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There are some serious escape artists out there. I’m talking about dogs escaping from crates.
You love your dog, and the battle of the crate can seem arduous at times. Yet, it’s a necessary tool for training your dog to get accustomed to routine and housebreaking.
There are numerous crates on the market that target frustrated dog owners dealing with a Houdini hound. From materials to construction and size, multiple unique features aim to put an end to escapes.
But, it can be overwhelming to navigate through products. Especially since heavy duty crates cost hundreds of dollars. You don’t want to make the wrong choice!
Lucky for you, we’ve done the dirty work, so you can have some peace of mind.
Contents & Quick Navigation
How do Dogs Escape from Wire Crates?
A wire crate might seem pretty straightforward. A metal box with bars and a lock is something no one will mess with, right? WRONG.
A dog that is anxious for freedom has plenty of time on their paws to figure out how to escape from a crate.
The list of tactics undertaken by dogs to finagle their way out is limitless. But alas, here are 3 of the most common ways they have been known to make moves.
Also note the weak spots on crates that should be considered when you purchase one, such as metal connectors on the corners.
Houdini move No. 1: the incredible latch lifter
Your dog will practice toggling the latch until she pops it open. Then, you’ll be amazed when she slowly perfects her newfound talent, getting slicker and faster at opening the crate door without any chewing or busting.
Heavy duty crates do not feature the typical wire latch design that slides through a holding piece to lock. Instead, most will feature 2 small steel latches as opposed to one for extra security and safety.
Houdini move No. 2: the chew meister
Wire cages utilize thin metal connectors that hold the crate sides and door together. Houdini dogs simply gnaw at these weak spots until the crate sides give or the door pops off clean.
A heavy duty crate will feature a thick steel frame and bars that are reinforced by steel screws instead of connectors. This is handy because dogs are unable to grasp onto any pieces that stick out that allows them to hold and chew connectors.
Houdini move No. 3: the Hercules pup
These dogs don’t have time to waste. They use sheer muscle power to bust through a weak spot in a wire crate.
Crates can be dangerous though. As you can see in the video, the dog momentarily gets caught on the crate by the collar. He manages to wriggle free, but in other cases, this has been known to cause strangulation.
The solid steel frame of the heavy duty crate stops dogs from being able to bend the bars or shove their heads under corners where there is space to work with.
Do You Have an Escape Artist on Your Hands?
Never forget that when your dog is in her crate, she has nothing but time to figure out a way out of there.
Some dogs so suave at maneuvering that hundreds of dollars, multiple crates and destroyed belongings later you’ll be desperate and wondering if there is nothing you can do to incarcerate her.
Think of it this way; dogs take the time and patience to find creative solutions for escape. Instead of only relying on a crate’s durability to thwart your dog’s efforts, taking time to learn your dog’s behavior can help you discover new, ingenious solutions to put a stop to her busts.
Here are some different methods you can use to try to understand why your dog is breaking out, how she does it and what you can do to stop it.
Which tactic will you use to prevent a great escape?
Watch and learn
Most doggos will wait until the owner is out of the room before they try any sneaky business. You can either hide out of sight or set up a webcam to monitor how exactly your dog escapes.
By learning her tactics and the weak spots she exploits, you can focus your reinforcement efforts on these specific areas.
Give her something to do
Imagine if you were left in an empty crate for hours. You might be the type that will take the opportunity to snooze or you’re the restless type that can’t sit still. Dogs are the same!
They need something to keep them entertained, and a favorite toy could be the trick.
Cover the floor of the crate with a soft blanket that has your dog’s scent on it to help foster a den-like atmosphere. Leave your dog’s toy inside before you go.
Make sure it is safe, as in it doesn’t have loose fabric ends or long pieces of rope that could potentially get snagged on the crate.
Place the crate appropriately
Crate placement is extremely important. Not only can the right spot hamper escape attempts, but it prioritizes safety as well.
Placing the crate by a window gives your dog a view of the yard and road, which can keep her attention quelled.
On the contrary, if your dog gets over-excited at the sight of squirrels, then this type of placement might backfire on ya. A quiet corner of the house can help easily stimulated dogs relax.
Avoid placing a crate near curtains or furniture, especially if doggo likes to indulge in destructive chewing. This is for safety also. You don’t want any loose fabrics nearby that could potentially wrap around your dog’s neck.
For more ideas on crate placement and what to put inside the crate, click here.
Work it out
Before crate time, take your dog out to burn that extra energy. Try a long walk, jog in the park or play fetch with a ball in the backyard.
By giving her outside time where she can be active and incorporating crate-friendly games, your dog will be tuckered out and ready to rest in a safe space- her crate!
Get handy with hardware
If you’ve observed your dog chewing at the connectors, get the toolbox out and reinforce them with metal carabiners.
This assures extra strength and safety for your dog. For example, never use duct tape or zip ties for a quick fix. Not only can these methods cause harm but they’ll be torn through in no time.
This is What You Should Look for in an Inescapable Crate
When you’re dealing with an escape artist pooch, we know you get plenty of experience with crates on the battlefield.
Many dog owners dealing with crate training have most likely poured over online reviews, talked to professionals and spent countless dollars on crates that they fervently hoped would be the one to do the job.
Regardless, crate training a dog can be arduous, especially if she suffers from severe separation anxiety or other emotional issues. It’s not anyone’s fault, least her’s, but it’s a great responsibility that a fur parent must undertake.
We took the leap into the world of heavy-duty crates ourselves to find the creme de la creme, as we know how expensive and time consuming it can be.
As dog owners ourselves, we understand that no two dogs are alike and each has its own quirks and needs.
Also, no dog crate is 100% inescapable and we doubt you’ll find a designer out there that guarantees that. Dogs are intelligent, zany and never fail to impress us with some sort of trick they’ve got up their fur-coat sleeve. But, that’s also why we love them!
After conducting our research, we believe that when searching for a hardy crate, these are the top features to look for when it comes to design and materials used.
- Heavy-duty crates built from metal, especially steel or aluminum seems to be the strongest material. The structure and bars should be thick so they cannot be chewed.
- Solid bars that are evenly spaced allow petting along the sides and then tight bars on the bottom allow the dog to move comfortably. It also holds bedding without it falling through wide gaps.
- Many crates make clean-up easier with a removable metal pan that slides securely underneath the floor, so dogs cannot reach them.
- Pay attention to the materials, shape, and placement of the latches. They should be compact and made of metal that lock firmly into place instead of sliding. Some crates feature two latches at the top and bottom of the door.
- Look for a crate with a door on the side for doggo’s entry and then a door on the top so you can easily put food or water inside without having to hold a rambunctious pup back.
- Portability is important for convenient crate placement. Always test the wheels to ensure they roll properly and don’t leave any black streaks across your clean floor.
- Choosing the right size crate is important because you want your dog to feel safe and secure. A small dog in a large crate might turn a roomy corner into a personal toilet.
Top 8 Best Heavy Duty Crates for 2022
Without further ado, BEHOLD the kings of the crate!
- This is a 20 gauge steel cage reinforced with 0.5-inch diameter steel tubes.
- Comes with a metal pan that slides underneath the floor of the crate.
- Features rolling wheels that can be locked into place and also detached.
- Has one door on the front with double latches that slide to lock.
- Sizes: Medium & Large
Conclusion: We Love the ProSelect Empire
Dogs are always surprising us. We love them, but they can drive us crazy. This especially holds true when it comes to staying put in a crate.
Some dogs are angels in a crate. But others, well, we don’t know what goes through their heads! They possess superpowers and some sort of ancient black doggie magic that enables them to escape from the most heavy-duty crates known to man.
You might have a Houdini hound on your hands, and it’s easy to feel like giving up after spending wads of cash on crates and coming home to destroyed furniture and a loose dog on more than one occasion. But, it’s not time to despair yet.
Remember that there are tactics you can utilize to learn your dog’s behavior, such as why she is breaking out and how she does it.
Then, you can make changes to your crate plan, whether it’s by moving it to a new location, giving your dog exercise before going in or picking certain features for your crate that correspond with your dog’s needs.
We loved the ProSelect Empire because of all of the features it offered. The designers touched on every aspect of what makes a crate heavy duty, from the durable metal frame to the multiple door access, 3 locks for extra security and easy-to-clean removable pans.
Overall, it comes down to your dog and the time and money you are willing to spend. Remember, it’s not just peace of mind for you, but also for your furry best friend.