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Why Is My Pug Becoming Aggressive?

Why Is My Pug Becoming Aggressive?

Pugs’ wrinkly noses make us melt. And those stocky bodies make them adorable when they strut. So, why is my cute pup becoming an aggressive pug?

We identify the traits and characteristics of pugs in this article. And you’ll learn how to deal with a pug that’s displaying aggressive behavior.

Let’s get started.

What Are the Typical Traits and Characteristics of a Pug?

The Pug breed has been around for about 2,000 years. It could be found in ancient China as the pet of emperors. They were regarded as treasures that outsiders could only have if gifted to them.

Pugs are generally known to be charming and mischievous. But overall, they love dogs, are usually good with kids, and can make friends easily. They’re playful and are always looking for someone to join in the fun. Although, they have a moderate energy level and like the idea of being a couch potato, so you’re likely to find a pug ready for a nap after some play.

They’re also normally adaptable and quite easy to train since they enjoy pleasing their owners. Pugs are fairly protective but they’re not typically barkers, making them ideal house dogs.

person holding pug dog
Pugs may be a little mischievous but they’re also protective and loving.

Do Pugs Have a Temper?

Pugs are affectionate, especially with family members. While pugs can develop aggressive behaviors, it’s not their nature to have a temper. 

If your pug has a temper, it may need more training and socialization. The breed is trainable and aims to please. So, with proper direction and a routine, a pug should calm down.

Did you know? Pugs aren’t known for being aggressive or great guard dogs due to their size. That’s why you’ll never see a pug in a police K9 unit like K9 Arlo is.

Why Is My Pug Becoming Aggressive? 

Even though pugs are trainable and can be good with children, adults, and other dogs, There are a number of factors that could lead to more aggressive behaviors.

An aggressive pug may be afraid of something. Or it may attempt to establish dominance and territory within a certain space. A lack of training and socialization can also cause them to become aggressive toward people and other animals. Unfortunately, poor treatment or negative experiences at a young age can also cause fear and defensive behavior.

Pugs typically express these odd behaviors when something triggers them. For example, if they’re left alone for long periods of time, they may act out. Or if another dog they’re around a lot shows aggression, they may mimic some of the behaviors. This can be especially true for puppies who learn from others in their pack.

two pugs
Regular socialization with people and other dogs will help pugs calm down and be their playful selves.

What Type of Aggression Might Pugs Exhibit?

An aggressive pug may exhibit different behaviors depending on what is triggering it. Whether it’s fear or something else, there are four main types of aggression to be aware of.


A dog may bite if it’s excited while you’re playing. This is typically an accidental nip. But an aggressive bite is something of concern. If your pug bites you because it’s impatient or afraid, that’s a red flag. If you’re unsure of the difference between the two, an aggressive bite will likely be more painful than a playful nip and accompany stiff or frantic body language versus play.

The best thing to do if your pug bites is to be vocal by saying “Ouch!” loudly to let it know you’re hurt. Stop play time immediately. Then, give a timeout, such as sending it to a crate or specific room for up to a minute. 

Resistance to Training

An aggressive pug may be showing resistance to training. If this is the case, it may be your dog needs a little extra boost or a change in training techniques. Remember, the breed is quite laid back and prefers to lounge on the couch. So, using treats and positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement to promote training will benefit you. 

If your pug continues to be resistant, you may need to call in professional help. Consider taking your pug to dog obedience school or having someone come to the house to train it.

woman training a sitting dog
If your pug is resistant to training, you may want to consider calling in a professional to help.


Pugs typically like people and other dogs, but they can still develop jealousy. Consider if you got a new pet or perhaps you’ve added a baby to the family. The aggression your pug is displaying may result from feeling a threat to its territory and resources. Be sure to dedicate special time to your pug and positively reinforce sharing of attention and interacting with the other animal or person.

Dominance and Protection

Pugs are great companions and protective by nature. An aggressive pug may be trying too hard to establish dominance in an effort to protect you or other family members. If this is the case, additional training and more socializing are likely in order.

How Do You Deal With an Aggressive Pug? 

While an aggressive pug may be frustrating, it’s possible to correct the behavior. Let’s look at the best ways to calm your dog and make life less stressful.

Train the Trainer (That’s You!)

We hate to say it, but most behavioral issues start with the training techniques of the trainer: you. So take some time to learn proper training techniques to deal with your pug’s aggressive behaviors. 

There are several pug training videos on YouTube. And if you’re at a loss, hiring a professional is a great way to understand how to train your dog and be consistent going forward. Just remember, while a trainer may be able to correct a behavior, you need to understand how to maintain it.


Aggressive pugs are being triggered by something. Identify the source of the triggering behavior. Then, start with controlled exposure and desensitization to what it is.

For example, if your dog barks at other dogs walking by. Desensitize by having it look at you instead and give it a treat every time it does so. Be repetitive until your pug no longer focuses on the other dog but instead automatically looks at you. This method is honestly very easy, it just requires patience and lots of repetition over weeks and even months. However, it has proven to be very effective at diverting that negative response into positive action.


Pugs need socialization and may display aggressive behaviors without it. So, an easy way to keep your pup happy is to ensure it has plenty of interaction with people and other dogs from a young age. If you don’t have friends with dogs, seek out dog parks in your community. 

A great way to socialize your pug with other dogs is to get them comfortable with you touching their toys first. Reward your pet when it doesn’t growl or bite when you pick up a toy. Remember to speak happily and reassure them that all is well.

Pro Tip: If your pet likes to guard their toys, a great place to start is by trading toys with them. Instead of simply taking away their toy, try trading for an equally valuable one.

Obedience Training

There’s no shame in taking your pug to professional training. In fact, it may be the best thing for you and your dog. It takes consistency to train any dog, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed you should definitely seek help. Participating in obedience training will help set you up for success in eliminating any aggressive behaviors your pug may be displaying. We’ll bet you’ll even have fun in the process!

Why Are Pugs Mischievous?

The answer is quite simple. Pugs are too smart! 

Pugs are an intelligent dog breed, which can lead them to get in trouble from time to time. The mischievous behavior often comes out if they’ve been alone for too long. They like to find things to get into around the house. And they may make a mess for you just to remind you to come home early next time. In other words, they know how to wrap their owners around their paws.

Once dogs learn that a negative or aggressive behavior gets them what they want, they remember. The best thing to do is to anticipate scenarios where aggressive behavior could happen, then either expose them in a controlled way to make it positive or avoid the experience as much as possible. Proper crate training, obedience training, and positive distractions can do wonders to prevent bad behaviors from ever starting.

four dogs on leashes
Pugs are smart. An aggressive pug can be trained to calm down.

Train Your Aggressive Pug to Be Calm and Happy

Training an aggressive pug to be calm and happy is possible. Don’t be discouraged if your dog is acting out. We encourage you to review the tips in this article to enhance your training techniques and ensure your pug gets the necessary socialization. 

Pugs are kind and cuddly companions. It’s not their instinct to be aggressive, so that can be reversed. And we believe your pup will thank you for calming it down! 

Are you dealing with an aggressive pug? What training techniques have you tried? Leave a comment below.

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