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Breaking Out of Crates

I get a lot of calls from people whose dogs break out of crates. Almost every single person I talk to has a black wire crate that their dog has figured out how to get out of. I wanted to write a quick blog post about this, so hopefully I can save some of you a lot of trouble.

Honestly, I more surprised when dogs stay IN those black wire crates than when they get out of them. Those crates are easy to break out of. In the beginning of crate training, it’s normal for a dog to paw or bite at the crate. The wire crates give in easily, which makes the dog try to get out even hard.

Think of a time when you tried to push something heavy. If you push and the object gives a little, then you know that pushing is working. And what to you do? You dig in and push harder! That’s what dogs in wire crates learn, if they push a little, the crate gives in. So, they keep pushing until they get out.

Now imagine you’re pushing on an object that just won’t budge. Before long you’ll give up and try something different. I find that most dogs have this experience when put in a hard-plastic crate. They may push and bite at it, but the crate doesn’t give in to them. So, they quickly give up and either settle down or take advantage of a bone or toy you’ve left them.

Moral of this story: wire crates are not safe for dogs who are not crate trained or have a history of breaking out of crates. I do use them for dogs that are already trained, but otherwise prefer to use hard plastic crates.

With hard plastic crates, there’s much less risk of the dog getting out. There’s also less risk of dogs getting their jaws stuck in the crate from biting on it. And dogs have a harder time pulling things like blankets or clothes in to the crate.

About the Author: Jen Banks has been training dogs professionally since 2008. She started her own pet dog training company in 2014. Owner and trainer at Banks K9 Solutions in Fitchburg MA, she provides group classes, board and train, and in home training for families and their dogs. Read more about her here.

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