Pug Barking Problem: Here’s How To Easily Control It!


Barking is a way for dogs to communicate their feelings and intent to the world around them. Some dogs will bark more than others for various reasons, and this can be dependent on the breed type. So, do pugs bark a lot?

Pugs are typically calm and docile, so while they do bark, it’s usually not excessive. However, pug barking problems can develop as a result of behavioral and disciplinary issues. This can be addressed with proper training, exercise, and adequate stimulation.

If your pug is regularly going into a barking frenzy, then it’s important to figure out where this behavior stems from. By firstly identifying the cause of the barking problem, it will allow you to implement the most appropriate technique to then control these outbursts. Not only will it make for a happier pug, but also a quieter household.

Reasons Why Pugs Bark

There are several reasons why a pug may bark. Some of these are more serious than others, so it’s vital that owners know how to interpret their barking and respond accordingly. The aim is to develop a deep enough connection with your pet that you’re able to understand each situation without needing to give it much thought.

1. Communication

Dogs bark as a way of communicating their thoughts and emotions. This is natural and comes instinctively since canines can’t talk like humans. It can be a signal to owners that it’s time to be fed, use the toilet, or go for their daily walk. If your pug follows the same routine everyday, then they’re likely to bark at you during those specific times, especially if you haven’t already taken the initiative.

For instance, if you’re slow to feed your pug in the morning or afternoon, they will give you a friendly reminder. If they’re used to going on midday walks, but you’re a little too busy that day, they may bark out of frustration as a way to ask why they aren’t going. They can also bark in anticipation of a family member arriving home at specific times and out of excitement.

Sometimes, barking can be a learned behavior. It usually stems from owners unknowingly teaching their pug to bark in specific scenarios without realizing it. For example, if a pug is barking at their owner as a way of asking them to share some of the food they’re eating, and the owner responds by feeding the dog and then praising it, then that action has been positively reaffirmed as correct. From that point on, they will associate barking at their owner as a means of getting fed.

2. Protectiveness

Pugs are very loyal companion dogs that are known for their affection and cuddling abilities. However, these traits can make them very protective of their loved ones, especially when encountering potential threats and suspicious strangers. This is a breed that will jump in front of their owner when danger presents itself.

Sometimes, pugs will bark at seemingly “nothing”. When this happens, it could just be that their better sense of smell and hearing was able to pick up something unusual. It may not seem obvious to us and many might think they’re barking at a ghost. But sometimes, it’s simply because our human eyes and ears aren’t able to detect what dogs are able to.

For instance, back in the 16th Century, Pompey the pug was famous for protecting prince William from nearby assassins. This protective pug had great senses and was able to alert the royal in time before the intruders could pose a threat. It’s very intuitive for a pug to bark when a warning is deemed necessary.

3. Boredom

Pugs might be calm and docile for most of the day, but they still need to be stimulated. Whether that’s physically or mentally, this can be achieved through exercise, walks, training, and smart toys. A pug that’s bored is going to develop behavioral issues, and part of that will involve excess barking. They may do that to get your attention, so that you can play and interact with them. In order to avoid this, ensure that you’re giving your furry friend the quality time and attention that they need.

4. Neglect

Similar to the last point, neglect is another reason that can cause a pug to bark excessively. This may or may not be the fault of the owner, as we all live very busy lives. For instance, a change in job, lifestyle, or personal life, can all mean less time with your pug. Leaving a pug alone for extended periods of time can lead to your dog developing separation anxiety.

In severe cases, pugs that suffer from this disorder will be extraordinarily clingy. They will bark more often since they will feel like they are competing for your attention all the time. In order to prevent this, make sure you’re setting time aside each day to spend quality time with you dog. Sometimes, bonding means more than just going for the same 10-20 minute walk each day.

5. Excitement

No surprise to see this as a reason for a pug to bark. Like most dogs, pugs will bark to communicate to their owner that they are feeling happy and excited. Whether it’s a family member arriving home or time to play, your pug may bark in anticipation of it. Usually, this is combined with a tail that wags vigorously, especially in cases where they can’t contain their level of excitement.

6. Curiosity

A curious pug that is investigating something unusual can cause confusing. When they don’t know how to react, they may let out a bark. Sometimes, this can be seen alongside the pug’s famous head tilt, whinging, and the bark may be high pitched.

For instance, my pug Finn does this when chasing shadows. He can’t quite figure out what they are, and thinks they’re friends that he can play with. It’s not uncommon to hear his yappy bark while out under the sun. Additionally, barking at foreign things that he’s unfamiliar with, such as bugs and insects, can happen too.

7. Disciplinary Issues

Pugs that lack obedience may bark in an attempt to get what they want. Often, you will catch your pug barking when the family is enjoying a meal at the dining table. They’re signalling to their owners that they would like to be fed too. The best thing to do in this scenario is to ignore your pug.

Otherwise, it enables begging behavior, which is very annoying to deal with. They will bark and whine until someone gives in and feeds them. This response teaches them that by being annoying, it can get them treats. So the best thing to do is to ensure that everyone in the family is on the same page. This extends to things like wanting their toys, belongings, and playtime.

8. Health Problems

Excessive barking, especially in senior pugs can be due to canine cognitive dysfunction. When it happens for no apparent reason, it can be the result of canine dementia. Barking is an aggressive behavior that stems from stress, anxiety, fear, and confusion. If you notice a sudden and drastic change in your dog’s personality, the best thing to do is to take your pug to the vet for a clinical examination.

Senior dogs can also experience deafness and loss of hearing as they age. Although, this can be cause by severe ear infections in the inner ear canal too. When a pug’s hearing is impacted, they are more likely to bark. The reason being is that they either cannot hear your response and think they’re being ignored. Additionally, they will likely get more easily startled since they cannot hear something coming, causing them to bark.

9. Dreaming

It’s not uncommon to see a pug sleeping; after all, they can sleep for up to 14 hours per day in total. Although they may sleep more than humans do, they get a lot less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is when they are in deep sleep and get most of their best rest. Compared to humans that spend 25% of their sleep in the REM cycle, dogs only get 10% of REM sleep. This means they need to make up for it by sleeping more throughout the day.

In saying that, when they are in their REM stage of sleep, this is when they’re most likely dreaming and at most ease. Your pug will most likely picture images and dream, just like we do. It won’t be uncommon to see your pug barking as a result of this. You shouldn’t try and wake them up, as it’ll give them a fright, which may result in an instinctive and reactionary bite.

This barking shouldn’t be very excessive, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much. However, if it does become more regular, and their sleep hygiene isn’t the healthiest, then you should definitely take your pug to the vet for a proactive check up.

10. Television

Pugs can register sounds and images coming from a TV because dogs. are able to perceive images from a TV faster than humans do. As a result, they will bark when they recognize dogs and other animals on the screen. It can be due to excitement, fear, or even out of frustration. There are ways in which you can stop your pug from barking every time you watch a movie or documentary.

Pugs are especially good at recognizing cartoons and animals. I’ve personally found it really hard watching anything that’s animated, or documentaries that involve animals and nature. Barking usually ensues, and the best way I was able to stop this was by implementing the tethering technique.

By temporarily tethering your pug to a piece of heavy furniture, you can teach them to stop reacting so aggressively while watching TV. Start by putting a show or movie on the TV that you know will garner a reaction from your dog. As soon as your pug barks at the TV, immediately give them a “timeout” command. Over time, they will associate that word with the behavior.

From there, tether your pug close enough so that they’re still able to see you, while far away enough so they can’t reach you. Once locked in, go back to resuming your show and ignore your dog until they calm down. As soon as they settle, go back and give them treats and praises. Rinse and repeated until successful!

Deciphering Barking Noises

There are specific sounds that a dog will make in order to communicate their feelings, emotions, and intentions. It’s important for owners to know how to decipher between the various barking sounds that a pug can produce. This comes with time and a deeper level of connection that transcends the use of words.

To start with, try and notice the range in pitch when barking in different situations. Some examples that I have picked up include:

  • Low growl – usually a signal of frustration.
  • Short “bruff” – indicating that it’s that time of the day to be fed or to go on a walk. This is more common in dogs that are used to a specific daily routine.
  • High pitched – A yappy bark can be a call for attention or when they want to play. It can also happen when they’re confused or curious about something. I often hear this high pitched bark when my pug is investigating a bug or a shadow that he’s confused about.
  • Extended howl – this form of vocal communication can be used to signal their presence to strangers. It can also help attract attention or to make contact with others. If there are strangers nearby, and they’re noticed, your pug may howl in response to their presence.
  • Whiney – this is can be common when a pug sees another dog or animal that they want to interact with. Usually, they’ll be held back by their owner. Being such a sociable breed, their want to greet and play with the other dog will likely result in a very whiney set of barks.

Techniques To Control Barking

While we have already covered several techniques to controlling your pug’s barking behaviors in specific situations, there are some others that we would like to touch on. These are more general and can be really helpful in helping you maintaining are quieter and more peaceful household.

Although, we would like to reiterate that a dog needs to bark in order to communicate, and you should never strive to train your dog to be completely silent. Controlling it however is more suitable in situations where you have sleeping babies, or live very close to neighbours like in an apartment complex.

Positive Reinforcement

Whichever type of training you are doing, e.g. tethering technique, it is important to prioritize positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement helps associate an action with good, which gets reinforced by treats and praises. On the other hand, negative reinforcement focuses on punishment when an action or command is performed incorrectly.

The reason why we have a strong stance on this is because punishment can do more harm than good for a dog. Your pet can develop severe anxiety and fear over doing something incorrect. This adds extra stress and panic during training sessions, and it becomes more dreadful than fun.

This includes the use of shock and spray collars to control excessive barking. Not only can these techniques and equipments be seen as inhumane, but it doesn’t always work. If your dog gets incorrectly punished by these collars, it can really cause confusion and throw off your training. They may instead associate another action to being shocked or sprayed, which will be very counterintuitive.

The most you should do is by giving them a stern “no” or “timeout” when they do something incorrectly. This is enough to help them associate that an action is wrong. Especially with pugs, if you do decide to give them a 5-10 minute timeout, it will absolutely deter them from being ill disciplined. They’re lap dogs and crave constant attention, so being separated for a short amount of time is enough to do the trick.

Rather, focus on providing praises, pats, and treats as a form of reward for a correct behavior. Not only can you control excessive barking with positive reinforcement, it will also help create a stronger bond between you and your pug.

Attention & Stimulation

While we have already touched on these factors, we can’t stress enough how important it is to provide your pug with enough quality attention and exercise as part of their overall care. The reason being is that they are companion dogs that are more naturally dependent. Neglect leads to separation anxiety, which causes excessive barking.

Exercise is necessary to control their weight, but it’s also a great form of physical and mental stimulation. Tiring them out with exercise and burning off an excess energy will result in a more laid back and chilled pug for the rest of the day. Any pent up energy will want to be used, hence causing your pug to bark more.

Additionally, going for walks can stimulate their minds, as they’re likely to be exposed to different sights, sounds, and smells. This type of sensory arousal keeps things fun and fresh, as they’re more than likely spending the majority of their day at home. It can get really boring being in the same environment and seeing the same things repeatedly, which can understandably cause a pug to lash out with excessive barking.

Related Questions

Do pugs bark a lot? Not normally, they are known to be fairly quiet and docile. However, they will bark at suspicious activity or if they are given a reason to do so. As long as your pug is properly trained and socialised, they shouldn’t bark excessively.

Why do Pugs bark weird? Pugs can make some really odd yet funny sounds! These weird sounds can be used as a way to communicate their emotions, feelings, and intentions at a given time. It’s imperative for owners to develop this level of understanding with their pug by learning what they are trying to communicate.

Pug barking at strangers? If your pug perceives someone as a threat then barking becomes a common response. However, this can also be the result of a pug not having been adequately socialized, which can make them shy, protective, and even territorial. It’s important to expose your pug to different people and animals.

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