Are Pugs Bad About Biting?
Most pugs aren’t prone to biting. Pugs are a docile breed. It is common for puppies to nip while playing, though. They need to be trained from a young age that nipping people isn’t okay, or they’ll continue the behavior as they get older.
When Do Pug Puppies Stop Nipping?
You have to train your pug to stop nipping. Often nipping is related to teething, and most pugs stop teething by around 8 months of age. They’ll stop mouthing items they should’t around that age, typically. Still, if you don’t train them to stop nipping, or if you have accidentally encouraged their nipping by making it into a form of play, it will likely continue until you train them differently.
Is it Biting or Nipping or Mouthing?
People often refer to nipping as biting, but they are different. There is also mouthing which is different yet!
Biting is when a dog bites down hard on something. This will usually break the skin, and is usually done out of fear or protection. True biting is a much more serious problem than nipping, but it’s quite rare in pugs. A pug that is truly biting likely feels unsafe or mistreated.
Nipping is a quick shut of the jaw, without locking down on something. This will hurt, but it won’t break the skin. This is commonly done as a form of play in puppies. While the intent isn’t “bad”, it’s painful and may cause mild injuries to young children so it’s best to train out.
Mouthing is when a dog puts their mouth on something but doesn’t bite down at all. You may feel their teeth but there won’t be pressure and no pain at all. This behavior is similar to human babies who put toys in their mouth. It’s a way of exploring an object. For most dogs this behavior will stop when they are done teething.
How to stop your pug from biting
Dog trainers often recommend a bite inhibition method. This basically means squeel when they bite you. Puppies like to play-bite other dogs, and when the other dog squeels in response to a bite, that’s how the dog learns it went too far. If left with other puppies, dogs will learn bite inhibition by about 18 weeks old. However, in many cases today puppies are rehomed by about 8 weeks. This leaves them without enough experience in learning bite inhibition from their litermates and their humans need to take over this training.
You can mimic the experience that puppies would get from their littermates squealing when your dog nips you. This can teach your dog that they went too far, even if the nip wasn’t painful. The goal is to squeel anytime they nip at all, to teach them that nipping people is not acceptable.
Try to get everyone in your household to squeel if your pug nips them, and to be consistent with it. This will increase the odds that your pug will learn to stop biting sooner.
Alternatively, you can firmly say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ each time they nip. If your puppy seeks reassurance or pets afterwards, it’s best to ignore them. This can feel mean, but this is how you make it clear to them that their behavior was unacceptable. This is really effective for pugs because pugs love attention from their owners. They were bred to be companions, so they are often really hurt by being ignored. While it won’t feel good for you or them, it will effectively teach them.
Don’t hit your dog for biting. Dogs don’t understand physical punishment, and it may even make them so fearful that they will bite more in response.
Don’t play with them if they nip. This can be hard because pug puppies are trying to play when they nip you. When we understand that they’re playing, it can make us want to play back. However, this can encourage the behavior. Keep in mind that as your pug gets older their teeth will get bigger and their small bits will become more painful. For this reason, it’s best to discourage their small biting before they get bigger.
Direct them to chewing toys. It’s natural for dogs to want to bite, but it’s important that they learn what is fair-game for biting and what isn’t. You don’t want them to learn that your hands or any other part of your body can be bitten. Offer them chew toys instead.
Give your pug time around other dogs. Dogs like to rough plan with other dogs and this can help them get out their desire to bite in a safe way.
Keep them entertained. Sometimes nipping will happen because they are bored and seeking attention. Keeping your puppy entertained can reduce the frequency of their nipping.