Training your Pug puppy is about communication. Dogs can’t speak human language, so you have to teach your Pug what’s good and what’s bad with a more structured system of rewards and corrections. The methods used to train your Pug puppy can be divided into three stages: motivation, correction, and distraction.
The first step of teaching your Pug puppy behaviors you desire is associating them with rewards your puppy desires. When your dog does something you like, such as correctly obeying a verbal command, you reward him with a treat and affection. The treat should be a healthy bit of food that can be eaten quickly so your Pug doesn’t get distracted from the lesson by chewing and tearing at it. You can also use the treat to guide your puppy’s attention to the focus of the lesson. When displaying affection toward your doggie-in-training, be enthusiastic! Your Pug puppy needs to want the rewards as much as you want the behavior. You can also buy a clicker device to click at the same time you give a treat. If you use them together, the clicker becomes a consistent, clear signal that the puppy has done something right, even after you no longer use food rewards.
Start simple; if you’re training your Pug puppy to sit, you’ll have to guide him, reward him, and worry about staying later. Early training sessions should be short and to the point in a quiet, focused environment. Once your puppy seems to be learning the first part of the command you want to teach, add the second part to it, and so on. Also, as your puppy learns a part of what you want to teach, scale back the food rewards; you eventually want your puppy to follow your commands without food always in hand. Don’t move too fast for your Pug puppy to keep up mentally, and remember to keep these three training steps no more than seconds apart:
If you wait too long between the command, response, or reward, your Pug puppy won’t understand how they fit together. Also, be sure to keep your commands short, distinct, and regular. Your Pug puppy will remember a command exactly as you said it in training, so keep it brief and clear.
Once your Pug puppy learns the initial expected behavior without a treat, you need to correct any mistakes your puppy makes, like standing too early after being told to sit and stay. Continue to reward good behavior, but when your puppy slips up, give a consistent signal of disappointment (a verbal “oops” or “uh-uh!”), no reward, and correct the behavior. Your Pug puppy will associate his mistake with the “oops” signal and getting no treat, and avoid it. Remember that you must show your puppy how to do it right, and not just hold back rewards. Again, correction training should be done in longer and longer time spans. For example, reward your puppy for staying 2 seconds, then 5, and so on, until you’re satisfied with her behavior.
Now that your Pug puppy knows what to do and what not to do, bring your training sessions from your quiet, distraction-free environment out into the real world. Your puppy must learn to ignore noises, movement, and other distractions when you give a command, using similar techniques to the correction stage. Still, keep the lessons gradual. Don’t move straight from a silent room to a city street!
Once your Pug puppy is trained to obey your simple commands without slipping outside your home, it’s time for your reward: a well-trained dog!