5 Fun Tricks to Begin Your Pug Training
These five dog tricks are essential, so your Pug dog will be well-behaved. They also create a foundation for future training.
Maybe you don’t want every spot on your body crushed as she flies over you to get wherever she’s going. Are you tired of calling her to be completely ignored? How about when your friend comes over? Your Pug jumps all over her. You spend the next 30 minutes holding your Pug away from her until your Pug settles down.
These dog tricks, once learned, will keep your Pug safe and create a relaxed environment for you. If you decide you and your Pug enjoy the training time together, you may want to move into more complex training.
These five dog tricks are watch me, sit, stay, come, touch, and leave it.
What You’ll Need Before Starting the Five Dog Tricks
1. Pug – one, two, or an entire grumble, whatever you have available. At least one Pug is necessary for dog tricks.
2. Clicker – you can buy one on Amazon or your local pet store. There is no need to spend more than $5 on a clicker. A more expensive clicker is not going to make your Pug anymore magnificent as a Pug student. Having a clicker will make training dog tricks much easier.
It’s best to go to the store to check them out to hear how loud or soft they are. Some are loud and may startle your Pug dog. You don’t want to alarm your Pug dog during Pug training. Some have a wrist band or some clip to your belt loop. See what is most comfortable for you.
3. Treats – most people will suggest high value treats when training dog tricks. If your Pug is not food motivated, you want to consider some chicken or expensive dog treats. My Pugs are food motivated, and I get concerned about them chunking up. I use kibbles from their regular meals.
When I get up in the morning, I measure out their food separately in bowls. I take out what I will need for training that day and put it in their treat training pouch. Then I feed them what is left in their bowls for the daily meals.
You will need plenty of treats to train dog tricks, but you don’t want them to bulk up during the process.
4. Training Pouch – I like a training pouch that clips around my waist. I found that treats in my pocket leave a smell, even after I have removed the treats. Then I spend the evening trying to get two pugs not to dig into my pocket.
I like a large training pouch, so I can easily put my entire hand in it. That way, I am not fumbling around after I click to get a treat. Sometimes I leave the treat in my hand and sometimes in the training pouch. I usually like to mix it up, so my Pugs don’t always expect the same routine when teaching dog tricks.
Training Basics for Dog Tricks
Keep the sessions short.
Train 5 to 10 minutes at a time throughout the day.
Train regularly. It’s essential to reinforce the exercises your Pug dogs already know.
Don’t push your Pug dog too hard at the start. It’s great that you decided to do this whole training thing. But, your Pugs are still dreaming of you coming out of the kitchen with a tray of afternoon snacks. He’s probably not as enthusiastic as you are about dog tricks.
Find a quiet place to train.
In the beginning, you do not want too many distractions. Avoid a space where people are coming through the room and family members going out the front door.
Later, when they are well on their way to becoming super trained Pugs, you’ll look add distractions.
Never Punish your Pug Dog
Punishment causes fear, insecurity, and aggression. Training dog tricks is supposed to be fun for both you and your Pug dog.
Don’t get impatient. If you find yourself getting impatient, the first thing you want to ask yourself is, “What am I doing wrong?” Figure out if you’re giving mixed messages.
Your Pug dog will be reading your body language also with your verbal and physical cues. Are you asking your Pug dog to sit with a signal each time in the exact same manner? Teaching dog tricks is fun, but you also need some skill.
Then remind yourself, Pugs are of a royal lineage. They are accustomed to you waiting on them. This “dog tricks” for “domestic beasts” is a whole new thing for them.
Give them time to adjust and figure out what’s going on.
Reward your Pugs for being good. Do this all day long and not just with treats. If my Pug dog is looking at me at any time during the day, I will let her know, “Yes. Good girl.” Don’t forget to reward with verbal praise.
Teach a new trick after he learns the last one. Keep reinforcing the newly learned trick throughout the day, but introduce a new one. Part of the training process is to help our Pugs ease any boredom they may be feeling.
Make training dog tricks fun & entertaining. Make sure you are enthusiastic. When they figure something out for the first time, pour on the praise (and the treats).
For all these five dog tricks for your Pug dog, we will be using clicker training. Clicker training is a tool to use with positive reinforcement training. Remember, positive training means to add something. Reinforcement means to increase a behavior.
The click is simply a mark.
It tells your Pug dog that when he hears that click, that is precisely the behavior you are training. But how does he know this click is a good thing?
He knows because before starting to train the dog tricks, you’ve already charged up your clicker! You’ve already associated the click with getting a treat.
Pairing the click with a reward is easy. Click and then give your dog a reward, usually a yummy treat to begin. Do this 15 to 20 times, and they pick up the idea quickly.
Now when he hears the click, he knows a treat will be coming his way. Although he has figured this out, it may take a while to figure out the click is coming from his behavior. That’s why we want to be exact with the click or the mark. He will figure out faster; every time my rump touches the floor, there’s that click, and “here comes a treat.” He’ll learn dog tricks much faster with the clicks and the treats coming his way.
If your clicks are random, it will take a lot longer for your Pug to figure out. Be certain don’t click before or after his rump touches the floor. It has to be precise when it touches the floor.
Now you’re ready to begin training dog tricks.
The Five Dog Tricks
#1. Watch Me
It’s necessary that we initially teach our dogs to tune into us. Teaching all the dog tricks are going to be easier once he learns “Watch me.” It’s better when your Pug is tuned into you, rather than pulling on her leash to try to get the dog or car driving by.
You can use any phrase that you want: “Watch me,” “Look at me,” or “Look.” I thought it would be fun to train my Pug dogs on “Mimi right” or “Lulu right.” Dog tricks are meant to be fun.
Requesting eye contact can be used rather than scolding. This morning Lulu was in the kitchen sitting on her back paws digging away at a kitchen cabinet. There was no food in there, and I’ve given up trying to figure out what she’s thinking.
So rather than scold for the scratching, I requested she looks at me. I said in a very sweet voice something like “Lulu, right? You shouldn’t be scratching on those brand-new cabinets.”
She immediately looked my way with the “Lulu, right?” That’s all it took. She was distracted long enough not to go back to that same behavior.
How to Train Watch Me
Get your clicker and some tasty treats.
Say your dog’s name followed by “watch me.” The name might immediately get her attention. If she looks at your eyes, click and treat/praise.”
Repeat. Say your Pug dog’s name followed by “watch me” or whatever phrase you decide to use. When she looks your way, click, and treat. Continue until you see that light bulb go on. Then, continue this training daily.
What is she doesn’t look your way? Show her the treat. Put the treat up to your face. When your Pug dog looks up at your face, click and treat.
At this stage, your Pug will still be looking at the treat and not your eyes. That’s okay. It’s shaping. You will be using shaping with many of the dog tricks. We eventually want our Pugs to look directly into our eyes without holding a treat there.
To begin, take them looking at the treat held in front of our face.
When you believe your Pug dog is catching on, hold the treat away from your face a few inches.
Likely, your Pug will be staring at the treat. However, you will get a split second when her eyes dart and look at you. That’s your magical split second. Click when your eyes are locked, not after she has gone back to look at the treat. Catching her quick glance toward you takes concentration on your part.
Continue this exercise 15 to 20 times. When she catches on, she will realize the eye contact is getting the click. And of course, a treat follows the click each time.
Once she consistently makes eye contact, have her hold her gaze with your eyes just a second longer. Then click and reward with a treat. You want to be sure your Pug is solid with the dog tricks.
Over time, increase the amount of time she looks at you. Then generalize this skill to other areas and situations. To generalize, request eye contact while she has her leash on and off. Take her into your yard and different rooms. Slowly, increase the number of distractions that she has to deal with.
Extra distractions are family members in the kitchen and people walking in or out of the front door.
Another distraction is the dog park. Stand on the other side of the dog park fence and have her make eye contact with you there.
Gradually, move closer to the fence where the other dogs and people are. Continue to ask for eye contact.
Soon you’ll be able to get her attention in any situation. He needs to be able to preform dog tricks in all situations.
“Watch Me” is first to teach because it can avert your Pug from unsafe situations. It’s safer to get eye contact and stop her from lunging on her from leash or running out the front door.
And she can’t learn any of the following if she is not paying attention to you.
Sit is an easy command for Pugs to learn. Why? For one reason, it is a natural behavior, and they do it a lot.
The first method of teaching your Pug dog to sit is capturing. Capturing is something you will use teaching some of the dog tricks.
Get your clicker and treat ready. Stand in front of your Pug. You will probably have his attention as he knows that you have a treat. If you wait a few minutes, he will likely sit. As his bottom makes contact with the floor, click and treat.
Don’t say the word “sit” yet. Your Pug doesn’t know what’s going yet. Do this a few times. Once he understands, start to say the word sit right when he lowers his bottom to go into a sit. Again, when his bottom touches the floor or ground, click, treat, and praise.
If your Pug doesn’t sit automatically, and you don’t have all day to wait for him, use the luring method.
Directions for Luring Method for Dog Tricks
- Hold a treat in your hand and kneel in front of your Pug dog.
- Put the treat to your pet’s nose.
- Lift your hand upward.
- Generally, most Pugs will lower their bottoms when they reach their head up to try to get the treat.
- If your Pug dog lifts her head to bite the food, be patient.
- Eventually, your Pug will sit down. When her bottom touches the ground, click, give her a treat, and make a super big deal about it.
- Do these enough times until your Pug starts giving you sits quickly. Then you know she understands.
- Then add the word “Sit” during the exercise.
- As her bottom approaches the floor to sit, say the word “Sit,” and click when she touches the floor. Then, as usual, practice around 15 times.
- As you continue training her throughout the day, have her hold her sit a little longer before you give her a treat.
Note: Pushing her bottom to the floor generally doesn’t help. Remember, Pugs can be stubborn. If you try to push their rumps down, and they push against your hand. Never try to force your Pug in any manner when teaching dog tricks.
Continue to Practice
Have your Pug sit throughout the day. Hold short training sessions in various locations, both indoors and outdoors. Sometimes when you start in a new place, it feels like you are beginning the training process all over again.
They’ll catch on.
One of the first dog tricks I taught Mimi and Lulu was sit. When I first taught Mimi and Lulu to sit, I trained them to sit on their training cots. Now every time I get those cots out, they both run over and give a proud sit. Lulu stretches her neck as high as she can; like a giraffe.
I have to keep an eye on Mimi. She likes to cheat. She will sit down, but her bottom will sometimes be hovering over the cot or floor. If I wait, she will eventually relax and go into a real sit. Make sure your dog tricks aren’t halfway preformed.
It is easy to phase out the treat rewards for this trick. Soon you will find your Pugs sit every time you go into the pantry, go into the kitchen, come home, or just look at them.
If they sit, but you have not asked them to, give them lots of praise. They are doing a good thing. Watch their weight and don’t give them a treat every time.
Still Won’t Sit?
If you’re getting frustrated, take a break from Pug training. Your Pug dog may pick up on your tension.
Consider using more valuable treats; fresh meat, hot dog pieces, or cheese. Do not say the word sit repeatedly if your Pug dog does not understand what you want. You want to wait to pair the word sit with when she is sitting. This applies to all the dog tricks.
Try carrying treats with you at all times when you’re in the house. Go back to trying to capture the behavior. The timing can be tricky. If your dog is standing and then you look over, and she is sitting, but you missed when she sat down, do not click.
Keep watching, and you will see her sit. When you do, click when her bottom touches the ground and give her a treat. Our Pugs sit and lie down a lot. It’s just a matter of catching it at the perfect time. Sit is one of the easiest dog tricks to teach.
The Usefulness of Sit
- Have your Pug dog sit to redirect your Pug from getting into trouble with other dogs.
- Redirect your Pug when he starts to jump on people.
- Have your Pug sit when you are going out the door, so she doesn’t race out.
- Your Pug dog can sit when someone knocks at the door.
- Have your Pug sit when friends and family come to visit. This is polite, and they will be impressed!
- You don’t want to be known as that “Crazy Pug Lady” with the crazy pugs. Instead, you will be known as that “Crazy Pug Lady” with “all those polite Puggies.”
Dog tricks for self-control? Stay is a great one. If you plan to enroll your Pug in dog training, it is a necessary skill.
How to Train Your Pug Dog to Stay
- Have your Pug sit. Do not give her a treat. You want to provide the message that something more is expected from her before she gets her treat.
- Hold your open palm facing her.
- Each time she tries to stand up, request another sit.
- Take a step back. If she is still sitting, click, and treat.
- Once she understands, say “Stay” and move a few more steps backward.
- Click and treat/praise before she tries to move.
- Continue to practice this daily, adding more time.
How to Let Your Pug Dog Know it is Okay to Leave the Stay
Use a “release word” to let your Pug dog know that he can move. Some people say “Okay,” “Free,” or “Break.” If your Pug dog does not get up, you may need to throw a treat and say “Okay” in a happy tone. Training a release word is one of the many dog tricks you can teach your Pug.
Do these several times. When some Pugs learn that the treats keep coming from staying in one spot, they are hesitant to move. Why wouldn’t they want to stay where the treats are?
Add More Time and Distractions
Continue this exercise for days adding time and distance each time. Eventually, you want to be able to walk away with your back turned to your Pug.
Once you feel confident, your Pug dog knows what you want and can stay for 5 minutes, move to a different room. Increasing the challenge is something you want to do with all the dog tricks.
Again, generalize to different settings with different distractions.
If you really want to try the ultimate challenge, ask your dog to sit and stay near your front door. You are using two of the dog tricks with this exercise. After she has stayed in position for a couple of minutes, have them stay and go over to the front door and knock.
My Pug dogs see me knocking on the door and start running and barking as if someone is trying to break into the house. This distraction is a big challenge!
As always, keep your training sessions short when your Pug is learning dog tricks.
Make sure your Pug training sessions are always fun for you and your Pug dog. Teach dog tricks throughout the day. Keep things spontaneous. You don’t want them to behave only when you have your treat bag around your waist or when you get the leashes out.
When first training my Pug dogs, I thought “Come” command, it would be one of the easiest dog tricks. I was completely wrong on this one.
If your Pug dog does not come to you when called, it can be a safety issue. If you’re at the dog park and a menacing dog approaches your Pug, you will want to call your Pug dog to you.
I don’t want to be the hovering Pug parent at the dog park who won’t give her Pug kids any freedom. So, if your Pug comes when called, you will be able to provide them with greater independence.
How to Train Your Pug Dog to Come (Then I’ll tell you why training my Pugs were more difficult.)
1. Begin to train your Pug dog in a quiet area and indoors.
2. Sit with your Pug and say the word “come” and his name. Each time you say “come” and his name, give your Pug pup a treat. That’s it. Easy. All you have to do is say the phrase and give a treat. All your Pug has to do is eat the treat!
3. Have your Pug dog stay and walk a few feet away from him. Call him with “Come – Name” and simultaneously run in the direction away from her. If you see her chasing her, click and treat.
4. If your Pug doesn’t come, squeak her favorite toy, make some kissing noises, and use your happy voice.
5. Still, no luck? Move even closer to her when you start.
6. Eventually, when she does start to chase you, click and treat.
7. Over time, you want to reduce your movement. The goal is to stand still and call her from across the room.
8. Then, add distractions. Get someone to open the refrigerator door, come into the room, or knock on the door.
9. Move into a fenced-yard once she follows the “Come” instruction 90% of the time. If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, try the dog park early in the morning when no one is there. Your Pug needs to learn to come and all the dog tricks in many different areas.
Or take her outside on a nylon cord attached to her leash. Have her “Stay” and take the end of the rope. Then call, run, and you’ll have the rope for safety, so she doesn’t take off.
10. Once she reaches that goal, train her to sit when she arrives.
11. If you’re running and your Pug dog’s not running toward you, do not use the verbal cue “come” many times. Do not use the word “come” repeatedly before she knows what it means. It will reinforce that the word means nothing. This applies to all the dog tricks.
It is better to use a squeaky toy or use a sweet voice when calling her.
My mistakes when I initially tried to teach this exercise, “Come.”
- I assumed it was going to be easier than it was, so I put too much distance between myself and my Pugs.
- I started my Pug dogs out on their training cots and began a few feet from them.
- When I moved in closer and tried again, Mimi got it right. We continued to work until she learned the come command.
- Lulu did not want to budge. I realized my mistake was I started her on her training cot. Why would she want to leave the training cot? This was one of the first dog tricks that Lulu learned, and she knew the treats were given when she’s on the training cot.
- I started again by putting Lulu’s training cot away and had her stay at the floor level. She did much better, but it took her a while to figure out she needed to leave her spot. Eventually, I had to do some treat luring in front of her nose to get her to move. As I stated before, luring may be needed when teaching some of the dog tricks.
Both Mimi and Lulu finally learned to come. It took a few weeks before I felt reasonably confident that they would come to me.
And still, I do not take them on off-leash walks. I’m confident, but not that confident.
#5. Leave It
“Leave it” is a useful behavior to teach your Pug dog. Not only is it one of the five necessary dog tricks, it prevents your Pug dog from picking up things.
For example, once while at the park, I was walking Mimi and Lulu, Mimi had her nose on the ground smelling something. I said, “leave it,” and she looked up at me. I looked down to see a piece of food that was covered with red ants. That could have been a complete disaster!
Your Pug needs self-control. We want to have well-manner Pugs who aren’t lunging at their food bowl when you set it down. How about those Pug dogs who put their noses in your food if you’re eating on the couch. I’ve never seen a Pug at my house do that. (LOL!) Learning “leave it” is necessary if you ever want to have a relaxing snack on the couch again.
Learning to “leave it” could save your dog if you accidentally dropped a pill on the floor.
Or who wants to get sweet Pug kisses if that Pug has just eaten a piece of cat pooh?
How to Teach Leave It
1. Take a handful of treats and show your Pug dog.
2. When she reaches over to get the treat, say “Leave It” and close your hand
3. Open your hand again and repeat until she stops trying to get the treat out of your hand.
4. As soon as your Pug dog stops trying to get the treats, click, praise, and give her a treat.
5. Give her a treat with your opposite hand. Take the treat from your treat bag or pocket.
6. Don’t repeat the cue if she keeps moving head toward your hand. Close your hand. Because we humans are such verbal creatures, it is natural for us to say the cue word over and over again.
7. Saying the word over and over again makes the term meaningless for our Pug dogs. If you do that, “leave it” could be paired with him trying to get the food or moving toward the food. We want to associate it with him using self-control, not approaching the food.
If your Pug dog gets a treat out of your hand by accident, she will try even harder the next time. She has learned that she can sneak one in if she tries hard enough. Get ready. Our laid back Pugs can be quick when they want to be.
Increase the Wait Time
When your Pug dog is successful, 95% of the time, increase the time slowly. Increase the wait time each interval before you click and give the reward. Eventually, you want to increase the wait time to a few minutes.
Change the Distance
Next, put a treat near your foot and say, “leave it.” Once your Pug dog moves toward the treat, cover it with your foot.
Do not use any kind of correction like, “No!” Continue to train from a place of positive reinforcement.
Remember, each time you change the rules; you need to lower the criteria so your Pug dog can succeed.
Once your Pug dog has success with this, step back a couple of steps from the treat. Be close enough that you can move in quickly with your foot if she lunges toward the treat.
Go further away from the treat over several training sessions.
Start placing the yummy treat closer to your Pug dog and further from you. This can be challenging but go slowly, and soon the treat will be under his nose. That’s a real success!
Drop the Treat
Teach your Pug dog to “leave it” when you drop a treat. This is more realistic as your Pugs are really good at grabbing food off the floor that you may drop when cooking.
Start out so you are close enough to the treat so you can put your foot over it.
Then toss the treat a little further away from both of you. When she does not take the treat, click, and give her a different treat.
Eventually, you’ll want to tell your Pug dog to leave a treat when you are on the other side of the room. Dog tricks are really great tricks when your Pug can perform it without you being right on top of him. This is a much more realistic scenario. You may be at the park, or someone has just left the kitchen and didn’t realize they dropped something. Being able to have her follow a “leave it” command is so much better than chasing her around the kitchen.
Pugs have their own dog tricks, such as, chase me around the house while I’m being bad!
Practice Using Other Items
If you are using kibble or a low-value treat, spice things up. Practice the “Leave it” scenarios, but use a piece of turkey or something that smells really good. This is a little more tempting for your Pug dog but worthy of learning.
You can also practice with her toys, your favorite pair of leather shoes, or slippers.
Mix It Up
Now, leave your Pug dog in the house and go into your yard. Place treats and favorite toys on the ground. You might add some real-world situations like a half of a sandwich.
Take your leashed Pug dog outside and have him walk past the treats and goodies while saying, “Leave it.” Again, when he is successful, click and give a treat.
If he pulls on his leash toward the treat, you will have to slow down the exercise. You’ll need to put your foot over the treat as you did inside and start from there. Manage your Pug dog on the leash, so he does not get there before you do.
This is a good way to keep it exciting and realistic for your Pug dog. The more areas you can find to practice in, the better. And the next time you’re at a rest area, your Pug will ‘leave it” and leave all that gross stuff on the ground.
As always, when teaching dog tricks, keep the training sessions short, and end on a positive note. Work toward your goals slowly with all of your training of dog tricks. These are the things that will keep training fun!
Once you have taught your Pug dog to watch you, sit, come to you, stay, and leave it, you will find life so much easier. Teaching these dog tricks to your Pug is fun and keeps them mentally alert.
These five dog tricks are the training foundation. They may all come in handy one day at the dog park, on a walk or when another dog comes over to visit. If your Pug can follow your requests of watch me, sit, stay, come, and leave it, it will help keep them safe. These are more than just dog tricks.
Also, it’s nice to be able to show off a well-mannered Pug who will sit on cue when others come to visit. This greeting is welcomed as the frenzy that used was not.
Training pugs is fun. My Pugs have taken more time and persistence to train, but everyone is so proud when they learn dog tricks!
Which of the dog tricks are you going to start training now?