Pug Behavior Problems and How to Fix


Pugs are well known for their cuddly temperaments, but just like any dog, Pugs might have behavioral challenges sometimes.

Pug behavior problems come in all shapes and sizes. Every Pug has a unique personality and experience. 

If you’re concerned about your Pug’s behavior or thinking about getting a Pug for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. 

We’re going to talk in-depth about some classic Pug behavior problems, leaving no stone unturned. 

Do all Pugs have behavior problems?

No. Not all Pugs will have behavior problems. Each and every Pug is an individual. One might be more extroverted and another more introverted. 

One might love walkies, the other might prefer lounging on the sofa all day. 

Just like us, Pug’s have their own unique set of preferences, fears, annoyances, and quirks. And that means that not every Pug owner will end up with all (or even any) of the issues we are going to discuss in this article today. 

However, there are certain behaviors that occur more often with Pugs. For that reason, it’s a good idea for any Pug owner to familiarise themselves with these quirks so that you can be ready to nip them in the bud if, and when, they occur. 

Like most behavioral issues, many of these issues can be counteracted (or prevented altogether) with proper training. Ideally, this should begin when your pup is very young. 

So if you’re thinking of getting a Pug puppy soon, we would always recommend starting them off with a rigorous socialization and training program as soon as possible. 

Common Pug behavior problems

And what to do about them 

We’re going to run you through a whole range of common Pug behavior problems. Look out for these behaviors in your new pup or old-time Pug companion. 

If you notice your Pug developing any of these undesirable behaviors, ask yourself:

  1. Why might they be doing this? (Consider what could be causing the behavior)
  2. What can I do about it? (Make steps to limit the unwanted behavior) 

So, there’s nothing left to it. 

Let the list commence!

Incessant whining 

Incessant whining is a sign of overdependence on human company. Now, Pugs are companion dogs. It’s in their nature to want to be close to you. They were bred for it. 

But there comes a point when enough is enough. You undoubtedly have other commitments you also need to attend to and even a Pug should be able to tolerate some alone time. 

What to do about it: If your Pug’s whining becomes a problem, the best thing you can do is to ignore the behavior outright. 

Deny your whining Pug of attention by turning your back to them. Once they stop whining (and only then) turn around, offer praise, and a favorite treat. 

I know it feels mean, but your Pug needs to learn that whining does not lead to attention. And the best way to do this is to positively reinforce the desired (no-whining) behavior. 


Jealousy is another Pug trait stemming from their constant desire for companionship. It’s no secret that many Pugs love to be in the spotlight – at all times. 

They are little divas at heart. And that means they won’t be so keen when your loving attention is on anyone but them.

If you bring a new pet home, a new baby, or even some friends round for dinner, there’s a chance or Pug will get some twangs of jealousy. 

What to do about it: If you’re bringing new people, babies, or animals into the home it’s important that your Pug doesn’t feel forgotten or left by the wayside. 

I know you’re super busy but prioritizing playtime and attention is key to good Pug behavior. Encourage children and guests to bond with your Pug but always demonstrate caution. 

If your Pug displays any aggression or unusual behavior leave them alone until they feel safe and secure to interact. 

Food frenzy 

Pugs love food. And by that, I mean Pugs are seriously obsessed with food. With that in mind, it’s not uncommon for Pugs to enter into a bit of a food frenzy from time to time. 

That means begging, whining, and doing pretty much anything in their power to taste those delicious morsels. Sadly, this sometimes leads to overeating or eating things they shouldn’t.

This might sound funny, but obesity poses a serious risk to your Pug’s health. It’s our responsibility as Pug owners to make sure they are not overeating (even if they beg). 

What to do about it: Pug owners far and wide have found many ingenious ways to satiate their Pug’s unbelievable appetites and keep them fit and healthy. 

If your Pug is begging you for biscuits day in, day out, start by trying out some of these tried and tested methods.

  • Only feed your Pug from his or her own feeding bowl 
  • Stop offering dinner table scraps
  • Pug-proof your food cupboards and trash 
  • Keep litter boxes clean (yes – Pugs eat poop)
  • Teach your Pug to ‘leave it’ and reward them when they do 
  • Try a slow feeder bowl 
  • Give your Pug smaller meals more frequently 
  • Offer small healthy snacks like chicken or carrot
  • Do not give your Pug highly processed human food

Photo by Maxim Potkin on Unsplash

Separation anxiety

Though anxiety isn’t the natural disposition for all Pugs, the breed has been selectively bred for companionship and, as such, some are prone to developing separation anxiety. 

Usually, Pugs that develop separation anxiety of some kind do so due to circumstance. Perhaps they have been rehomed multiple times or their owner spends little time at home.

What to do about it: The key to treating separation anxiety is routine, familiarity, and distraction. If you’re out at work 9-5, spend some quality time with your Pug each morning, feed them,  and take them out for a quick walk at the same time each day. 

It’s also a great idea to keep your home full of interactive and mentally stimulating games and toys to keep your pooch occupied whilst you’re away. Once you return home you can put the toys away. That way alone time takes on a new meaning – playtime! 

It’s important to remember that working on separation anxiety takes time, love, and patience. It might not work the first time around. In severe cases, we would always recommend speaking to your vet or an animal behaviorist. 

Photo by Oleksandra Bardash on Unsplash

Yapping and barking

In general, Pugs aren’t massive barkers so if your Pug is sharing their vocal prowess more than you’d like it can get rather annoying. 

Luckily, Pug yapping is usually just a way to communicate something. Once you’ve rectified the problem the yapping should stop. 

Typical causes include:

  • Boredom (they might want to play) 
  • Loneliness (they may need attention)
  • Frustration (is there a squirrel outside?)
  • Pain (are they injured or unwell?) 

What to do about it: Barking is natural but if your Pug is barking in excess there are some basic training exercises you can do to mitigate the problem. 

When your Pug barks at an inappropriate moment say ‘quiet’ in a calm voice and continue the process until the barking stops. 

However, if you suspect that your pet is barking due to pain or injury it’s essential that you visit your veterinarian for a check-up. 

Excessive jumping

Pugs are jumpers. These dogs are known for jumping up on people, furniture, and just about anything. However, this behavior can be destructive (or even dangerous). They might knock down a breakable item, or someone unsteady on their feet (ie. a child or elderly person).

Most often Pugs jump because they’re super excited, but sometimes it could be the result of misplaced dominance or even boredom. 

What to do about it: You’ll need to train your Pug (ideally from puppyhood) what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in your household. 

Try not to praise your Pug when they jump too much (e.g. when you walk through the door) as this only reinforces the unwanted behavior. 

It’s also possible that your Pug has a lot of unspent energy – so make sure they’re getting enough exercise. Aim for around 20 minutes walk each day.   

Growling & aggression 

It can be upsetting to hear your Pug growling. And rightly so. Too much growling can be a sign of aggression. Pugs growl when they are feeling territorial over something. It could be their food bowl, favorite toy, or personal space in general.

Growling is a form of communication – it is your dog alerting you to something. If another person or animal touches this item enters this space uninvited, they will growl as an act of dominance. In other words, to let them know that thing is theirs. 

In dog language that means: ‘back off this is mine!’

Sometimes, growling could also be an indication of a physical issue, pain, or illness. You might notice your Pug starts to growl more as they get older. Especially if they have bone or joint problems such as arthritis.  

If you are under any suspicion that your Pug is unwell visit your vet immediately. 

What to do about it: if your Pug is acting territorially, you’ve got to show them who’s boss (that’s you by the way). Your Pug thinks they’re the alpha and they must learn that that is simply not the case. The best way to avoid this is through proper puppy obedience training.

Unfortunately, Pugs who have had a rough start in life are more prone to aggressive behaviors like this. In this case, you may need the help of a dog behaviorist.  

Photo by Divyashish Prakash on Unsplash


Pugs are sassy little lads and ladies. And stubbornness is their middle name. In fact, many owners say that they’re sure their Pug is pretending not to hear them on the regular. 

This might be cause for laughter the first few times it happens, but eventually, it’s going to become a pain in the butt. Especially if you find yourself out and about with a Pug who won’t even respond to their own name. 

What to do about it: Training is key to defeating the Pug’s stubborn streak. If your planning on getting a Pug puppy, attending a puppy training course is a great idea. But even older Pugs, with a bit of time and patience, can make great progress when it comes to training. 

Start with some basic recall practice in the yard or in your local park (you might want to start by using a long leash before letting them run free). Remember to reward your Pug for great recall with cuddles and their favorite treat (chicken always goes down well). 

Wave goodbye to bad Pug behaviors

The key ingredient to good Pug behavior is proper socialization and training from puppyhood.

Whilst Pugs are generally docile animals, they are still animals with their own unique temperaments. Some might develop unwanted behaviors.

Looking out for Pug behavior problems in your dog is the best way to nip them in the bud early.