As a new Pug puppy owner, there are countless things to enjoy. From the snuggles to the engagement in play. But it’s not all plain sailing, nor always fin. It is also essential to address certain behavioural concerns, such as biting. But how do you do so, and how long does it typically take? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know.
So, how can you train a Pug puppy not to bite? You can train a puppy not to bite by teaching an alternate, more favourable behaviour, teaching specific commands, and socializing them with other people and dogs. Equally, ensure your pug is not stressed, bored or suffering with a medical issue, as these can result in biting too.
Do You Want Your Pug Puppy To Stop Biting For Good?
Get my instantly downloadable eBook and learn the two most effective techniques that I have learned from dog trainers and behavioral specialists and that I have personally used to teach 4 puppies to stop biting.
How To Train A Pug Puppy Not To Bite
You can help your Pug not to bite by first understanding why he might be doing this. Make sure children know how to play with their Pug puppy. Once you’ve got an idea of the reasons your pup is biting, use appropriate training methods, including teaching your Pug the “drop it” command.
Consider Why Your Pug Might Be Biting
Knowing why your Pug puppy is biting is key to understanding how best to deal with it. Reasons Pugs may be biting include:
- Anger or stress. A Pug who bites out of stress or anger is a bit like a small child having a temper tantrum. The good news is you can train them out of this (see below).
- Boredom. Boredom can be harder to recognize, but if you are gone for long hours each day, your Pug is probably bored. Some Pugs can also suffer from separation anxiety, biting or gnawing on things that smell like you (like your shoes).
- Medical issues. Pugs can be prone to problems like Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) or canine hip dysplasia (which can happen if puppies use stairs before they’re fully grown). If your Pug is in pain, he may bite to help distract himself. He might also nip at you if you unknowingly do something that makes the pain worse.
- Habit. Puppies learn not to bite too hard from their siblings, but maybe your Pug grew up with few or no littermates and is used to rough play.
Train Your Pug Puppy An Alternative Behavior
Here are some strategies you can employ with your Pug, depending on the reasons for his biting:
- When he bites, ignore him. If your Pug bites to get attention, ignore him. Don’t speak or look at him. Once he’s being gentle again, reward him with your attention (or with a treat).
- Yelp or give a verbal command like “Stop” or “No”. Yelping will send a clear message to your Pug that he has hurt you, just as his siblings used to do. Make sure you don’t jerk your hand away – have it go limp, so it doesn’t look like tempting prey that moves.
- Have other things to bite or chew on to hand. Keep suitable chew toys or teething items handy for your Pug to chew on. If he bites you, redirect him to these objects instead.
- Get your Pug accustomed to your hands being near his mouth. There are dogs who will respond with a bite instinctively if they see a hand close to their face or mouth, as they can perceive the hand as a threat. If this is your Pug, teach him that your hands near his mouth mean good things will happen – deliver him treats with your hand or palm. Over time, pet him closer and closer to his mouth, watching him for any signs of stress.
- Teach your Pug to inhibit his bite. You can do this by gently holding a treat in your hand with the end of it protruding slightly. Hold the treat between your thumb and forefinger and allow your Pug to mouth around your hand. If he is gentle, release the treat. If he isn’t gentle, yelp and remove your hand slowly, and repeat the exercise later. Your Pug will learn over time that if he wants the treat, he has to mouth you gently.
Take Your Pug Puppy To Puppy Classes
Puppy classes are excellent for teaching your puppy good behavior, both with other dogs and different people.
Note: Be sure any puppies or adult dogs your puppy comes into contact with have had their vaccinations.
Teach Young Children How to Play with Your Pug
If you have young children at home, they must be supervised around your Pug puppy if he’s biting.
Teach your children to pet him when he’s quiet, and to do any running and shouting away from him so he’s not tempted to give chase.
Puppies are easily overexcited and that’s often when they bite – not out of malice, but because they’re overstimulated.
Make sure your children can read the signals a puppy can give when he is beginning to get too excited or scared.
Teach Your Pug The Drop It Command
The “drop it” command is very useful for any puppy, no matter their breed, and can be a life-saver if your pup picks up something toxic to nibble on!
Some dogs are more motivated by toys and others by food, so we’re including both methods here, depending on what your dog prefers.
Here’s how to teach your Pug to “drop it”, using food:
- Say “drop” once, then put a treat on the floor. When your Pug looks up for another treat (or piece of kibble), repeat. Do this for ten times per session, with several short sessions over a few days. Once your puppy looks for a treat on the floor when he hears “drop”, you know he’s ready for the next step
- Offer a toy as a trade for food. Give your Pug one of his toys (not his number one favorite as he might not want to give it back). Let him play with it for a few seconds and then put a treat on the floor while saying, “drop!” Wait and see if he gives up the toy to take the treat. If he doesn’t, let him eat the treat, but repeat the process until he gives up the toy (don’t take the toy away yourself, as he needs to do this on his own). Repeat ten times per session, as before, until he gets the hang of it.
- Give your Pug the toy again. This time you’ll say “drop” but you’ll wait till your puppy drops the toy before offering the treat. Once he consistently releases the toy when you say the command word and haven’t given him a treat yet, repeat the same process but with a toy he likes more. Continue to train him at this stage until he’s willing to give up his favorite toy.
Note: If your Pug seems to find any stage difficult, go back to the previous stage because it means you’ve gone too fast for him.
Here’s how to teach him the same command, using a toy:
- Get your Pug to swap between two of the same toys. With two toys that are either identical or have equal value for your Pug, throw one of them for him to fetch. When he brings it to you, begin playing excitedly with the other toy – you want him to drop the one he has and play with the ‘new’ one. If your Pug likes tug toys, you can use two tug toys.
- Make sure the second toy is as rewarding for your Pug as the first toy. As your Pug drops the first toy, say, “yes!” (this may take a bit of waiting). While playing with him using the second toy, keep up your energy and enthusiasm to make sure he’s having a great time with this ‘new’ toy. He has to see that dropping a toy can be rewarding.
- Now get him to go for the first toy. Repeat the previous stage, but this time with the second toy. Over time, your Pug will drop the toy as soon as you offer him the other one.
- Teach your Pug to drop the toy when you say, “drop”. Say “drop” when your dog releases the toy in the previous step. Repeat swapping between toys while saying “drop” each time. When your Pug lets go as soon as you say “drop”, you’re ready to get him to do this without offering a second toy. Be sure to give him some kind of reward, though, like affection or words of praise.
Learn more in my training guide: The Bite Stops Here: Techniques For Training Your Puppy To Stop Biting
How Long Does It Take To Train A Pug Puppy To Stop Biting?
Most pug puppies, with sufficient training, will stop biting by the time they reach seven or eight months of age. The teething phase is particularly difficult, but as long as you are training your pup and have chew toys on hand for him, over time you should see an end to the biting.
The Nature of Pugs
Pugs were bred to be companions and they are known for having stable temperaments as well as a loving nature.
Your Pug puppy wants to please you, so usually you can train him easily, provided you are consistent.
Be sure not to wave your hands in front of your puppy – he’ll see that as a temptation to bite.
Pug puppies, like all puppies, explore the world with their mouths.
If your Pug tends to bite things you don’t want him to (like your feet), you can try a bite-deterrent spray.
Pugs are not particularly aggressive dogs, but any dog can become aggressive if he feels he has to guard his resources such as food and toys.
Know the signs of resource guarding, which usually is a result of stress or boredom. Resource guarding can lead not only to biting, but other aggressive behaviors.
Successfully training your Pug puppy not to bite is a vital aspect of responsible pet ownership.
It not only will strengthen your bond but also ensures their social integration and overall well-being.
By employing patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques, you will guide your Pug towards developing appropriate behaviors and interactions.
Remember that every puppy is unique, and progress may differ; however, your unwavering commitment to your Pug’s training will ultimately lead to a well-adjusted, loving, and bite-free companion.
Pugs are not generally known for biting. However, like any breed, individual temperament varies, as does context. Proper training is essential to prevent biting behavior.
Your Pug may bite your fingers due to teething, playfulness, lack of proper training, or attention-seeking behavior. Address this by providing chew toys, positive reinforcement, and consistent training.
Pug puppy teething typically lasts between 4 to 9 months, during which time puppies lose their baby teeth and adult teeth emerge, causing discomfort that can lead to biting and chewing behavior.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.