How To Train A Pug To Walk On A Leash (No More Pulling)

Good leash walking habits are vital for every dog owner. Pugs, like humans, need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. But how do you get your Pug to stop pulling on the leash and walk beside you? It takes time to learn how to train a Pug to walk on a leash. These skills will teach you how to walk your Pug on your left or ride side without pulling. 

How to Train A Pug to Walk On A Leash?

Set aside time to work with your Pug before it’s time to go somewhere. Pick an outdoor area that doesn’t distract your dog. Ensure you have your dog’s complete attention before getting started. The most significant part of getting your Pug to walk on a leash is to get to get them to focus on you regardless of all the distractions around them.

We’ll take you step-by-step so you can get your Pug walking beside you with a leash. Before long, you’ll enjoy the walks you take together so much, and it will become one of your favorite things to do. 

how to train a pug to walk on a leash

Start Leash Training Early

The biggest mistake people make is waiting to leash train their Pug until they have to go somewhere. Training will take time, so start training your Pug to walk on the leash as soon as they are 4-6 weeks of age. 

Set aside some time to spend 10-15 minutes every day so you can teach your pup how to walk on a leash. Daily training sessions will ensure your Pug has necessary leash skills and will be able to walk around a crowded block, in the vet’s office, etc.

If you’re new to owning a Pug, here are some things you need to know before walking your Pug.

Before You Start

  1. Pugs need a harness and leash designed for brachycephalic breeds.
  2. In the beginning, use dog treats or other rewards to keep your dog’s attention. 
  3. Praise your dog for good behavior with a “good girl/boy,” clicker, or a belly rub

Pick An Outdoor Area

It’s best to choose an area where you’ll be walking your dog, like a dog park, around the block, or any other public area. Once you’ve selected an area, ensure your dog isn’t distracted by everything around them.

The best way to do this is to carry some of their favorite treats in your pockets. Whenever your Pug becomes distracted, give them a dog treat, so they have your complete attention. 

You can use a command like “look at me” or “sit” to ensure you have their attention. Your Pug will still acknowledge the distractions, but she will be listening and following you. 

Throughout this process, there will be no tension on the leash. Never use choke, prong, or any other special tools to get them to walk on the leash. 

Your dog shouldn’t be pulling on the leash, which will make it much easier for them to get used to it. 

Don’t start the training sessions until you have your dog’s complete attention.  

How to Use Treats During the Training

Use a treat to correct the behavior. Dog treats allow you to build communication with your dog. The dog treats are what’s going to keep your dog’s attention focused on you.

Acknowledging a squirrel: when your Pug shows interest in the squirrel, bird, etc., give them a treat. It will remove their attention from the distraction back to you. 

As your Pug becomes used to walking with you in distracting environments, you won’t need to use the treats anymore.

It’s still a good idea to let them know whenever they do something right by telling them “good girl/boy” or giving them a belly rub. 

Keep The Training Sessions Short

Puppies and untrained dogs don’t do well with very long training sessions. Start with short positive training sessions to ensure you have your dog’s attention throughout the session. Show and hunting dogs are trained to stay on their owner’s left side.

It doesn’t matter what side we choose to teach our dog to walk on, as long as you’re comfortable. Keep your dog from going back and forth. 

The whole point is to choose a side and train them to walk on that side, so they don’t trip you. 

Prevent Pulling

training a Pug to walk on a leash
The best way to prevent pulling is to make sure there is enough tension in the leash.

If your pup has never been leash trained, they’ll likely start pulling, especially when they become distracted by their environment. When your Pug starts pulling, correct the behavior.

  • Get your dog to calm down and behave correctly. It will be challenging, especially if your dog is pulling, sitting, refusing to walk, or just being crazy. Eventually, they will tire out, and the leash will go slack. 
  • As soon as there’s no tension in the leash, reward them with a dog treat. Tell them “good girl/boy” and let them know what a good job they did.
  • Whenever your dog walks without pulling, sitting, jumping, or dancing, reward her with a dog treat. Eventually, your dog will learn to walk calmly on the leash and will stop pulling. When they forget and become overly excited or stubborn, repeat the process of gaining control and marking their good behavior once there’s tension in the leash.

If your Pug is continuously pulling on the leash, it maybe you’re using the wrong walking apparatus. Unlike other dogs, Pugs require a harness, not a collar. Ensure there is enough tension in the leash, and you can fit two fingers in the dog harness.

Teach your dog that you’re the alpha, and they have to listen to you. Whenever your dog starts pulling, stop walking. After doing this a few times, your dog will learn that pulling on the leash doesn’t get them there faster. 

Teach Her to Walk by Your Side

Good leash manners will keep both you and your dog safe. If your dog is continuously crossing in front of you, it’s dangerous. The leash will wrap around your legs, tripping you, and choking your dog.

Decide what side you want your dog to walk on. Whenever your Pug is walking on the right side, reward with a dog treat. Keep the treat right by your side, and don’t feed them the dog treat if they walk in front of you.

The point is to encourage and reward them whenever they walk on the side you want them to. 

While walking your pooch, correct the behavior as soon as they start to cross in front of you. Use the leash to guide her back to your side, and stop your feet to make your presence known. 

If your Pug keeps crossing in front of you, increase the walking distance or use a leash like this that makes it easy to shorten and increase the length without getting a shorter leash. 

Continuously continue rewarding your dog by giving them rewards on the side you want them to walk on. Prevent her from crossing in front of you by using the leash and stomping your feet. 

Final Word

Like other breeds, Pugs can learn how to walk on either the left or right side while you’re walking. How long it takes to teach them will depend on how consistent you are with the training.

If you have a new Pug puppy or adult dog that has never been leash trained, you will want to spend at least 15-30 minutes training them every day.

The biggest mistake people make is training them once or twice and then hanging up the leash until they need to take their dog somewhere. Like us, it takes a dog time to learn a new habit. 

According to experts, it takes a dog about 21 to 28 days to learn a new behavior! 

References and Further Reading

Argos Dog Training – 7 Things We Know About Dogs Pt. 6 – Dogs Form Habits

Black Pug Site