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How do you train a pug???

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Are little dogs usually harder to train than bigger bigs? We have a Lab, a Samoyed and a lab/shepard mix, and they are all better behaved and listen better than our pug.

Background. We got Buttercup when she was almost a year old. She was owned by a family with 5 other dogs and 4 kids so I know they didn't spend much time trying to train her. From the day we brought her home she thought our laps were HER space. If she doesn't think she's getting enought attention, she will crawl all over you and try to bite your nose (I think the kids used to blow in her face to get her to attack). If you're eating, she is right there. Our other 3 dogs will sit and drool but they won't climb in your lap and try to lick your plate! Believe me, I have put her down and held her like an alpha dog would, but she just comes right back in our laps.

She seems to think everything is hers..our bed, the couch, anywhere we are she has to be as close a possible. And she's starting acting like the cats, jumping up on the tables if she can. Now, I'm sorry a dog shouldn't be on the table, but when I tell her no and hold her down, it doesn't do any good. And she chases the cats if they get to close to us.

To top it all off, she thinks she is alpha of the other dogs is constantly attacking their ears, their tails, stealing their bones and hiding them (like I said, she's not stupid) I know that is doggie politics but it's still annoying when she and Brooke (the Samoyed) get into it because Buttercup stole her bone.

Basically, are there any special training methods to use with smaller dogs? Like I said she was taught very bad habits at her first home and I'm not sure how to undo them. HELP!!!
post #2 of 13
I PM'd you.........
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I joined, but I had to use my husband's email address because they wouldn't accept a yahoo address, so now I have to wait until he gets home from work because I don't know what his password is. Hopefully they will have some suggestions.
post #4 of 13
I was going to pm you too but I am sure that Bijou gave you the same site I did
post #5 of 13
I'm sure they PM'd you about NILIF which is the theory that "Nothing in life is free". Before you feed her she should have to sit. Before you walk out the door she should have to sit and wait for you to go through the door before she can go. This is true for all of your dogs.

All dogs are different, but basically you have a dog who clearly doesn't see you as being the one in charge. "Pinning" or "rolling" her isn't effective in this situation because the behaviors she's exhibiting doesn't require you to "put her in her place" like that. If my dog jumped on the table, I'd push her off and say "NO!" firmly. Obviously the expirience isn't bad enough that she won't repeat the behavior, so she's continuing to do the things she's doing because you aren't being clear on whether it is okay or not.

In terms of her being bossy over your other dogs you should make her wait before you feed her. Feed the dog you consider to be the alpha in the house first, and go on down the line. She should have to wait until it's her turn, IE: not eating everyone else's food. You should teach her the command "leave it" so when she goes to try and steal someone's bone you can say "leave it" so you can teach her not to take the other dog's things.

Overall I'd say you're really not the one in charge at your house, and I'd invest in some obedience classes so you can better understand how to train your dogs, and how to be more in charge.
post #6 of 13
I've heard that, but I blame more the owners then the dogs. It does seem to be more of a problem with small dogs in housetraining the larger dogs.

As far as the listening/commands, that's the owners fault for not being "alpha" dog and putting the smaller dog in its place. Seems a lot of small dog owners let them get away with far too much - things that larger dogs would not be allowed to do.

I HATE when dogs jump up on you when you come in the house. Keno's a lab - 65 lbs - and she is NOT allowed to jump up on people. But my SIL has little dogs and they are constantly jumping up and she thinks its ok. I don't care if the dog is 5 lbs or 100 lbs - they should SIT when you tell them and not be allowed to jumping on people.

I would take the pug to obedience classes and reinforce all commands. The dog should not play the alpha role in the house - you should be the alpha!
post #7 of 13
Calico, small dogs should not be harder to train than larger dogs. But what happens a lot is that people get these little dogs without really thinking about what they are getting into. It sounds like that's what happened here. Not saying that people who get bigs dogs always train their dogs properly, but there is more pressure on "us" to do so. A little dog jumping into your lap is "cute", a big one doing the same thing is obnoxious. Also people with small dogs who are not willing or able to train make the miskate of simply picking up the dog every time there is a problem. The result is a little dog who gets to grow out of the puppy stage and be a terror. I don't want to make too many assumptions, but with 4 kids and 5 dogs this family may not have put the effort into training that this Pug needed. You can turn things around but it will take a tremendous effort. I wouldn't recommend the alpha roll - it's easy enough to do with a Pug, but it has no effect since she'll think it's a game and she is getting rewarded with more attention.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies and your advice everyone! I've looked over some of the websites and they are helpful.

Originally Posted by Plebayo View Post
In terms of her being bossy over your other dogs you should make her wait before you feed her. Feed the dog you consider to be the alpha in the house first, and go on down the line. She should have to wait until it's her turn, IE: not eating everyone else's food. You should teach her the command "leave it" so when she goes to try and steal someone's bone you can say "leave it" so you can teach her not to take the other dog's things.
I do make her sit before eating, but I feed them in the order that I got them, rather than who would be that wrong? I guess the true Alpha would be Brooke (the Samoyed), but I feed Snickers (lab) first, then Buttercup, then Brooke and lastly Skuttles (who is definitely the lowest because she's the baby). And I watch them to make sure everyone eats from their own dish. Buttercup really doesn't bother the rest of the dog's food...only ours and occasionally the cat's.

I know she needs obedience training...I'm just trying to do most of it on my own. The rest of my dogs know what "down" means but she just looks at me, cocks her head and wags her tail, trying to be cute. From what I've read about the breed, they are VERY stubborn and like to play stupid but are very intelligent, which is a deadly combination.
post #9 of 13
Maybe do a search on the net for a Pug forum (like this). They might have some more useful tips/help to give you in working with her.
post #10 of 13
I've been thinking about this a little more so here are some random things.

Buttercup probably thinks any dog thing (like abone or a toy) is hers because that's what she got away with in her previous home. But you are going to have a hard time training her with other dogs around. Since she has little or no training and bad manners to boot, you may want to work with her separately (like in a closed room) a few minutes several times a day.

And I agree with the NILIF - this is a good way to have wel-behaved dogs. But I feed mine differently, not in any order. As part of NILIF, both have to sit nicely at dinnertime while I fill the bowls which are on the counter. I bring the bowls to their places on the floor and if a dog breaks the sit, the bowl goes back up on the counter. I'll try this two or three times and then if I can't get the bowl to the floor with them staying in a sit, I walk away and try again 10-15 minutes later. After we get that down, they have to stay sitting until I give a release command, which is "go get it." That is the command that tells them it is ok to eat.

The bit about her taking bones has potential to be dangeruos depending on how good natured your other dogs are. Buttercup won't see it as stealing, since the dogs' rules of 'mine' and 'yours' say 'if I find it, it's mine.' But one of these days one of your other dogs just might get fed up and give Buttercup what for. Ours are constantly 'taking' each others bones and toys, but it seems to go both ways so I am not concerned.

Anywa, good luck!
post #11 of 13
In my experience, small dogs do tend to be a little more difficult to train simply because many small breeds are independent thinkers, and it takes a little creative thinking on the human's part to motivate them to learn what you want. I have a 20lb terrier mix, and he is a very intelligent dog, but he is a challenge. With my lab, all you need is a peice of food and she's willing to do anything you want her to do, but my terrier's thought processes are more like "hmm do I feel like doing that today?".

Pugs are one of the more malleable small breeds, but they do have a quirkyness all their own. I'm sure the other members here have given you some great advice, and I wish you much luck. Be patient and you will see progress. It took forever, but my terrier now sits, lays down, gives paw, and knows the command "watch" (pay attention to me!). It took a while, but if I can be successful with this willful little dog whose motivations change from day to day, anyone can be successful.
post #12 of 13
It sounds like you have gotten some really good advice already...NILIF is a great place to start.

Getting a crate may be another place to start, if you don't have one for her. that way, when it is dinner time you can put her in her crate...solves the extreme begging and stealing problem; she learns that the kitchen during meals is off limits; eventually, without your prompting, she will go to her 'den' on her own, or you will atleast be able to ask her to kennel up and she will know where to go. Just setting her back on the floor, doesn't give her something to "DO", and each time you set her on the floor, without having her on a lead to keep her there, or a crate to put her in, you continue to engrain the bad behavior...Either get a crate, or set up a specific place in your living room where you can put a short lead 2-3 feet, and a bed, where you can tie her when you can't moniter her. Perhaps even teaching your other dogs to lay down in the living room, instead of sit in the kitchen while you eat, will help her understand what is acceptable (begging on the table\\lap is not, staying on the floor is).

As far as the other behaviors: when she is continually jumping on you, get up, and walk away...say nothing to her, just walk away. Come back in a few minutes, and continue to 'pretend' you don't see her. When she relaxes, THEN invite her over for a scratch. She needs to learn that YOU control attention, NOT her! As long as you will give her attention, even corrections, she will continue to nip your ears, jump on you...basically do whatever she has to in order to get your attention.

With feeding, I recommend that you start feeding your dogs in a 'pack order'; starting with you and your kids, cats, and your dogs...feed your dogs in 'pack order' but don't make Buttercup 2nd in the feeding list, feed her with the puppy. I would also hand feed her, and make her work for each kibble; sits, downs, shake paw, etc...what ever you have figured out that she knows, use those to get her to earn her meals. She has to learn that you control her food and she also has to earn it. If you don't already feed your dogs seperately or you free feed, let Buttercup be your reason to stop that behavior! Dogs that are free fed don't learn that we control their food source...which is important in our 'alpha status'...

As far as of now, you control that access as well; put a leash on her if you have too, so you can pull her off the furniture while administering a firm "Off" command. Then lead her to her 'crate\\den' or 'bed', and give her a treat there. If she persists, then lock her in her crate, or tie her near her bed, as I mentioned before. Furniture in her case is probably not the best thing for her to be on, especially the bed, because when you allow her to sleep with you, you are no longer 'alpha' but an equal to her. Until she learns that you are indeed pack leader, she should not be allowed on ANY furniture, especially sleeping quarters! Get her a crate and have her sleep in there; this will also prevent her from roaming and causing mischief at night.

As far as her 'dominating' the other dogs...hopefully just your intervention and training will help resolve some of this, as you will be managing her better. For the 'spats' that do occur...well, not that I would want her to get hurt, but perhaps you just gotta let your other dog actually enforce her authority, as it doesn't really sound like she has yet; it's doubtful that your alpha dog would actually hurt her, but one day she is going to get tired of her unruleliness and tell her in her own way to cut it out. Just moniter them and manage Buttercup better and let things sort themselves out between the dogs. One tool of management that you can do is to not leave dog toys out all the time; get a 'toy box' for your dogs, and take out toys, or let the dogs pick out a toy when you want to play; when you are done, the toy is replaced in the box. This can prevent alot of guarding behaviors that Buttercup seems to toys, no guarding. Same with bones; you regulate them, not her. Give the dogs their treats, and when they are done or not interested in chewing anymore for the night, simply pick them up and put them in a safe place. If there is nothing to guard, I think Buttercup will be better off. I have a dog who guards, and I have to manage like this too...when I didn't, he was stressed all the time, simply because he thought it was his job to hide, and guard the toys and bones. Not good!

I would get into an obedience class with her as well. That way you can get 'one to one' help with some of her behaviors! Not only that but it's a great socialization experience, and it sounds like she may need some serious socialization in a controlled environment!

Manage Buttercup's attention, training, play, food, and toys and I bet you will notice a drastic change in her behavior. But you will have to be 'tough' because Pugs are persistant little devils!!!
post #13 of 13
Excellent advice. All we need to do with Keno when she's sitting next to you at the table "beggin", it to look at her and in a low "mean" voice say "are YOU begging?".

She immediately slinks down and goes away She knows that she gets fed AFTER dinner and will get that little bite of people food with the dog food - but not before.
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