Are Crates Cruel?
Judge for yourself:
Both dogs are lying in their crates, sound asleep, with the door WIDE open.
Obviously crates are not cruel if used properly. Crates are to be used to prevent problems, never as a punishment.
It is best to start using a crate as soon as you bring your new puppy home, but you can teach an older dog to enjoy a crate as well.
Put your puppy in his/her crate anytime you can't supervise them. If you give him a little treat and give him a command word, such as 'kennel' 'crate' or 'house' each time you put him in the crate, he will soon learn that the crate is a nice place to be.
If you have children, teach them to respect the puppy while he is in his crate, and not bother the pup while he is in 'his house'.