© 2014-2019 Pug Life Magazine | Dark Lord Pug Designs, LLC

Having a Pug for a pet can be a challenge for you since it can be as stubborn and independent as it is loyal, loving, and playful. Training them to behave properly can certainly be a handful undertaking and considerably needs your time, patience, commitment, and perseverance. This is especially true you are training is an adult pug.

CAN YOU TEACH AN OLD PUG NEW TRICKS

The task would be much more daunting if you bought it from a pug rescue organization wherein the possibility of rescued pugs possessing some major personality problems is quite high. You must also consider the fact that your pug is a descendant of an animal species that thrived well in the wild. Although they have been domesticated, it would be a challenge to teach them to adapt to the lifestyle of humans. 

Pugs, especially adult pugs and other breeds of dogs can normally be trained to behave correctly and consistently. If you are a first time pug owner, you may ask other pug owners for valuable suggestions to help you effectively train your adult pug at home. Although they are already mature, they need to go back to basic training in case they have not received adequate training. This is especially true when it comes to housetraining and basic obedience training.


When training dogs, you should always remember to keep a tight rein on your temper. Your pug is very sensitive to your tone of voice and body language. If you project an aura of negativity, this might interfere in your pug’s learning process. Never get angry because they are very sensitive to your reactions. He may have received harsh treatments from his previous owner. Thus if he perceives that you are giving him the same treatment, it could mean more problems. At first, you may find it doubly hard and frustrating, but if you patiently teach him the ropes, you will surely reap positive results. 

In training your adult pug, you must let him realize that you are in control of him, that you are the alpha dog. At the same time, it is also very important that he will feel that he is being well treated, loved, and that he is safe. It is imperative for him to sense positive vibes from you for it can help him build self confidence and slowly learn to let go of the bad experiences of his past.


Another vital factor is the participation of your entire family in your pug’s training. Let them be aware of their responsibility and their role to make the pug feel that he is indeed a part of a pack now. Training your adult pug should be a team-effort. 

One of the basic prerequisites in your adult pug’s basic training is crate training. Having a crate of his own will provide him a protective shell where he can feel safe and secure. 

Consistency is also very important when you are training a pug for they are a creature of habit. You can accomplish this by making a schedule of activities in order to easily facilitate the learning process. For example, you can let him out of his crate to pee or poo on specific times of the day and on a specific place in your yard. The schedule should be followed every single day whether it is freezing cold or sweltering outside. 

As with young puppies, adult pugs may sometimes have accidents. They may be unable to control their bladder and pee inside the house. When he does, you should interrupt him and bring him outside.

Positive reinforcement is very important in successful dog training. A dog will certainly love the praises and treats that you will give him when he behaves positively. Giving your adult pug a motivation for learning good behavior is very important. The steps in its training are more or less the same with young puppies. However, as you go on with your training regimen, you will find that it will require more time, effort, and tons of patience to get the results you desire.


Commitment is very important when you decide to train your adult pug. Being sensitive to their past experiences coupled with the best techniques, you will surely find that successfully training an adult pug is certainly worth the effort.

Agility Training

Pugs are eager to display their intelligence in a playful and energetic manner. Their eagerness to please their pet parent and their desire to be in constant connection with them, allows pugs the capability to take direction and achieve agility course success.

Canine agility courses usually include obstacles such as standard jumps, dog walking, tire jump, weave poles, tunnels and a pause table. Some pet parents prepare agility courses in their back yards. This personal one-on-one time you spend with your pug is priceless and it is all done in good fun. When guiding and training your dog to go through an agility course, you are communicating with them through hand signals and verbal noises. This strengthens your emotional bond with your pug.


Agility courses are also a popular canine sport and competition. If you feel that you want to move beyond your back yard and show off your pug’s talents, attending and participating in agility course competitions is recommended.

ADVANCED TRAINING

Hopefully you began training your pug when he was a puppy. Teaching him basic commands when he is young makes more advanced training much easier once he is old enough to learn these more complicated commands. Many intermediate commands require your pug to perform one or more basic commands as a starting point.

 

The commands below not only build on the basics your pug already knows but can also help the two of you deal more confidently and effectively with real-life circumstances. 

 

Stand

The usefulness of the stand command may not seem obvious at first. After all, pugs generally spend a lot of time on all fours, so why would they need to be asked to do so?
 

The stand cue comes in handy if you want your pug to pose for a picture or if you plan to show him in conformation, to begin teaching him to stack (the special standing pose that every show dog must strike).

 

How to Teach Stand

To teach your pug to stand on cue, do the following:

  1. Have your pug sit.

  2. Hold a treat at nose level about 6 inches away from his face.

  3. Say “Stand.” As you say the word, move the treat away from your pug’s face, being sure to keep the treat at nose level. As you move the treat away, your pug will stand in order to move forward and follow the treat.

  4. As soon as your pug is on all fours, mark the behavior with the word “yes!” and treat.

  5. Repeat this sequence until your pug is performing this behavior consistently and reliably.

 

At this point you can begin cutting back on treats. However, if you and your pug are in a real-life situation that lends itself to using this cue, don’t hesitate to use treats. For many dogs, such situations are too distracting to deal with unless they have a tasty incentive to do so!

 

Place

The place command requires your pug to take himself to a designated area when asked to and to remain there until released. This cue is incredibly useful in a variety of situations—particularly those involving guests in your home. That said, any time you don’t want your pug to be underfoot, either for the sake of your convenience or his safety, knowing that he will go to his place when asked will make life easier for both of you. Interestingly, many dogs learn this cue (or a variation) without their owners making a conscious effort to teach it to them.

 

But if your pug hasn’t learned a similar cue on his own, it’s never too late to teach him. (Note: He should know the down and the stay before you begin teaching this cue.) 

  

How to Teach Place

Here’s what to do:

  1. Leash your pug.

  2. Say “Place” (or “Bed,” or “Nighty-night,” or any other word or words, as long as you use those same words consistently) and lead your pug to the place where you want him to go.

  3. Say “Yes!” and treat.

  4. Repeat until he appears to understand what you mean when you give him the cue. At this point, remove the leash and give the cue. If he responds, say “Yes!” and treat. If he doesn’t, reattach the leash and lead him to the place where you want him to go.

  5. Once your pug can take himself to his place on cue, ask him to lie down and stay. Have him remain in the down position for about 15 seconds. Then say “Yes!”, treat, and give him his release cue, “Okay.”

  6. Repeat until your pug can remain in his place for about three minutes.


Touch

The touch cue involves asking your pug to touch his nose to your hand or an object. Like so many other commands, this one has multiple applications, starting with being able to direct your pug wherever you want him to go without having to apply any force to do so. For example, if you want to move your pug to one side of your body or the other and he knows the touch cue, all you need to do is hold out your hand or object at the place where you want your pug to be, say the command, and bingo! He’s there.

 

This command is particularly useful if you and your pug plan to compete in dog sports, especially agility. The reason is that often a dog must touch a precise spot on a course or piece of equipment to earn the maximum number of points or even qualify. For example, a dog who’s venturing down a teeter-totter in an agility trial must go all the way down to the end; jumping off the downward ramp to the ground is not permitted. By using the touch command, you can teach your pug to walk or run all the way to the end of the downward ramp. 

 

How to Teach Touch

No matter what reason you might have for wanting to apply this cue, here’s how to teach it:

  1. Take a treat and rub it on your palm so that your hand carries its scent.

  2. Hold your palm out no more than 1 foot from your pug’s nose and say “Touch.”

  3. When he leans in and touches his nose to your hand to sniff the scent of the treat, mark with “yes!” and give him a real treat.

 

Some dogs are hesitant to touch their noses to an open hand. If your pug is one, try teaching him to touch the top of your closed fist.

 

Asking to Go Out

Most housetrained dogs really try to tell their people when they need a potty break. Some sit directly in front of their people and stare at them, hoping those people will figure out why they’re being stared at. Others take themselves to a door that leads outside and stare outside; they, too, are hoping that their people will figure out what’s going on. Still others lie down in front of those doors, perhaps trying to get themselves as close to their outdoor potties as they can. In any case, unless they can get outside on their own via a dog door, access to their potties depends on being able to communicate to their people that they require such access. 

 

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Find something that you can hang from a doorknob within reach of your pug’s nose or paw. Sleigh bells or wind chimes (if the chimes aren’t sharp) are ideal because they make a pleasant noise that you can hear even if you’re in another room of your home.

  2. Ring the bells every time you take your pug for a potty break.

  3. Soon he will try to examine the bells. When he does—even if it’s a single furtive sniff—say “Yes,” give him a treat, and take him outside to his potty spot. Repeat every time he examines the bells. The idea here is to associate interacting with the bells to being taken outside to potty.

  4. Eventually your pug will go beyond examining the bells to actually trying to manipulate them by tapping them with his paws or nose; when he does, take him out and give him extra treats. Give him a few more treats if he potties.      

 

Excerpts adapted from:
DogLife Golden Retriever by Susan McCullough, © 2010 by TFH Publications, Inc.
DogLife Miniature Schnauzer by Tammy Gagne, © 2012 by TFH Publications, Inc.