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We have used a crate for our last three dogs and I would always recommend using one. This coming from a person who once thought crates were horrible and mean! When used properly a dog will view a crate as a den and go in there on their own whenever they are stressed or tired etc.
We mainy used ours for housebreaking and for whenever the dogs couldn't be supervised. When they were out of the crate, they were confined to one room until they were housebroken. They earned being able to have access to the whole house, one room at a time.
Having said that, I don't agree with people who use crates for a dog's entire life. When mature, a dog should be able to have full run of the house when owners are not there.
 
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