Repeat after me: this is not a cage. When used properly from puppyhood, it can be a great escape for your pet providing a quiet place to sleep and relax. I'll talk about crate training in more detail next week, but using one keeps your home and dog safe while you're out.

Choose a crate with your pup's adult size in mind as many come with dividers to make it smaller when he's little; there should never be enough room for pup to do his business and still have room to play and sleep without stepping in it.

North has a collapsible Precision Pet crate like those above – it (and he) can easily come on hotel adventures with me! He loves to suck on the crate pad I added to make it more comfy. In fact, some dogs like their crates so much that they sleep there at night, but not North. The crate's in the dining room, and he likes to sleep in his bed (right next to my bed) in the unlikely chance I decide to get up in the middle of the night for peanut butter... or something else he'd want to tag along for.