We adopted a 9 mo old black lab mix this past monday and we are trying to help her get adjusted to her crate. We haven't forced her into the crate and we've only tried shutting the door on her once so far. We've packed it with lots of treats (although to be honest, she hasn't been all that treat-motivated since we got her). She has had some separation anxiety issues, so we really would like to get her to love being in her crate and be comfortable being in it for 4-5 hrs at a time.
Earlier today, we were finally able to get her to lay down in her crate and work on her Kong for an extended period of time (maybe 10-15 min) by only letting her be in our bedroom with us if she was in the crate. Otherwise, I just took her out of the room for a minute before letting her back in.
While she was in there, we didn't shut the door, but it seemed like when she was ready to settle in for some sleep, she still came out of the crate to lay down right in front of it. And, finally, I'm getting to my actual question: Is the crate too small for her? I have noticed that she sleeps mostly on her side with her legs straight out in front of her and the crate doesn't seem quite wide enough for her to be able to do that. Should we bother trying to get her to sleep in the crate tonight?
Well, the general rule seems to be that the dog should have enough space to stand and change positions. If she can do that, then you should be fine. The same would probably apply to the width, if she has enough room to mostly stretch her legs, it's probably big enough.