And it was the best decision we could have made!
As a disclaimer: I have nothing against those who do crate their puppies/dogs. It definitely has its benefits and can be very helpful for some people.
We tried everything we were supposed to do. Gave treats and food in the crate, comfy bed, heating pad, snuggle puppy with a heartbeat, a dark sheet to cover it, calming music and the fan on. But we could only get him to sleep for 30 minutes at a time in the crate, and that was only if one of us was there to comfort him until he fell asleep. Now we just plop him down in our bed, close the door and leave. And he will actually nap for 2 hours or more!
Yes there are downsides to having our puppy sleep in the bed, and hopefully it won’t be forever. But for now I’m fine with the odd kick in the face or having to frequently change my bedding if it means everyone is happier and sleeping better.
Crate training was making us hate our puppy, and making my partner and I hate each other. And after talking to friends who have raised puppies, they all had the same experience with crate training and quickly stopped it. We finally realized the only reason we were even doing it was because we felt like we had to. With the way our kitchen is set up, it’s easy to keep him penned off in there if we are not home, and we really don’t mind sharing our bed if it makes him comfortable.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that crate training is not for everyone. And if you’re really struggling with it, consider if it’s what you really want to do or is it just peer pressure. Not crating your puppy does not make you a bad owner and you should not feel guilty for it! It took me a few days to really accept that, but since I have I’ve been so much happier and I’m enjoying my puppy a lot more.