Pug Temperament! Is my Pug Behavior OK?

Pug Temperament and Personality – The Basics

Are you struggling with your Pug temperament and personality issues? You want a pug but you heard that they are hard to train? Take the easy way and learn how to identify and fix every weird or undesired pug behavior at home!

  • Is your pug barking, begging or being noisy? There is an easy solution to these issues!
  • You don’t know how to react to your pug’s behavior? Learn here what to do every time!
  • Are you afraid that your new pug might not be good with your kids? Learn how to make them get along!

After reading this guide, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to keep them under control and have a happy life with your pug. Let’s get started!

When talking about Pug temperament and personality, you will hear many people say that they are stubborn, clingy, or anxious. Dogs are smart beings, and just like humans, they have their own personality, temperament, and behavior. That means that the common outlines don’t apply to each one of them every time! Let’s get started on the facts:

“Separation anxiety is one of the most common canine behavior problems and is diagnosed in 20% to 40% of dogs referred to animal behavior practices in North America.”

AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association

Pugs among the best breeds to battle depression!

Why? Simply because they will love you more than anything else will in the world, and they will always try to prove it. They are always eager to please you and there will be almost nothing that can keep them away from you (unless you throw a snack and run the opposite way).

Pugs not only are cute, but they also are one of the best breeds to battle depression.

They are also a huge responsibility for you to take voluntarily, and that can keep anyone motivated to provide them with everything they might need. They need to be rather active every day to avoid obesity and that will keep you motivated to go out more, at least for slow-paced long walks. All of these will benefit you in the short-term, lowering your anxiety levels.

Plus, at the end of the day, a wiggly Pug’s rear end can comfort anyone.

Stubborn Pug Temperament

Stubborn Pug temperament is a rather common trait of the breed, however, this also varies with age, gender, and whether the dog is neutered/spayed.

  • Pug puppies can be mildly stubborn out of fear, as they are not really into new experiences.
  • Adult pugs can be mildly stubborn if they didn’t receive proper training. Also, they can be protective of their beloved masters.
  • A pug in the golden years might be stubborn if you want to force them to do things out of their routine. Waking the grumpy pug grandpa up for a sudden walk might not turn out well.
  • Females are more stubborn than male pugs. For some, it’s their way or the highway!
  • For neutered/spayed dogs, the personality is much calmer since fewer hormones are floating around.

Still, pugs are always eager to please their owners (especially male pugs) and will do everything to keep you happy. That includes behaving like a good boy. However, this will take some training for both of you.

Docile Pug Temperament

The ultimate docile Pug temperament is achievable by proper training in most pugs. This is not as hard to achieve if you pay attention to everything he does and fixes bad behaviors properly and immediately. Check out our guide on pug’s training to find more training tips!

pug temperament

Do you see your Pug aggressive?

Even though pugs are tender, loving, and pleasing cute dogs, they can also be aggressive. If your pug barks at you, bites you, rushes or sneaks behind you, or simply growls at you, yes, he is aggressive. Pug’s aggressiveness is caused by:

  • Being separated from his mom too quickly after birth. Breeders should wait until 8 weeks of age at least before doing so.
  • Medical conditions like injuries, itching or simply stress can cause your dog to ‘snap’.
  • Punishments that are too hard or wrong training methods.
  • Fear, frustration, possessiveness (especially with food), protectiveness, and establishing dominance.

The good news is that all of these are easily fixable with training.

  • The first thing you need to do is identify what triggers your dog’s aggressive behavior.
  • After that, eliminate the causes (whether it’s rough play or an annoying whistle). Is he getting enough love? Is he getting enough sleep, vet’s attention, or food?
  • Assess how you treat him. Were you aggressive with him some time? Are you encouraging this behavior?
  • Make sure he follows his routine! Playtime, good sleep, good food, exercise, and check out the house for stressors. Things like buzzing cars and other traffic sounds are annoying to them!
  • Give him the “good boy training”. Whenever he does something good or desired, praise him. When he does otherwise, scold him properly (in a calmed, non-aggressive manner, but by letting him know you are the pack leader).

Like with any training, what you need is consistency, patience, and industrial amounts of love.

“While breed is a factor, the impact of other factors relating to the individual animal (such as training method, sex and neutering status), the target (e.g. owner versus stranger), and the context in which the dog is kept (e.g. urban versus rural) prevent breed from having significant predictive value in its own right.”

AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association

Pug Temperament: Is your Pug too lazy?

This is a no brainer; if you think your pug is too lazy, then you’re probably right. Pug’s energy levels vary (not a lot) according to their age, personality (playfulness) or whether it’s been spayed/neutered. 

  • Newborn puppies will sleep all day!
  • Young pugs and pug puppies are slightly more playful and energetic. If yours is in this category and is lazy too often, then you should get him checked (especially if they also ignore food).
  • Adult pugs are more relaxed, especially if they’ve been spayed/neutered. They can sleep 14 hours a day or more!
  • Golden year pugs are way too old for this. Relax, light a candle and read a book with your pug beside you!

Pugs are regularly lazy, but you need to train them and feed them properly to avoid obesity. Find here the best food for pug puppies, adult pugs, senior pugs, and pugs with special needs!

pug personality

Are Pugs Smart?

This actually depends on who you ask. According to the book called The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren, they rank in the 108° place, within the Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence category. That’s not a very good place to start, noting that the rank has 138 dogs.

Still, some owners believe that they are far more intelligent than that. And the fact is that they are smart, but are just slow learners because they want to play, cuddle, and kiss you more than they want to learn. This is fixable with constant training and a lot of treats.

Separation Anxiety Issues

Separation anxiety issues are among the most common pug personality issues. They just love to be with you and this simply can’t be every single time. Whether you leave your house because you went off to work or just to buy some food, he’ll miss you a lot.

This, at the same time, can trigger other issues or bad behaviors that are not desired, like them forgetting about their housebreaking and unleashing havoc instead. This can be easily fixed if you get them as puppies and crate train them. Leaving them alone (with some toys or food) for some time until they get used to it also helps.

Many great separation anxiety toys can help you to avoid the issue.

Pug Temperament (WHAT to do!): Is your Pug Barking or Screaming too much?

If you think your pug is barking or screaming too much

Pug Barking: do Pugs bark a lot?

Pugs barking are actually a weird thing. Pugs are what we call environmental or contextual barkers; if something is bugging them or making them feel some type of discomfort, they will certainly bark. It can be the mail carrier, another dog wandering around outside the house, the doorbell, or maybe even an annoying bug that is interrupting his naptime. Pain, itchiness, stress, and frustration are also some of the reasons.

Fix: They are rather protective of anything that might be a danger for you or for her/him, which is not the desired quality. You can train them not to be by socializing them a lot with many people and their pets. That’s the best way of making them aware that being surrounded by people is something normal. However, they will still bark if there’s something fishy going on!

Pug Screaming or Wheezing.

Why do pugs scream? There are many reasons for dogs to screaming, and this is a rather common thing to happen. It’s not a “scream”, it’s a weird bark! As for pugs, they might do it out of any of their reasons for barking. They also might do it when you’re singing, a song is on or when other dogs do it. Sometimes they do it just because they want your attention.

Fix: When they do it, look for the reasons and eliminate the source of their discomfort. If they do it to seek your attention, don’t encourage them! Some owners see this as a cute thing when they see it for the first time. It gets old and annoying afterward, and the dog will be confused if you scold him for something you used to praise.

Pug Biting.

A pug biting you is weird and is an alarm sign that your dog might be aggressive. If this happens, you should immediately assess the treatment you give him, search him for injuries or stressors. Something must be wrong if the most loyal and lovely dog breed bites you. However, you must know how to identify if he’s playing a bite with you!

Fix for Pug Biting:

  • Socializing your dog is one of the best ways of letting him know that he’s always safe with you and others. If he has that feeling, he’ll never bite. You also should train him to avoid biting too hard.
  • You should let him know that it’s ok for you to touch him and poke him. This will let you do other activities like brushing his teeth safely. Touch him a lot!
  • When he plays biting with you, let him bite you in the hand until he bites too hard. When he does, make a pained yelp that alarms him that you’re hurt. If he starts licking you, he’s apologizing, and you should praise him for that. Repeat this until he plays bite gently with you!
pug temperament

Pug Growling

Growling is also a sign of aggression, often related to possessiveness or protectiveness. It’s also related to bites. If he growls, he might bite you, so beware.

Fix for Pug Growling: If a pug growls is because he’s uncomfortable with a situation or person. You have to let him growl since it’s the only way they know how to tell you they are uncomfortable! After that, you’ll need to assess the causes of this and eliminate the sources.

Pug Begging

Pugs love food. If they see you eating, they will immediately start begging or trying to ask for some in any way.

Fix for Pug Begging: Ignore the dog! Don’t look at him, don’t talk to him, don’t do anything because he will see it as encouragement until he gets what he wants. Others on the table must also follow this rule. This will increase the dog’s behavior for a while until it finally stops trying to seek your attention. It takes a lot of consistency to achieve it, but it’s totally worth it.

Pug Chewing

A pug chewing stuff is a normal thing to happen when he’s teething. After that, he’s just releasing stress or energy through chewing, which will get destroyed something important eventually.

Fix for Pug Chewing: To stop your dog from chewing you need to find out the cause of the chewing. Some dogs are stressed, but others simply love chewing. If your dog is stressed, check out for skin issues, itchiness or painful spots that might get him frustrated. If that happens, get the proper treatment to his illness. If he doesn’t have anything, get him accustomed to a chewing treat or toy, because he probably just loves chewing!

Pug Zoomies

Pug zoomies are weird, but they do happen every once in a while. Out of a sudden, your pug will start running around. It’s normal and transcends breeds, gender, age and more. If you don’t like that and crack a laugh when he seemingly loses it, are you even a dog person?

Fix for Pug Zoomies: To fix pug zoomies, you need to stick to a daily training routine that keeps him exercised and with proper at-home energy levels. Still, some activities like going out or taking baths might trigger pug zoomies!

Pug Energy level

Pug energy levels is a variant throughout your pug’s lives:

  • When they are newborns, they are sleepy bags of fur.
  • When they are youngster pugs, they are playful and mischievous with medium to high energy levels.
  • Once they are adults, the energy levels start dropping. They will be more relaxed, but still, enjoy playtime every day if it’s already part of their routine.
  • In the golden years just leave grumpy grandpa pug alone for naptime, because his energy levels are not what they used to.

Pug Sensitivity

Pug sensitivity is a common trait of the breed. With sensitivity, we mean that they are very susceptible to the way you talk to them and treat them. If you mistreat them, they will get sad or react badly to it. If you praise them, they’ll be the happiest ever. You just need to remember that you have a lot of influence on their emotional stability!

Pug Comical

Pugs are often seen as comical, but they are not so comical at all. They are actually rather serious (with exceptions when they are begging). Some people see them as comical because they are friendly and they have a funny face, but that’s it!

Pug Noises

Pug noises are a regular thing to hear every time he’s around you. Why? Because they can’t avoid it! And we’re not talking about barking, but about their breathing, snorting, sneezing, and farting. They are rather gassy, allergic, and have breathing issues, which turns them into a doggie beatbox. If you love silence, pugs are not for you!

“Incessant barking is a manifestation of extreme anxiety and frustration…”

AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association

Problems with Pug Temperament? Pugs and Cats, Pugs and Babies, etc

Pugs and Other Dogs:

Pugs and other dogs get along very well, but only if you socialize them at a very young age. Since they are rather protective and totally unaware of their size, they might get you into some trouble with your neighbor’s dogs or other dogs at a park, because they will try to defend you against inexistent menaces. To avoid it, get him some doggie friends.

pugs and catspugs personality

Pugs and Cats

The same happens with cats. They are a threat that must be dealt with for pugs. However, the thing is that cats are actually a threat to pugs, especially when you consider cat’s claws, and pug’s protruded eyes. If you have cats at home and get a pug, make sure to make them accustomed to each other, because you might have trouble if they don’t get along.

Pugs and Babies

Pugs are joyful creatures that love pleasing his owners, cuddles, attention, and kisses. Pugs will get along with babies if they are trained and socialized. Still, supervision is always advised. As for newborn babies, it isn’t a good idea, to be honest. Wait until your baby is about one year old at least!

pug behavior

Pugs and Kids

Pugs and kids get along really well if they are socialized. Still, kids might need some training too, to avoid hurting the pug in any way because they are rather delicate dogs. They do love cuddling, and this is a very good way of bonding for both kids and dogs. Encourage this instead of rough play and you’re halfway through!

Frequently Asked Questions – Pug Temperament, Personality And Behavior

Why is my pug barking too much?

When pugs are barking excessively, there’s probably something wrong. Whether it’s boredom, pain, strangers in the porch, or frustration, you’ll need to check out what’s going on and what he’s trying to tell you!

Are pugs hard to train?

Pugs are not hard to train, they are slow learners. They will take a little bit more patience and repetition because of that. There are no hard-to-train dogs, but bad trainers. It’s not natural for them to do the things we want them to do!

Why is my pug begging after he eats?

Dogs are never truly filled, or that’s what they feel. Still, there are certain considerations like the quality of his food (good quality satiates more) or the method you’re using to train him not to beg. If you feed him bad quality food and fend him off with some of your food to get rid of him, he’s not the wrong one!

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