How to Discipline A Pug Using Positive Reinforcement

Whether you adopted or bought a brand new Pug puppy, it’s important to start thinking about discipline. You have a new member of your family and you choose the right method of disciplining and training your Pug. In this article, we’re going to learn how to discipline a Pug using humane methods.

How To Discipline A Pug

Pugs learn best with positive “punishment” also known as positive reinforcement training. You should NEVER scold, kick, or punish your four-legged friend. Using inhumane methods can also lead to hurt feelings, lack of trust, and anxiety.

Which will only lead to more of the bad behavior you’re trying to fix. If you’re a new Pug owner, then you know that this is a stubborn breed, so you may be inclined to yell or spank them, after all, that’s the type of punishment you may have received as a child.

how to discipline a Pug

However, there have been several studies that have shown that dogs learn faster using positive reinforcement training. It’s important to start Pug puppy training as quickly as possible!

Discover the Pug training secrets that dog trainers everywhere use for all dogs, regardless of breed.

What Is Positive Reinforcement Training?

positive reinforcement dog training
Pugs respond best to positive reinforcement training.

Using positive reinforcement basically means that you’re rewarding your dog’s good behaviors and ignoring or redirecting the bad ones.

You do so by using force-free, reward-based or clicker training that lets your Pug know when they have done something correctly.

This method of canine training has been widely used on the training of police dogs, guide dogs, sniffer dogs and more because it works for discipline and developing a well-behaved dog.

Just like people like to be rewarded when they do something correctly, so do dogs.

3 Types Of Positive Reinforcement Training For Pugs

Maybe you grew up in the generation where parents smacked kids on the rear end whenever they did something bad. I did, and it took me a while to fully understand what positive reinforcement really meant, or how to get started with it.

Basically, it means that when you’re dog has behaved positively, you reward them to let them know.

For instance, if your Pug is constantly jumping on you, you’ll want to take action to stop it. Once they correct the behavior, you reward them with positive rewards such as the following;

Verbal Praise – Give them an enthusiastic “good dog!” that will get that curly tail wagging.

Use Treats – Pugs love to eat and it’s easier to train a Pug when you have plenty of treats. Just make sure that you use small amounts as Pugs are prone to obesity.

Give Them Physical Attention – A belly rub or hug goes a long way with this breed.

You’re just doing something positive that your dog will love and appreciate and redirecting that bad behavior to good behavior.

Why Positive Reinforcement Works Better Than Punishment

If you think about it, people respond more to positivity than negativity. Well, dogs are no different.

Maybe you’ve heard of the Ivan Pavlov Dog Study, where he used classical conditioning to get a dog to salivate every time they heard a bell.

There have been several studies that have shown that reward-based training can result in good outcomes. You can correct erroneous behavior by simply using treats or praise.

Whereas using punishment such as leash jerking, hitting, scolding, slapping, or using a shock collar can have more negative effects.

This form of discipline is associated with feelings of avoidance and negativity causing your pooch to become anxious or scared of you.

Is Punishing A Pug An Effective Method?

Successful punishment or redirection is necessary to stop unpleasant and undesirable behavior. It’s the only way that you’ll be able to raise a well-behaved dog that acts and behaves how you want them to.

Punishment should only take place while the behavior is occurring, so your pet learns which behavior is NOT wanted. With consistent disciplinary methods, your pet will learn to cease the unwanted behavior or avoid the situation.

That being said, you should avoid using physical or direct interactive punishment as it may cause your pet to become fearful of you or people in general.

A dog may also become defensive when being punished, which may lead to aggressive behaviors.

Punishment vs. Discipline

When done correctly, punishment can be humane. Constructive punishment helps canines learn through positive conditioning, so they can quickly understand what’s allowed and what isn’t.

Disciplinary methods that are considered to be positive and do not have any negative effects on dogs are:

  • Taking their toys away
  • Time-outs
  • Ignoring or avoiding contact with your dog when they misbehave
  • Using your voice to redirect and stop unwanted behavior, instead of using physical punishment for your dog.

If you think about it, it’s the same way that you would discipline a child, except for maybe the ignoring part. All the methods mentioned above are both humane and highly effective to help you turn your terror dog into a well-behaved member of your family.

Things To Avoid When Discipling A Pug

disciplining bad pug behavior
Never yell, hit, kick or use physical punishment for dog training.

There are several ways to discipline a dog, and you’ll have to choose the method that works best for your Pug.

What they don’t realize is that those are things you should NEVER use to discipline your Pug.

Here are some other methods you should avoid when training your pooch.

Never Yell

Yes, it can be frustrating when you see your Pug puppy or grown Pug doing something like chewing on your $200 pair of shoes.

Your first instinct is to yell. However, loosing your cool and yelling will only scare them and they won’t understand what they did wrong.

Yes, they will stop doing whatever it is they are doing, however, they will have no idea why you yelled at them. It will only increase their stress level and can cause anxiety.

Never Spank, Kick Or Physically Abusing Your Dog

Some people think that pushing, hitting their dog on the rear with a newspaper, (or hand), or thumping the dog’s nose will let them know they did something wrong.

When you use a newspaper, stick, or your hand to discipline your four-legged friend, it is considered a form of physical abuse. Pugs are small dogs and while you may think you lightly tapped them, you can do some serious physical damage to them.

You should NEVER physically abuse any animal. That’s not going to correct the problem. Plus using this form of behavioral training may end up backfiring and cause your dog to become aggressive.

Avoid The Alpha Dog Approach

Some people prefer to take the alpha dog approach to show their dog that they are the boss. They try using choke chains, electronic or “e-collars”, prong collars, and etc.

These methods will not work and will only cause your Pug to become scared of you and may lead to anxiety.

This brachycephalic dog breed has trouble breathing, to begin with, and using an apparatus like that can just lead to more health issues.

How To Discipline When Pugs Behaving Badly?

Okay, now that you understand the difference between negative and positive reinforcement, let’s take a look at some scenarios a new Pug owner may encounter, as well as how to properly discipline their pet.

Misbehaving On A Walk

Pugs can be stubborn, especially, if they have not been properly leash trained. It can be frustrating trying to walk your dog when they won’t heel properly or just won’t walk on the leash (especially if they’re puppies).

Gently get your pup’s attention to distract them from the unwanted behavior, whether that’s making a loud noise, or gently tugging on the leash.

Once they start listening and doing what you want them to do, make sure you reward them and let them know you approve.

This means you’ll want to have plenty of treats when you take them for a walk, especially, if you’re just getting started with leash training.

Chewing On Something They Shouldn’t Be

Puppies are notorious for chewing things around the house, especially, if they don’t have enough chew toys.

When you find your puppy chewing on your slippers or socks because they are fuzzy and they smell just like you do.

Your first instinct might be to yell, but instead, remove the slipper from her mouth and redirect her toward a toy.

Always encourage and praise her once she moves on to the toy you just gave her.

Going Potty Indoors

This is a very common problem among new dog owners, especially, when you just bring your puppy home. If you catch your puppy peeing or pooping in the house, don’t scare them or rub their nose in it.

You will only scare them and they will just cower away from you when you approach them. Plus they will start hiding their business from you and peeing and pooping in places you can’t find.

Instead, interrupt what they are doing and take them outside. When she does her business outside, praise them and let them know they did a great job!

You can even give her a small treat to show her that you approve of what she just did.

If Your Pug Nips or Bites You

Puppies are notorious for biting and nipping, and puppy teeth are sharp. They usually don’t mean any harm, they just get excited when you play with them.

Instead, give a sharp “No” and make it clear to them that behavior is not acceptable. Get up immediately and put them in their playpen and avoid speaking or making eye contact with them.

Puppies don’t want to miss out on anything and after 5 minutes of time out, they will start realizing you don’t appreciate that behavior.

If she does it again, repeat the process, but this time increase the time out to 10 minutes.

Once she is able to play and doesn’t nip or bite, reward the behavior immediately.

Climbing On Furniture

Some pet owners don’t want their dogs on the couch, especially Pugs since they shed a lot. First things first, make sure that your Pug has a nice comfortable bed they can lie on so they won’t be compelled to climb up on the couch.

Place their bed in the same room where your family hangs out, they won’t want to be in a room all alone.

Whenever you see your Pug on the couch or trying to get on the couch, gently pick her up and take her to her bed. Tell her to stay and give her a toy or a treat.

Keep repeating the process over and over until she learns that she is not allowed on the couch and to use her canine bed instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Start Discipling My Pug Puppy? You should start disciplining your puppy as soon as you bring them home. Puppies tend to learn quickly and the sooner you can teach them which behavior is unacceptable, the happier you both will be.

Are There Any Pug Training Secrets? Nope, it just takes patience and consistency as this breed is a little more stubborn than other breeds.

Final Word On Disciplining A Pug

Pugs are so cute and adorable, it can be hard to discipline them. However, they are a member of your family and they need to learn and follow the rules.

You wouldn’t let your children do whatever they want, would you? Spending time disciplining your Pug at an early age will help him/her grow up to be the best version of a dog they can be.

The time you spend training her properly, will not only improve their overall behavior but will strengthen the bond you share.

Just remember to be patient and give your dog time to learn what you expect of them. It takes time to properly discipline a dog and Pugs can be stubborn!

References and Further Reading

Science Direct – Mariana Bentosela, Gabriela Barrera, Adriana Jakovcevic, Angel M. Elgier, Alba E. Mustaca – Effect of Reinforcement, Reinforcer Omission And Extinction On Communicative Response In Domestic Dogs (Canis Familiaris)

Research Gate – Survey Of The Use And Outcome Of Confrontational And Non-Confrontational Training Methods In Client-Owned Dogs Showing Undesired Behaviors

Healthy Pets – Want A Well-Behaved Dog? Do More Of This And Less Of That

Black Pug Site