Dogs bred and trained to be guard dogs or protection dogs are often among the strongest, most agile and most intelligent dogs in the world. While these are all necessary traits for a working dog, it means that your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois guard dog is far more capable of escaping its dog crate than a standard house pet.
The act of escaping confinement is usually not out of a dislike for the crate itself. Canines, by nature, feel safe and secure in confined places, and often enjoy relaxing in their crates. However, escaping the dog crate can become somewhat of a game to your dog. It is a self-rewarding experience that your dog will repeat. In the event that your canine escapes his crate, it is extremely important that you take immediate action to prevent further escapes. If you move your dog directly to a more secure crate after repeated successful escapes, it may injure itself in an attempt to escape the new crate.
The weakest parts of a crate are the hinges on the gate, and the latch. If your guard dog has escaped its crate, it is most likely that it has done so by pulling on the gate to bend the hinges, or by knocking the latch out of place. In both cases, a more expensive aluminum crate will be much harder for the dog to escape from, but more important than the crate is ensuring that the dog’s behavior is corrected. Securing the gate with cable ties, or bungee chords will make it more difficult for your dog to escape, and can be implemented immediately after your dog’s first escape, or sooner as a preventative measure. Positioning the crate with the gate against a wall or solid surface can also help prevent further escapes. It is important that your dog associate the crate with a calm and relaxed state of mind rather than an energetic or playful one, and removing the reward of escape can help accomplish this.
Purchasing a more expensive crate may prevent further escapes, but it may also cause your guard dog to injure itself. With proper training and reinforcement, your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois will view the crate as a place of sleep and relaxation rather than a challenge or game to be overcome.