The Puli is best known for his corded coat, which looks a lot like he is sporting dreadlocks. These sheepdogs were designed to work hard in the field herding and guarding flocks both by day and by night. The modern Puli is an active dog with energy to spare who soaks up as much time and attention as his family is willing to give. They make excellent companions for active families who have the time and energy to commit to properly exercising and socializing their Puli.
Pulis are not lazy lap dogs – they require a lot of vigorous exercise in order to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament. They are best suited for country life, where they have lots of room to run, and possibly flocks of sheep to herd and guard. Suburban Pulis need to both walk and run on a daily basis. The best outlet for these animals (when not herding) is agility training. They are intelligent dogs who will bore of playing fetch or strolling through the neighborhood. Interesting and challenging activities are a must, because Pulis who are bored or under-exercised can become anxious and destructive.
Pulis were developed to make their own decisions in the field, and modern Pulis are still very independent and dominant by nature, making them a handful to train. You must begin early with your Puli, before bad habits have a chance to set in, and if leadership is not properly established, your Puli will assume he is in charge of the household. A calm-assertive presence coupled with generous praise and treats will yield the best results. Once leadership has been established and your Puli has mastered basic obedience, you should move on to agility or herding activities. These are intelligent dogs who need to work their minds as well as their bodies, and they excel in the competitive arena.
Socialization should also begin early in a Puli's life. They are natural watch dogs, which means they are suspicious of strangers. You must teach your Puli early on that guests are welcome into your home, so that he knows the difference between “good guys” and “bad guys.”
Pulis have a strong instinct to chase, so unless your dog is working on a farm, he should be kept on a leash or in a fenced yard. Fences should be at least six feet high, as Pulis are quite agile and have been known to scale shorter fences from a dead standstill. Non-canine pets should not be introduced into a Puli's home, as chaos is guaranteed.
The Puli is first and foremost a sheepdog, and his purpose in life is to herd and guard his flock. If he doesn't have sheep to work with, he will herd people. Playtime with children should be supervised, because Pulis nip at heels when they herd, and can inadvertently hurt someone. Pulis may also be rather unfriendly to neighborhood children, especially if they play rough with “his” kids.
Pulis are not recommended for homes with small children. They are fairly easy-going but they don't have the patience for being climbed on, poked at, or teased. Toddlers may also be inclined to tug on the Puli's unusual corded coat.
Neat freaks will not find Pulis to be ideal housemates. Their rough coats tend to trap and hold everything from water, to food, to dust from the floor, to feces.