Pug Training 101: Teaching Your Pug to Come When Called

The latest training post is here for you and it is all about teaching the recall command. Teaching your pug to come when called is one of the most important commands you can train. A good recall command can save your pugs life.

When trained well your pug should hear their name, the command, and within 3 seconds be on route to you. They should finish in a sitting position looking up at your face.

Start your training in a low distraction area. You will need your pug on lead, high value food treats and your running shoes! Place a food treat on your pug’s nose. Get them interested and following the food, start to run backwards as you give the command “{NAME} COME”. There should be no tension in your lead.

After a few paces backwards stop and ask your pug to sit. Say “Yes” and give the reward they have chased. When you want to end the exercise say “Free” to formally end.

A few repetitions of this and your pug should start to understand the command. It’s important to not repeat the command in this training.

The next part of training requires a second person. Get them to hold your pugs lead, tease your pug up with a treat and run away from them. As you are running give the command “{NAME} COME”. As soon as the command is given your helper must drop the lead, your pug will come charging after you! Stop and face them, ask them to sit say “yes” and reward. Don’t forget to end with your “Free” command.

Your pug will be loving his training, it’s basically a game of chase followed by a yummy treat. Keep your sessions short and always finish on a high note.

As your pug gets better and better you can run away further before giving the command. This is still done best with a second set of hands to hold your pug back.

When you are doing really well you won’t even need to tease your pug with the food first, you phase out the lure and just have a reward.

The next stages of training is to work in new surroundings, your pug might be doing well with this in the lounge room or hall way but how will he do with the distractions of the back garden?

Out in the back garden there is a lot to distract your pug. I suggest you train him on a long line or horse lunging reign. Clip the long line to your pug and let him go out exploring. Call your pug “{NAME} COME” and reward him as soon as he returns. Should he be a little distracted and not respond don’t repeat the command, simply reel him in on the long line as a gentle reminder. Reward every time he comes back to you.

There is probably 100 stages of training a pug to recall. Your pug shouldn’t be off the lead unless his recall is 100% reliable. The above notes and my video take you through stages 1 – 5 of training. There is another 95 stages to go through.

Continue to add distractions to your training, balls, food, other dogs or other pugs. Make sure you practice in plenty of different areas, some familiar some unfamiliar. This will help to proof your training.

I am often asked when someone can have their dog off lead at the dog park… my response is always the same… “When you can call your dog away from a small child eating a chicken sandwich.” For more information on teaching your pug to come when called, read this article on my own puppy training site.

Good luck and happy pug training everyone!

I would love to see some training videos uploaded to the Facebook page too so I can see how well your pug is doing with the recall command. And always feel free to leave your questions and comments below for me to read. I love to hear feedback and what you would like to see in upcoming training posts.

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Amy Smith
Amy Smith is a certified dog and puppy obedience trainer. She is very passionate about helping dogs, in particular puppies, to become the best fur kid they can be in your family. Amy runs regular puppy training classes through her business on Sydney's Northern Beaches, Amy's Puppy Pre-school.

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