While there are those who firmly believe that crating a dog is, in essence, caging them like a wild animal and that it is cruel, the reality is that teaching your pup to use his crate can be a very good thing. The only time it takes on a negative aspect is if you try to use it as a form of punishment. Every aspect of the training process must be positive in nature, even when your pup is struggling to get it right.
In the wild, it is quite natural for dogs to seek a cave or some other form of shelter for a den. This will become their "safe place" where they can sleep, stay dry, raise a family, or hide from predators. In essence, crate training your Dalmatian is little more than bringing this natural instinct to the surface and providing him with a place to call his own.
So, here we are talking about crate training your pup, but relating it to his natural desire to have a den. In the wild, his den would be little more than a rock or dirt floor deep inside a natural cave or perhaps one formed by a number of trees falling on top of each other. Domesticated dogs have long since felt the need to live in a dark cave. If you want your pup to enjoy the one you are creating for him, it has to be a bit more than a spartan crate.
Okay, so you don’t need to create a palace for your pup; hold off on his own TV, no personal air conditioning. But at the same time, you need to make it comfortable for your pooch. So, what it does need is a nice piece of wall to wall carpeting, a plush and comfy bed to nap on, some really cool toys to gnaw on and, of course, a hanging water bottle. Sounds like heaven and to your pup that is exactly what it will be.
You already know you need a crate, but it needs to be the right size or you are just making things harder for yourself. If your Dalmatian is a puppy, you need to start with one that will fit him through young adulthood. But, by the time your pup reaches his full size, you are going to need one big enough to give him plenty of room to stand up and move around.
When you are looking for the perfect spot for the crate, you need one that is out of the main flow of traffic but is where your family tends to spend a large amount of time. The idea is that even though your pup might be in his kennel, you don't want him to feel isolated. It will also entice him to spend time in there when he wants a little peace and quiet. When not in use, you should always leave the door open so he can come and go as he pleases.