A dog that won’t come out of his crate can be cause for concern. As the dog’s owner, you will want to know why the dog is refusing to come out of his crate. You will also want to know what you can do about the whole situation. This article has the answers to these concerns.
If my dog won’t come out of his crate, what are the most likely reasons? The dog may be frightened, stressed or anxious. The dog may also be injured or unwell and thus lacking energy to come out. Or the dog may just be tired, and hence resting in the crate.
It is important to first figure out why exactly the dog is unable to come out of his crate. This will inform the most appropriate strategy to use, to get the dog out of the crate.
In some cases, treats can be effective at getting the dog out of the crate. But there are cases where getting the dog out of the crate requires more elaborate interventions. Those may include things like vet treatment or sessions with dog behaviorists.
Why Is My Dog Staying In His Crate?
It is important to first understand that for the dog, the crate is typically a ‘safe space’. It is a place where the dog runs to, when he wants some alone time or when things get overwhelming for him.
Therefore the dog may be staying in the crate simply because he wants some alone time, away from humans. Or there may be something that is overwhelming the dog. So he reacts by going to his crate, in order to run away from it all.
But if you have a situation where the dog is staying in the crate for too long, you will understandably start worrying. You will want to know: why does my dog stay in his crate for so long?
The dog may have (mistakenly) figured out that the crate is where you want him to stay. So he opts to stay in the crate in order to please you. The dog is likely to get this impression if you are too forceful in your day to day efforts to get him into the crate.
So he comes to realize that you prefer him to be in the crate. And then he decides to stay there the whole time! So he could actually be trying to be a good dog.
Alternatively, there may be something that the dog doesn’t want to encounter if he comes out of the crate. So he opts to stay in the crate the whole time, to avoid it. What exactly the dog may be avoiding is likely to be something that is causing him anxiety, stress or fear.
How Long Can A Dog Safely Stay In A Crate?
This, in other words, is a question as to how long is too long for a dog to be in a crate? And this is likely to be one of the key questions at the back of my mind, if my dog won’t come out of his crate.
So, indeed, how long is too long for a dog to be in a crate? Most experts seem to concur that between 6 and 8 hours is the max an adult dog can safely stay in a crate.
For a puppy, the period is even shorter: typically 4 to 5 hours is the most they can stay in a crate safely.
Therefore if I have a situation where my dog won’t come out of his crate for more than these periods of time, it should be cause for concern. It may mean that the dog’s physical and mental health is at risk.
Is It Ok To Keep Dog In Crate All Day?
It is really not OK to keep a dog in a crate all day. A dog should only be in the crate for the period that he really has to be there. Ideally, that shouldn’t go beyond 6-8 hours for an adult dog.
Therefore if you have a situation where a dog is staying in his crate for a whole day (12 hours or more) then this can’t be healthy.
But the whole thing can become very complex if we have a situation where my dog won’t come out of his crate. So you come back before the lapse of 6-8 hours. Then you open the door to the dog’s crate. You thereafter call the dog out. But the dog refuses to come out.
That would inevitably lead to questions like how do I get my dog out of the crate, should I force my dog out of the crate and so on.
All in all, it is not okay to keep a dog in crate all day.
My Dog Won’t Come Out Of His Crate – What Are The Possible Reasons?
A situation where my dog won’t come out of his crate can be perplexing. Anyone encountering this phenomenon will certainly want to know the possible reasons behind it.
- The dog in question may be stressed. There may be something in your home that is stressing him. So he opts to stay in the crate, to avoid the stressor. In this context, the stressor may be another pet, a new person in your household, certain noises and so on.
- Depression (in the dog) may be the reason. The depression causes it to lack motivation to do things – including getting out of its crate.
- The dog may be anxious. Perhaps it has figured out that it broke one of your rules, and you will yell at it (or otherwise punish it). So it opts to stay out of your way: in its crate. This may be at play if, for instance, my dog suddenly won t come near me (and stays mostly in the crate).
- Illness or tiredness may be the reason. So, on account of this, he lacks the energy to come out. Therefore he stays in the crate.
- The dog may be in a new environment. Perhaps you moved houses or changed the scenery in the house. So the dog stays in the crate, to avoid dealing with the (uncomfortable) change. This is a likely reason in a scenario where old dog wont come out of crate.
- Fear may be the reason for the dog staying in the crate. So there is something the dog fears encountering outside. So he opts to stay in the crate, to avoid it. This may be the reason behind a situation where, say, a puppy wont come out of crate at night.
My Dog Wont Come Out Of His Crate – What To Do?
This, in other words, is a question on how to get dog out of crate.
One approach you can use is that of employing treats to coax the dog out of the crate. So you place treats outside the crate, somewhere the dog can smell them. Once the dog smells the treats, he is likely to come out in pursuit of them.
You can then use this strategy repeatedly, until the dog comes to associate coming out of the crate with getting treats. At some point, the dog should get to a position of coming out of the crate even when the treats aren’t there.
Where the dog’s staying in the crate seems to be due to illness, you will need to take the dog to the vet. Once there is treatment for the underlying illness, the dog should get enough energy to be coming out of the crate.
Where the dog wants to stay in crate due to anxiety or stress, you need to identify the triggers. Then eliminate them, in order to make the dog more comfortable. So if you are trying to figure out how to get scared dog out of crate, this may be the ideal approach.
There are scenarios where a dog behaviorist’s services may be necessary. For instance, if you have a case where rescue dog wants to stay in crate all the time (due to past experiences), a dog behaviorist can help you overcome this.
Sometimes, normal dog training may be the solution. If, for instance, a puppy wont come when called, what may be lacking is simple/basic dog training. Once you get the puppy to know its name and respond to it, this may be enough to be getting it out of the crate.
Is It Cruel To Crate A Dog?
When facing a situation where my dog won’t come out of his crate, the question as to whether it is cruel to crate a dog may arise. But actually this question tends to arise more frequently in situations where you have a dog that won’t go into his crate.
Thus, when trying to figure out why won’t my dog go in his crate, the question as to whether crating a dog is cruel may come up.
Similarly, when trying to figure out how to get a stubborn dog in a crate or how to get my dog to relax in his crate, the question on whether crating is cruel may arise.
So, indeed, is it cruel to crate a dog? The answer is no. Crating is not cruel. That is unless you are crating the dog unnecessarily. Or unless you are crating the dog for too long (beyond 8 hours). Or if you are using a crate that is obviously uncomfortable for the dog.
Should I Pull Dog Out Of Crate?
While facing a scenario where my dog won’t come out of his crate, the temptation to simply pull him out may arise. But the truth of the matter is that pulling is not ideal.
In some cases, attempts at pulling the dog out of the crate may result in aggression. This may actually escalate into biting.
Moreover, pulling may make the dog even more stubborn.
Further still, pulling is not a sustainable solution. If we have a situation where my dog won’t come out of his crate everyday, then the pulling can soon become tiring.
So it is best to try to figure out ways of getting the dog to come out of his crate voluntarily.
How Do You Transition A Dog From Crate To House?
Firstly, you will need to identify a room that the dog is already familiar with.
Now take the dog (inside the crate) to that room. Then once there, open the crates door. Call the dog out (or beckon him to come out). Let the dog stay there – in that room, but out of the crate – for a few minutes. Then get him back into the crate.
Increase the amount of time you allow the dog to stay out of the crate gradually.
Eventually, you should get to a point where the dog is as comfortable outside the crate as inside.
How Do I Get My Dog Out Of The Crate?
In a situation where my dog won’t come out of his crate, the nagging question at the back of the mind will likely be on how to get him out.
Sometimes, all you have to do is open the crate’s door. Then call the dog’s name (while also beckoning for him to come out). This may be adequate to coax him out of the crate.
At other times, you may need to find something that motivates the dog to come out of the crate. A treat can be very effective in this regard. So you lay the treat outside the crate, where the dog can smell and see it. This should push him into getting out of the crate.
You need to associate coming out of the crate with good experiences. For instance, reward the dog whenever he comes out of the crate. Pet the dog or take him for a walk whenever he comes out of the crate. This will get him to associate being out of the crate with pleasant experiences.
Where the problem persists, it is ideal to consult a vet.
Final Verdict – My Dog Won’t Come Out Of His Crate
There are many things that can make a dog not come out of his crate. Stress, anxiety and depression are some of those. Others are illness, fear, injuries or being in a new environment.
Treats are very effective at getting dogs out of their crates. You just place a treat somewhere (outside the crate) where the dog can see and smell it. The dog is then bound to come out of the crate, in pursuit of the treat.
Where a dog’s hesitancy to come out of the crate seems to be due to illness, injury or depression, it is best to seek veterinary attention.