Pug Puppy is driving us insane!!

(33 Posts)
PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 14:27:43

We adopted a pug puppy a few months ago, he is now ten months old and is a total pain.

We have a toddler who loves him, but he plays far too rough with her. He constantly jumps and pushes her over. She cannot play with toys on the floor because he steals them and destroys them.

With us, he is very bitey. It's play biting but he hurts and doesn't seem to understand we don't like it. He also jumps all over us if there is food anywhere near by. He rarely just sits down and is quiet, it's like being attacked constantly and it makes us not want to spend time near him because it's not an enjoyable experience!

He also barks ALOT!

We have taken him to training classes and despite the trainer saying he is very intelligent and picks it up quickly, at home it's not the case. He just refuses to listen.

We are expecting another baby in a few months and honestly, I am not sure I trust him. We have considered re homing him, but it feels wrong. We knew about pugs and their puppy stage but we hadn't quite realised just how bad it would be.

If he doesn't settle down and become less aggressive/bitey/pushy, I cannot see how we can keep him.

It is upsetting as we did a lot of research and planning before committing to a dog, but he is like no dog we have ever had.

We haven't had him neutered yet as the vet recommended we wait until over a year, they also said it would be unlikely to change his behaviour anyway.

I am at a loss as to what to do, on one hand - he is causing so many issues for us, I think we should rehome and just accept we were wrong to bring a dog into our home OR do we persevere with him.

I am normally the person who would say they would never imagine re homing a pet but honestly, he has got us so down that we are seriously considering it!

Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 04-Sep-19 14:44:51

In all honesty, he sounds like a normal puppy. He really does.

Jumping/playing rough: it is far, far too easy to over excite a young dog at this age and when over excited he will lose all sense of self control. If your children cannot play calmly with him (either because he won't stay calm or because they cannot see the signs he is getting too excited and cam things down in time) then stop all play between your puppy and children until he is older and better able to self-control. Battendog at the same age was not 'allowed' to play with anyone but very close adults, because it would literally take seconds to push him from bouncy and funny into boisterous and harmful. I played with him and spent lots of practise time teaching him to stay calm - anything too excited stops pay for a few seconds or minutes to calm down - and teaching him an emergency "stop!" in which you could stop him doing whatever play manouvre he was thinking about and get a few seconds rest to reset.

Biting: if he's doing it then it is working for him in some way. Work out what he gets out of biting you and block it. Most likely, what he gets are squeally, angry, excited people paying attention to him. Everyone in the house must follow the same routine to ensure biting never gets him anything he wants.

Food: reward him for doing something else. Get him on a mat and reward him loads just for being there. When eating, have him go to his mat and toss him a treat every few seconds. He wil stay on the mat if that mat is where he gets treats. Over time you get reduce how many treats you throw him, leaving longer and longer between them. You should then get to a point where he sits on his mat all through your meal for a treat at the end. Your call whether you keep that up.

He's not refusing the listen. It's just that he has learned (is learning) that listening to you is nowhere near as rewarding as doing what he's doing. Set your home and behaviour up so that listening to you is much, much more rewarding than being a little bugger and he will do that instead.

Think about the things he loves the best and ways you can control his access to those things unless he listens to you.

If he loves chasing a ball, then have him sit or lie down before you throw it. Do this often and it will become a learned behaviour that you can use in other scenarios, such as sitting for his lead to be put on. If he loves food then every time you feed him is a chance to teac him something. Anything. The act of learning and listening is as important as whatever is being learned.

Above all, what he needs is patience and persistence from you. You keep doing the right things, steadily and patiently in the hope he comes good after all him hormones have calmed back down again (about another 6-12 months).

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Sep-19 14:45:33

You say you adopted him - do you know his background?
He’s still young so if you really feel you can’t cope he stands a good chance of getting a more suitable new home, perhaps without children

PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 14:49:03

Yes, we know the background. He was owned by a family friend but due to ill health, the owner couldn't cope with him.

I don't think he was particularly well socialised and he doesn't seem to like going on walks, he would rather have a run around the garden! He is also rubbish at eating his food, he eats more like a cat in that he grazes. He doesn't eat all his food yet scrounges for human food constantly!

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 04-Sep-19 14:49:27

p.s. having just reread - toddlers and puppies are not well matched as paymates, no matter how attracted they are to eahc other. Stop them playing until BOTH are older.

Stop him stealing toys by putting up a physical barrier so he can't - e.g. a baby gate to keep him out the room during toddler play time, then all toys are put away before he is allowed in. This is no different to teaching puppies to leave shoes etc. First you stop their access uness you are there to observe and remove shoes asap (often swapping for something the dog IS allowed).

LochJessMonster Wed 04-Sep-19 14:50:05

You say you dd a lot of research but you don't expect a puppy to bite and steal things?
And you obviously knew you were pregnant when you adopted him.

You need to stop your toddler playing with unless closely supervised and its directed play i.e with a tug toy/ball etc. No rough and tumble.
Then when the dog is calm and tired, she can sit next to him and stroke him.

When you are eating, dog needs to have his own area, is he crate trained? Or teach a 'settle' or 'on your bed' command and place him there with a treat or stuffed kong whilst you are eating.

missbattenburg has good advice for the other issues but she is correct, he is acting like any other 10 month old puppy would.

PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 14:50:57

The problem with making him stay one side of a stair gate is that he will then bark CONSTANTLY to be let in. Even if we give him lots of toys and chews, he just wants to be involved but he hasn't learned how to play nicely!!

OP’s posts: |


LochJessMonster Wed 04-Sep-19 14:51:44

He is also rubbish at eating his food, he eats more like a cat in that he grazes. He doesn't eat all his food yet scrounges for human food constantly!

Put the food down at set times ie 8am/6pm, leave it down for 30 minutes and if its not eaten take it away. He'll soon learn. You could put a bit of watery gravy or chicken stock on it to make it more tempting.

PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 14:52:16

Yes, but it was kind of a he needed a home situation and we had been looking at getting a dog. It all happened rather quickly, and looking back - it perhaps wasn't the best move but I felt sorry for him.

OP’s posts: |
BarkandCheese Wed 04-Sep-19 14:55:27

What are you feeding him? I had a real problem with my puppy and food, until I had a trainer in who pointed out what should have been obvious, the puppy didn't like kibble and would only graze on it when very hungry. We changed her diet over to raw food, she absolutely loves it and it made a huge difference to her obsession with our food.

missbattenburg Wed 04-Sep-19 14:55:59

The problem with making him stay one side of a stair gate is that he will then bark CONSTANTLY to be let in.

Because he has learned that barking gets him let in.

Stop letting him in when he is barking. Yes, the first few times are going to be a bloody nightmare because he's got to unlearn what previously worked, but he will learn.

If he wants in then this is a great example of controlling his access to what he wants.

Have him lie down before being let in. The first time you might only get 1 second of quiet lie down, then open the gate. If he doesn't know a lie-down yet then treach him before using it for the gate.

Next time, wait for 2 seconds, then let in.

Next time, wait 5 seconds.

Then 10.

Then 30.

Then a minute.

Then 2 minutes.

Change the house he lives in from one where barking results in what he wants to a house where lying down (or sitting nicely) is more likely to work.

Dogs do what works, so if he's doing soemthing, it is working for him in some way. That's what you need to figure out and change.

PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 14:56:04

Are their any guides on training you would recommend? The training we initially did at class was reward based training, which he did fine for other people, I.e the trainer.

For us, even for a treat he doesn't seem to want to, he just keeps jumping up and clawing to get the treat?!

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 04-Sep-19 15:03:19

For us, even for a treat he doesn't seem to want to, he just keeps jumping up and clawing to get the treat?!

Keep your fist closed and deny him the treat. A dog cannot jump up at you forever, he must give up at some point. THAT's the point to reward him.

As an example, Battendog learned to lie down without me ever doing anything to guide him or show him what I wanted.

I sat on the floor with a treat. I let him see the treat and then cloed it in my fist.

He spent a few minutes trying to work out how to get to the treat. He pawed and sniffed and tried to snule in to get it. He licked my face. He stood on my legs. He probably did other things I've forgotten.

Then he gave up and lay down, because he was bored.

I gave him the treat.

I took another treat and we repeated it.

This time he gave up and lay down quicker.

I gave him the treat.

Four repititions was all it took for him to learn that lying down got him the treat. He's not a genius. grin.

Youtube's kikopup is very good.

Pippa Mattinson's books (especially her puppy book) is very good.

Jane Killion's Pigs Might Fly book is very good.

Burch and Bailey How Dogs Learn is good, but quite theory heavy.

PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 15:04:59

Thanks, I will take a look at those.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 04-Sep-19 15:09:46

Getting a good 1-to-1 trainer to come into your home for a couple of sessions could also be very useful.

Sometimes it takes an observer to see and point out how you are contributing to behaviours.

For example, Battendog would occasionally bark at another dog on lead. A trainer walked with me and was able to see/pinpoint his barking coincided exactly with me tensing the lead ever so slightly. I would never have been able to notice that myself because it takes an impartial observer who is looking in to spot it.

It could also be a good option.

hairychinsrus Wed 04-Sep-19 15:22:58

As a bit of a pug expert you are dealing with a breed that is highly intelligent but also very stubborn. It's all about what's in it for them,
There are some really excellent on line training videos around if a one to one trainer is not a cost option. They are also a breed that can be really challenging and hard work until they settle down at about 2. The challenge is that everyone in the house needs to follow the same training rules, so if you close the stair gate then it doesn't get opened until puppy is quiet.
Summary is to reward the good and ignore the bad. I know this is easy to say but that is where you will get results. If all else fails then there is the pug dog rescue who are wonderful and will help rehome.
Good luck and if you need to PM me then pleas do

Seasprayandsunshine Wed 04-Sep-19 15:29:13

Pugs are wonderful - but they are also needy, stubborn little shits (I have one) the advice you have already been given is great.

Consistency is the key here, you've already said that he is intelligent - so he will get it. But now is the key time to train these behaviours out, if you leave it much longer it will be much, much harder.

I don't necessarily agree with your vets opinion on neutering, I waited until mine was cocking a leg then got him done. This was 7 months old. Subsequently he has never scent marked in the house or humped anyone/thing which is great. Scent marking can be a huge issue with male pugs.

He will start to calm down soon, he's in his bratty teenage phase at the moment - it's a very challenging time and we found our boy regressed on lots of training so we had to take it right back to basics.

Our boy is mostly a dream now at age 3, he still tests the boundaries at times and we have to revisit some areas of training occasionally, but he's such a sweet natured, gentle, obedient and loving boy - nothing like the crazy, jumping, bitey, barky little shit he was at that age.

Bhyshjdkldk Wed 04-Sep-19 16:13:39

Hi I have a pug who is nearly 5 now! We got him when he was 12 weeks my youngest son was 8months! He was such a crazy puppy just like you discribe! He used to pinch toys and be quite rough and he used to jump up at our faces when he was really excited! He even used to pee himself when really excited!! I used to think he can't possibly be a full pug as he was mental! But when he got to around 18months and had been neutered he turned into the fat lazy stereotypical pug! Now he bearly moves off the sofa unless it's to bark in the garden!! And he's the softest sweetest little thing...He does like going on a walk but nothing to strenuous just a little run around the local park!

So stick with him please he will mellow out and become a true pug!

I used to use a child gate and a long filled with peanut butter or ham paste when he was driving me insane! Also a little walk once or twice a day!

Bhyshjdkldk Wed 04-Sep-19 16:15:46

*Kong not long

PinkSpring Wed 04-Sep-19 16:25:56

What age are they meant to start cocking their leg? He still squats!

OP’s posts: |
MissShapesMissStakes Wed 04-Sep-19 16:43:03

My dog still mixes it up with squatting and cocking his leg. He’s 14 months. He likes to cock his leg while out and about - think he doesn’t want to embarrass himself unless he’s in the garden grin

Your pug really does sound like he’s just being a puppy. And maybe if he’s not had the best start that will last longer while you sort him.

I have a mini poodle. Not sure how their puppy stage compares to a pug but it wasn’t until he was about a year old that my kids could leave their toys around without him having a play with them. It wasn’t such an issue as my kids are a bit older. You’re definitely very brave getting a pup with a toddler and one on the way!

I would second a 1-1 trainer in your home. We had two visits for the price of a whole course of puppy classes. The sessions were so helpful. Some just pointing out the obvious, about practicalities of your particular house. But also because the trainer tailored her advice to what we wanted him to learn to do/not to do

TempleCloud Wed 04-Sep-19 17:12:39

I have two rescue pugs and I agree they are very hard work when young. They were the most stubborn and hyper dogs as puppies I have ever had and yes they do love to bark.

One of mine came to me because his owner simply could not deal with him. They are also a slow to mature breed. One is now three and generally pretty good. The other is 18 months and just starting to calm down and do what he is supposed to.

Training is really important to make them bearable to live with. Decide on the rules (you have had some good advice on this thread) and enforce them without exception. Mine go to their baskets when told to do so and wait quietly until they are told they can come out. It is possible, but it does not happen without training.

Personally I think neutering does improve behaviour because entire male pugs are little napoleons.

Just to say also that pugs can get obsessive about trying to obtain food. It is really important to have set meal times and no titbits.

Lots of negatives here, but once properly trained, they are great companions who really love their humans, are very funny and, because they are smart, they are very trainable once they agree you set the rules.

Zakana Thu 05-Sep-19 02:43:06

Wow, I’ll have him and add him to my collection of five! Seriously, it’s all in the training, stairgate areas off to allow your toddler to play unhindered and lots of chew toys for pup, he barks because he gets a reaction from you, there is no such thing as bad attention for a pup. Just be consistent and reward good behaviour, my five are all complete lunatics but with a few stern words will do as they are told. I have stair gates on the stairs and in my kitchen so I can shut off half the kitchen when I am cooking and they can go outside, one of the most useful items I have ever bought.

HaileySherman Thu 05-Sep-19 03:55:40

Robert Cabral has some truly excellent training videos on YouTube. There are many specific short videos that address all sorts of unwanted dog behaviors. He is mixed reward/correction trainer and I've watched MANY of his videos. None of his correction techniques make me uncomfortable as an absolute bonkers lover of dogs, so don't worry there. He seems to be able to explain the why behind a dog's behavior which helps tremendously to know how to change it. Good luck.

Kelp23 Thu 05-Sep-19 08:21:13

I have a pug. She's 9 now but we got her when my daughter was 3. She is still an idiot and drives me mad but...... You will not find a kinder breed to be around your children. I have another daughter too now who is 5 and peanut ( the dog) is literally their best friend. I would get him neutered and lots of walks and I think you'll find he calls down lots. They get easily bored and do crave attention but they really are lovely little playmates x

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