I'll be honest, when I lived in So Cal, I never used a crate, I let the dogs have the run of the yard and the garage...Even when we went to Ireland, it was the same....When I adopted Samson, his foster mom recomended that I get one to use for a bit...Glad I did, Samson suffers from separation anxiety and demolished my house when he managed to get out of his first crate...Once, he knows that's he's not going to be left behind, he doesn't get crated...So he runs free in the house, but Angel is definitely crated...It took me awhile to make Marq understand that it wasn't a bad thing, it's more to protect your boxer from hurting himself, and of course your house!!!
I just started leaving Maddie out of her crate when I leave the house. She turned two in March, but I rescued her when she was 16 months, so we had some potty issues with her still. So far we just had a sacrificed pillow.
We learned the hard way that a crate is a good thing with our first one. Tried to keep her confined to the kitchen but she jumped over anything put across the door. We lost a couch cushion, tv remote, calculator and some shoes before we got the crate (recommended by our vet). After that she was a different dog. The crate was always left open for her when we were home and she spent alot of time in there just sleeping. I would make sure you get one big enough for your dog when it is full grown to have room to lay and stretch a little. We crate all our new dogs or puppies until they are old enough that we can trust them alone in the house. We have had up to three boxers running lose in the house with no problems but they started out in the crate and were gradually left out on their own.
we used to leave Savannah out and free when we first got her, but we learned the hard way that even though she is 2 we cant leave her out. she was an outside dog so never got the official housetraining- we had wet spots and poo piles waiting when we came home. Then we got Reese and things got hectic. Neither of them are completley trained. We used to crate together, but recently bought Reese her own kennel. So now anytime we leave we take them out, then the go to their kennels. They are trained well enough not to go in their "safe" place. Reese is 4 months though, so i am hoping by the time she is fully trained-savannah will be to and possible let them go when we will be gone for short periods of time.
We crate Lola when we go out and at night to sleep. She sleeps from about 11pm to 7am without a peep and no accidents now. It took some time though. Sometimes if we're running out just for a few minutes we'll block her in the kitchen, but we've come home to a shredded pillow and potty spots everywhere...or she rips all the blankets out of her crate and if there's anything on top of it..it ends up on the floor! So we try to crate her as much as possible. Hopefully soon we'll be able to leave her in the kitchen when we're out.
At this point Gus and Maggie stay in the garage if we are gone for a long time or if it is to hot they have run of some of the house.
We are moving into our camper (5th wheel) for some time and now until things get situated Gus is now learning to spend some time in his crate to save things from getting chewed up.