This is what I have found to be the most efficient use of a crate, for those who also have a doggy door. The first thing that I like to do is to back the crate up to the doggy door when the dog is ready to either retire for the evening, or when you are going to be away for a few hours.
There are quite a few advantages to this, depending on how far the dog is along in his training. If the dog is very young, I put a harness on him with an attachment that lets the dog get in and out of the doggie door, (remember, he can't get to the rest of the house, because he is closed off at the crate) but the area is cleared out enough to keep him out of trouble.
Nothing to catch the line on. Now he can't eat what he is not supposed to be eating, nor can he fall in the pool. He can't crawl under the fence, and he can't chew up the lounge chairs because you have moved them. If it is hot or cold outside---he can get in the crate which is indoors, and stay either warm or cool. You will sleep wonderfully knowing that your couch will still be there when you awake.
Something else wonderful happened while you were sleeping though. Twice during the middle of the night, Rover had to go to the bathroom. Since Rover will not mess in his crate----there was only one place to go, and that was outside!!! Rover is teaching himself to go outside while you are sleeping--------what a country!!!!
In the morning, you have to leave for awhile, and you put the crate back up there, and Rover learns some more. When you are home and the crate is away, it is much, much easier for him to make the connection. Soon, you can eliminate the line, and give him the backyard, but still put the crate up. If while you are gone, it starts to rain---no problem, Rover can get to his crate, but the house will not be muddy. Eventually, Rover can come and go as he pleases.
Fred Hassen is the owner and Master Trainer of "Sit Means Sit" Dog Training in Las Vegas, NV. Fred has numerous titles and awards to his credit which are viewable at http://fredhassen.com/about_us.htm. Fred has many years experience in the K-9 training field. He is also available for seminars. You can reach Fred at mailto:email@example.com