Canine Crate Escape

Dog forces emergency landing of plane
By Karen B. London PhD, July 2018, Updated June 2021
dog in crate

Dogs in crates have the tendency to break free at the darnedest times, whether they are true escape artists or their crate was not properly secured. My clients have shared some excellent examples: It happened to one client when a new neighbor who is terrified of dogs stopped by to say hello. Another was in the middle of a tie-dye party with a dozen seven-year old children. A third was making a quick trip to the grocery store for more icing to finish the cake that was sitting on the counter. (Her dog apparently thought it was delicious.)

Escaping dogs can certainly lead to embarrassment and to epic messes, but the main concern for most people is that a dog will be in danger. A real worry is that a dog will escape a crate, find an open door and end up on a busy road. The risks that most dogs have exposed themselves to when pulling a Houdini out of a crate are less alarming than the danger faced by a dog on a commercial plane recently. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing due to a dog’s escape from a crate.

It has been reported that the dog was in cargo inside a crate that was not properly secured, but it’s easy to wonder if the dog was simply able to outsmart the mechanism, as so many dogs have done before. Whatever happened, the dog got out of the crate and clawed at the luggage hatch until damage to the lining resulted in part of the door opening. Thankfully, the dog was not able to completely open the hatch, and was spared a tragic end.

The open hatch triggered an alarm which prompted the flight to descend from its flight altitude of 13,000 feet and make an emergency landing in Moscow, Russia. Nobody was physically injured, but making an emergency landing was surely a terrible experience for both crew and passengers. Additionally, it is certainly possible that the reason the dog tore out of the crate and tried to open the luggage hatch was due to feelings of panic. The extreme stress of flying, including being in a crate and all alone in the plane’s cargo section, would be too much for many dogs to handle.

If your dog has busted out of a crate, what is the worst thing that happened as a result?

Photo: ilovemytank / Flickr

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life