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We didn't crate train at first, but quickly realized that, anything was better than pee and poop everywhere!!! and i mean everywhere!! Mind you, My husband works at home and i'm on shift work so someone is always here. We really only put him in his crate at night and when we went out. I also read that you're really not supposed to leave a dog/puppy in his/her crate for longer than 6-8 hours. If we leave Louie in his crate for any more than 5 hours there's poop everywhere (and not the solid kind...ewww), he has a nervous stomach. The crate did work wonders for house-breaking and now we're working on leaving the crate door open and having him roam around in the kitchen area where his crate is when we're not around and we put up baby gates to prevent him from roaming around too far.
If you do go with a crate, put a blanket over it. We found it help create a "den" and he didn't whine or complain when the cover was on his crate.
I felt horrible about the crate too, but since we didn't leave him in it for long he got used to it. Make sure you don't use the crate as punishment!!
good luck!!
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