to get rid of the little “pest” poking at him…lick him away!!! Cute video!

  17. We also have a Pug, and an old woman once stopped us on the street and told us that pugs are not dogs, they are creatures from heaven! I think all pug owners would agree. Actually, I have always been impressed at how well-trained and behaved Murphy is. My guess is that Murphy’s “alpha” is busy now with his human brother, and he thinks he has a little wiggle room. Sneaky pug!

  18. I had two puggies… Bonhoeffer and Sabrina. They were the best.

    Bonhoeffer was food obsessed and he would really suffer watching us eat, so we would always leave him a bite to eat at the end of our meal. Less suffering, poor dude haha

    I would say that after all the medical procedures Murphy has done, he just decided to let his true pug self show, hahaha. Every pug I know is food obsessed, and I can’t blame them poor tykes..

  19. This may end up longer than I intend. I apologize in advance.

    Sounds like Murphy has a lot going on and doesn’t know how to handle it. It doesn’t sound like lack of attention by any means. Dog behavior can sometimes be difficult to pin point. The best thing in my experience, as many others have mentioned, is constant (and consistent) training. Dogs are habitual, but they also have the mental capacity of a toddler. One of our dogs is half husky, the other is half wolf, half malamute/husky.

    With pugs being more people focused it’s probably been “easier” to an extent to train Murphy, but with our dogs being more independent breeds we always use constant passive leadership. Direct leadership (punishment and what not) was never an option because we don’t want large dogs that live in fear of people as fearful dogs are way more likely to snap than well adjusted dogs that learn from passive command and example. This was especially important as we discussed starting a family.

    We consciously do things that put us in the alpha position. We work on a more primal level (especially with our 6 mo wolf hybrid) by making them “work” for their food. They sit (sitting for food is often the simplest method and usually enough to maintain our alpha position with our pack), “hunt”, etc. We encourage their natural instincts through controlled play…prey driven games for the wolf…she won’t fetch…looks at us like we’re dumb. We teach them their limits and they know there’s a time and place for play vs. obedience. I don’t know what a pug’s breed purpose is, but huskies and malamutes are bred to travel and pull cargo so we do things that make them feel like they’ve served their purpose…we hike, we give them backpacks to carry, etc. Basically, we control everything (except play with one another) that goes on in their life…food, sleep, play, but in a way that isn’t obvious to them.

    It has helped with food aggression (from our first dog when we brought in the second puppy…also from the first toward our cats [the cats have all the power in the house. It’s HILARIOUS to watch these two large 70lb fluff balls shy away from our 5 pound cat]), begging, general behavior, everything. Before Quinn it was probably easier for you to use passive leadership without even realizing you were doing it. Now that there’s a toddler running around Murphy doesn’t have to do, well, anything. He can just take the food at his pleasure. From a canine perspective, this makes him an alpha. He feels like he is the one in control.

    I’m not saying you can fix the problem right now (maybe you can). I know it’s near impossible to keep free food from a dog with a toddler in the house. It may at least help to better understand why he’s suddenly found a stubborn streak, though, and may allow you to better accept his stubbornness (it isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless it’s absolutely driving you insane) until Quinn is older and able to participate in training, or may allow you to adjust *how* your training Murphy. Dog training is just as much people training as it is dog training (most behavior problems stem from ownership habits more than the dog itself), and telling a toddler to not give his best buddy food under any circumstances is quite a challenge as you are aware 😉

    Whatever the case, I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do. I didn’t mean to come off sounding so militant. Our dogs are part of our family and we cuddle and rely on one another for companionship like all families, and they can still be their playful, crazy (seriously…anything mixed with a husky is *insane* and mischievous), selves with their own personalities and quirks. Simple steps toward understanding dog psychology help us maintain the owner/pet boundaries while allowing us to be silly, loving, and trusting with our dogs…it’s more about instilling manners and cultivating their being rather than breaking their spirit. <3

  20. We have issues with our dogs and food too. We have a pug, and a puggle. Our pug is nearly 16 years old – so he doesn’t really grab food out of hands – he waits for it. He’s mostly deaf – so he doesn’t hear it drop – but if he sees it, he wants it. The puggle on the other hand is a maniac. He paces underneath my son’s high chair or booster seat, or will grab snacks from him. He has gotten his finger before – but not hard. We typically try to put the dogs away when there is food out. The only benefit is that they can clean up really well!

  21. Our dog went through a lot of changes after the baby arrived. For a while he wasn’t getting his regular walks and he reverted to his puppy tricks of destroying things like cell phones and kindles. But now we have a different problem – he gets super mad/jealous of the exercise walks I take the toddler on, even though I do another 2 mile walk wearing the toddler so I can walk the dog! He just loves us so much and doesn’t understand why he can’t go on ALL the walks. It’s a constant struggle for sure

  22. We have never let our dog on the couch and one day when she was 4 years old we started seeing scratch marks on the couch. She was on the leather trying to make her bed. It started out of the blue for no reason. We bought a mat that beeps when you step on it, so we put it on the floor and taught our dog that standing on it was bad. We used positive reinforcement when she walked around the mat and not on it. We then put the mat on the couch and she stopped right away. We stopped using the mat like a month later and she hasn’t been on it since (it’s been over a year now). http://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Trains-Dogs-Cats-Scat/dp/B00405WMS4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455812406&sr=8-1&keywords=mat+that+beeps+for+dogs

  23. Tina. We love Murphy in my house. I think this is great that you are aware of this now and talking about it. I like the post from Amanda, because that is what we are doing NOW with our pug. Yes, pugs are obsessed with food and while we never gave him table food, we’d give him treats willy nilly and one day he … snapped. He’s the biggest marshmallow pug and we took it for granted that he was a teddy bear and not an animal as you said, Tina. So, when my nephew was over, he tried giving him a treat and must not have followed through and didn’t give it to him but waved it in front of the pug (torture) — I turned away and he lashed at my daughter, funny he didn’t lunge at my nephew. THank God it could have been so much worse, he didn’t draw blood, but it made me call a dog behavior specialist (she’s in Massachusetts and we loved her) and she made me realize what Amanda said– we have to set the tone with the dogs as to who is in charge and give out treats ONLY when they deserve it. So, now we whenever he comes in from doing his business outside, he gets a treat and knows it. And when we are eating dinner and he sits still and waits quietly, he knows he gets a treat. Or when he sits at his bed when I ask him quietly when someone first walks in… this whole shifting “roles” in the house on Alpha brought our peace back. I am so much more aware now, and because Murphy and Tank (my pug) are such rolly polly sweet, cuddle bugs, we sometimes lose our posture around them. They ARE animals and would do anything for food as we joke about — especially pugs. You should see the way Tank sits and waits for his meal times… now I can even put my hand over the bowl and he still sits until I release him from his wait command. It makes a WORLD of difference. As Amanda said, it was “people training” too. i’m not going to say that Murphy will snap the way our pug did, but shifting the roles and rules in the house and being more aware will give you a peace of mind because before you know it, Quinn will be having his little buddies over for play dates and you don’t want Murphy taking food out of his friends’ hands. Best to all of you.
    BTW, it’s because of you guys that my pug and I are a therapy dog team via BONES!!

  24. Our dog is obsessssssed with food! And also doesn’t listen to us, so I totally get it! lol But, you can’t help but love them so much even when they frustrate you. Love these Murphy updates, I’m glad you’re going to start doing more of them. The pictures with Quinn and Murphy are the cutest, all snuggled up. I’m excited for someday seeing our kids with dogs, not quite yet though 🙂

  25. We have a 16 month old and a vizsla and the exact same thing happened with the food. I use to Bragg about how well he did around food. We always ate in the living room and he was never interested. When Owen started eating food, he gradually got worse and worse and now he does the same thing.. Eats right out of hands, devours full dinners if we look away… I think dogs are just smart enough to realize we are more distracted now and they can get away with it!! Haha.

  26. Just a thought, but has Murphy had bloodwork since his issues last spring? The new obsession with food could signal a thyroid problem, maybe? Something to consider in addition to training.

  27. We added two new Dachshunds to our household and our original (spoiled baby/only child of the house) Pomeranian started acting out bad. We had a dog trainer/behavior specialist come in and she said it’s because dogs view things in relation to the pack. With new members, they are trying to figure out the new order in the pack. Especially food – almost like a fear there isn’t going to be enough food. She really helped us see things from a different perspective and gave us some tools to get things back under control. Not 100% yet – but way better than before.

  28. Ack now I can’t get that puppy-monkey-baby out of my head! So odd. Anyways, my pooch is my #1 employee, too, but he is too big to cuddle in my lap while I work 🙁 I wish I had advice in Murphy’s behavior, but we just rescued our less than a year ago so everyday is a learning experience!

  29. Love the pug updates! I’ve never had a dog, so I have NO clue about training them. I have had cats all my life and I find them pretty un-trainable. Maybe I am a bad cat-mom trainer though. HA I think what I’ve *heard* works best with cats is deterrence. You want them to associate something bad happening with bad behavior. Not physically bad obviously, but like a loud noise or for scratching double sided tape on chairs which sticks to their paws (not the best look for your house though). They hate that! Maybe that would work for dogs too? Who knows!

  30. Awe! Maybe he’s like the 2 yr old big brother who used to be potty trained until their new baby sibling arrives and then they no longer “remember” how to use the toilet so you have to start all over. It’s a thing in little people…maybe it’s a thing in dogs too??

  31. Love the puppy(monkey)/baby reference! I wish I had some advise, but our 8 year old pug, Seymour, misbehaves as well. Over the past year, he does his own thing and poops upstairs whenever a stranger comes over. However, Seymour was the best dog to have around with a baby-now-toddler. Like Murphy, he really puts up with a lot and is very protective!

  32. My son is the same age as yours and we have a very calm senior boxer. We have never had a problem with her and food. I caught her with her paws on our dining room table getting food this past week! When our little boy is eating she nuzzles into his lap to catch the food he has dropped. It’s getting so out of hand! You are not alone!

  33. Love this update! We’re prepping our girls as much as possible for their new sister. I love how Murphy is still a star in real life 🙂 He’s so cute I’m so glad he’s doing well after his scary spring.

  34. OMG!!! Pugs are the best we have two, Murphy and Bosco. They have the be the best mannered breed ever <3 I always smile when I see your pug pics!

  35. I echo a lot of the comments. Murphy may just be acting out since Quinn is around now. I don’t have any two-legged kids, but my dog definitely gets a bit bratty when my work schedule gets crazy and I’m not home as much. A little extra training (maybe a good private dog trainer?) and some extra love may go a long way!

  36. Murphy is so cute! I used to have a pug named Miley, she actually resembled Murphy a lot! Thanks for brightening my day with cute pug pictures <3

    Edye // Gracefulcoffee

  37. We have experiencd the same type of behavior since welcoming our baby girl to our our fur baby’s life. We have a 80lb German Shepard that we love to pieces, but all of her manners/training has gone out the window these past 6 months.

  38. Vet student here. Murphy probably “forgot” (on purpose) some of his learned behavior with a new addition to the household. Retraining him might be a great idea; clicker training and positive reinforcement are always helpful, and you should train him around food saying “too bad” (No is too common and easy for dogs to ignore) until you feel comfortable leaving the room again without him.

    I don’t have to worry about my dog at all around food, but I do have to worry about my naughty cat! And unfortunately, you can’t really train a cat, because they don’t tend to associate cause and effect.

    Either way, looks like Murphy is doing great, and I’m happy to hear this update! How nice that he and Quinn get along so well.

  39. Thanks for the Murphy update! I missed reading about him, but at least he likes to photobomb! I remember when you guys got him 🙂 yup-long time reader here.

    You take such good care of him & it shows. We know you love him & so do your readers. He’s so lucky to have you guys.

  40. Our Great Dane is 8 and has some of the “bad habits” Murphy has-not listening as well, more brave when it comes to taking food from places he should not be-he literally put his head on the stove to smell a pot we used for cooking! I believe bringing our second dog into the house about 2 years ago made him a bit more competitive for food, but dang! We are expecting our first baby in a few short weeks and am a little worried how much the dogs will change when baby gets here. Food is definitely going to be a battle as the baby grows up, because even though our dogs will take food gently they still have giant mouths and big teeth…

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