Do Pugs Fetch And The Best Way to Teach Them

Do pugs fetch? A young pug is very active and has a lot of energy. There’s a good possibility that you’ll be looking for ways to remove some of that built up energy so you can calm your pug down. Well, we’re going to look at whether or not a pug loves playing fetch.

Do Pugs Fetch?

While pugs are NOT natural retrievers like an Australian Shepherd, it doesn’t mean that they can’t play fetch, or at least be taught how. It will just take some patience and you’ll need a special toy your pug loves for the training session. (I’ll share some tips below)

Do Pugs Like to Play Fetch?

Based on my personal experience of having a Pug, they don’t really understand the game of fetch. Mindy my black pug loved playing with toys.

do pugs fetch

However, whenever I would throw a tennis ball for her to fetch, she would run after it and put it in her mouth. For some reason, she NEVER brought the ball back to me.

Instead, she thought I wanted to play chase away. You know where she has the ball and runs away to keep me from taking the ball away from her.

But I knew that if she was willing to run after the ball and pick it up, all I needed to do was teach her how to retrieve the ball and bring it back to me.

That’s when I started really working on teaching her how to play fetch. She didn’t always bring the ball back, but when she did, she still didn’t drop it at my feet or freely let go of it.

In fetch, you want your dog to run and retrieve the ball and place the toy in your hand.


I’ll share some of the tips that I learned, that may help you learn how to play fetch with your pug.

Of course, you still can’t expect them to play fetch for long hours, they do need exercise, but not a lot. If you are going to play fetch with them, make sure you do it when it’s cool outside. This breed cannot be exposed to heat for very long periods.

Check out these pet playpens for your Pug.

Can Pugs Play Fetch and How to Teach Them

can pugs play fetch
Teach your pug how to play fetch.

Not ALL pugs can be taught the game of fetch, it depends on their personality. Maybe your dog will be like Mindy was, they like chasing the ball, but they don’t bring it back?

Either way, there’s no harm in trying to teach them how to play the game of fetch. Just remember, if they’re NOT into it, it’s okay. Not all dogs like to fetch and some breeds are not “into the fetch.”

Tips to Teach Your Pug to Fetch

These tips are for you if you’ve been wondering “how do I teach my pug fetch.” With patience and practice, you’ll have a pug that loves retrieving the ball.

Teach Them The Come Command

Before you can teach them how to play fetch, they must understand the “come” command. This is a basic command that when used, Fido will come running towards you. Once they understand that command, you can turn that behavior into a game.

#1 Start With The End

This is known as “back chaining”, which means you start with the last piece of the behavior you want to happen. In the game of fetch, you want your pug to pick up a toy and place it in your hand. You should have them practice getting their toy out of their box and bringing it to your hand.

Most people say that this type of behavior can be taught through clicker training.

#2 Use Their Favorite Toy

Most dogs will have a favorite toy that they love and can’t put down. When you first start training your pug, be sure you use their favorite toy. Here’s a list of some pug toys that worked great for Mindy.

You’ll do best if you use the same object to teach them the new behavior. This helps because dogs don’t generalize their learning, so using the same object will help them recall the last session.

Plus, if they like the toy, they’ll be more likely to pick it up and stay focused for the duration of the training session.

#3 Start Rewarding For The New Behavior

Pugs love positive reinforcement training, so make sure that you’re giving them praise or treats once in a while to reinforce the new behavior. Just make sure you don’t give them too many treats, they are prone to obesity.

The treats can be a great way to keep them focused and less likely to get bored with the training.

Think about a snack machine vs a slot machine. When you use a snack machine, you expect to get something in return every time. However, when you gamble and use a slot machine, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a reward and yet some people love them and don’t mind playing the odds.

Dogs, like many people, like to gamble, so be sure to use this to your advantage!

#4 Build Up Distance

Once your pug is picking up the toy and placing it in your hand, it’s time to start tossing it for them to “fetch.” Don’t throw it too far for the first time. Instead, toss it gently just about a foot away from you.

If your pug immediately picks up the toy and brings it to your hand, you know that they have learned the new behavior. At that point, you can start increasing the distance of the toss.

If they fail to bring the toy back three times in a row, then you need to shorten the distance and continue working on reinforcing the behavior of picking up the toy and placing it in your hand some more.

Do Pugs Like to Play?

Pugs are no different than other breeds. Some Pugs will get along and play well with other dogs, while others would rather spend all their time with you. 

They love playing and there are several different activities to do with your pug. Of course, it depends on the age of your pug.

Once a pug reaches their senior years, they will be less likely to play and will want to sleep more. Your pug’s behavior will let you know whether they are in the mood to play, cuddle or just chew their toys.

What Do Pugs Like to Play?

It’s easy to be confused with the types of toys or activities you can do with a pug. After all, they are NOT big dogs that can jump really high or go on long distance nature walks. (unless you carry them in a backpack)

This doesn’t mean that they can’t be let off the lead (if they are properly trained) to exert some energy and play with you for a while. One of the things we used to do with Mindy, is play with rope toys or towels.

Pugs have a natural instinct to put things in their mouth and pull on them. This is why it’s so important to buy some chew toys for them, here are some of the best chew toys for Pugs. Especially, if you don’t want them chewing on things you care about.

You can play tug-a-war with your pug, just be careful not to pull too hard. Let your pug pull on one end of the toy while you gently pull on the other. They absolutely love playing this game.

However, if you have an aggressive pug, you should avoid playing this game.

References and Further Reading

Pet Central – 9 Dog Breeds Who Excel At Playing Fetch

Black Pug Site