Your dog escaping from its crate might seem adorable at first; however, it is a cause of alarm after repeated escapes. The doggo can get into various forms of mischief once it escapes the cage, and you have to bear full responsibility for its actions.
What should I do when my dog constantly escapes from its enclosure? You can bank on several moves to curb your furry friend’s Houdini ambitions. Here is a guide on all you need to know about making a dog crate escape-proof.
Does My Dog Need A Crate?
If your dog escapes its cage every time, you may decide to remove the hurdle from its way, right? Wrong. The cage serves many purposes, like security, ease of transportation, and restricting its movement in canine-free zones. A dog crate is a must-have accessory for the effortless handling of your dog.
Why Does My Dog Escape Its Crate?
Let us get to the possible reasons why your dog is always committing a crate break.
It Is Uncomfortable
The crate might be uncomfortable for your doggo, prompting its regular exits. It may be too small for it, or the new environment leads to stress and anxiety.
Dogs are social pets, and most breeds are very energetic. They need to release this energy, and having them in the crate for long periods doesn’t do them any favors.
It may be a toy outside its cage or a squirrel or birdie at the window grabbing its attention. Such distractions may prompt your pup to get out of its cage.
A Potty Break
Dogs do not want to soil their surroundings to avoid enduring the discomfort from their waste. If your furry friend feels the urge to relieve itself, it will break out from its crate.
Your Pooch Needs Your Attention
Canines love attention and do anything to get it, like bolting from their crates. At times, separation anxiety drives them to make a break, especially if the crate is far from you.
How Do Dogs Escape Their Crates?
Dogs will exit their cages in many ways, depending on factors like the cage’s structure and its body size. Highlighted are the possible ways through which your canine exits its crate.
Squeezing Through The Crate’s Openings
A common way of escaping is by squeezing through the cage’s openings. Most cages have spaces, like mesh, of varying sizes that allow the dog to breathe freely and be part of its surroundings. Small dogs are the main culprits in using this breakout mode, with their size being their advantage.
Your canine may also pass via larger openings. If the cage’s structure is weak, it may force itself through the mesh, causing its expansion – voila, a way out!
Unlatching The Door
You might think that your dog crate is escape-proof because you latched it. An intelligent canine will prove you wrong by unlatching the door and walking out. If it can reach the latch, it can open the door.
Use Of Force
For some canines, escaping is as easy as using their strength. It is the go-to method for larger breeds, which exploit weak spots. Repeated crushing of the cage makes it easier for your dog to break out in subsequent attempts.
Believe it or not, outside help may explain why you always find your doggo out of its crate. The help may be from other people in your household, like your toddler, who may want cuddles from its fuzzy buddy. Other dogs or pets like cats may also aid in the breakout.
Biting Its Way Out
Do not underestimate your doggo’s bite, as it may be its key out of the cage. It can bite its way out of the cage if it is made of plastic or has some wooden parts; in short, areas where it can easily chew without hurting itself too much. This can be a gradual process, where it regularly chews off a portion of the cage until it can comfortably slither out.
How To Prevent Your Dog from Escaping Its Crate
Several things can go wrong if your dog escapes from its cage, especially if it is energetic. Expect your house to be a mess, or it may scare away random people. You can stop the escape by relying on the following tips.
1. Watch Over Your Dog
You should watch over your dog while in the dog cage to know how it escapes. Some dogs are smart and won’t make a move in your presence. They will wait for your departure and do what they do best.
Stay ahead of your game by installing spy cameras to check on your pup while you are not around. You may learn its tricks and pull the right moves to prevent it from leaving the cage. A motion sensor is a worthy investment, as it notifies you when your dog leaves the crate.
2. Make The Dog Crate Comfortable
Staying in an uncomfortable place can be frustrating, even for your dog. It may be exiting the crate to be more comfortable. This is especially true if your dog tends to remain calm outside the crate or if it makes it hard to get into it.
You will need a larger crate to accommodate its frame if it is a big dog. Your pup should not bend in the dog cage, as it may cause joint and spinal problems.
How do I get the perfect-sized crate for my dog? You should measure your dog’s length and height while on all fours, then add 2-4 inches to the values you get. That is the correct dog cage dimensions for your furry friend.
Ensure the crate is clean and provide materials like padding and a blanket for its coziness. This way, it does not have to seek its comfort elsewhere.
3. Provide The Necessary Utilities
The crate, as its temporary home, should have all of your dog’s necessities. Provide water, toys, snacks, and everything it needs to be calm.
4. Bond With Your Dog Before Leaving
Before putting your dog in the dog crate, you can try to bond with it over various exercises. As mentioned earlier, canines are social and may have a lot of energy they need to release before resting.
You can take your pup for a walk or play with it before you leave it in the cage. With its energy depleted, it will rest in the cage with minimal disturbances. A bonding session also makes your doggo less anxious or stressed.
5. Choose A Suitable Location For The Dog Crate
Look for a suitable area to place the dog crate. A suitable location should be warm, quiet, and far from distractions. Avoid areas near the window, as the temperature may fluctuate due to the sun rays and wind, making the surroundings uncomfortable. Moreover, your dog can get distracted by passing dogs, squirrels, or cats, making them jittery and in need of an escape.
Also, avoid raised areas, as your dog may fall during a breakout attempt, leading to serious injuries.
6. Crate Training To The Rescue
Crate training is crucial for your dog to get used to its new shelter. It involves the introduction of your pup to the crate to get it accustomed, thus reducing its insecurities gradually. It is easier to crate train puppies than older dogs; a good reason to train your doggo when it is young.
Crate training is handy for bowel and bladder control and essential for housebreaking. You should, however, be gentle when training your dog. Let it get used to the crate at its own pace for the desired outcome. Rushing the process may lead to stress.
Also, make the cage welcoming for your pup. You may put toys, clothing, or anything that may attract the dog into the cage. Rewarding it for staying in the cage is a significant part of the training.
Your work is complete when your canine gets attached to the crate: there is a minimal chance that it will try to escape.
7. Do Not Let Your Dog Overstay In The Crate
Your dog should not spend a long time in a cage unless in special situations like long-distance traveling. Long periods in the cage can distress your dog, leading to anxiety or depression. The lack of exercise may lead to problems with the skeletal system.
Adult dogs can stay crated for up to 12 hours a day. Puppies under 6 months old should not stay in the crate for more than four hours a time, as they do not have proper bowel and bladder control. Some experts suggest 9 hours max during the day and 8 hours at night. Your dog should always exercise for its health.
Never use the crate to punish your dog! Doing so may lead to depression when you crate it, and there is a high chance it will try to bolt. Moreover, respond to sustained howls and barks when your dog is in the cage to know what is wrong.
How To Escape-Proof A Dog Crate
Let us look at ways to make your dog crate escape-proof.
Focus On The Weak Spots
Your dog probably escapes by exploiting weak spots in its crate. It would be best if you focused on these spots to counter your canine’s moves. You can know the areas it takes advantage of by watching it escape.
Dogs mostly escape from the collapsible crates. These crates have several movable points that allow for their folding for proper storage. Your canine will take advantage of the movable areas as they are weak.
You will need zip ties and a drill to reinforce the weak spots. Start by zip-tying the corners to make the walls sturdier. Cut the ends of the zip ties to prevent your pup from chewing on them. You then drill holes in the corners of the plastic tray and pass the zip ties through the holes to secure it firmly.
Please do not leave the ends of the zip ties hanging; trim them off.
Secure The Latches
The next part of escape-proofing your doggo’s crate is securing the latches. Identify the spaces your dog uses to access the latch and block it with a small panel of wood, metal, or plastic. This is not enough; you need to deal with the outside help factor, where your toddler or other pets can unlock the door.
Get a padlock to secure the door. Have spare keys to prevent locking up your dog for a long time in case you lose a key.
It is an excellent solution if you understand the task at hand. It is suitable for dogs that escape by squeezing through the spaces of the crate. You can add extra wire or metal at the escape points to stop your dog’s exit.
Be careful when welding to maintain the structure’s integrity.
Proper Assembly Of The Dog Crate
The weak points of the dog crate may be due to poor assembly. You should assemble this utility correctly by following instructions in the user manual. A correctly assembled structure will be steady and can withstand your pup’s brute force when it wants to break out.
Upgrade The Dog Crate
The dog crate may be prone to escape due to its worn-out state. Continuous bolting by your dog, especially if it uses force, can weaken it. With time, it becomes less efficient and may be an accident hazard. In this scenario, the logical move is to upgrade to a new and sturdier dog crate.
How To Choose The Best Dog Crate
Your choice of a crate greatly determines how successful your dog will be in its attempts at breaking loose. The following are factors to consider when getting a dog crate.
The size of an ideal crate for your dog should be 2-4 inches more than its length (excluding the tail) and height. Such dimensions ensure that it has ample space to move about freely. It can sleep comfortably without having to contort its body.
Dog crates come in various materials, like plastic, metal, wood, and fabric. Solid plastic cages are ideal for travel, like when on a plane, and are secure in case of an accident. Their downside is that they are bulky and take up a lot of space. Dogs can also chew some parts of plastic crates to create an exit point.
Metal dog crates can be made using either wire or aluminum: they are durable, with most being foldable to save on space. Furthermore, their construction promotes airflow and provides a clear view.
Pick a material that will serve you well, depending on your situation. You should focus on factors such as portability, durability, and space economy.
Low-quality materials and poor workmanship characterize most cheap dog crates. The material quality compromises durability, and your dog can easily break the cage if it wants to escape. Go for a top-grade cage built with premium material for the best value.
While second-hand crates may be affordable, you must be keen on their state, as some may be weak. Other factors to consider when looking for a dog crate are its accessories, ease of use, and safety features.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can A Dog Crate Be Too Big?
When getting a dog crate for your canine, size is a crucial factor to consider. You should avoid the smaller crates, as they will make your dog uncomfortable. A suitable one is 2-4 inches taller and longer than your dog’s body size.
You can get one that is too large for your dog. It is an economical move that saves you from consistent upgrades that can be too expensive. Plus, your canine has adequate space to itself. However, a big crate can work against your potty-training efforts.
With a large room to itself, your pup can relieve itself in one corner and sleep in the other. You can prevent such a situation by investing in a dog crate divider. This accessory divides the cage into two sections. You adjust the position of the dividers to create more space for your doggo as it grows.
Is It Cruel To Lock A Dog In A Crate?
Putting your dog in a crate is not cruel, as long as you do it correctly and for the right purposes. You can use a dog crate when transporting your furry friend or securing it in one place.
Nevertheless, locking your dog for more than 12 hours at a time is cruel as it does not have space for movement. Such conditions may lead to stress and depression. In addition, you should not crate your pup to punish it.
Can I Have Two Dogs In One Crate?
No, you should never put two dogs in one crate. Dogs need personal space, and putting two in a small space, like a cage, can end badly. Each dog should have its separate crate.
You can have puppies in the same crate, as they are still young and do not understand the essence of personal space. Nevertheless, it is better to have them in separate crates.
Is your dog always escaping from its crate? No need to worry as this guide has you covered, providing measures to stop the habit. You should get to the root of the problem to understand why it breaks out of the cage. With an idea of the problem, you can easily solve it.
Do not forget to maintain the cage via cleaning, repairs regularly, and making it comfy for your canine to lessen its bolting attempts.