My family has always crated our dogs until we felt they were old enough not to destroy the house and we've had no problems with any of them. Basically, we crate them (or pen them in a small area) until they are 1-2 years old. At that age, we remove the crate. Typically by that time they have their 'special spot' in our family room and that becomes their place when the crate is gone. With the crate gone they get almost the full run of the house (no upstairs and the dining room/living room have doors, so they can't get in).