How to keep your Pug happy and healthy indoors?


Top 10 Fun Indoor Dog Games to Play with Your Pug

With the cooler weather and rain in Fall, Kilo the Pug and I tend to spend less time outside.  I’m always looking for new ways to keep him mentally and physically active. He sleeps and cuddles a lot but needs to play, train and zoom every 2 hours for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Plus I like him to work for kibble, so we play games throughout the day.

Here’s our list of fun games to play with your pug to keep them entertained indoors. Comment below to add your games to the list.

10 Dog Games To Play Indoors

Trick Training

Use your time inside to teach your pug a new trick or obedience and focus. Make sure to keep sessions short and fun with lots of positive reinforcement such as treats or cuddles.

Make trick training fun by incorporating it into a new game to play with you pug. Try:

  • Red Light Green Light – works on “stay” and “come” commands


Dancing with your pug or Canine Freestyle can be a really cool way to bond and get fit with your dog. Kilo has some amazing spins and jumps.

Read Kevin’s Five Top Tricks to Teach your dog for Canine Freestyle

Hide and Seek or Go Find/Fetch

You can either hide yourself, a family member, a treat or your pug’s favourite toy.  This is a fun game for your pug that plays on their natural instinct to track, retrieve, herd and hunt -plus they love it when they find you. It’s like a treasure hunt for your pug.

Puzzles and Play Mat

Kilo loves his BUSTER ActivityMat By Kruuse  that comes with 3 levels of difficulty to keep your pug challenged.  It’s customizable to different sized dogs, portable and easy to take on the go since everything fits neatly in the handy bag provided. It comes with a handy guide for how to set up the various tasks to try. More complementary activities can also be bought. See The Full Review HERE.

The BUSTER ActivityMat starter set includes the mat, a storage bag and three different tasks. Examples of tasks include envelopes with Velcro closers and pockets that are connected in different ways via ties or wooden sticks, which must be removed in order for the dog to get to the enclosed treats. Pet owners should always be present with their pet when playing with the mat.
Kilo also loves his various food puzzles and I love challenging him so he does not eat too fast and exercises his brain while eating.

Treat Balls

Kilo and treat ball with Nutrience Subzero kibble

Treat balls are a great way to keep your pug entertained and mentally stimulated as they work for their treats.

Kongs are also great for stuffing.Kilo Subzero kibble and Kong

Agility and Obstacle Courses

TH Kilo on ramp tongue out

Attend agility classes at local dog facilities like PawsWay Toronto, or try setting up your very own agility course in your house for your pug. Just make sure it’s safe. Be creative and make a simple obstacle course inside your home with pillows, towels or old blankets. Make sure to clear enough space so your pug can run freely without hurting himself or damaging valuables.

Doga (+ unroll the mat)

Doga or doggy yoga or yoga with your dog could be a fun way for both you and your pug to relax and have fun bonding together. Kilo just jumps on me but we still have fun stretching.

I taught Kilo how to roll out his yoga mat by hiding kibble pieces rolled into it. He finds it a very rewarding game. Trouble is he now unrolls any mat he sees in search of snacks so my daughter has to remember to put hers away.


This dog game is favoured by many working and sporting dogs. But pugs love it too! For some, it is even more motivating than treats and can burn some good energy off quickly.

Kilo really loves playing Tug-of-war so we play a few times a day. Make sure you have a toy  that is soft and comfortable for your pug to hold in its mouth. Kilo does not like rope and has small teeth so we generally just use his plush toys. Playing tug with your pug can be a great way to work get in some basic training like the “Drop It” or “Give” commands. Kilo guards resources so we practice dropping and trading the toy with me for treats.

For some extra training on your pug’s self-control, try adding in throwing in a “Sit” and “Stay” before letting your dog have the toy to play with.

Soccer with plastic water bottles

Make recycling in your house super fun. Kilo the Pug loves to play with empty plastic water bottles or containers. I suggest using sofas at each end of the house or towels as goals and make it a soccer game.  Kilo has an absolute blast chasing and pushing and running with the bottle. He loves the noise it makes, biting on the crunchy plastic and the way it moves.

Indoor Swim For Pugs

If you have access to an indoor pool – playing Dog Games in a pool and swimming can also be fun for pugs. If you don’t, pugs can fit in most household bathtubs.  Just make sure the water is at a comfortable warm temperature and supervise carefully. Swimming can be a gentle and safe way for your pug to exercise since it has many health benefits for pugs.  It can also be a great option for older pugs as it’s .

Kilo the Pug is not a fan of getting wet, swimming or strangers, so this game is not a good fit for us. However, I took our senior dog Isabelle a few times in her last year and she LOVED it.

Check out a local Doggy Swim Class like Fit Dogs Training Centres in Toronto HERE!

What’s Your Favourite Dog Game To Play With Your Pug Indoors?

How To House Train Your Pug

How To House Train Your Pug with Kilo the Pug

Toilet Training Your Peeing Pug

Pugs are notorious pee bandits and may poop inside too, as in Kilo’s case. They have small bladders and are quite low to the ground so, in my experience, they are often not that keen on going outside in the snow or rain.

When we first started fostering Kilo the Pug, he was not really trained to go outside and he liked to pee every two hours and mark anytime. He may have been encouraged to pee on a bathmat or a pee pad in one of his four previous homes and he had only been neutered a few weeks earlier by the rescue. He stealthily peed on white bed covers, on pale bathmats, on the white carpet, and on pee pads.

My first stop was to the vet, who checked his blood and urine for any health issues. He seemed fine.

Next stop was to consult experts, including trainer and founder of Who’s Walking Who Dog Training Centres, Gillian Ridgeway.

In summary, she suggested:

  • Proper supervision
  • Consistency
  • Choose a designated spot or spots
  • Give positive feedback – reward good behaviours but do NOT punish
  • Accident avoidance – give plenty of opportunities to go

After two years of hard work and routine, Kilo is pretty good now, especially if the weather is OK. Initially, we went out every two hours for a quick walk, but now he can hold it for a bit longer if needed. He pees pretty well on command outside and he lets me know if he needs to go. We still have the occasional accident or rebellion if I do not take him out enough, but otherwise, he is on a good schedule.

Kilo Pug earthday on grass

How To House Train A Pug

Signals Your Pug Is Giving You That It’s Time For Potty

If you notice your pug doing these things, you should take him or her outside or to your designated spot as soon as you can!

  • Circling
  • Sniffing the floor/ scratching the floor/ looking for a private place to pee (like behind furniture or, in our case, in a bathroom or bedroom)
  • Going back to a place where he or she has previously gone to the bathroom
  • Going to and sniffing the door
  • Vocalizing, whining, or barking

Crate Training Your Pug

The majority of pugs naturally keep their crate area clean, so crate training can be a good way to stop accidents and marking, especially at night.

When choosing a crate, make sure it is a comfortable size, one that is large enough to spread out in but not too large. Kilo’s has a memory foam base then a little comfy dog bed he likes to curl up in in the back half. He has a few toys and treasures and always gets rewarded when he goes to bed. He has grown to really LOVE his crate to sleep in at night or if he is stressed. The only issue is he now guards the treasures he has hidden in there so I can not reach in if he is there. He complains loudly on the very rare occasions that I lock him in during the day when we are home (eg. for a repairman or visitor) as he feels he is missing out on action, but takes himself off to bed at night.

When you leave for a few hours or put them to bed in the evening, the crate can be a comforting safe haven for your pug. I find it is the best way to keep Kilo the Pug out of trouble when not under my watchful eye or at night.

Bladder Capacity

A good rule of thumb for crating your puppy during the day is one hour for every month of life, plus one. This means if your pug is three months old, most pugs can be left for four hours. Overnight is different, as they are less active. Most pugs can sleep in their crate about seven to eight hours at night. The bladder of your pug will develop as he matures.

Kilo the pug on the toilet

Choose A Designated Potty Spot and Stick To It

Pick a spot and stick to it: puppies and pugs need routine. First thing in the morning, let your pug out of his crate and get him quickly into the back yard or street for a walk. Keep him moving and then praise him when he eliminates. This is not the time to shoo him out and go back to your business. You must supervise! You need to know what is coming out, and how often to keep your schedule working.

Then take him to the same spot on a regular schedule.

I also have pee pads strategically located in places where Kilo the Pug likes to pee, like our bathrooms, just in case he has to go and I am out or don’t see the signs or it is raining heavily and he really won’t relax outside. He uses them very occasionally now.

Reward Good Behaviours

Give your pugs lots of encouragement and rewards (like treats and petting) every time they get a behavior right.

Your pug will learn what is expected of them and what behaviors won’t get rewarded.

I used to say or ask “Pee Pee” and or “Poo Poo” over and over walking and then reward him with “Yes Pee Pee” and treats and pats when he went. My husband found it rather funny seeing me walking up and down the street saying “Pee Pee” then celebrating each time. Kilo now knows both “Pee Pee” and “Poo Poo” and goes mostly when asked, every few hours. He likes my approval and has his routine. We play a quick game when we get back inside as he always has a burst of energy after a walk and potty and likes to Zoom and Play.

I also reward him if he uses the pee pads, even if later. He seems to connect.

Keep to a Schedule and Avoid Accidents

Keep to a regular feeding and potty break schedule right from when you first bring your pug home.

Most pugs and puppies spend much of their days sleeping. But they need to head outside for urination after each nap, especially when younger or senior. Start to watch your puppy or your pug’s natural play and sleep times to know when he needs to be let out.

Provide lots of opportunities for your pug to eliminate outdoors and not indoors.

What To Do When You Find “An Accident”

If you do happen to come across an “accident”, do NOT blame your pug. Some “accidents” may be your fault for leaving your pug too long, or breaking the routine.

Do not scold, use violence or punish your pug. Your dog won’t make the connection and will only learn to fear you.

Kilo the Pug peed on the white mat
Oops Kilo

Instead, learn from your mistakes. We all let down our guard sometimes, so just try to do better next time. Clean the area with a product specific to this use. But be cautious of products containing ammonia – they smell a bit like urine and may attract the dog to eliminate there again. Luckily for me, bath mats can go in the wash so we don’t worry.

What To Do If You Catch Your Pug Mid-Accident

Interrupt him and take him quickly outside to the proper place. If he eliminates outside, praise him. Remember supervision and positive reinforcement!

You can use an indoor tether or leash to keep him from wandering away, but be sure to always supervise.

I even thought about teaching Kilo to use a toilet after seeing one at a pet expo. It’s a fun trick but not ideal for daily use as he jumped into a toilet that did not have a cat seat. Luckily I was right there (he is my velcro pug so he follows me into the bathroom).

Housetraining your pug will require the entire family to be consistent, and for everyone to be patient while he or she learns what you expect. Most pugs do want to do the right thing most of the time, especially for rewards!

Share your potty training tips below.

How to Stop Your Pug From Jumping Up

How to stop your pug from jumping up- Kilo says hello politely

How to Stop Your Pug From Jumping Up

Does Your Puppy Like To Jump Up On People?

When your Kilo spins in circles and jumps up to greet me when I walk in the door, it is a friendly, flattering gesture. Pugs are very social creatures. Jumping, spinning, nipping, rubbing, licking and bouncing are how they show affection and get attention.

My baby is so excited to see me and looks adorable doing backflips and celebrating my return. He shows just how important I am to him and how much he misses me when I am out. I confess, I love it, especially as the rest of the family tend to give less enthusiastic greetings now.

Kilo dancing

Kilo is small and does not jump up aggressively, he just tries to get closer to my face.  However, while an enthusiastic greeting from Kilo may be very cute to me, it is usually much less cute to others. It can be frightening for young children, people with allergies, strangers scared of dogs and elderly. It can damage clothing and ladder stockings. Jumping up uninvited is generally not a desirable behaviour in dogs. It is a good idea to stop your pug from jumping up and teach them a more appropriate way to greet people and get attention.

Gillian Ridgeway, head trainer of Who’s Walking Who Dog Training Centres  shares her expert tips on how to stop your pug from jumping up on people and how to say “hi” politely!

Teaching Your Pug How To Properly Say “Hello”

The first trick when you’re trying to train your pug not to jump up on people is to make sure that your puppy doesn’t jump up on you. Oops. Fail.

If your pug starts to jump up on you, stand still, don’t look at your dog, and bring your hands and arms up to your chest so that your dog won’t lick them or paw at them. Once you’ve done this, calmly wait until your dog stops jumping up then reward them.

Do not reward jumping up on you with attention or treats.

Provide and Reward An Alternative

The best solution to the jumping up problem is providing your dog with an alternative satisfying method of greeting you at their level.

One option is a strong sit-stay cue as this can refocus and calm your dog down. They can’t jump up if they are seated and they get eye contact. Once your dog is calm, then kneel down and give him a warm hug and kiss and reward for the good behaviour.

Susie and Kilo Pug hug

In my case with Kilo, we run over to the couch and I ask him up for a Pug Hug. He jumps onto my knee and we give each other a big hug and lots of kisses and back rubs. My daughter does the same and we all get a lot of pleasure from this. In my husband’s case, he gets down at Kilo’s level and goes “hi little guy” and gives him some good pats and back rubs. Sometimes he even picks him up for a hug.

Never let anyone else allow your puppy to jump up on them! Most feel, “It’s OK, he’s so cute, I don’t mind if he jumps on me”.  If your pug jumps up, immediately intervene, put your pup in a sit, praise the puppy then scold the person!

While your pug is in a sit, let the person then greet him and give positive reinforcement. This helps your puppy to understand that a calm greeting will get a reward. In my case, I have to be careful as Kilo is reactive to certain strangers. I let him smell the person’s feet and legs,  then let them drop him a treat but not pat him. Eventually, when he is calm and comfortable and associates them with a treat, he can choose to go to them and say hi politely if they are seated and comfortable too. A strange hand coming down to pat him or even someone trying to make eye contact and get too close too fast at his level can scare him and cause a nasty reaction.

I have seen other people pushing their dogs away and saying no sternly but I am not sure this would be as effective as the reward based method long-term with Kilo, and it certainly would not be as fun for me.

Be Positive and Consistent

  • Get down to their level to give affection and attention.
  • Do not reward a puppy for jumping up.
  • Do not allow other people to let your pug jump on them.
  • Do not give in!  Do not give up! Practice and a positive attitude is essential!

Does Your Pug Jump Up On People? Share Tips And Stories In The Comments Below.