Since Bella is the first dog I have crated (my other dog is placed in the kitchen which has doors to close) I'm worried about when I start work again (teacher out for the summer). Just how long can a dog be crated for?
My original plan was to put both dogs in the kitchen while I was gone (only about 4 hours at a time as I come home for lunch to let them out), but Bella and Cricket are still adjusting to each other. While they aren't 'enemies', they aren't best buds either. No big fights, but that might be because I've always been there to distract them when they begin to get into it. I'm afraid that if I put them both in the kitchen while I'm gone, either Bella will hurt Cricket trying to play with her or a fight will break out. I'm not too concerned with Bella as she's already 2x Cricket's size, but Cricket could definitely be injuried if they ever really got into it. I even thought about gating off part of the kitchen, but Bella's big enough and hyper enough she'd just jump the gate.
Bella does great in her crate so would I be a completely heartless owner to crate her while I'm a work?
I would crate her also. Rule of thumb is one month old they are good for 1+1= 2 hours comfortably. Two months old would be 2+1 = 3 hours. Always add 1 to the age of months until you reach 7 to 8 hours during the night.
My trainer always told me that what is good for one dog may not work for the other. YOU DON'T have to treat them the same. Wiley slept on the couch when Blaze was in the crate.
You need to start now letting her spend more time gradually in the crate. It would not be mean to crate her, it would be responsible of you to keep her from harming herself while you are away. If she can not be trusted not to chew, tear up, eat something she isn't supposed to, or anything else like this, please crate her for her own good. She won't be a puppy forever. Eventually she will, hopefully, grow out of this destructive stage. Don't feel guilty for crating her. It is for her own good.
Everyone has a photographic memory.... Some just don't have any film.
My dogs have learned to love their crates! I always say,"Go to your room" and they go right in - alot of times they go in on their own just to hang out if they want peace and quiet. I always gave them something extra special when they were placed in the crate - a kong w/peanut butter, or a special toy or biscuit that they never got otherwise. As long as the crate is never used for punishment or unreasonalbe lengths of time, it becomes a safe and secure environment for them.