Crate training a pug puppy may be a frustrating or fun experience for you and your puppy. It all depends on how armed you are with information, your patience and commitment level as well as your puppy’s age and temperament. Younger puppies may take longer than older puppies.
How To Crate Train A Pug Puppy? The trick to successful crate training is to introduce the training in small steps as you build up their love for the crate.
In this article, I will take you through all the aspects of crate training a pug puppy that you need to know to make this whole process fast and easy.
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Why you should crate train your puppy
I know this has been emphasized enough times already but I will say it once more, crating dogs is not being inhumane but a way of liberating them. Read this if you’ve ever thought to yourself “should I crate train my Pug?”
When done correctly, a puppy crate will become a safe haven for your puppy. A place he can retreat to find peace, calm, and alone time.
Crate training a pug puppy is also liberating to you as the owner, you don’t have to keep your eyes fixed on your pooch every minute especially when they are not properly house trained. You can go about your duties in the home without worry or distraction.
Crates also come in handy when you want to step out of the house for a couple of hours and you have no one to pet sit. You can rest assured that you will not come to a messed-up house with litter allover, gnawed sofas, and pee in your fur carpet.
Another great reason to start crate training is that it is the easiest way to housetrain your puppy. Since he will not want to potty where he will be sleeping, he will be forced to hold the bladder until when he is taken out.
Crates are also a super convenient way to travel with your puppy. They are safer than having to keep checking on them as you drive knowing how playful and cheeky pug puppies are. You can use them for both short trips like to the vet, groomers, or grocery store as well as for long trips like interstate drives.
In case of emergencies, it is safer and easier to move your puppy in a crate. In the midst of panic during emergencies, a puppy may run away out of fear which can be frustrating having to run after him.
Basics of Crate Training a Pug Puppy
Here are the basics of crate training to start you off.
Consider the Size of the Puppy
Pugs even in their older age are predominantly small in size and hence won’t need a big crate. However, it’s still important to consider the puppy’s size now and in the future.
I find that most people buy a crate that their puppy can “grow into” though you can still choose to buy one that fits them well now and as they grow in size, buy a bigger one.
If you have multiple pug puppies, you can buy one with a divider, that way you can set a specific size space for each pug instead of buying several crates which can take up so much space.
Finding the Right Crate Size and Type
The perfect crate size should allow your puppy some room to make some movement like turning, lying down, and standing. To determine the best size, measure your pup’s height, length, and width. Then add 2-4 inches on all the measurements.
Crates come in small, large, and medium sizes, most likely your puppy will fall into the small category size, but still, go ahead and check from the above measurements the category your puppy falls.
If you would rather take a bigger crate that your puppy will grow into you can take a size up and use cardboard or dividers to allocate a sizeable amount of space.
Crates are made of different materials and each material is ideal for specific purposes. Depending on your lifestyle, you may end up having more than one crate.
We have wire crates which are mostly open, collapsible, and lightweight. These are perfect for owners who live in warmer areas or for use during the warmer months because they allow maximum airflow to keep your puppy cool. Since they are collapsible, they are great for traveling and movement from one room to another. They are also easy to store and don’t take up much space.
Next, we have plastic crates. These are pretty sturdy and durable and great for air transport as they meet most airline requirements.
We also have wooden crates. These come in a variety of styles and designs and are great for people who are keen on aesthetics. These however require permanent storage space and tend to be heavy therefore not portable.
Lastly, we have the popular soft-sided crates that almost all small breed owners have. They are super light, portable, and great for short trips. Just like wooden crates, they come in a variety of sizes, designs, styles, and colors.
When choosing a crate size and type, consider key things like portability, sturdiness, how well the crate blends with your home decor and ventilation. You don’t want your pooch suffocated in the name of crate training.
As for traveling, choose a crate that is lightweight, safe, has handles and allows enough ventilation. Its recommended that you get a crate that has ventilation space on opposite sides.
I’ve put together a resource to help you find the best crate for Pugs, regardless of the age of your pup.
Setting Up a Crate Training Spot
Once you have the right crate type and size, it’s time to find a great spot to set it up. Choose a place with high traffic, your dog still needs to feel part of the family even though in a crate. Set them in a place they can see what’s going on. The living room or even in the kitchen would be perfect.
However, if your pug puppy is the kind that prefers total alone time and gets anxious in a busy and noisy place, you are better off setting it up in a secluded corner.
Ensure the place is clean, ventilated, away from direct sunlight and heat. It should not be too hot neither too cold.
How to Successfully Crate Train a Pug Puppy
Allow the Puppy to Explore the Crate
Don’t start crating your puppy immediately you bring home the crate or the puppy, depends on which came first. Set it up and allow your puppy to explore the crate. Remember pugs can get pretty anxious very fast when around strange things.
Part of them getting familiar with the crate will include poking, scratching, and pulling it. Give them a few days before you can begin the training.
Stock Up the Crate
Once your puppy is comfortable being around the crate, stock it up with their essentials- food, water, toys, and bedding.
Tape down the bedding so that it doesn’t keep shifting every time your puppy moves. Get a stable water bowl so it doesn’t tip over and makes the place wet. Most preferred is to get one that you can clip on to the wall of the crate.
Stock up a couple of his chewy toys too to keep him busy and to prevent him from chewing his beddings.
Introduce the Puppy to the Crate
Up to this point, you‘ve only done the simplest part of crate training, the hardest and the most tasking is to get your puppy to stay in the crate for long and to actually love and enjoy being in there.
For the first day, you want to put your puppy in the crate when he is maxed out. By this time he will be looking to take a good rest. Lead him to the crate, close it up, and walk away without looking at him. Continue with your chores as if nothing is strange. Come back later and open the crate to let him out. Don’t reward him, praise him or pet him, you want him to realize that being in his crate is something ordinary.
Repeat this several times a day every day until he associates the crate as his retreat space. Take note of his behavior while in there, if he seems anxious or agitated, take him out. It could be that he wants to toilet or he simply wants out.
After a couple of days, start leaving him alone inside the crate. Step out for about 10 minutes, increasing the duration each day until he gets used to being in the crate alone with no one watching him.
Never push, pull, or force him to get inside the crate. If he refuses, let him be. Try again after an hour or so. You want him to learn to get in the crate whenever he wants to.
Also, don’t crate your puppy only when you want to leave but crate him several times during the day while at home. Crating only when leaving will make him associate the crate with being abandoned.
The crate should always be your puppy’s safe haven. Keep your kids away from it. They should not play with the dog when in the crate or play inside the crate when the puppy is out of it.
Make it a habit to exercise your puppy before crating him. As mentioned earlier, pugs are naturally playful, and crating him when he is under-exercised will cause him to be agitated and restless and may make crate training so frustrating for both of you.
Leave the crate open so your puppy can walk in anytime they want to without you having to lead them to it.
How Long to Crate Your Pug Puppy
When starting out, 30 minutes is good especially for puppies younger than 10 weeks. Every four weeks, you can increase the duration by 30-60 minutes. By the time he is 17 weeks and more, he should be able to be doing 4-5 hours at a go. However, it should never go longer than that.
When to Let Your Puppy Out of His Crate
You can let your puppy out of the crate anytime or when he has done four hours at a time. However, there are times when you will be forced to cut short his crate time like when he wants to use the toilet, he is crying uncontrollably, vomiting or eliminating, or when he is very agitated.
Pugs are naturally active breeds and so they need to be active way more than they need to sit and relax. If your puppy is under-exercised he will show signs of anxiety and agitation and it’s only best to let him out.
Ignore your puppy when he whines or fusses wanting to be let out unless you are very convinced there is a need to. In fact, avoid eye contact with him, he may whine even more just to irritate you or make you feel guilty but don’t budge.
When Not to Crate Your Puppy
If you notice that your puppy is afraid of the crate don’t force him to. Give him time to adjust and if he still doesn’t, let him be. You will know when your puppy is scared when he shows signs like flat ears, trembling, and having their tail down. Some even defecate when scared. Going ahead with the crating will only make things worse.
Also never crate a puppy that suffers from separation anxiety, this will make their condition worse. Instead, seek professional help to deal with the anxiety. Puppies with separation anxiety show signs like drooling, excessive gnawing, non-stop crying and barking as well as soiling the house.
This also applies to puppies with special medical conditions like convalescing. For these puppies, freedom of movement is what they need to help them feel better.
And lastly, never use crating as a punishment. This will make your puppy hate the crate as they associate it with negative feelings that come with punishment. Also crating them just because they are demanding your attention and you want your peace and quiet is a form of punishment. After all, you signed up for it. You knew puppies demand affection and attention.
Crate Training Your Pug Puppy for Night Time
For most pug owners, night time crate training seems to be the hardest simply because they don’t know how to go about it.
The best way to start night time crate training is to ensure that your puppy is super tired before bedtime. Keep them very active one or two hours leading to bedtime so they are exhausted. They will fall asleep with no fuss.
Wake him up if you catch them snoozing just before bedtime. Avoid nap times in the late afternoon or early evening.
Ensure he toilets before you crate him so he doesn’t wake you up several times in the middle of the night for toilet breaks.
For the first few nights, have him sleep in your bedroom just so he can feel safe with you around. Every couple of days move the crate away from your room towards where you intend it to be eventually.
During the first few nights of crate training, your puppy may whine and even cry uncontrollably. IGNORE all his attempts to get your attention. Let him whine till he falls asleep.
Coming out to engage him will only encourage this naughty nighttime behavior. He’ll quickly learn the best way to get your attention.
Even if the noise goes on for hours and you feel on the verge of losing it, IGNORE. Soon he will learn that bedtime means only one thing- sleeping till morning and only coming out for bathroom breaks.
Should You Cover Your Puppy Crate?
If getting a wire or wooden crate or a crate with no enclosures, you may need to cover the crate, especially at night so as to keep your puppy warm. Covering the crate can help some dogs feel safer.
Covering also helps to keep the dog under-stimulated at night and undistracted during their daytime naps. It makes them feel calm and relaxed.
If however, you find that your puppy gets anxious or stressed remove the cover. Some dogs like to see what’s going on around them.
Use old towels or bedsheets to cover the sides of the crate. Just ensure that your puppy won’t pull them inside the crate and chew.
Those tiny pieces of clothes can choke your puppy or cause obstruction. This can be very dangerous not to mention amounting to costly vet bills.
If you can get a corner in the house where both sides of the crate’s wall will be covered by the wall, that would be perfect.
You can also use wooden cardboard or specially designed crate covers.
It’s not very easy to crate train a Pug puppy or any puppy. Puppies are notoriously playful and would rather spend time with you than in a kennel.
Don’t panic though. If you heed to everything we have taught you and put it into practice consistently, crate training should take you two to three weeks depending on the age of your puppy.
So yeah, it is difficult but very doable and rewarding. Once crate trained, you’ll be able to leave them alone for a few hours, without worrying about them.