Taking your Teacup Pug to his first dog training class can be stressful. Learn the following nine concepts before you get there to help you be one of the “cool kids.”
You don’t want to be that crazy Pug lady at dog training class. Giving your Pug smooches while everyone else is following along with the trainer.
You and your Pug dog will be shaping and luring with the best of them. Before you know it, you’ll be walking up to get that first-place ribbon at the agility contest. Check out Lily the Pug here
Or maybe you and I will have Pugs that win first place for jumping on and off the couch! Either way, let’s learn the nine terms to start your dog training journey because Pugs are always #1!
Shaping means that you are going to use a series of steps to teach your dog to do a new behavior. Your Pug dog will feel successful when you break the actions into easier steps.
There are two ways to use shaping to teach a Pug dog a new trick. Those ways are luring and capturing in dog training.
If you would like to teach your Pug dog how to roll over, it would be difficult to do by trying to teach him all at once. Increase your Pug dog’s success rate by teaching one part at a time. Luring is a common dog training tactic to shape our Pug’s behavior into completely rolling over.
- Start your Pug in a down position.
- Move a treat from her nose to her back-shoulder area.
- When her head follows the treat just a little, click and treat.
- Slowly, one inch at a time, move the lure toward her shoulders. Click and treat each time she moves her head in the direction of the lure. Continue many times to move the treat from her nose to her shoulder. Each time she is successful (and you click and treat), move the lure further from the shoulder area.
Treats are great thing to use when dog training Pugs.
Capturing is waiting for the behavior you would like to see. Shaping is giving him feedback with rewards to move him in the right direction.
An Example of Capturing
Dog training your Pug to get on a particular blanket:
- Number 1. You put the blanket on the floor, your Pug sniffs it, gets on the couch, and takes a nap.
- Number 2. Okay, that didn’t work out the way you wanted. Take your Pug dog, the blanket, clicker, and treats into a smaller room.
- Number 3. Your Pug offers a sit, looks at you for a treat. Praise your Pug, but no treat. You are not looking for a sit.
- Number 4. Eventually, he looks over at the blanket. You click and treat. Wait.
- Each time he looks at the blanket, moves toward or sniffs it, click and treat.
- Finally, he puts his paw on the blanket and gets a click and a big Jackpot with lots of praise! He stays there, but there is no movement.
- Then he dips his head to smell the blanket. Again, click and treat.
- Each time he moves another paw on the blanket, click and treat.
- Finally, he puts all four paws on the blanket, and you click and give him a grand Jackpot!
- Repeat several times until you believe he knows what you’re looking for.
- Then add the verbal cue such as “Blanket,” “Place,” “Go to Bed,” or whatever you want to use on an on-going basis.
4. The Premack Principle
The Premack Principle is a dog training principle sometimes called “Grandma’s Law.” As a child, we had to eat what was on our plate; vegetables included if we wanted to get our dessert. So, you got your dessert, and your parents made sure you were also getting healthy food.
You might not have felt like it as a child, but it was a win-win situation.
I like the Premack Principle because it takes away the conflict between my dogs and me. We both get something positive.
Let’s say you are taking your Pugs for a walk. They want to stop and smell every little thing they can find.
Soon the walk turns into you and your Pugs wandering around, stopping smelling. They get minimal physical exercise. There is a way to fulfill both desires. Make the “wandering around and smelling behavior,” the reward after walking a bit.
Going for a Walk using the Premack Principle
- Once out the front door have your Pug dogs sit. This is a great way to start your dog training session.
- Start the walk having your Pugs heel or walk on a loose leash, whatever you have trained them to do.
- Have them walk for long enough that you feel that they are getting some exercise.
- Use the “release” cue you have taught them with dog training. Releasing means they can do what they want. Their goal is to sniff around or play around with you while still on leash.
- After a few minutes, request that they sit at your side.
- Say “let’s go” and start walking with your Pugs on your side in a heel or your proximity walking at a pleasant rate.
Curiosity is Not Bad Behavior
Some people might consider letting a dog do their own thing as “bad behavior.” This is their natural curiosity, and we don’t want to squash that. Yet, they do need exercise and not just a “smell fest.”
With the Premack Principle dog training our Pugs will learn if they want to wander around and smell, they must first walk next to you for a stretch.
Everyone is happy. You feel like your Pug dogs got some exercise in, and they get to wander about and do their Pug dog thing.
5. Extinction Dog Training
Extinction is a way of ending a behavior by removing the reinforcement. Let’s say your Pug dog barks at the door to go out. In the past, you have always reinforced this behavior by getting up and letting her outside.
One evening you are reading, and she barks to go out. You want to finish the paragraph you’re reading, and tell her in a very sweet voice, “Okay. I’ll be there in a sec.” You continue to read, and she barks again and again. Her bark gets more forceful, and suddenly, you realize you are her door servant.
You decide from now on; you are not going to let her out the door for barking. You decide you are going to start some serious dog training and will wait until she stops. She eventually stops, you praise her and let her out.
However, you notice in the upcoming days the barking increases instead of decreases. This increased barking is called an extinction burst.
Your Pug decides he doesn’t like this kind of dog training. He feels he’s being ignored and he gives a last-ditch effort to get your attention.
Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, even with dog training.
Have your Pug can perform trained behaviors in different areas. This means the behavior is generalized. Let’s say you have trained your Pug to sit. He sits consistently sit every time you ask him to in the house.
But when you are in the backyard or out for a walk, he does not.
He has not generalized his sit behavior to being outside. Expand your dog training to other environments and situations.
Generalize your Pug dog’s behavior inside and outside. Make sure he can sit with or without a leash around distractions like barking dogs, cars going by, etc.
If you initially train your Pug dog to sit when she has her harness and leash on, she might not do so when it is off.
When I got out my Pug dog’s collars and leashes, they ran to their cots and gave me the best “sit” they can muster. Let the treats begin!
So, I had to teach Mimi and Lulu to sit in various settings and situations. I taught them to sit without their leashes and collars on their cots and floor. I trained them outside, on walks, and when there were distractions around like other dogs. For a while we were doing a lot of dog training just on the sit command.
Sometimes dog training in a new situation seemed like starting all over again. Other times, they picked it up very quickly.
For this behavior to be practical in the real world, they had to learn to sit in all locations. They also had to learn to sit when dogs were walking by, or cars were driving by.
Correction is an action that stops or punishes a dog from doing unwanted behaviors. For example, a jerk on the leash. Corrections are punishment.
Be Careful with Dog Trainers that use the term correction.
Some dog trainers still use punishment as a way of dog training. Instead of punishment, they use the word correction. Sometimes they will tell you they’re just “getting their attention.”
Descendants of Wolves?
He may tell you that he is mimicking wolf packs in the wild. The mother or dominant wolf will flip the submissive wolf on her back. Or there is nipping to keep the young ones in line. Sometimes the nipping gets rough, maybe drawing blood in a wolf pack.
So, does that make it the right thing to do for our domestic dogs? Trainers can be very convincing, and you will start to believe it is okay; they are descendants of wolves.
Here are a few other things wolves do:
In the first 45 days of their pup’s lives, they regurgitate food from their stomachs to give to the pups.
This is for nutrition and bonding.
Adult wolves are known to kill pups in various situations.
You may want to ask the trainer, just because a wolf pack does something, is it a good idea for us to do it?
I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to be an Alpha anything.
Be careful with trainers that use this kind of lingo. Correction or punishment will create anxiety for our Pug dogs. These are not good dog training methods. They may become scared of us and ruin our relationship with them.
Unfortunately, no tests or schooling are required, so anyone can hang up a sign and say they are a dog trainer.
8. Marker Dog Training
A marker is a sound or word that signals to your Pug dog that he has done what will earn him the reward. Most often, this is a click from a clicker or one word, such as “Yes” or “Good.”
The marker has to be at the exact moment the behavior occurs. For example, when training sit, it has to be the precise moment your Pug dog’s rump touches the floor.
A clicker is often used in dog training. A clicker will produce the same tone and length each time. If I use the word “Good,” my Pugs could get confused when I do my standard, “Good girls. I’m so proud of you.”
Depending on your energy level that day, a “Yes” may sound less enthusiastic than it did the day before. Having all the family members evolved in training your Pug dog is excellent. But, saying “Yes,” it’s going to sound different every time. A 7-year-old saying “Yes” will sound different than an adult saying “Yes.”
Clickers sound the same every time. It seems easier for me to be more precise with the clicker than the “Yes.” Consistency will make your dog training go much faster.
No matter what you decide to use for your dog training, make the mark exactly when the behavior occurs. Before or after is confusing and will slow down Pug dog training.
9. Target Training
Target training is training your Pug dog to touch an object or a specific part of a person’s body. I find this a handy tool in dog training.
Teaching your dog to target is pretty straightforward. Pick the object and hold it ¼” in front of his nose. Once she looks at it or touches it with his nose, click and treat. Repeat this a few times until you feel like your dog is getting the hang of it.
Then move the object to the left of his nose. Click and treat once she touches it. Then to the right, then slightly higher than her nose and then slightly lower. Each time she touches it, click and treat. As she becomes more consistent, move the target a little further away.
All the Useful Reasons to Train your Pug to Target
- Teach your Pug dog to target the nail clippers. This will reduce the stress the next time you need to clip.
- Have your Pug dog focus on the target if a scary dog comes by.
- Use the target as a distraction, so your Pug dog does not become overly aroused.
- It helps to keep your dog’s mind sharp. So, go ahead and train targeting to your Pug dog at any age.
- Targeting helps boost confidence.
- You can teach your dogs to ring a bell on your door when it is time to go out.
- With a little imagination, you can teach your Pug dog fun things like high fives!
These are some of the most useful terms that are a good starting place when you start to train your Pug dog. It helps to understand that there are many components to training a Pug.
It is not as simple as “click and reward,” and the next thing you know, your Pug dog has a blue ribbon around his neck.
If you decide to find a trainer for your Pug dog, it can be difficult. Trainers will tell you they’ve been training for over ten years. This doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.
Know training terms like shaping, correction, luring, extinction, generalizing, and targeting. This will help you understand what type of dog trainer you are talking to.
The more information you have on training, the easier it is to find someone who will be a good fit for your Pug.
Knowing these training terms is essential. You may want to find a trainer to help or start your training program on your own!