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I prefer to have crate trained dogs. My crated dogs have always been more settled than the ones that aren't. I have given them a mix of it being a safe haven and a space where they know they have to wait (until I can focus on their needs). Although the wire crates are cooler. I like the plastic crates because they can be taken apart and used as a familiar bed. Something I discovered with my beagle who was distraught about the removal of his crate when a new partner was vehimently against crate usage, so the compromise was to turn it into a bed.

B. Basset my foster and I discovered a game today for dealing with whining. If he wasn't happy in his crate he could be snapped to a lead fastened close to me. If he still whined he got a chance in the yard. When he barked to be out of the yard we went back to the crate. I'm sure the neighbours thought I was nuts cause I have to go all the way around my apartment building to put him in the yard. The third time we went back to the crate he settled and stayed put for long enough for me to finish melting cheese on nachos. When it was walk time anyway.
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