So, for a variety of reasons, we are just now working on Baxter being out of his crate at night. I've been easing into it by having him in the room with me, uncrated, for a bit before bedtime to help the novelty of the bedroom wear off. Last night was the big test - giving him freedom in the room for the whole night.
I gotta say - he is the CUTEST dog ever. Once he realized that he was allowed to stay out, he pranced over to his crate, grabbed one of his blankets, pulled it out onto the floor and looked up at me and Sam as though to say, "Look! I'm movin' out of my crate!" He just looked....so PROUD of himself. It was so adorable.
He DID feel the need to check on me at 11:30pm (nothin' like a cold, wet nose to wake you up suddenly), but aside from that, he was 100% perfectly behaved.
Once he's comfortable with this new routine, we'll start uncrating him downstairs while we're gone for short time periods (5-10 minutes, 10-15, etc).
I think a big part of the reason that we have continued crating (aside from the fact that he likes his crate) is that he can occasionally revert to his attitude of, "This is MY house and I'll do as I please." He's never really destroyed anything, he just...has a sense of entitlement. I'm sure allowing him on the couches doesn't help, but hey. I'm not perfect.
Sometimes I worry that I'm doing all of the wrong things with him, but my gut was telling me that he just wasn't ready to be uncrated at night yet, but lately I've felt like he could be trusted. And he could. It did, of course, help that he slept right next to me on the floor almost all night. Big mama's boy.