Does it seem like your new Pug puppy acts like your teenage child? You call them and they act like they don’t hear you and continue doing whatever they want? Many new Pug owners are surprised at how stubborn this breed can be and often wonder “are Pugs obedient” and what can I do to get them to listen to me?
Are Pugs Obedient And Trainable?
Pugs have the reputation for being delightful companion animals, but they are not known for their trainability. In fact, they can often undermine your attempts at training by clowning around and making themselves adorable.
Even housebreaking them can be a challenge, like many small dog breeds. In addition, they have a naturally independent nature, which may make it seem they don’t take the training of any sort very seriously.
These qualities can often be obstacles to your idea of obedient behavior in dogs. However, it doesn’t mean that Pugs aren’t trainable. You simply have to adjust your techniques and expectations for your Pug. I’ve written an in-depth article on how to train a Pug puppy, that may help new dog owners.
We’ll go into details of some obedience training, but first let’s look at why dogs are more obedient than cats.
Why Are Dogs More Obedient Than Cats?
Many Pug owners have said that Pugs act like cats, and now that I think of it, my Pug did have some qualities of a cat.
So why do dogs actually listen to us?
There have been several studies and experiments to understand why dogs actually listen to commands.
They found that dogs were more likely to follow commands when a human gave them, but refused to follow them when a tape recorder gave them.
The experiment also showed that dogs were less likely to listen when they stood 2.5 meters away or when the humans back was turned to the dog.
So what does this mean for you? Well, it shows that all dogs are trainable, even the Pug!
You just have to understand that this breed is more stubborn than other breeds, so it will take more time and patience to get them to listen.
Before you can begin obedience training, you need to first understand more about the breed you chose.
Understanding Pug Nature
The Pug breed has a long history that goes back to the ancient emperors of China. The dogs were highly prized for their winning personalities and ability to amuse their regal owners.
Pugs were so valued that ordinary citizens and outsiders were not permitted to own them. These were never working dogs that herded sheep, pulled wagons, or dug for vermin.
They never did important work to do to assist in mankind’s survival. These dogs were the playmates of the royals, and they were allowed to do as they wished, much like the families who owned them did.
As a result, Pugs were never bred for their obedience or ability to be trained for specific tasks. Their job was to entertain and provide affection for royalty. To do this, they maintained their independent natures.
Pugs do their job of companionship so well that, even today, they are prized for their comic playfulness and devotion to their owners.
Incorporating Pug Personality Into Your Training Strategy
Pug owners must understand the fundamental aspects of the Pug’s nature when training. Training can be laborious, and owners must always keep in mind that Pugs response poorly to harsh treatment in any form.
You can put in long hours training your Pug, but the results can be sketchy and completely dependent on your dog’s mood at any given time.
Becoming the Alpha Dog To Lead Your Pug
Your first task in training your Pug is to ensure that you have made yourself the “alpha” member of the dog pack. This is an important aspect of canine psychology.
The “alpha” dog is the leader of the pack who maintains order. If you act like an alpha, your dog will respect your voice and your decisions more easily.
You act like an alpha when you go through the door first when going out when demanding the dog get out of your way rather than the other way around and by giving commands in a confident tone of voice.
If your dog doesn’t see you as their leader, they won’t respect you.
Set A Regular Training Schedule
Make dog training a part of every day. A good time may be after dinner when both you and the dog have settled down. Slowly introduce your Pug to the required behavior, using the same command every time.
At first, your dog will not understand what is expected. If you detect any movement by the dog toward accomplishing the task, reward him with a treat and praise.
Reinforcement, Praise and Treats
The Pug breed is one that is known for resisting training, so expect many setbacks along the way. You may feel frustrated and even hopeless about getting your dog to catch on to the lessons.
However, you should understand that it’s not your Pug’s fault for being wired that way. Continue the training on a regular and consistent basis. Always keep the training sessions of your Pug positive, fun, and rewarding, and your dog will look forward to these times of your undivided attention and interaction.
Overcoming Pug Training Problems
Food is a great motivator for Pugs, but you don’t want to cause a problem with obesity. Cut up treats into very small pieces, to feed to the animal when they perform successfully.
Instead of high-calorie treats, consider giving them some fruits or veggies that are safe for doggies. I’ve put together a list of vegetables that Pugs can and cannot eat.
Always provide praise along with the treat. Once an action is learned, you can occasionally withhold the tiny treat and just give praise.
If the dog becomes reluctant to perform, you can return to giving treats again, but only very small pieces. Praise, cuddles, and petting should be generous and frequent during the training process.
If your dog doesn’t seem to be catching on, add more patience. And if that doesn’t work, add even more patience. Some dogs take a long time to pick up on training, but once learned, they will retain it for life.
Adjusting Your Expectations
Training your Pug may take much longer than you anticipated. Their natural inclination to do whatever they like, when they like, may delay accomplishing the success you desire.
Understand you are in it for the long haul. Do not be discouraged by lack of progress and resist the idea that your dog will just never get it. Keep your training goals very simple and work on them consistently.
Final Word On Pug Obedience
Yes, this is a stubborn breed, but with patience and training, your pup will become the most loyal and obedient canine companion.
The earlier you start the obedience training, you won’t have to worry about hiring a professional doggie trainer.
References And Further Reading
Science Direct – M. Fukuzawa, D.S. Mills, J.J. Cooper – More than just a word: non-semantic command variables affect obedience in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris)
US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health – Monique A.R. Udell, C.D.L Wynne – A Review of Domestic Dogs’ (Canis Familiaris) Human-Like Behaviors: Or Why Behavior Analysts Should Stop Worrying and Love Their Dogs