Crate training is not cruel (unless you keep them in there 24-7). It teaches them a sense of responsibility, and how to respect their environment. It also gives them a safe place and will prepare them for situations of confinement (boarding/bags) without them freaking out. I think crate training is great, and it also quickly fixes separation anxiety problems in some dogs. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching a dog frantically trying to escape a cage or crate, conditioning your chi to be comfortable in it is really doing them a favor.