If you start training your Pug early, you can prevent biting issues. However, as puppies, Pugs use their mouths to learn and will bite anything they see. If not addressed, this behavior can persist throughout their lives.
In this guide, I will share effective methods to overcome Pug puppy biting problems based on my own experience with my dog. Although he was never an aggressive biter, he used to nip a lot as a puppy. Unfortunately, I unintentionally encouraged this behavior by engaging in rough play.
As my puppy grew older, those playful nips started to become painful. Therefore, I strongly believe that my tips provide the most detailed solution available online to help you stop your Pug from biting.
Why Pugs Bite (What’s Normal and What’s Not)
Most Pugs will display some fear or aggression at some point in their lives. They may bark to signal discomfort or scare you away. If you continue to bother them, the barks may escalate into growls, and eventually, they may snap or bite.
While most Pugs will nip without cutting you, older and more aggressive Pugs might inflict painful bites, especially on young children.
Do Pugs Bite a Lot?
Pug puppies tend to bite frequently. Most of the time, it is due to playfulness and teething, and they usually outgrow this behavior.
Why Pug Puppies Bite?
Teething is when Pug puppies bite the most. They explore their surroundings by nipping and chewing on things to soothe their painful gums. Some Pugs may also bite during play as a carryover from their interactions with their siblings.
To draw the line between play and biting, it is crucial to redirect their attention to appropriate chew toys rather than encouraging them to bite your hands.
Puppies may also bite to assert dominance over you. It’s essential to establish yourself as the pack leader and correct this behavior.
Regardless of the reason, it is crucial to address your Pug puppy’s biting early on to avoid it becoming acceptable behavior for adult Pugs.
An Adult Pug That Bites is a Problem
If your adult Pug continues to bite and hasn’t outgrown the nipping phase, it is necessary to train them to stop. Additionally, any sudden biting behavior without an apparent reason warrants a visit to the vet to rule out any underlying illness or injury.
How to Stop Your Pug Puppy from Biting
Here are several effective methods to stop your Pug from biting as a puppy:
1. Squeal like a Puppy (Bite Inhibition)
Imitate the behavior puppies display when bitten within their litter. Emit a high-pitched squeal or use a firm command like “no” or “stop” when your Pug puppy bites you. This method triggers the puppy to understand that they hurt you, prompting them to back off.
Although some Pug puppies may seek reassurance and comfort, it is essential to avoid giving in. Instead, briefly ignore them, such as by turning away. Implementing this technique consistently will expedite your Pug’s biting inhibition.
2. Avoid Physical Punishment
Dogs do not understand physical punishment, and it is ineffective. Resorting to physical discipline will only make your dog frightened and potentially lead to more biting out of fear.
3. Do Not React by Playing Back
To discourage biting behavior, refrain from reacting to your Pug puppy’s nips. Avoid playful pushing or other actions that could signal to the puppy that you want to continue playing. By mirroring their playfulness, you may inadvertently encourage them to bite back.
4. Use Chew Toys Instead of Hands
While it may be tempting to use your hands during playtime with your Pug puppy, it is important to redirect their attention to chew toys. Engaging with chew toys instead of your hands helps them understand that fingers and hands are off-limits for biting.
5. Teach Acceptance of Hands Near the Mouth
Train your Pug puppy to tolerate your hands near their mouth without biting. This is necessary for future check-ups, dental care, and retrieving items from their mouth. Use treats and snacks to acclimate them to fingers being in their mouth without the need to bite.
6. Train Against Biting Over Food
Puppies often display aggression or biting tendencies when it comes to food. Teach your Pug that you are in control of their food by occasionally removing their food bowl. Praise and reward them if they do not react with a bite attempt. Repeatedly practice this until your Pug recognizes you as the alpha and stops biting.
7. Apply Thumb and Finger Pressure under the Tongue and Chin
This method, recommended by some dog trainers, involves placing your thumb under the puppy’s tongue and a finger under the chin when they bite persistently. Although I have never tried it myself, it is worth considering as a fallback approach, provided you do not hurt the puppy.
8. Use Gloves with a Bitter Substance
Consider wearing gloves with a bitter-tasting substance to deter biting. Dog trainers often use bitter spray, which puppies quickly learn to associate with an unpleasant taste, discouraging biting.
9. Establish Your Dominance
If an older Pug bites, it may be an attempt to assert dominance. Train your Pug to recognize you as the pack leader. Being assertive and consistently rewarding good behavior will help them understand their place in the hierarchy.
10. Socialize with Other Dogs
Expose your Pug puppy to other dogs from a young age to aid in socialization. Puppies learn from their interactions with others, and spending time with older dogs can help them understand acceptable behavior. Additionally, the activity can tire them out, reducing the likelihood of biting.
11. Expose to Loud Noises and Fearful Situations
Exposing your Pug puppy to loud noises, children, and busy public places helps desensitize them to fear-triggered aggression. The sooner they get accustomed to such situations, the sooner they will learn not to bite out of fear.
12. Supervise around Young Children
Always supervise your Pug puppy when young children are present. Pugs can easily knock children over or attempt to nip their ears and faces when overly excited.
Seeking Help for Biting Problems
If your Pug’s biting behavior persists despite attempting these training methods, it is advisable to consult a professional vet or an animal behaviorist. They can determine whether the biting is related to teething, behavioral issues, or health problems. In the United States, you can find assistance from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist on the CAAB website. UK readers can refer to the RSPCA website for guidance.
Lastly, keep in mind that puppies may continue teething until they reach 8 months of age, so biting and chewing should be expected during this phase.
The Dangers of a Dog Bite
While Pugs are a small breed, their bites can cause infections. Close to half of all dog bites lead to bacterial infection, potentially resulting in illness. If a Pug bite penetrates the skin, follow these steps:
- Apply pressure to the wound to help expel bacteria.
- Clean the wound using clean water and mild soap.
- Use a clean cloth to apply pressure and slow down or stop any bleeding.
- Apply antibiotic cream (if available) and dress the wound with a new or sterile bandage.
- Seek medical advice if the bite is severe.
To sum up, the key to stopping your Pug from biting is consistent use of positive and negative reinforcement. Praise and discourage behaviors accordingly to establish clear expectations. Remember to share these training methods with friends and family who interact with your puppy, ensuring consistency across all interactions.
Ultimately, effective training relies on assuming the role of the pack leader and establishing your authority with your Pug.