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My Dog Won’t Come out Of His Crate. Why and What to Do?

Dog NOT Coming out Of His Crate

Living beings love to roam here and there, especially dogs. So a dog owner cannot expect their canine companion to stay somewhere for an extended period. But majorly, the problem happens when the dog is not ready to leave a particular place, especially the crate you bought. 

If your dog refuses to leave its crate, it either suffers from psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, or fear or is physically ill. Before coming to any conclusions, it is critical to understand the various causes of your dog’s behavior.

Why is it that my dog won’t come out of his crate?

First, understand that dogs need a safe place, and they probably find the crate safe. If no other location in the house appears to be pleasing, they don’t like to come out.

But this is acceptable to a certain limit or, say, for a limited duration only. If it goes beyond a limit, it is a cause for concern, and one must handle this situation attentively.

Few Reasons Why your dog prefers to stay in his crate 

1. You are not being kind to them

Dogs want love and care. If you are not giving them enough love and care or not being kind to them, they will not like to stay with you for a longer duration. So they prefer staying in the crate instead of coming near you. For a while, it may appear annoying to you, but yes, it is true that dogs do want attention and affection, and if you are not giving them enough attention, they will not like to associate with you at all.

2. Your dog is stressed or fearful

Stress or fear may affect the behavior of a dog. If your dog is stressed or fearful for any reason, they will not like to engage in fun activities anymore and would like to stay in their crate. The crate feels more like home to them, which keeps their stress at bay.

tips to help you get a fearful dog out of crate

3. Your dog is tired

After a long, hectic day, your dog may be feeling tired. If your dog had a productive day, there is a possibility that they don’t have enough energy to come out of the crate, and they are not interested in engaging with you either. For a while, they just want some rest to gather enough energy to engage in other activities.

4. Your dog is anxious

Anxiety issues are common in dogs. If your dog is anxious all the time, there is a possibility that their psychology has a major impact due to something that happened in the past. In some cases, it happens that even a small change in surroundings makes dogs anxious, and they do not like to do anything at all. When your dog is anxious, he might act erratically, and you cannot expect him to behave the same way he used to.

5. Your dog does not like the environment

Even a slight change in the environment is responsible for affecting the entire mood and activity of your dog. If your dog is in an unfamiliar environment, it will find the crate to be his best friend. Coming out of it doesn’t make any difference to him anymore because he doesn’t like the surroundings. Until and unless you will not make him feel comfortable in the environment, he will prefer to stay in the crate.

6. Your dog found something inside the crate worthy of attention

Do not forget that dogs are keen observers. They like to observe their surroundings in a manner that humans cannot. Likewise, if they find something different or interesting inside the crate, they pay their full attention to it and do not like to do other things until and unless the same mystery is not resolved.

7. Your dog feels safe inside the crate

If your dog finds the crate to be his safe place, he will not like to come out of it at all. In this case, you need to let them know that this is not their permanent place and that they have to step outside for a while and explore the world as well.

8. Your dog is not feeling well

If your dog is not doing physically well, there is a possibility he does not like to leave his crate. Your dog can be suffering from an illness that a veterinary doctor can diagnose. So, observe any behavior that seems out of place and report it to your nearest vet.

9. Your dog wants some space alone

Do not forget that, like humans, dogs also need some space to themselves. There are a lot of things that go through their heads, and they want to think about them clearly. Of course, as a human, you cannot figure out what your dog is actually thinking. But if your dog is being serious and not leaving the place for a very long time, it means they just want to be alone for some time.

How long can a dog stay inside a crate?

If your dog is staying inside the crate for 6 to 7 hours, then it is completely fine. But if the duration is extended, it is important to check and analyze what the real cause is behind it. In most cases, it happens that when dogs are not doing well physically, they stay in a spot and do not love to do things that they used to do.

What to do if my dog doesn’t come out of the crate?

If your dog doesn’t come out of the crate, there are certain things that you can do:

1. Initiate a conversation with your dog

Before reaching any conclusion, initiate a conversation with your dog and treat them in the same way as you used to. If they are responding to everything you are saying, then they are doing fine, and try to take them out of it. But if they are not coming out of the crate, then you need to take the next step.

2. Check them for physical symptoms

Sometimes physical conditions are responsible for such behavior. Check out whether your dog is doing fine physically or not. If you notice any change, like a sudden increase in their body temperature or any other change, immediately reach out to the veterinary doctor or give them the prescribed medicine.

3. Give them their favorite food

Dogs love to have their favorite food on a plate. But when they are not coming out of the crate, put the treats nearby and observe whether they are coming out to eat or play.

4. Go for a long walk

A walk can change a lot of things, and it can do the same for your dog. Encourage your dog to come with you. Be gentle and try to convince your dog to go on a walk. You just need to let them know what exciting things you are about to do when you go outside so that they can feel the same joy and come out of it.

Few tips for Getting a Dog In and Out of a Crate

Is it cruel to crate a dog?

It is important to understand that you have chosen the crate option to keep them safe in their surroundings in your absence. Some dogs like to chew and destroy things in their surroundings when the owner is not at home, so using a crate is the best option. However, if your dog does not come out of his crate, this could indicate that his long-term confinement in the crate has caused some physical and psychological problems. So, crating a dog is cruel only if

  • The crate is too small for your dog to stretch and move
  • If your dog has to stay in a crate for a long time

An adult dog can be kept in a crate for a maximum of 8 hours. And puppies and older dogs should be kept in a crate for a very less time.

We suggest you do not keep your dog in a crate in your absence as it is a cruel practice and also not advised by PETA. Instead, try to provide your dog with a caretaker like a neighbor, friend, or family, or use a pet care service when you are away at work.

Can I pull my dog out of the crate?

We suggest you don’t try to pull out your dog from the crate as you both might get injured. When dogs are not doing well, they become stubborn. Whatever you say does not make any difference to them in this situation. 

Note: Do understand dog training has nothing to do with such behavior of your dog. During the training session, your dog has learned a lot of things that are for good only. For example, the trainers do not teach dogs to stay in the crate for a longer duration.

If your dog gets used to staying in a crate, then reach out to a dog training center and start again. 

How can I get him out of the crate?

First of all, understand the major reason behind the particular behavior of your dog. If they are doing it for no reason and they are just tired, you can not do anything and let them be in the state for a while. When they feel energetic again, they will definitely come out of it.

But if it is happening due to some physical condition, you need to reach out to the veterinary doctor and get it diagnosed.

Can I leave my dog in the crate the whole day?

Leaving the dog inside the crate for the whole day is not a good option at all. If you are doing so, you are inviting problems for yourself because, firstly, it is unhygienic and, secondly, your dog will not like to come out of it at all, which again could turn out to be a problem for you.

In your absence or at night, this can be a viable option, but apart from that, we do not suggest you consider it.

What did we learn from all this?

If your dog was behaving fine the last day and now they are not, then there is something troubling it. Your dog may be not coming out of his crate because he might be scared, tired, comfortable, anxious, not feeling well, wants some alone time, not comfortable with the outside environment, or likes to play in the crate. In any case, try to convince your dog to come out of the crate with affection and patience. If you feel your dog is traumatized or afraid of coming out then get in touch with a dog behavioral expert or dog trainer. In case your dog is ill consult a vet.

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anuja saxena author at anifirm

I am a dog lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.