Pugs are usually calm, good-natured dogs. They aren’t known as biters. That’s not to say pugs don’t bite or that their bites don’t hurt. Every now and then, you’ll even run across an aggressive pug. This happens when pugs aren’t socialized properly.
When they are young, pugs are like any other puppy that likes to mouth, nip, and bite. It’s part of puppyhood.
A Bite vs a Nip
Before we go into further detail, let’s look at the differences between mouthing, nipping, and biting.
Mouthing is when a dog puts his mouth and teeth on the skin but doesn’t bite down. It’s almost like a gnawing motion. Puppies sometimes do this during downtime when you’re petting them.
Nipping is when the dog gently bites the skin. Puppies may do this during playtime. Their face is usually relaxed, and they may be wagging their tail when they nip.
Biting is when the dog clamps down hard enough to puncture the skin. Bites are painful and can cause damage to the skin, nerves, tendons, muscles, and even bones. In addition, they pose a high risk for infection. According to RxList, nearly 880,000 people in the U.S. seek emergency medical care every year due to dog bites.
The bottom line: You’ll want to work on stopping your pug from biting while he is still a puppy.
Dealing With Pug Biting During Puppyhood
Pug puppies often bite while playing. Sometimes this is less of an issue if they’ve learned from their mother and littermates not to bite. In any case, most pug puppies will bite your hand while playing.
There are several ways to discourage pug puppy biting. The first is to pull your hand away and give a loud squeal like a littermate would. This might startle your puppy and help him realize the behavior is unacceptable. Then turn away and ignore your pug for about ten seconds. It will take repeated tries to make this technique work.
Don’t pull your hand away from the biting and then go right back to playing near your pug’s mouth so he can bite again. This will confuse your pug, and he will think the biting is acceptable.
Another way to discourage your pug puppy from biting is to offer a toy instead. Keep small toys near you whenever you engage with your pug. This way, if he starts biting, you can place the toy in his mouth instead.
If those puppy training techniques don’t work, you can try “time out” for your pug. This is when you turn your back on your pug and ignore him for about ten minutes. End the session calmly and matter-of-factly rather than with affection. Sooner or later, your pup will get the hint.
In the worst-case scenario, you could try a small squirt of peppermint or spearmint breath spray. Dogs hate these flavors. Spray the trigger quickly in her mouth without fighting your puppy.
Be Aware of Teething
When pugs are about 12 weeks old, they start to lose their baby (milk) teeth. As their adult teeth grow in, puppies are a lot like babies—the teething hurts.
A teething pug will chew on just about anything he can get his mouth on. Pug puppies will chew furniture, baseboard, your shoes, you name it.
To help with this, give your pug puppy lots of chew toys. You can give him soft toys, nylon bones, bully sticks, and Kong toys. Avoid rawhide and real meat bones because they are difficult to digest, and your pug could choke on them.
Some people like to freeze their pug’s chew toys to provide even more relief for their sore teeth and gums.
Teething lasts until your pug is about six months old. Until all of his teeth are in, expect a lot of mouthing, nipping, and biting.
What If Your Pug Is Biting as an Adult?
Older pugs can bite, too. Some of the reasons this happens include:
- Your pug never learned to stop biting as a puppy
- Your pug is afraid or feels threatened
- Your pug is trying to exert dominance
- Your pug is bored and acting out
- Your pug doesn’t feel well
- Your pug had some type of trauma in the past
- Your pug had an aggressive parent
If your pug feels afraid or threatened, she may try to bite. It’s a normal reaction for a dog, even one as good-natured as a pug.
Other Reasons Pugs Bite
On the other hand, your pug might be trying to exert dominance over you. You must teach your dog that you are the leader of the pack—not her. There are proven ways to work with a dominant dog so that they understand their role in the pack.
Sometimes, a pug will bite because she is acting out. Perhaps she is bored or needs more exercise. Pugs don’t need a lot of exercise, but two 20-minute walks per day will give them the stimulation and exercise that they need.
Other times, biting can be a sign that your pug doesn’t feel well. Maybe she is irritable and wants to be left alone. Or maybe she is trying to tell you that she’s sick. In any case, you should consult a vet if your dog bites and is acting like she may be ill.
Be aware that if you rescue a pug, she may be coming from a less than ideal situation. Pugs who have been victims of abuse may either become aggressive or fearful, and both scenarios can lead to biting. Whenever you bring a rescue into your home, understand that it will take time to work with the dog to build trust.
Pugs may also be aggressive if one of their parents was aggressive. If you’re buying a pug puppy, spend time with its parents to look for any signs of aggressiveness. Generally speaking, pugs are sweet, happy dogs. But it’s still wise to be on guard for any signs of genetic aggression.
In Conclusion – Do Pugs Bite?
Does a pug bite? While pugs are fun-loving dogs, yes, there is a chance they may bite. Do all you can while your pug is a puppy to curb biting behavior. If your pug is an adult that bites, talk with a vet. They will give you practical tips and likely recommend a professional dog trainer to work with you and your pug.
In the meantime, give your pug a kiss. They are wonderful pets who can provide a lifetime of love!
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.