If you’re planning on getting a dog, especially a puppy, you’ve probably heard of crate training. Crate training can benefit both you and your dog. Most dogs don’t like to “go” where they sleep, so crate training also streamlines potty training (Expect a few accidents at first). Your dog’s crate should be home away from you, their safe space. It will also prevent your dog from destroying your belongings if they love to chew on things, something puppies are notorious for.

Here’s how you start the crate training process:

Find The Right Size

Since your dog will spend a good amount of time in their crate, it’s important to make sure you get them one that is big enough for them. As a rule, your dog should be able sit fully upright in their crate without having to put their head down. Take measurements to ensure it’s the right crate for your dog and will fit in your home.

Make It Cozy

Make the crate as comfortable as possible for your dog. Lay down an extra soft blanket on the bottom of the crate. Keep your dog’s favorite things inside the crate, like toys and treats. Let them see you interacting with the crate and encourage them to explore it.

Do Practice Runs

Practice leaving your dog in their crate a few times while you are at home. This allows them to acclimate to the crate slowly. offer positive reinforcement whenever they get close to the crate and even more so if they get into the crate on their own. Once your dog is more comfortable being in their crate, practice leaving them in there while you run a quick errand. Soon your dog will see this as just part of their daily routine, and will love getting in their crate.

Don’t Use As Punishment

Never use the crate as punishment. This can be extremely detrimental to the dog, causing them stress and anxiety. Doing this will make your dog fearful of their crate, and could cause other behavioral issues, which is the opposite of what you want.

Again, remember to be patient with your dog and give them positive reinforcement as they are learning this new routine.