Honestly, I'd teach your dog to love his crate, and let him know it's a good place to be. That way when you're gone, he's napping/happy/relaxed/comfy/feeling secure. I leave mine with a soft, small blanket, since they like to nest, and a split deer antler to chew on, and walk out the door. I leave some music or the tv on. What's interesting is that since I started doing this (okay....maybe a month after I started....
), my dogs stopped barking after I left, and I don't let them out until they're calm when I return. Life is soooo much better. Mine used to run around the house, barking at the doors and windows, long after I'd gone, and my new puppy had taken up howling according to my neighbors. I had to do something different when I got the second dog (wish I knew what I know now when I got my first). It felt wrong
at first to crate them, but when I see how less stressed they actually are, we're all happier.
As for the play inside, I'll let others answer. I had to institute a chill out policy, since they were using my house as a racetrack, wrestling arena, and an amusement park whenever they felt like it, and it needed to calm down asap as I have a very small house. I'm lucky I live in Florida, so I can take mine out to play in the dog park or just for long walks pretty much daily. For fun, my dogs actually love little training sessions (5-20 minutes a few times a day), and we have bonding time. Maybe teach Teddy some tricks. My puppy actually brings me the clicker when she wants to play. My guys get super excited and happy whenever the clicker comes out.