by Ian D.
Cookie (with Bandana)
We adopted Cookie from the SPCA, he was a rescue dog (he had been thrown out as garbage and left in a bin to die) and as we had previously owned a Pekingnese dog we knew of the pros and cons. It was not however an instant choice and we had to visit him in the kennels several times before we could make the decision to adopt.
Pekes are active "food guarders" - in other words never approach or make eye contact with it when they are eating! Drinking water is fine but we once made a mistake of putting apple juice in his bowl and he became very aggressive when we approached - almost as if there was food in the bowl! Incidentally, we only feed Cookie dried dog food such as Science Diet or Eukanuba as meat seems to make him more irritable and also increases dental problems.
Pekes can be adorable and affectionate, but I find it's only when you play by THEIR rules...you have to read the signs of when to and when not to approach the breed. Mostly, we alert Cookie verbally then allow him to come to us, not the other way around. We discovered this early with our last Peke, the saying "let sleeping dogs lie" could never be so true as in a Pekingnese's case!
They are sensitive to sudden noises or movement, so always move slowly and quietly when in close proximity of a Peke. They may lash out, even bite the owner if suddenly disturbed from sleep - however I try to relate this to somebody violently shaking me from slumber and would probably react the same way.
They are excellent watch dogs, but are not prone to learning "dog tricks" as with other breeds, the best we've ever achieved is to get Cookie to roll over, although we're not sure if he does this for our or his own pleasure!
Keep away from small children who tend to play with them as toys and might end up getting a severe bite...when we had a family with small children stay with us, we mostly kept Cookie on a raised surface so that both the dog and the baby could not make physical contact. Placing a Peke on a higher surface like a spacious table seems to calm them down, plus doesn't allow them to jump about as they are afraid of falling.
Obviously this wasn't a permanent situation, only when the baby was present...otherwise Cookie was allowed to roam freely through the house. Peke's are "royalty" and have served kings and emperors alike and deserve a certain amount of respect, but must also be punished when acting badly.
We have never hit or beaten Cookie, our punishment takes the form of being tied up for certain periods or "ignored" (Pekes hate this). Cookie is unusual in that he is white haired and has an unusually long body for his breed.
Always keep Pekingnese dogs in a cool, if possible air-conditioned, space as they tend to overheat easily and clean their eyes carefully daily with a soft damp cloth or tissue as they accumulate eye-sleep easily.
Hope any or all of the above helps you in choosing a Peke as a pet; if you're looking for a dog that does cutesy tricks, this isn't for you, but for a loyal companion and avid watchdog, they're the best!