Finally, the dog understands the purpose of the crate. She hadn't stepped inside yet, even though I put all her shredding blankets in there. Then Monday afternoon there was a thunderstorm, and she started freaking out as usual, so I put her in the cage. She shredded for a while and then came back out. But Tuesday, when the thunder started, she went into the cage of her own free will and lay down at the back.
Well, that doesn't look very comfortable. I've been meaning to get her some bedding in there, but I really don't feel like spending money on a dog bed and a comforter just now. So, instead I'm lending her some of my crochet blankets, thusly:
The one inside the cage is a queen-size and makes a nice thick mattress. I hope she won't tear it. Crochet blankets are much more resistant than fabric, but you never know. The one draped over the cage is mostly to shut out more light and sound and make it more cave-like, but it also makes it more esthetically pleasing to me. Better feng-shui, hopefully. Also, both these blankets are hand-made by me and have been in the house for years, and were on my bed all winter, so they should be thoroughly permeated with my smell, and hopefully that's a comfort to her when I'm not home.
This morning, the dog went to look at the cage again, and at first did not approve of my modifications. So I grabbed her and put her inside forcibly, and she lay down at the back and made herself at home. I'm not sure she likes having a blanket over the cage, actually. It shuts out some light and noise, but on the other hand, she can't see me anymore, and that always annoys her. She likes to keep an eye on me.