Hello! You're going through what I went through last August/September. Joey is 10 Months old now. I can tell you from experience USE THE CRATE!! Thank God you stopped leaving him tied up, I just think that would be so dangerous!!
PLEASE do not feel guilty using the crate, honestly I could not ever have imagined not crating Joey. I followed the instructions of the experienced puppy/bulldog owners here, I read and read all the posts and advice on crate training, transitioning, etc. and they were SPOT ON. I realized very early that for the sake of keeping Joey out of trouble, safe, and not developing bad habits, I needed the crate.
I can tell you now, again with the help of people here, I can leave Joey with run of the house, at 10 months, and she is doing GREAT!! I have cameras so I check on her from time to time and now have increased her time alone to 2 hours, with no problems. I believe the trick was to prevent any bad habits from forming and I could not have done that without crate training.
Another hint, from my recent puppy experience, start walking her on a leash quickly and often. That really formed the bond between Joey and I and started the "me alpha.....you dog..." relationship. I love her with all my heart as I am sure you do El Chapo......now is the time to be forming an ever lasting, safe, healthy bond. Good luck, have fun, and I've learned some PRICELESS lessons here that I will be more than happy to share, because if not for the sharing folks here I would have been lost. How about those photos