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Why won’t my dog leave her crate?

It’s not uncommon for dog owners to quickly learn that no dog is alike. They are all different, and if you’ve owned more than one dog throughout your lifetime, you likely already know how diverse they can be. 

While some dogs aren’t fans of going into a crate, others can’t get enough of it. This love for the crate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, crates can provide your dog with a safe space to rest, recharge, and take any time needed away from humans. 

If you have a canine that refuses to leave her crate, don’t stress out right away. We tend to think the worst, especially when it comes to our pets, because we love them so much. However, there are reasons that aren’t health-related concerning your dog and her desire to stay tucked away inside her crate. 

Why won’t my dog leave her crate?

By now, you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time overthinking the reasons your dog is refusing to leave her crate. Crate training takes plenty of patience, and if you’ve got a rescue dog or a new puppy, there might be something holding them back from coming out when you ask them to. 

Your dog has come from a shelter

If you’ve recently adopted, take a moment to consider your dog’s living situation before you came along. If your pup is a shelter dog, then it’s likely she spent a lot of time alone and possibly behind the door of a crate or cage. 

Not all shelters are the same. Some use cages, some use chain link fencing, and others individual dog crates. So, before you get too upset about your dog staying put when it’s time to come out of the crate, please take a moment and ponder how they’re used to living.

 A change in the environment

While dogs aren’t the same as humans on a cognitive level, they still emote and react to things happening around them. Has there been a change in the environment that might affect your dog in a way that makes them feel the need to be safe?

So often, the crate is a safe place for them to hang out in various situations and an actual safety net in the dog’s mind. If they feel uncomfortable, they know that their crate will bring them the comfort they’re craving. 

The change doesn’t have to be significant to affect your dog. Perhaps a relative is staying with you, or they’ve recently witnessed a loud argument. Maybe you’ve moved, or you added a new pet or baby to the home. Any of these changes can make your dog want to feel safe, and their crate is a great option. 

You’re becoming annoyed with the situation

Take the time to evaluate how you’re reacting to the fact that your dog doesn’t want to leave her crate. Are you angry, frustrated, or even annoyed? These are all emotions that your dog will quickly pick up on, and it won’t make them any more likely to come out of the crate when you ask. 

Most animals easily pick up on human emotions. There’s a reason they say that dogs are great judges of character. They know how you’re feeling, so if you’re getting upset with your nervous, crate-bound pup, take a step back. 

There may be an unrecognized medical issue

If you’ve eliminated any other present factor that could be keeping your dog in her crate, it’s time for a visit to the vet. While your dog is probably in perfect health, a sudden behavior change is nothing to take a chance on. 

For your peace of mind and to ensure your pup feels its best, a trip to the vet is in order. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Why does my dog want to stay in his crate all the time?

There are many reasons, ranging from medical to environmental, why your dog refuses to leave the crate. Each situation will be different, and owners must treat it as such. 

If you’ve had your dog for a while, you’ll be able to determine whether or not this type of behavior is to be expected. However, if you’ve just brought your dog home, you might not have a complete grasp of his personality. 

The bottom line is that dogs exhibit various behaviors for different reasons. To figure out what is going on with them, both mentally and physically, we’ve got to do the research and ask the right questions. 

Trust your gut instinct, and if necessary, reach out to your vet. They will be able to point you in the right direction and even give you some advice as to how to get your pup to join you outside of the crate!

How to get my dog to leave his crate?

Remember, unless there is a pressing medical emergency at hand, you want to give your dog the freedom to leave his crate on his own. Forcing him out could break the bond of trust you’ve established, so look at this situation as an opportunity to build on that foundation you’ve already laid down. 

Break out the treats

First and foremost, break out the training treats! You’ve likely got some dog cookies stocked in your home, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of bribery! 

Place a few treats in front of the crate, close enough so your pup can get a good whiff but far enough away that they have to step their front paws outside of the crate to access the treats. 

When the paws leave the crate, ensure that you give plenty of praise. If there’s one thing that most dogs have in common, it’s food.  

Treats are a great start to encouraging your dog to leave the crate. Also, if his typical treats aren’t doing the trick, try a couple of pieces of a hot dog. 

Go for a walk

Ah, the most popular four consecutive words in the language of dogs. Just like treats, most dogs love going for a walk. If your dog is a crate-lover, ask them if they want to go for a walk! Pull out the leash to see what kind of reaction you get. 

Utilize patience

When all else fails, from hot dogs to a tour around the neighborhood, and you’re positive your dog isn’t injured, suffering, or stuck, you’ve got to call your patience to the plate. This can be extremely difficult, primarily if you’re worried about your dog or you have to get to work, and they still haven’t gone outside. 

However, using patience when your dog is looking to you for trust is super important to the relationship you’re creating with one another. Don’t get agitated, and if you do, walk away. Patience is a virtue, and a stubborn, nervous, or terrified dog needs precisely that. 

Is it mean to leave a dog in its crate all day?

Well, yes and no. Many people crate train their dogs when they’re away at work, and since most dogs sleep when their owners are away, this serves as a good solution. Provide plenty of fresh water that they can’t knock over and remove their collar so it doesn’t get stuck on the crate. 

If your pup is in a crate all day because they’re refusing to leave it, this is not mean on your part, because it’s likely you are trying to encourage them to come out. This situation is unique and takes plenty of patience. 

Now, if you’re leaving your dog in a crate for hours on end because you don’t have time or care about them in general, we’ve got a problem. Crates should never act as a convenient method to consistently keep your dog out of your hair. Your dog is family. It would be best if you treated him as such.

In general, no, crating a dog for the day is not mean. If this remains consistent, longer than your typical workday, and the dog isn’t receiving the exercise necessary to counteract the time spent in a crate, then yes, that’s mean.