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I used a crate with Beldin and Mocha when they were little for help with potty training - after that I'd actually leave the door off of it and they would go in and out as they pleased duriung the day and were only confined to the crate (door back on) at night. It wasn't long before they would stay in the crate at night and I could leave the door mostly shut (but not locked or latched).

After Mocha was sick and we only had Beldin he seemed to choose to stay in the crate himself - it was a place of comfort to him and he was sad and missing Mocha.

Then after we moved across country from BC to New Brunswick he actually became very possessive of his crate. It was the one thing he was familiar with and that was strickly "his".

Now it's used primarily as a bed and it's entirely by his choice.

As for begging food during meal times he knnows better than that. There is a defining line in the flooring between the kitchen and livingroom space even though it's basically one big open room. He'll lay on the floor on the livingroom side and watch us quitely. But he won't step over that line while we are sitting at the table.

I personally think that having a dog is a little like having a perpetual 2year old (only they listen better at times!) ... I wouldn't stick a child in a "playpen" for hours on time - sometimes training isn't "convienient" and having a pup or dog underfoot can be frustrating at times... but it's part and parcel of being a pet owner.
 
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