I’ve heard of crate training but I don’t know how?

Rest assured, this article will teach you the best methods for crate training your Pug and everything you need to know about it.

Why use a crate?

  • A crate is a safe and secure place for your puppy to be, especially when you can’t give him your full attention.
  • It can help speed-up house training.
  • Its somewhere for your puppy to go when he needs time out/ relax.
  • When your puppy wants to retreat to his crate, he shouldn’t be disturbed. (You should ensure children and other pets leave puppy alone when he is in it.)
  • It’s the perfect way to protect your house from damage i.e. Chewing!
  • A safe secure way to transport your puppy and keep your car clean!
  • Ideal to use for those breaks away, as a home from home for your pug!

How big should the crate be and where should it be?

The crate should be big enough for your puppy to fit in comfortably when he is fully grown, room to stretch out and have a water bowl and interactive toys in.

You will need to place it in a convenient, but quieter part of the house, so puppy can still see and hear what’s going on, but is able to relax as well, the kitchen is usually a good place.  It is also a good idea to have it reasonably near an exit to the garden, for quick access, or carry him out to the garden in the early stages to save any accidents.

Introducing the crate

  • The crate needs to be as comfortable and inviting as possible for your pug to build up positive associations with it. Put a soft towel or dog bed in the base, which can be easily cleaned.  Always have fresh water available and place a couple of safe toys in the crate.
  • Put some newspaper or training pads in the base, separate from his bed.  If your pug does need to toilet and cannot attract your attention to get out, he will not want to go on his bed and will probably use the training pad.  Change this pad each time it is soiled (wait until your pug is away from the crate, do not comment or criticise the pug for using the paper. He has to go somewhere if you are not available to let him out).
  • Initially leave the crate door open so your pug is free to come and go as he pleases, use tasty treats to encourage him – start with them near the door and gradually move them further back once he is happy entering the create.  You can use the word bed at this stage, so that he can begin to associate the word with the act.
  • Do not rush this stage –  It is important if your pug is not happy to go into the crate, do not force him, that will set up bad associations between him and the create.  Take your time in ‘explaining’ and showing him that it is a safe and fun place for him to stay in.  Most young puppies are very happy to go in the crate, especially if they have been used to spending time in a box or create whilst with their mother, brothers and sisters.
  • Ensure you do this several times during the day. Feed him his meals in the crate. Stuff a toy with tasty treats and put that towards the back of the crate, if he is comfortable at this stage, you can push the door too. Stay around at this stage and try to ignore what he is doing, so he doesn’t think it is a big deal.
  • Depending on how comfortable your puppy is at the above stage you can begin to close the door for short periods at a time, always ensure puppy has been toileted before, so you know he won’t need to go out for a little while, also a good idea to have a little game with him first, so he is tired.
  • Begin to go about your day as normal with puppy confined, if he begins to whine or bark, remember to ignore him.  Only go back to him when he is quiet, if you go back to him when he is being noisy, he will learn to keep barking for longer and longer periods until you return!
  • As long as you are careful to ensure good positive associations with the crate, your pug should quickly become happy to relax as soon as he enters the crate. Pugs quickly learn to sleep through the night in the crate and are usually clean very quickly.
  • On returning to the crate to let your pug out, try to be calm and not make it a really exciting time, this may lead to unwanted vocalising/whining as he anticipates his release!
  • Take puppy straight to his toileting area to help speed up his house training. Your puppy should not be left for long hours at a time in his crate, 3-4 hours during the day is a maximum.  Initially he will need to come out of his crate frequently during the day (every half hour/hour or so) to toilet, but as he gets older he should be able to go for 2 – 3 hours before he is going to need to relieve himself.  Once he is used to the crate, he should happily go through the night.  If he does whine and fidget during the night, get up and take him to his toileting area, keeping it as calm and low key as possible and as soon as he has performed return him to bed.  The crate is not for use as a punishment, but can certainly be used for time-out if puppy has become unruly or is over-tired.  It is also a good idea to use the crate at your own meal times to avoid over excitement at this time.