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I crated my Snickers from the first night I got her and I put her in there at night and when I leave the house. At the start I crated her when I would eat, but quickly stopped because I personally didn't want to put her in the crate after she spent most of the day in there. She isn't left in there all day, but a few hours at a time. She willingly goes in there and doesn't fuss unless we put her in there when we are still at home.

You may want to look at a doggie play pen. It's a big circle or octagon that you can put her in to confine her when you are eating, cleaning, etc. Basically when you can't watch her every second.

If done properly I don't think dogs think of crates as prisons (that's a human thing).
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