My best advice is to <span style="text-decoration: underline">crate him when he can't be supervised</span>. No it is NOT cruel (years ago I would have said the same thing), but after losing a lot of furniture to chewey beagles, I learned, the hard way that crate training is much better. It saves the house, saves frustration, and often will save your dog and keep him from being re-homed.
Even my dogs who are grown up and aren't crated when I'm gone or at night, will often find an empty crate for naps. Of course, it's easier to start them young, but it can be done with an adult dog, as well. Currently only 3 of the 9-pack is crated at night, the two younger girls, and their dad, Tanna. They're all fed in their crates, and run happily to them if they see the food bucket coming their way. Below is some information on crate training that I found on my beagle group. Hope it's helpful.
Choose a crate that is the proper size for your puppy as an adult dog
Introduce the crate slowly
Provide plenty of toys
Don't leave the puppy in the crate extended periods of time
Don't use the crate as punishment
Always supervise the puppy while not in his crate
A crate provides a home for your puppy. It is a place where he can feel safe, and a place for him to rest and sleep. When choosing a crate, be sure to consider the adult size of your puppy. We recommend a 200 or 300 Vari Kennel, depending on the predicted mature size of your dog.
After you have purchased your puppy's new home, introduce it to him slowly. Do not force him into the crate or he will never learn to enter on his own. Place toys and treats inside the crate. When the puppy enters the crate, give him lots of praise and then stop when the puppy exits. After the puppy is comfortable about going side, place his food dish in the crate. Feed all of his meals inside the crate, starting with the door open. Then close the door while he is eating, but make sure to open it as soon as he is finished. The puppy should soon feel at home inside his crate. Before leaving the puppy inside his crate while you are away, make sure to put him in it while you are home and leave the room. Naturally the puppy will cry at first, he misses you! If the puppy continues to cry and/or bark, enter the room so that he can see you, but do not let him out. Once the puppy realizes that you always come back, he will adjust to be in the crate without you present.
Make sure you provide plenty of toys for your puppy. While he is in his crate, he will occupy himself with his toys. He will then be less likely to chew on other things and be destructive when outside the crate. This does NOT mean that the puppy won't get into trouble and chew on things, but it does mean that he will be less likely too. Also, you can easily distract a destructive puppy by offering a favorite toy to play with. Your puppy would much rather play with you and his toys, but any dog will become destructive when ignored. He's trying to get your attention!
When housebreaking your puppy, you should never leave the puppy unattended in the crate for long periods of time. Your puppy can only hold it for a few hours (Remember that even some adult dogs cannot wait 8 hours while you are at work). Left in the crate for too long, he will be forced to go inside. Dogs are naturally clean, and dislike eliminating close to where they sleep. This is the advantage of using crates for house training. Puppy will not be happy to return to the crate after he has had an accident inside it.
You should never use the crate as a punishment. It is OK to put the puppy inside the crate if he has been bad, or had an accident in the house. The puppy should go willingly into the crate, even if he may cry at first. Puppy should be comfortable with being inside the crate.
To avoid puppy accidents inside the house, always make sure the puppy is under constant supervision while not inside the crate. Most accidents are not the puppy's fault, but the owner's. The puppy should monitored for any signs of needing to go outside and taken out immediately.
WHAT IS A DOG CRATE?
A dog crate is a rectangular enclosure with a top and a door, made in a variety of sizes proportioned to fit any type of dog. Constructed of wire, wood, metal, or molded fiberglass/plastic, its purpose is to provide guaranteed confinement for reasons of security, safety, housebreaking, protection of household goods, travel, illness, or just general control.
The dog crate has long been accepted, trusted, and taken for granted by dog show exhibitors, obedience trainers, breeders, veterinarians, and anyone else who handles dogs regularly. Individual pet owners, however, usually reject the idea of using a crate because they consider such enforced close confinement unfair, and even harmful, to the dog.
CRUELTY - OR KINDNESS?
As The Pet Owner Sees It: It's like a jail-it's cruel-I'd never put MY dog in a cage like that! If this is your first reaction to using a crate, you are a very typical pet owner. As a reasoning human being, you really value your freedom. Since you consider your pet an extension of the human family, it's only natural to feel that closing him in a crate would be mean and inhumane, would probably cause him to resent and even to hate you, and might well result in psychological damage.
BUT - YOU ARE NOT A DOG!
As The Dog Sees It:
I love having a room/house of my very own; it's my private special place, my 'security blanket' and the closed door really doesn't bother me. If your dog could talk, this is how he might well express his reaction to using a crate! He would tell you that the crate helps to satisfy the den instinct inherited from his den-dwelling ancestors and relatives, and that he is not afraid or frustrated when closed in. He would further admit that he is actually much happier and more secure having his life controlled and structured by human beings-and would far rather be prevented from causing trouble than be punished for it later.
SO ... to you it may be a cage- to him, it's home.
WHY USE A CRATE?
A dog crate, correctly and humanely used, can have many advantages for both you and your pet. With the help of a crate you can:
Enjoy complete peace of mind when leaving your dog home alone, knowing that nothing can be soiled or destroyed and that he is comfortable, protected, and not developing any bad habits;
Housebreak your dog more quickly by using the close confinement to encourage control, establish a regular routine for outdoor elimination, and to prevent accidents at night or when left alone;
Effectively confine your dog at times when he may be underfoot (meals, family activities), unwelcome (guests, workmen etc.), over-excited or bothered by too much confusion or too many children, or ill;
Travel with your dog without risk of the driver being dangerously distracted or the dog getting loose and hopelessly lost, and with the assurance that he can easily adapt to any strange surroundings as long as he has his familiar security blanket along;
Your dog can:
Enjoy the privacy and security of a den of his own to which he can retreat when tired, stressed, or ill;
Avoid much of the fear/confusion/punishment caused by your reaction to problem behavior;
More easily learn to control his bowels and to associate elimination only with the outdoors or other designated location;
Be spared the loneliness and frustration having to be isolated (basement, garage, outside) from comfortable indoor surroundings when being restricted or left alone;
Be conveniently included in family outings, visits, and trips instead of being left behind alone at home or in a boarding kennel.
You want to enjoy your pet and be pleased with his behavior ... Your dog wants little more from life than to please you ... A dog crate can help to make your relationship what each of you wants and needs it to be.
USE - BUT DON'T ABUSE
The use of a dog crate is NOT recommended for a dog which must be frequently or regularly left alone for extended periods of time-such as all or much of the day while the owner is away at work, school etc. If it is attempted, the dog must be well exercised both before and after crating, given lots of personal positive attention, and be allowed complete freedom at night (including sleeping near his owner. Do not leave food and water during the day as this will only stimulate the puppy to eliminate in the crate and house training will be difficult. In the case of a puppy, the crate must be used strictly as a play-pen for general confinement, having plenty of space for sleeping at one end and papers for elimination at the other. Although a puppy can be raised in this manner, the limited human supervision may result in his being poorly adjusted socially and difficult to housebreak and to train in general. Crate or no crate, any dog constantly denied the human companionship it needs and craves is going to be a lonely pet-and may still find ways to express anxiety, depression, and general stress.
WHAT KIND OF CRATE IS BEST?
I personally prefer the fiberglass/plastic airline crate because they are easier to clean, they keep hair in the crate. A puppy that has an accident in the crate will typically step all in the elimination and wire crates are difficult to clean with stool everywhere.
WHAT SIZE SHOULD A CRATE BE? A crate should always be large enough to permit any age dog to stretch out flat on his side without being cramped and to sit up without hitting his head on the top. It is always better to use a crate a little too large than one a little too small. For a fully grown adult dog, measure the distance from tip of nose to base (not tip) of tail and use a crate close to, but not less than, this length. The height and width of most crates are properly proportioned to the length, including the convenient wire slant-front models designed to fit station wagons and hatchbacks. For a puppy, measure as above, than add about 12 for anticipated rapid growth. If a small crate is unavailable for temporary use, reduce the space of an adult size one (width can serve for length if the crate is large) with a reversed carton or a moveable/removable partition made of wire, or wood. Remember that a crate too large for a young puppy defeats its purpose of providing security and promoting bowel control, so its space should always be limited in the beginning- except when being used as an over-all pen (see Use-But Don't Abuse section.)
WHERE CAN I GET ONE? New crates can be purchased in retail pet shops and discount pet food/supplies outlets ( ), dog equipment catalogs, or from a crate manufacturer; prices depend on size, quality, and make. Wal-Mart and K-Mart carry the plastic airline type crate at reasonable prices. Most wire crate brands include a removable metal pan/tray/floor and some can be specially ordered with the door on the side instead of the end. The less expensive brands are quite adequate for most family pets, although those made of non-plated/treated wire may discolor the coat of a light colored dog. A used crate can often be borrowed, or found at a tag/garage/yard/rummage sale at a bargain price. EVEN THE MOST EXPENSIVE DOG CRATE, HOWEVER, IS A BARGAIN WHEN COMPARED TO THE COST OF REPAIRING OR REPLACING A SOFA, CHAIR, WOODWORK, WALLPAPER, OR CARPETING!
WHERE SHOULD I PUT IT? Since one of the main reasons for using a crate is to confine a dog without making him feel isolated or banished, it should be placed in. or as close as possible to, a people area- kitchen, family room etc. To provide an even greater sense of den security and privacy, it should be put in a corner and if a wire crate have the sides and back loosely draped with a sheet, large towel, or light blanket which can easily be adjusted for desired visibility or air. The top of a wire crate, when covered with a piece of plywood can also serve as handy extra shelf or table space. Admittedly, a dog crate is not a thing of beauty-but it can be forgiven for not being a welcome addition to the household decor as it proves how much it can help the dog to remain a welcome addition to the household!
CRATING THE PUPPY: A young puppy (8-16 weeks) should normally have no problem accepting a crate as his own place. Any complaining he might do at first is caused not by the crate, but by his learning to accept the controls of his unfamiliar new environment. Actually, the crate will help him to adapt more easily and quickly to his new world.
HOW TO USE IT: Place the crate in a people area-the kitchen, if possible, in a spot free from drafts and not too near a direct heat source. For bedding, use an old towel or piece of blanket which can be washed (should he have an accident) and some freshly worn unlaundered article of your clothing such as a tee shirt, old shirt, sweater etc. Avoid putting newspaper in or under the crate, since its odor may encourage elimination; corrugated cardboard is better if there is no floor pan. A puppy will only upset a dish of water, unless you purchase one of the metal ones which lock onto the door. Make it very clear to children that the crate is NOT a playhouse for them, but a special room for the puppy, whose rights should be recognized and respected. However, you should accustom the puppy from the start to letting you reach into the crate at any time, lest he become overprotective of it. Establish a crate routine immediately, closing the puppy in it at regular 1 to 2 hour intervals during the day (his own chosen nap times will guide you) and whenever he must be left alone for up to 3-4 hours. Give him a chew toy (e.g.. Hoof or special favorite toy) for distraction and be sure to remove collar and tags which could become caught in an opening. At night, in the beginning, you may prefer to place the crate, with the door left open and newspapers nearby, in a small enclosed area such as a bathroom, laundry room, or hall. Crying or complaining at 5:00 AM is easier to endure ignore if you know that the puppy is not uncomfortable. However it also means he is telling you he need to go out and housetraining will be expedited, if you respond to this and get up and take him out and then put him back in his area and go back to bed yourself! Once adjusted to his new life, and if he has no intestinal upset, he will soon show greater bowel control by eliminating only once, or not at all, and then maybe crated all night in his regular place. Even if things do not go too smoothly at first DON'T WEAKEN and DON'T WORRY; be consistent, be firm, and be very aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing him from getting into trouble while left alone. Increase the space inside the crate as the pup grows so that he remains comfortable. If you choose not to, or are not able, to use a crate permanently, plan to use it for at least 5 or 6 months. By then the dog is well past the teething stage-then start leaving the crate door open, when someone is at home during the day, and when he is briefly left alone. If all goes well for week or two, and the dog seems reliable when alone, remove the crate itself and leave a dog bed (with the plastic/airline type-just leave the bottom half as the bed) in the same spot. Although he will probably miss the crate enclosure, that spot will have be his own place and his habit of good behavior should continue. Should any problem occur at a future time, however, even after a long period without a crate, a dog that has been raised in one will readily accept it should the need arise for travel, illness, behavior problems etc. and may really welcome its return.