Many people think that simply buying a crate will be enough to keep their pet secure and contained. Unfortunately this is not always the case, a dog that hasn't been crate trained sees being crated as either a game or something they have to break out of at all costs.
The clever ones will learn how to exploit the crate's weaknesses, the rest will simply use brute force to attempt to break out and permanently destroy it. We'll take a look at some examples of how they do this and how to keep your dog from escaping their crate.
If you are simply looking for a new robust crate to contain your pet, see our article on heavy duty dog crates.
Dog owners can be quite surprised to leave their dog at home in their brand new crate thinking they'll return home and find them happily waiting inside. Instead they are shocked to find their pet happily greeting them at the door. And they may soon quickly discover their happy Houdini had just spent the day getting up to all sorts of mischief creating mess, chewing things up, and destroying things while they were at it.
Maybe they've even left you a smelly deposit, somewhere you'd rather not have it. They did not realize they needed a heavy duty crate and good crate training. So let's take a look at how dogs can escape from standard crates if your pet lacks adequate training and is in a standard crate or even a cheap heavy duty one.
Videos Of Houdini Escape Artists & Strong Dogs Escaping From Their Crates
Let's look at a few videos to show you just how smart dogs can be at finding out how they can find a crate's vulnerabilities and escape from their crate.
Video 1 – Upper Latch Exploitation
In this video we see just how smart an escape artist dog can be. This one has learned that their is locked via a latch at the top of the crate, and she's determined to move it.
As we can see, this Houdini is relentless in trying to bite and paw away at the upper latch. She's relentless and determined, and she eventually exploits this cage's weakness and escapes.
Video 2 – Climbing Out Of A Pen
Some people prefer the open space of a pen to a crate, but if you thought only cats knew how to climb, think again.
Video 3 – Latch Hook Door Exploitation
This crate is ridiculous easy to escape from and this dog knows it. She has learned that escaping from this faux Alcatraz simply requires opening the door through a short sharp nudge upwards on the latch and “HEY, PRESTO!” She's out quicker than a Brexit!
She has observed that the crate “door” is closed simply by hooking it over the wire on the cage. And she has seen that lifting the door up over the wire releases it. It's not clear whether the latch was properly set, but as the rest of these videos show, these style of latches tend to be pretty much a moot point to a clever Houdini escape artist dog.
Video 4 – Overpowering Crate
And here's an example of a dog simply overpowering their crate with brute force. It appears that they are aware of and are trying initially to exploit the latch, but quickly discover once they have a grip with their jaws that the door is weak. Another tug and open sesame, no more locked crate.
Video 5 – Finding & Exploiting Vulnerability
Here's another gorilla escaping from her not so tough crate. Watch how she simply grips the bottom, instantly pulls at it and bends it out of shape, creating a gap from the crate floor. She then decides it'll be no problem to barge her way through this gap. And she is correct. Another escaped dog.
Video 6 – Small Dog Unlocks Latch & Escapes
A dog doesn't need to be big to escape, they just need to learn how to exploit the cage's weakness. This one shows another escape artist that has worked out that the latch is literally the key to escaping from the crate. After persistent attempts, the latch is exploited and the door is released.
Video 7 – Exploiting Roof Door Vulnerability In Crate
Some crates are exploited through an upper opening door. Such doors can be great for accessing the crate from above, but they are also a great means of escape for some Houdinis too.
Video 8 – Compilation Of Houdinis Escaping
And to round off here's a funny video of dogs escaping from crates, fences and outdoor kennels. Watch the one at 1:40 where the dog escapes then helps the others escape their crates.
Solution – Get A Heavy Duty Escape Proof Dog Crate
So as you can see, standard crates are easily exploited by determined dogs. Latch lock crates in particular are easily exploited. Dogs learn how the latch works, then they get to work to unlatch the door to freedom and rampage.
Powerful dogs can simply overpower the crate, either bending or destroying the cage to get out.
These are made from thicker bars or sheets of metal rather than wire, to make it much harder for the dog to have a chance of escape through damage. Many have escape proof designs too where the latch is not so accessible to a Houdini.
The answer to how to keep your dog from escaping their crate is not just to get a crate that they can't escape from. You will want to back the use of the crate up with crate training, otherwise your dog may be in distress and hurt herself in her attempts to escape, or she may become depressed and withdrawn, seeing being crated as a punishment. Your dog needs to see their crate the opposite way, they need to see it as being their own personal den.
The best ones are virtually inescapable and indestructible so there will be little chance of dog escapes crate opportunities with those. Two great crates are the Impact Case Collapsible Dog Crate and the ProSelect Empire Dog Crate.