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Schedule Based Training

The Schedule Based Training (SBT) method is an effective and easy to use method of housetraining your Pug. Of the major training techniques, SBT is easier to manage than both Crate Training and Paper Training. What makes it easier to implement is that it lacks the complexity of Crate Training, and the abstract nature of Paper Training.

Crate Training is a valid housetraining technique, but it must be followed to the letter and leaves little room for flexibility. Paper Training, while also valid, has an abstract quality that leaves many owners puzzled as to how they bring their Pug from the paper to the yard using Paper Training.

Schedule Based Training is actually the core underneath any method of housetraining where we try to teach our dogs to make outside at certain times of the day. Crates and newspaper are tools of other methods, but SBT needs no tools. Instead, it focuses on the only two factors involved in housetraining a dog...The dog, and its owner. In truth, Schedule Based Training is a stand-alone method of housetraining that works with effort and consistency.

Everything you need to know about the SBT Method and more is right here

Schedule Based Training: Physiology

Schedule Based Training (SBT) is based on two things; An understanding of your Pugs physiology, and an understanding of a Pugs mentality. Let’s start with your Pugs physiology and work from there:

A Pug puppy, regardless of any factors of lineage, size, breeding etc, cannot control its urinary or bowel movements before age 11-12 weeks. At this age it has not yet developed the muscular control to hold an urge, so when it must go, it goes. If your Pug puppy is younger than 12 weeks of age, you might as well get out the odor neutralizer, the paper towels, the carpet cleaner and anything else you will need because you’ll need these things often. It’s not their fault, they’re simply too young to control it.

A Pug puppy, regardless of the above factors, is a small dog with a small bladder. Because of this, you’re not going to have a Pug that can go ten hours comfortably (and without potential side effects) without making, like a German Shepherd, a Doberman, or a Labrador can. Ask yourself, being 10-20 times the body weight of a Pug puppy if you could go ten hours comfortably without going to the bathroom...It's no wonder a Pug can't.

A Pug puppy processes and digests its food, just like people do. This is important, because one of the most common mistakes made in housetraining is related to not understanding this concept. Many people will feed their Pug at 5pm and take them outside immediately after, thinking that their dog has to make right after eating. We hear the phrase "I take my Pug outside right after she eats" and this may or may not be relevant to housetraining…In simple terms, what your Pug eats at 5pm has nothing to do with what he makes outside at 5:15pm, if he makes at all. What you need to know is that it takes your Pug between 4-6 hours to digest his food to the point where he’ll need to go outside because of a meal. Feed him at 5pm, and that evening feeding will not be a factor in making until 4-6 hours later. This is the key to SBT, so keep it in mind.

Schedule Based Training: A Pugs' Mentality

Pugs are sensitive little creatures. All breeds of dog are eager to please to be sure, but Pugs are people dogs. They are a social breed that needs human interaction and because of this, your Pugs psyche plays a strong role in successful housetraining. None of these concepts need explanation, but read on anyway just to get an idea of what a Pug puppy wants out of life…

Your Pug puppy wants only to please you. In return for pleasing you, she gets to be the one place she truly wants to be…Next to you. Whether your Pug likes to sit on your lap, next to you on the couch, or at your feet, she wants to be with you. At 12 weeks of age, a Pug puppy already knows that if she does the right things, you’ll welcome her presence next to you. Your Pugs' mentality is to do whatever it can to stay on your good side, but don’t forget, at under 12 weeks of age, a Pug can’t control whether it makes inside or outside. Because of this, your young puppy without this control really has no idea that making in the house is wrong. It can’t help it, it can’t stop it and it doesn’t yet know that making outside is the thing to do.

A close second to being next to you in a Pug’s eyes is food…I like to think Pugs care more about love than food and until proven otherwise, I’ll insist they do. Beyond your company, a treat for doing something good, like making outside is a big motivation for your Pug. Petting and hugs and verbal praise are high on the list of a Pug too, but food, that’s where the action is!

So let’s take the Pug’s physiology and mentality and put it all together to create a Schedule Based Training plan that will work for both you and your Pug!

The Schedule Based Training Plan

What you’ll need: You’ll need commitment and consistency, a bottle of odor neutralizer, a supply of your Pugs regular chow stashed away near the door, a pocket to put the chow in, an umbrella by the door, and a sense of humor.

Until your Pug is 12 weeks old: It’s an excellent idea to condition your Pug by rewarding him for making outside even if before he’s able to hold his urges. Get him used to being rewarded, even if you can’t yet expect him to make on the schedule you create. Until he’s able to control his urges to make, take him outside every two hours until he makes, and at least 15 minutes no matter what.

Examine your schedule: Before you can create a outside schedule for your Pug, you have to figure out what schedule will suit you. The goal here isn’t to develop a schedule that suits your Pug, it’s to create one that will suit you…With SBT, you bring your Pug to your schedule, not the other way around. You’ll need to give yourself 20 extra minutes every morning, and also in the evening. For example, if you normally wake up at 7am in order to get to work on time, now you must wake up at 6:40.

Two meals a day: Pugs do not need to eat 4 or even 3 times a day. Our temptation is to feed them more than twice a day because we always worry about them being hungry. But Pugs are chow-hounds. They love to eat, and just because you feed them 4 times a day, doesn’t mean they won’t be camped outside your kitchen around dinner time…They’ll camp there anyway. Feed your Pug twice a day based on your veterinarians’ recommendation. This will make for less need on your Pug’s part to have to go outside.

Before before Before: The SBT method works best when you take your Pug outside before either of it’s main meals

The numbers game: A Pug, once able, can go 4-6 hours comfortably between making. Yes, they can go longer, and as they get older they will, but we’re talking about waiting and being comfortable. Given this time range, using a "5 hour" schedule is a good number of hours in between making and it will optimize the SBT you’re going to use.

The sample schedule: This schedule is only a sample. It may be perfect for you, or it may need tailoring based on your own personal schedule. If you alter it to suit your needs, just remember to stick to the "5 hour" rule, feed them twice a day, and feed them after they go outside and make.

What you’ll see here is a Pug puppy that goes outside 4 times a day, no more than 5 hours in between trips outside (except for the final trip which is six hours) and a schedule that makes use of the knowledge you now have of the Pug’s Physiology. Here it is:


7:20-Morning Feeding



5:20-Evening Feeding


Why it works: This schedule works for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it does not force your Pug to work at holding their urges to make. Second, it covers the digestive process of your Pug putting them outside when they’ll absolutely need to make. Finally, it has two built in conditioning/motivating elements…Your Pug will not put up much of a struggle to avoid going outside if she knows there’s a meal waiting for her when she goes inside after making. Believe me, it won’t take long for your Pug to figure that out!

Where did that come from? Or should we say, when?: To further understand the idea of feeding twice a day, combined with the physiology of the Pug, take a second look at the schedule.

At 7am, your Pug will make outside, and what he makes is "leftover" from the evening feeding before. At Noon, what your Pug makes is the result of the morning feeding. At 5pm, what your Pug makes is the "leftover" from the morning feeding. Finally, at 11pm, what your Pug makes is the result of his evening feeding. Can it be this simple? Yes!

Neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor driving rain…: Should keep you inside while you’re training your Pug. No matter the weather, your place during this training period is outside with your Pug. By being outside, you’ll be a presence watching over your Pug, making sure she makes and adding a tiny bit of pressure to make.

However long it takes: Though you probably won’t have to wait long at the 7am and 5pm trips outside, it may not be so fast and easy at Noon and 11pm. Your job here, and you’ll do it more effectively if you’re outside with your Pug, is to send him a message; "We’re not going inside until you make". It may take a little time for your Pug to get this message, but when he does, he’ll understand this for life and it will help speed up the process.

All work and no play: Many people take their Pug outside to make and wind up playing with them instead. Then, when they stop playing, their Pug doesn’t make…until about 3 seconds after he gets inside. Remember that your goal here is to housetrain your Pug, not to play with her. She already knows how to play.

Food rewards: Get a sandwich sized zip-lock baggie, fill it with your Pug’s regular chow and place it near the door leading outside. As your Pug goes outside, reach into the bag and snatch a piece or two, and place them in your pocket. You’re going to be the magical master who can make food appear into your hands! When your Pug gets the job done outside, reward her with a piece or two of the chow. Initially, you’ll do this at each outside time, but once your Pug has figured out that two of those trips are followed by full meals, you can restrict this reward to only the other two trips.

Physical rewards: To further enhance this training, after rewarding your Pug with food, you should also reward him with physical contact. We’re not talking about a quick tap on the head, or a bried short stroke across the back. No sir, we’re talking about heavy petting! Pet, rub, hug and yes, once the deeds are done, you can also play a little too. You know you want to!

Verbal rewards: To cinch the deal, reward your Pug with one of it’s most favorite things…The sound of your voice. Pugs are extra-responsive to their owner’s voice and it gives them great pleasure. Make your voice high in pitch, and give her lots of "good girls" and "good puppys" while you’re petting her.

Consistency: I just can’t say this enough; The SBT method, like all other methods, will only work if you’re consistent. You must be consistent in the times you take your Pug outside, in the rewards, in always being outside with him, and in your demeanor.

Your demeanor: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re going to have accidents no matter what method of housetraining you try and the best way to handle these mishaps is to stay calm, pick them up, clean them up and be neutral. Don’t yell, don’t have a tantrum, don’t scold your Pug and most of all, don’t hit her. Be calm.

Patience: Does the SBT method work? Absolutely! Does it work overnight or in a matter of a week? No. Housetraining takes time, and it can take as few as 3-4 weeks to work or as long as 3-4 months. Some of this depend on your dog, much of it, even most of it in fact depends on you.

Logs: Though not a necessity, it is useful to maintain a log of your Pug’s movements outside and inside. Writing down what they did and when and where they did it may sound foolish or silly, but it can also be the place where you find the key to the puzzle as to why your training method isn’t working. For example, you may use the SBT method and find that your Pug has adapted well to it, except for one particular time of day, such as the afternoon. Check your log, you might just stumble across a pattern where your Pug’s accidents always seem to happen around 4:30pm for example.

Adjustments: Again, the sample schedule above is just a sample. You need to create one that suits your own needs. While the goal here is to bring your schedule to your Pug, there may come a time when you realize the schedule needs some minor tinkering. Don’t worry about that as long as it’s just a minor alteration, such as 10 or 20 minutes or even a half-hour. But if it’s longer than that, you’ll need to re-evaluate the entire schedule.

That’s all folks: Having helped Pug owners to housetrain over 200 dogs, I’ve found the success rate of the SBT method to be truly amazing. It works about 90% of the time, and this is when dealing only with Pugs that have failed to respond to being housetrained by their owners…Or, maybe it’s the owners who are behind the housetraining problems? In many cases, a dogs' failure to grasp housetraining is the result of mis-training where the owners need to be trained to train. There’s nothing wrong with that, it happens to the best of people. Good luck!

Photo of Buddha submitted by pug forum member Lori.