I need some pug training advice and to know whether or not what I am doing is the best way to train my pug.
I adopted the sweetest and most precious 3 year-old "intact" male rescue pug named Mudge. He needs to be neutered ASAP, but unfortunately the vet is booked until next Wednesday. The foster guardian's excuse was that they do not neuter or spay pugs due to their anatomy/flat face and the risk of anesthesia. My vet says this is not the case and that he will be perfectly fine... Anyway, in the meantime I am trying to get his marking behavior under control between now and when he is neutered. On the ride home from the foster home he did fine during the long car ride (4 hours) and did not have an accident or anything. I thought, "Wow, this is going great!" However, when we got home he immediately started to try and mark... literally... everything. Luckily, he was only successful once. I make sure to stay close to him the entire time he is in the house. Whenever he lifts his leg to mark I immediately scoop him up and plop him outside to do his business out there. I provide a treat and lots of praise for marking outside.
I am also crate training him because of the marking situation. I am starting from scratch like I am working with a puppy. If I cannot keep a close eye on him (i.e. cleaning/laundry etc.) I put him in his crate. I am thinking if I let him roam free while I cannot watch him it will just encourage him to continue marking and will reinforce that. I am also crating him at night. The crate is next to my bed for the time being.
We are also working on training him to walk on a leash to and from the dog park. It seems to me that he was never walked and never house trained... or even played with. He has no idea what to do with a ball or any dog toys. Later today he did start chewing on one of his stuffed toys. When we throw a ball he just looks at it. Is this typical for a pug? I was thinking maybe he is nervous because he is in a new place, but he is warming up to us really nicely. He already follows me all over the house and loves to get pets. He is just the most lovable guy.
Anyway, I am just wondering if it sounds like I am on the right track. I called a dog trainer to see if I should maybe send him to obedience training. Do you all think it is too late at this point?
Sounds like you are doing the right thing as regards the marking issue. Going back to basics is the way to go. The neuter may help but do not expect miracles. The marking could be an ingrained habit that will be hard to shift even when he is neutered. So keep up with the training.
As for the toys - just provide a selection and let him explore them at his leisure. As for the ball, my pugs look aghast if I throw one. "What? Me? Fetch? You threw the ball - you can jolly well go and get it yourself." So whilst he is probably displaying ignorance of toys, the lack of interest in fetching balls is a pug thing.
It is never too late to do obedience training. You and the dog can build up a lovely bond by doing that together. You might want to wait until he's recovered from the neuter operation and got more settled in to your house, so maybe in a month or so would be a good time to start.
I just wanted to add that belly bands have been an invaluable tool for me with Oscar!! We adopted him when he was a year old and he was intact as well. He was quite the marker and would do it every chance he got. I also had to wait for a neuter, so we purchased some belly bands and had them rush shipped to us. They made things so much easier. He didn't appreciate wetting himself at all, so they drastically cut down on how much he would mark. Over time, I was able to cut down when he wore them to only mornings because that's when he would sneak off. Now and finally at 7 years old he doesn't mark in the house at all anymore. I haven't had one on him in about 6 months. This is who we bought ours through on Ebay: 3 Male Flannel Dog Belly Bands Diaper Better Than Others U Pick Fabric | eBay
Owned by: Buddy 11-22-03 - 4-17-14 RIP My Buddy, Oscar 1-18-09, & Sophie 4-08-10 - 10-08-15 RIP Sweet Sophie, Elmer Chihuahua 10-6-12, & Otto Chihuahua 11-28-14, 2 Fabulous Kitties, Wife to Chris and Mom to Ryan!
"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites or women for men." Alice Walker
"Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!" ~Anne Tyler
Thank you both for your suggestions! I think we may try belly bands and definitely obedience training once he settles in. As for the fetching... he still looks at me like, "What...are you expecting me to get that or something?" Aside from the marking, he is a fairly easy dog! We are having a lot of fun with him.