In our house the crate is king. We have always crate trained because mostly it saves your carpet while potty training and it gives the dogs a “safe place” if they are feeling nervous or scared. Our dogs love their crates and spend copious hours in the many cube snugglies we have around the house during the day. These cubbies are like a crate with an open door and quite comfy. Other benefits of crate training are that it is the safest place for them to ride while in a car and also a necessity when they have a structural ailment that requires crate rest.
We always start our puppies by feeding them in their crates. This helps you monitor their food intake and introduces them to how awesome the crate is. We will often leave a crate in the puppy pen with a litter as they grow up – leaving the door open so they can come and go as they please. Here is a complete article on crate training – the progression is easy and we use it often at Cedarcroft.