I crate trained my GSD, he was crated until he was 6 months old and then we left the crate door open. I completely removed the crate when he was 2 years old.
I did not crate my Dalmatian at night, he slept in my bed until he was 6 months old and then he started sleeping on a big dog bed on the floor with my GSD.
Sinister ~ black GSD 3.11.09
Draven ~ Dalmatian 6.30.13