How to Raise and Train a Happy Puggle: Compassion and Consistency

by coachz10 on December 15, 2009

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Barking, Ankle Biting, Chewing, and Digging: Assertive Behavior in Puggles and the Puggle Head Tilt!

Puggles can be quite assertive, even aggressive at times, and particularly if not handled and trained properly!

Puggles tend to exhibit certain traits peculiar to the Beagles and Pug hybrid, to include:

1) Barking incessantly

2) Ankle biting

3) Chewing

4) Digging

5) Aggressive behavior, particularly among males and between males of different species

If handled properly, Puggles are a joy. TuffGuy is one of the most enjoyable dogs we have owned, personality plus!

However, if Puggles are not trained properly, if clear boundaries are not established early, they can be little monsters, pound for pound, a dog devoted to one thing, making your life a living nightmare…or so it will seem!

With respect to all of the above behaviors, there are clear and concise strategies for dealing with them effectively. Here are some of them:

Barking: Do not bark back!

Simply stop what you are doing and turn to the little devil and put up one finger and in a small, still voice (SSV) say, “Stop!” Then, look at them closely, even matching their gaze eye to eye, generally a sign of aggression but if you use a small, still voice (SSV) you can often get away with it, and say “Stop!” again. Be firm and, when the behavior stops praise them, pet them, and make a big deal out of the behavior.

Then, turn and walk away. If it starts again, repeat the behavior and make sure to reinforce the positive behavior. Before long he or she will get the idea and it will stop completely with just a finger pointed up.

Note: Some “doggy gurus” have suggested that ignoring will work, it may in some cases but I have also heard Puggles bark for hours nonstop. The finger point and the SSV always work!

Ankle biting: Usually when someone is leaving the house or apartment and your little one doesn’t want you to go!

In this case use the exact same strategy as you would for barking, I find that works best. However, once in a while you have to do something different. I often change my routine before leaving. You see, when you get ready to leave, they sense that and start undergoing separation anxiety. In order to break the pattern, simply alter the routine you use before leaving. This is quite effective and before you know it, the behavior goes extinct!

Chewing: Dogs chew and Puggles chew a lot!

Get plenty of chew toys and make sure you get chew toys they like. They will punish you for purchasing toys they don’t like, they will find something of yours that they do like! Bones are best, and I am talking about cow femurs! Have your grover or butcher cut the cow upper leg bones, the femur, into 6 inch pieces and then bake them until hard, usually 350 degrees for about an hour. Then, let them cool and ration them, watching that they don’t get worked down or your little buddy will revert to old habits…like your shoes!

They will love the bones and will carry them everywhere…problem solved!

BTW, it doesn’t hurt to puppy proof the house, you expect a 2 year old child to get into things…your Puggle is said to have the intelligence of a smart 2 year old, so they get into things!

Digging: Like chewing, this is something Puggles do!

First and foremost, keep their nails short and rounded. If you take your Puggle on regular walks you will never have an issue with sharp nails. Additionally, make sure your Puggle has his or her own space, including a blanket. Digging is due to a combination of behaviors, so it takes effort to extinguish it…but it can be done. Watch closely and when your Puggle begins to dig, stop then with a sharp “No!” or a loud clap of your hand! Either one will interrupt the pattern long enough for you to involve them in some other behavior, then praise your Puggle lavishly and consistently!

Aggressive intra or interspecies behavior: Puggles are assertive and it does no good to try to be the alpha yourself!

You must to watch for aggressive behavior and separate your Puggle immediately, without rewarding the Puggle for aberrant behavior. If you can find a balance between intervening and rewarding the behavior, and intervening and ignoring the behavior, you will be on the road to balance.

Remember, you are talking about dogs and they will work things out in the pack, so don’t micro manage; and, as much as possible, let them work it out…as difficult as this may be for you!

All in all, Puggles are an intelligent and loving breed and, if trained properly, they will provide you with years of delightful companionship. You must be consistent and your must be kind. If you can be consistent and lovingly respectful, they will, return the love and respect; and, training your Puggle will get a easier and the experience more enjoyable!

Best wishes for a long and happy relationship!

John and TuffGuy

John Zajaros and TufGuy
216-539-7412
Skype: johnzajaros1
tuffguy@PugglePlace.com

PS, If these Puggle training problems continue to be an issue, go to Puggle Place Dog Training Course for more information, at once!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandan September 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Everyone loves your web site! Have you got a twitter or myspace page? I’d like to get together and focus on a few things. I appreciate you for all your work.

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sheila August 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I need advise/help authorities puggle. We got her from the pound 1 month ago . She has been sick with worms and GI upset so her spay has been postponed for a month. She is about 3 or4 year’s old.
We have a lot of trouble with what I think is a very strong prey drive. We have a lot of cats in our neighborhood and when we walk she pulls like crazy anyway. But if she sees a cat, or anything in motion, she wants to chase/kill it. We have purchased a no pull leash, but she is still able to pull some. If we sees a cat, and sometimes sometimes with people, she pulls ridiculously hard and barks and does this screaming thing. Clearly she is very distressed and we can’t seem to snap her out of it. At home, she is very different, loving, cuddly, pretty calm. Do you have any recommendations? Do you think spaying will help? Medication?
Thanks.

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coachz10 August 3, 2013 at 12:57 am

Puggles are usually 1/2 Pug and 1/2 Beagle.

Their instinct is to give chase and they have a very powerful olfactory drive. In fact, when TuffGuy smells something, even after 6 years, he will get right on it!

You’re right, at home they are all Pug. TuffGuy is as social and loving as any dog I’ve ever owned and everyone I talk to says their Puggle is the same way!

However, until you train her, something that is obviously lacking, you are going to witness, first-hand, just how stubborn the Beagle side of your Puggle can be!

My suggestion is to walk her at night when things are fairly quiet and on a route you know well. Watch for cats and other distractions and be firm. If she tries to chase a cat, rabbit, squirrel, or bird? Tug her leash (be firm but not harsh) before she pulls you and she’ll eventually get the message.

However, it will take some time. If she is 3-4 years old and still exhibiting bad habits when walking, she will need some additional training.

Females aren’t as stubborn as males, so you have that going for you. And Puggles absolutely LOVE to walk. They also love to be included…in everything! So, make it a daily ritual to take her on longer walks, at least once a day and at a set time.

Before you know it, she will show up at your feet at the set time…day in and day out. Our set time is midnight and TuffGuy parks himself as close as he can to my desk and waits. Quite often he falls asleep on my feet while he’s waiting…and waits quietly until it’s walk time.

His bioclock is amazingly precise!

It’s obvious your Puggle has had little or no training, so give her time and she’ll be fine!

BTW, it’s not a killer instinct!

Puggles are naturally curious and, as mentioned above, the chase is in their DNA. Just be firm, consistent, and positive. Positive reinforcement will win her over.

Harsh words, shouting, or any sort of punishment will cause her to react in like manner…so understand that a consistent and loving manner will win out every time.

Finally, you may notice separation anxiety.

TuffGuy appeared at first to be an ankle biter because he tries to grab our feet when we try to leave. It’s only because they are so social and they don’t want us to leave. Consequently, they try to stop us in the only way they know how…by grabbing our feet!

If that sort of separation anxiety behavior surfaces:

Stop at once, turn around, and say “No!” in a firm and commanding voice. While you say “No!”, point at her and don’t move.

If she starts to object, say “No!” again a bit louder and look directly at her.

You will have to do this consistently for a few weeks, and she may still fall back into her old ways from time to time. However, she will eventually get the message…just as she will with the tugs on the leash and all of the rest.

Just be firm, consistent, and loving and she will come around.

Remember, Puggles love to be loved! Stay with it and you’ll have a great pet for a long time to come!

Good luck!

Jack Zajaros

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Ann Ehlers March 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Weezy who is 5 years old has been losing her lower front teeth. The Vet checked her mouth and everything was OK (no other failing teeth, no rot, gum disease, etc.) She is in excellent health and a very good eater. He said maybe she is just hitting herself because of her under bite. She doesn’t seem bothered by this. Should I be concerned. Also, the teeth don’t chip off, they fall out all in one piece.

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coachz10 April 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm

She’s awful young to be losing her teeth. However, if she doesn’t appear to be in any pain, and you have confidence in your vet, I’d simply watch her (mainly for signs of pain), keep her remaining teeth clean, and alter her diet. Give her softer food that won’t tear up her gums…because that can lead to infection, pain, and, in severe cases, death.

BTW, there are veterinary dentists. It might be a good idea to consult one…just to be sure. Good luck to you and to Weezy

Jack & TuffGuy

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