Housebreaking a new puppy is an important first step in a long-term relationship, and of course, you want to start on the right paw, crate training will help you achieve just that and establish some house rules right from the start.
The good news is that crate training a pug when done right can be relatively easy and fast compared to most breeds.
It’s the pugs’ highly adaptive personality and eagerness to please their humans that makes them easier to train, you can add to that their average energy level which makes your task at hand easier, especially for busy owners.
The crate training process should start as soon as the pug is home, and the younger the puppy the better, old dogs have already acquired habits that need to be changed.
Should pugs be crate trained?
Unless your dog has some sort of separation anxiety or old bad experiences with the crate, then yes you should definitely crate train your pug or any breed for that matter.
Most dog owners know very little about crate training and its purpose, benefits, and if it’s even worth it.
Other dog owners find it cruel to crate train a dog, which is totally wrong, due to little knowledge about the dog’s nature.
All dogs are by nature denning animals, if you don’t provide one your pug will find a spot and mark it as his den, and it could be anywhere, behind a couch or under some table…
The crate provides a den for your dog that is safe personal and most importantly convenient for you and your dog.
It will also give you peace of mind when you leave your dog home alone, when traveling, and also at the vet’s.
Preparing for the crate training journey
Crate training a puppy is basically creating a good and healthy relationship with the crate, that’s why it’s a delicate process that needs to be planned for.
Bringing a new pug home is an exciting moment for the whole family and boy are they fun, most new owners get super excited and can’t wait to take their dog shopping for a crate and some toys and food.
Before you do that, you should know a few things to make a good buying decision and have the perfect tools for the job.
Choosing the right crate
There are various types of crates and each has its pros and cons, depending on how you plan to use it and the breed of dogs you have.
The most popular crates are the wire and plastic crates, there are also the heavy-duty ones for strong and aggressive dogs.
When it comes to crate training we’ve experienced all types and found that the wire crate can really help you ease the process especially at the beginning and we’ll be explaining this later on when we get to the actual steps.
Pugs are not large nor aggressive dogs, so there is no need for a heavy-duty crate, but a soft-sided crate is not a good idea neither.
Pug crate size
Choosing the perfect-sized crate for your pug is the most important thing about the whole process, If you get this wrong it can make the crate training difficult, longer, and perhaps even impossible.
- The crate should be big enough for the dog to stand up, lay down and turn around comfortably with a few extra inches on each side.
- The crate should not be too big for the dog or else he’ll sleep in one corner and make the other his potty corner.
- The crate should have a divider to adjust its size as the puppy grows not to change crates every couple of months.
According to the AKC standards, pugs are 10-13 inches in height and weigh around 14-18 pounds, for a dog this big the perfect crate is 24 inches.
We strongly recommend the Midwest Ultima Pro Metal Crate (check price at Amazon), it comes with a divider and has a double doors feature which makes exploring it easy for the dog in the early stages of the training.
Many new dog owners think that crate training is cruel and try to compensate for that by buying a very large crate which is a mistake because a crate that is way too big is no longer a crate and it’s best to go for a playpen instead.
Treats are without a doubt the quickest way to lure a dog into the crate, that’s why you need to have treats ready before you even consider crate training your pug.
Treats should be small in size to help you lure the puppy into the crate, reward good behavior and encourage the puppy when inside the crate.
Of course, treats should not be used excessively, they can affect a puppy’s diet and cause obesity especially that pugs are not very active dogs.
Pugs are not lazy dogs and they’re not prone to obesity like bulldogs, but too many treats can make them fat, here is the Official Breed Club Health Statement for more information about the breed’s general health and tests to consider.
We use and recommend Zuke’s Mini Naturals Training Dog Treats (check at Amazon) they come in very small bites and with less than 3 calories per treat.
You can of course crate train a pug without treats but it would take a lot longer and won’t be easy that’s why we don’t recommend it for inexperienced dog owners.
Toys are also a great motivational tool that will help you when crate training your pug puppy, and you’ll need two types of toys.
Chew toys will help you keep the puppy distracted inside the crate when you need to leave and after the meals.
Interactive toys will help release the energy before your pug goes into his crate, and make a good training session to bond and also as a rewarding activity.
A dog that is low on energy especially after a play session is more willing to go into the crate to relax, but interactive toys are to be used only for that purpose and when you are there.
On the other hand, your pug can have access to his chew toys at all times especially inside the crate to keep him distracted.
We recommend using The Kong (Check at Amazon), it’s strong and it can be filled with treats making a great food puzzle that will keep your dog distracted for a while, as for the interactive toys any will do, I personally prefer rope toys.
The perfect spot for the crate
Choosing the perfect spot for your pug’s crate is also important, he needs to feel comfortable in it, away from anything that could be disturbing as it will become a spot to relax.
So what makes a good crate placement?
- The crate should not be placed next to noisy machines like refrigerators, heaters, or anything disturbing.
- It should not be directly exposed to the sun or in a spot with too much airflow.
- It can’t be placed in a dark spot that does not get any sunlight during the day.
- The crate must be placed somewhere close to the living area where the family is around so the puppy doesn’t feel left alone.
- At night it should be close to your bedroom so you can hear the puppy when whining or when it needs to go for a break.
We believe it’s more convenient to have two crates one for the night and another in the living area during the day, or you can of course just move it from room to room.
The perfect time to start the crate training
If there is one thing you should learn when it comes to training dogs it would be never introducing your dog to something when it’s time to do it.
Following this advice, it would be better to start in the morning so your dog has an entire day to interact with the crate before he has to sleep in it.
We recommend doing it on the weekend morning to get as much time as possible to introduce your dog to his new home and get some bonding and interaction done before nighttime.
How to crate train a pug
Now that you’ve chosen the perfect crate placed it well and have the tools ready, it’s time to move on to the actual crate training steps.
Following these easy steps will make the crate training easier and faster, so make sure each step is valid before you move on to the next.
Rushing things could sometimes backfire so take things easy but don’t worry if it does happen, all you have to do is go back step and start over.
1.Introducing your pug to his crate
The first impression is important when crate training a pug puppy, so take things slow and don’t force your puppy into the crate.
At this point, open your crate doors and secure them to avoid any incidents, if your puppy gets trapped inside accidentally, he’ll freak out and it will be harder to get him inside again.
Take your pug preferably with the leash on and just circle around the crate for a couple of minutes, let him sniff around, and check the crate out.
Puppies are naturally curious, so just keep doing the same thing for a few minutes every time and make it casual and your pug will eventually get in there and when he does it’s your cue that it’s time for the next step.
2.Exploring the crate
When your dog starts showing interest in the crate it’s the perfect time to use the treats just toss one in and your puppy will follow in.
It’s at this stage of the crate training process that the wire crate comes in handy it has two doors and it’s open and gives the do puppy an open view so he’s not scared or feeling trapped being inside it.
When your pug gets inside the crate to get the treat you need to reward with more treats and verbally praise him.
Repeat this lure and reward step a few times, pugs are smart dogs so in no time your puppy will figure it out and start to get inside the crate on his own to get the treat and that’s the sign that he’s ready for the next step.
3.Making the crate great
At this stage of the program, your pug is not afraid of getting in the crate ad he already established an association between being in the crate and being praised and rewarded, so it’s time to build on that.
We now need to make the crate a great place for your puppy a place where he feels safe and where great things happen, dogs do evaluate places based on experience and memories that’s why nothing bad needs to be associated with the crate.
It is extremely hard to crate train a puppy if you force him into the crate or use it to punish him for time out and that’s one of the biggest mistakes dog owners do you can’t even yell at your dog when inside the crate it needs to be a safe zone.
We can’t stress enough about the fact that the crate should not be used for punishing the dog, in fact, if you don’t catch your dog in the act there is no need for punishment simply because it will only confuse them.
The best way to create a bond with the crate is to use food and toys, start serving your dog his meals in the crate then secure a chew toy inside the crate for your dog to stay inside as long as possible inside.
4.Pug in the crate closed
While your pug is enjoying his meal inside the crate you can slowly close the door while keeping an eye on his reaction.
Don’t rush things gradually increase the time the door of the crate stays closed and open it at the first sign of rejection.
It is best to have a walk or a play session with interactive toys before your dog goes into the crate so he’s more willing to just relax.
In the beginning, you want to stay next to the crate while your pug is feeding with the crate closed, when he finishes his meal offer a chew toy to keep him distracted inside.
You need to gradually increase the time your pug stays in the crate after his meal up until he’s doing 30 minutes with no signs of panic or freaking out, and that’s your cue for the final step of the process.
5.Pug home alone
Leaving the pug alone in the crate is the hardest part and you need to be patient with it, if you just leave and your dog feels trapped or abandoned you’ll have a hard time gaining his trust again.
Start slow and begin with moving around the crate while he’s feeding instead of just sitting next to it while keeping an eye on your puppy.
If things are going as planned you can leave the room for a couple of minutes at a time and then go back inside but act casual.
Slowly increase the time you spend out of the room while the puppy is alone in the crate and watch his reaction, go slow until he has no problem with it and he understands that you are around even if you’re not in the same room.
At this point, you can leave the house for 30 minutes at a time, but you want to keep a couple of things in mind.
When you leave don’t make a scene, you don’t need to say goodbye and also when you get back inside don’t let your dog out of the crate right away.
Your pug should not associate being in the crate with being left alone that’s why even if you are not leaving the house get your dog on his crate for his meals like he’s now used to.
If you repeat these steps and avoid the mistakes we’ve mentioned in this article you’ll have a well crate trained pug that considers the crate his safe and personal den.
Crate training a pug at night
Crate training a pug at night is the hardest part especially the first night, but if you start early in the morning and introduce your dog to his crate it will sure be easier.
You can expect to wake up a few times especially in the first few nights as most puppies will start whining and barking at night and also need to go for a potty break since young puppies especially small breeds can not hold it throughout the night.
You can reduce the number of breaks by simply taking your dog for a walk just before he goes into the crate and also stop giving him water at least a couple of hours before.
At night it is best at the beginning to have the crate placed close to your bedroom or in it so you can hear the puppy if he starts whining, usually just talking or gently tapping on the crate will suffice to calm him.
The most important thing you should know is that it’s never a good idea to let the puppy out at night when he starts whining, if you do that he’ll know that the way out is by barking and whining and will never stop.
Just ignore it and the puppy will calm down if he doesn’t try talking or tapping on the crate if it does not stop him make sure you break his cycle of barking before you let him out.
How long can a pug stay in the crate?
The time a puppy can spend in the crate depends on many factors, including age, the breed, and the activity level, but in general, young puppies can not stay for longer than one hour with two to three sessions a day.
A dog that is too active will have a hard time staying for too long in the crate, that’s why it is a good idea to bring the dog’s energy down with walks and play sessions before he goes in the crate.
Pugs are not very active dogs, so adults that have had enough exercise and playtime before crating could stay from two to three hours at a time in the crate twice a day.
Are pugs hard to crate train?
Pugs are intelligent dogs and very adaptive, they don’t need too much exercise and are not very active, these qualities make them easily trainable.
Pugs are in general easy to crate train and don’t need too long or too much effort to stay in the crate.
The only difficulty being the breed is of small size so at first you might need to wake up a few times at night as they have small bladders and will need a pee break.