Jack is a crate-trained dog. I started using a crate from his first day at home. He took to it very well and it was an invaluable training tool. It wasn't long before he started heading into his crate as soon I grabbed my keys before leaving. A few months after that I was able to leave his crate open at nighttime, which gave him the chance to move around and stretch his paws as we slept (he liked to play at 4am as a pup). At the time I thought that was a sign that I could leave him uncrated during the workday, but that turned out not to be the case. Housebreaking wasn't the issue; chewing was. Jack had an innate ability to find the most inappropriate things to chew on. I wasn't worried only about damage to my belongings; I also worried about his potential to chew on things that would make him ill.
Lately, however, Jack has been mellowing out. He can walk around our condo complex purely on voice command. He comes when called. He was a star student in Petsmart's training academy. I was beginning to realize that I just needed to put some trust in him. So we took the plunge this past week and left him uncrated during the workday. I am happy to report that no shoe was damaged, no garbage was strewn about, nothing was scratched and the couch still has all its stuffing. He still instinctively heads to his crate when I grab my keys, but the evidence shows that he is actually spending his days sleeping on top of the sofa's lefthand pillowback cushion.
Our little boy is growing up!