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Housetraining

House Training a Pug

Overview 

One of the most important things that you will ever teach your Pug is house training. Smaller toy dogs such as the Pomeranian or Chihuahua can actually be trained to use pee pads. However, with the Pug being the largest of the toy dog breed, it will be best to potty train outdoors.
This is the most daunting time for any owner. Commands are important and teaching a dog to heel is a great thing, but successful housebreaking is the #1 type of training that should be done. 

Going to the bathroom outside of a designated area can lead to terrible habits as the dog grows older; instilling proper training at a young age leads to a well-trained dog for life.
 
House training should begin the day a pup (or an older dog that needs re-training) is brought to their new home. For anyone who is struggling or who thinks it may be a challenge, you can find great success.

Following the guidelines of how to train a Pug puppy should be at the top on your list whether you just brought your pup home or your long time canine companion needs some nudging in the right direction.
Different Methods

Your Pug will not know that eliminating in the right spot is desired unless you convey this to him and it must be done in the right way. Any accidents or struggles with potty training should be acknowledged in a calm and controlled manner; if you yell or show anger, the only thing your pup will learn to do is be afraid of you.
Pug house training outside
Most of the time, a dog will not know what he did wrong. Attempting to use the old school methods of rubbing a dog's nose in his "accident" is now considered to be an abusive method (and it never worked anyway!). 

Dogs need loving guidance to show them what is appropriate. They are out to please....They love when you smile and speak to them in a happy tone. 

When you follow the guidelines for successful training, it won't be long before your Pug figures out that "hitting the mark" = a happy owner.
It is suggested to keep your puppy near you at all times, any time that you are home. Don't worry, it won't always be like this and once your Pug is trained, you'll have more freedom. 

In keeping your puppy close, you will be able to immediately see when he is making motions of getting ready to eliminate and you can step in and lead him outside. It is best to choose one area that you wish for your Pug puppy to do his business. However, a dog needs the freedom of choosing the perfect spot within that area. Therefore, you should always lead your Pug outside while on a 6 foot (1.82 meter) leash. Bring your dog to the area you choose, and allow him to pick a spot within that 6 foot radius.

You can keep him close by using one of several different methods:

Umbilical cord method - The most recommended being the umbilical cord method. You will simply connect one end of the leash to yourself, usually your belt loop and one end to your Pug's collar or harness. (We do recommend a harness, especially for puppies....You have more control and it reduces the risk of Collapsed Trachea which is a serious injury to the rings of cartilage in the neck and causing severe breathing problems.  

This way your dog will have freedom, you will have freedom and you will be able to always see them. 

Gated Area - Pugs do not like to be too confined; therefore a gated off area (using baby gates or by using a canine pen) is a good way to keep the Pug in one spot when you can't keep him right by your side.

Crates - This is not recommended during the day; this breed does not do well when confined to a very small space.  It can cause the puppy to become stressed.  Some use a crate at night however the above mentioned pen works just as well and is better for this breed. 
Home Alone During Potty Training

Having a puppy and house training them while you are away all day is difficult. It is best if you can take time off from school or work during the important first weeks.

If this is not feasible, you may want to check with friends and family to see if you others can take rotating turns bring the puppy out every few hours so that house training can be effective as possible.

Otherwise, when home alone, the puppy should be confined to a gated off area. Be sure to bring your Pug outside 20 minutes before leaving and as soon as you arrive back home. 

For times when you are not home and your Pug is confined to 1 area to prevent roaming, you will want to: 
  • Make sure that you have set up the environment for optimal happiness (to counteract Separation Anxiety & Boredom) 
  • Have pee pads placed in one corner of that area. If placed far from food, toys and bedding, a puppy may use the pads. However as he matures, he will need these less and less.  
With each month that passes, his bladder and bowel muscles grow stronger; soon a puppy will be able to hold his needs while owners are away. The key is to instill the idea of going outside in that one designated spot over and over until a Pug learns it is that it is expected. 

Timing

An important aspect of housebreaking a Pug involves timing. With a good schedule, a puppy can taken out when he is most likely to have the need.

This works best if you follow this each and every day. The more often Pug in training does something correct, the more likely he is to repeat that action.  
You will want to bring your Pug out to the designated area: 
  • First thing in the morning 
  • 15-20 minutes after each meal  
  • As soon as they wake up from a nap  
  • Right before bedtime - His last chance to empty his bladder before bed  
  • Every 3 hours (for a 3 month old), every 4 hours (for a 4 month old), etc.
Potty training a litter of Pug puppies
Going to the Bathroom After Entering the House 

A very common complaint by owners is that their Pug is peeing in the house soon after being brought back into the home. It can seem as if a pup is doing this on purpose, as if the dog is mocking the training system. But the answer is far more logical than that. In most cases this is because the owner did not have the patience to wait outside while the puppy chose the perfect spot and the body relaxed enough (for urination) or the muscles had time to push out a bowel movement. 

Once the body relaxed or the bowel muscled readies, the pup was brought back in and of course, went to the bathroom where he or she was at the time: in the house.

Stay outside for at least 20 minutes while your Pug is learning his or her housebreaking rules. 20 minutes can seem like a very long time while standing there and waiting for a dog to go to the bathroom. For this reason, it can help to set up an outside chair, bring a book or take the time to check emails and messages.
Barking at Night - Bathroom Need or Call for Attention

One of the hardest elements - but one that you will soon conquer - is to learn your Pug's signals that there is a bathroom need.  One of the most challenging times to figure this out is at night when you are awakened by barking

If you are unsure, it's always best to bring your dog outside.  However, it will be important to make it very clear that this is a serious time.  No playing, no talking and right back to bed afterward.

If you are quite certain that barking is due to attention seeking behavior and not for housebreaking reasons, as long as you are sure your Pug is safe and comfortable, all yelps and whines should be ignored. 
House Breaking Set Back 

Puppies can appear to be fully trained and then without warning there is a set back and the dog seems to have forgotten all of the rules. There are some steps that an owner can take if this happens:

1) Make sure that this is not due to a health issue. Bladder infections, urinary tract infections and other conditions can cause a dog to have loss of bladder control.

2)This may be an attention seeking behavior. Some Pugs require a great amount of affection and have excessive cravings for human companionship. Owners do not need to spend every moment offering direct attention, however when home with a Pug for the day, owners should take time every 20 to 30 minutes for some interaction.

3) Positive reinforcement will be more important than ever. While this is done during house training, owners can overlook this once the dog is trained. Using the same amount of enthusiasm as before, offer great praise and a treat any time that the Pug goes to the bathroom in the designated area.

4) Time can move quickly and it can be easy for an owner to overlook a scheduled bathroom break for their dog. If someone is busy at home, signals to go outside may be overlooked. No matter what age your Pug is, take him or her outside at regular intervals.
Correction VS Punishment
Pugs are very sensitive and do not react well to being yelled at.  For housebreaking, that sort of reaction to accidents will not get you anywhere.  Pugs tend to have their feelings hurt if not disciplined the right way and therefore rubbing his nose in his poop or getting upset will not be beneficial to actually teaching what is expected.  It is best to give tons of enthusiastic praise for deeds done right and forgive accidents. For a Pug to be successful, you have a good plan in place and follow the house training rules. 
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