How to Teach Your Pug Puppy Good Behavior: 7 Alternate Approaches

Pugs are keen observers and they learn a lot from how you react to them. Proper training and nurturing in the early stages will set a foundation for positive behavior throughout their lives.

However, there are times when discipline is necessary. Pugs can be stubborn and mischievous by nature, leading them into trouble. But it’s important to note that discipline should never involve physical punishment or aggressive behavior. Dogs do not respond well to aggressive methods and may even react with aggression themselves.

That being said, you can discipline your Pug puppy without resorting to tactics that may cause harm or fear. In this article, I will guide you on how to discipline your Pug effectively, resulting in a well-behaved and happy dog. Remember, physical punishment should never be part of the equation when dealing with dogs.

How to Disciple a Pug Puppy Without Using Punishment

Pugs, with their stubborn nature, may present challenges when it comes to good behavior. However, with patience, consistency, and a disciplined approach, you can minimize undesirable behaviors. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Discipline in the Moment: Whenever your Pug misbehaves, it’s crucial to address the issue immediately. By disciplining them at the exact time of the offense, you help them link their actions with the consequences.

  2. Positive Reinforcement: Always reinforce positive behavior with rewards and praise. This strengthens the desired behavior and encourages your Pug to continue behaving well.

  3. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your disciplinary approach, including your body language and tone of voice. This gives your Pug a clear understanding of what is expected of them.

  4. Avoid Shouting and Hitting: Resorting to shouting or physical punishment will only have the opposite effect. This can increase your Pug’s anxiety and worsen behavioral problems. Instead, opt for non-aggressive disciplinary methods.

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Now let’s delve into practical tips for disciplining your Pug without punishment:

1. Discipline them immediately

Pugs can experience separation anxiety, leading them to act destructively when left alone. Coming home to shredded papers, torn furniture, or chewed shoes can be frustrating. Although your initial reaction may be to shout, your Pug won’t understand the connection between their past actions and your current anger.

For dogs, punishing them for something they did earlier is ineffective because their brains don’t work that way. To address the problem, discipline your Pug at the moment they are misbehaving. Firmly communicate through your words and body language, as explained in the next tip.

Discipline your Pug when the offense happens so they understand why

2. Use firm body language and tone of voice

Dogs are perceptive creatures and can pick up on even the slightest changes in your body language and voice. To effectively discipline your Pug, combine a strong “no” command with a raised finger and transform your facial expression from a smile to a frown.

This method conveys your disapproval without resorting to physical force or losing your temper. By disciplining your Pug using this approach, you assert your role as the alpha dog and pack leader. Yelling or hitting, on the other hand, only makes you a threat and increases your Pug’s anxiety levels.

3. Stay consistent with discipline and training

Consistency is key in disciplining your Pug. Dogs thrive on routines and can easily become confused if expectations vary. Let’s consider an example: On Friday, you encourage your Pug to jump on you by slapping your thighs, and you reward them with affection. However, on Saturday, your Pug jumps on a stranger, and you scold them.

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These mixed messages can confuse your Pug, making it difficult for them to differentiate between acceptable and inappropriate behavior. Consistency in your disciplinary approach will yield quicker and more effective results.

4. Use positive reinforcement

After disciplining your Pug and redirecting them towards desired behavior, always reward them with positive reinforcement. Dogs respond well to treats, praise, and encouragement. You can use treats as a training tool, showing them that good behavior leads to tasty rewards. Withholding treats occasionally can also serve as a mild form of punishment, indicating that they didn’t meet the expected standards.

5. Timeout as a teaching tool

Teaching your Pug good behavior can involve verbal cues and timeouts. For instance, if your Pug nips at your hands during play, you can express a firm “ouch,” turn your back on them, and leave the room. By doing this, you end the fun they were seeking through their inappropriate behavior. The loud “ouch” communicates that they caused you pain, reinforcing the message.

With repeated timeouts, your Pug will learn that engaging in unwanted behavior results in the cessation of play. Timeouts can be an effective form of punishment that educates your Pug without causing harm.

6. Consider using a squirt bottle or water pistol

While it’s not a method I have personally used, some Pug owners employ water pistols to deter misbehavior. When your Pug acts out, a small squirt of water accompanied by a firm “no” command and appropriate body language can help correct their behavior.

7. Employ distraction techniques

As a last resort, you can use distraction to prevent your Pug from engaging in undesirable actions. For instance, if your Pug loves to pick up sticks, uttering the word “stick” can redirect their attention towards you. Distraction can be an effective method when other forms of discipline are not working or when you lack sufficient time.

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How Not to Discipline Your Pug

To summarize, here are approaches you should absolutely avoid when disciplining your Pug:

  • Shouting at your Pug.
  • Physically hurting your Pug.
  • Dragging or jerking your Pug’s leash.
  • Chasing after your Pug.
  • Rubbing their nose in urine or feces.
  • Using electric shock collars (legal in the US, but not recommended).


Training Pugs can present challenges, but with consistent effort, the results are worth it. Remember, Pugs may not connect punishment to their past actions, making it essential to use timely discipline and positive reinforcement. By following these techniques, you can raise a well-adjusted and content Pug – a rewarding experience for both you and your furry companion!

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