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June 26, 2013

Fido & Fireworks, Adopt Don’t Shop & Ernestine

Fido and Fireworks
from Somdog’s June Newsletter

fido and fireworks

The fourth of July may mean picnics, potato salad and burgers to you, but chances are for your dog, once the sun goes down and the fireworks go up, the fourth of July can turn into and evening filled with anxiety and fear.
The fear of fireworks is a fairly common phobia for dogs. They often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light truly frightening. Even a seemingly confident dog can tremble and drool at the unfamiliar sounds.

If there’s a chance your dog has severe phobia to fireworks, talk to your veterinarian.
Try not to react to the fireworks yourself. If you jump or tense up when you hear fireworks because you are anticipating your dog’s fear, you may make his fear worse. Your body language can tell a dog that there is a reason to be afraid.
Drown out the sound of the fireworks. Try to turn up the radio or television and keep your windows closed during the fireworks. If the weather permits, a fan or air conditioner (if your dog isn’t afraid of those sounds) can help, too.
Don’t push your dog past his comfort zone. Allow him to hide if he feels more comfortable in his crate or under a bed. Don’t pull him out or try to force him closer to the fireworks in an attempt to get him used to the sounds. This may result in an increase in fear, and a frightened dog may become aggressive if pushed past his comfort level.

Ernestine; Business and Pleasure
I have to start with MY life before business. As followers, you know I look forward to the BEACH all year long. This week I see the towels and the wet suits appear, and it can only mean one thing! BEACH! Wonder if the baby plovers that I chased last summer have grown up.

Ms Hilda
And, Hilda on the beach?!? Hope I am not in charge of her!
In case you are concerned you won’t hear from me, I will still be writing the blog. I will have my first summer report next week. Oh, and did I tell you my cousins are on the way to join us? That means 6 dogs and 3 people. Our pack rules!

OK, business.
Many of my people friends share photos and profiles of homeless dogs, posted by rescue organizations on facebook. Facebook has changed the dog world for rescue organizations and shelters. The thousands of photos of posted every day, have a huge impact on the ‘No More Homeless Pets’ effort (a nationwide program sponsored by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah).
How can we help? The obvious response is fostering and adopting, instead of buying a dog. If you can’t currently do either, a crucial step is educating people about the huge strides that have been made in the dog rescue world. Today, you can find any size, any age and any breed through websites online. One of the most popular and successful is They are very candid about dogs’ temperaments, likes and dislikes. Most profiles include a photo, a description of the dog, whether s/he gets along with other dogs, young kids, older kids, and cats. The rescues are committed to doing everything they can to find the most compatible homes for their dogs.
People sometimes complain that adopting a dog is more complicated than buying a dog from a breeder. There are questionnaires and home visits prior to approval. That is because often, the dog has been through difficult times before arriving at the shelter, and the rescuers are committed to doing their best to assure the dog will be a good fit and not returned because of incompatibility.
Put simply, it is easy to make a difference. Anytime you hear of someone interested in adding a dog to their family, whether temporary (foster) or forever (adopt) tell them what you know. Refer them to Petfinder or a breed specific rescue organization. It helps reduce the homeless dog population.

This rescue adds humor and makes a story about many of their homeless dogs. Check out this guy and his profile:
Lion Great Pyranees

‘This, fans is Bentley. Bentley is a Great Pyrenees. Currently, he is a ticked off Great Pyrenees who wants a lawyer to represent him in his case against us and the groomer who made him look like a lion crossed with a poodle. We tried to explain to him that it was necessary to deal with the mats and the ticks, but he’s not having it. I told him he’ll have to get outside counsel due to the conflict, but we don’t have the budget to support his cause. Currently, he is looking for ways to raise funds on Kickstarter. Anyone who supports his legal defense fund will get a free dust bunny composed solely of his fur. As soon as it grows back.
Bentley is a four year old boy. He has really good manners when he isn’t plotting our demise. He is great with other dogs, but he thinks cats are part of the conspiracy to get him (they are). He is gentle and friendly to all but small woodland creatures and cats and he is currently doing his best impression of a white lion.’
Bentley has two postures: upright and leaning on you or passed out on the floor. His natural habitat includes the sofa and a hole he dug under the tree with nice soft dirt to lay in. Bentley is a Great Pyrenees, which means he heard what you want and he does what he pleases, exactly like my husband. If you can successfully manage a spouse, you can manage a Great Pyrenees. He is looking for a home in New England and is adoptable now.
(Interested parties should email

Crate Escape regularly fosters dogs; they stay with us in the overnight suite at Belmont, and play all day with our/your dogs in daycare. If you hear of anyone looking for a dog, let us know and we will point them in a good direction!


Later, Ernestine

June 18, 2013

More Reasons to Love Dog Daycare & ASPCA Takes Big Steps Against Puppymills

Spreading the word to Boston dog people about the opening of Crate Escape in Charlestown has been a great experience for us. Crate Escape staff are obviously all dog people; we all have dogs, meet dogs outside of daycare, and read dog related books and articles. We are against breed specific legislation and believe that a big part of most dog’s temperament is created by their person and the dog’s life experiences.
In spite of all that, it was a ‘wake up call’ to see all types of dogs at the various events we have attended.
In no way is there a stereotype for our daycare dogs. But, they do have lots in common with regard to their lives and owners. Here are some examples;
1. most are at a good weight, and in good shape.
2. not all daycare dogs like to run around and play all day long; but their exposure to other dogs and being part of a pack on a regular basis is extremely healthy, mentally and physically.
3. the owners of daycare dogs are dedicated to their dogs, taking the extra step to make sure they are exercised and socialized.

Not all dogs are daycare dogs. But those who are, enjoy healthy, happy days.

A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words: ASPCA Launches Photo Database of USDA-Licensed Dog Breeders
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We’ve heard it a million times: “Yes, I bought my puppy at a pet store, but he didn’t come from a puppy mill. The store told me that they only get puppies from USDA-licensed breeders.” That line is used frequently by pet store employees to reassure customers—but what does it really mean?

Sadly, it doesn’t mean much. The USDA’s standards of care are so minimal that most of us would not consider them to be humane. Dogs in commercial breeding facilities can legally be kept in cages only six inches longer than the dog in each direction, stacked on top of one another, for their entire lives. It’s completely legal to house them in cages with wire flooring, and to breed female dogs at every opportunity. These federal standards leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated.

But seeing is believing. We wanted to make it easy for the public to truly understand where pet store puppies come from. That’s why today we’re launching a new tool on our No Pet Store Puppies website that lets users view more than 10,000 photos of USDA-licensed commercial dog breeding facilities and links some of them to specific pet stores that have sold their puppies within the past year.

You can search the website by pet store name or zip code, USDA license number, the breeder’s name, and specific breed. The photos were taken by USDA inspectors during routine inspections of the facilities.
“Our research reveals a clear disconnect between what many Americans think ‘USDA licensed’ means and what the USDA actually requires of commercial dog breeders nationwide,” explains Cori Menkin, Senior Director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. “The federal requirements fall far short of the public’s standards and expectations for the humane treatment of dogs, and we hope that people will use the new tool on the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies website to see for themselves.”

We hope to work with USDA to better enforce and improve the care standards for dogs in commercial breeding facilities, and you can help, too, by decreasing the demand for puppy mill puppies. Take the No Pet Store Puppies Pledge to not purchase anything—including pet food, kitty litter and toys—from a store or website that sells puppies.

Words from Ernestine
I am trying not to get too excited, because I still have work to do, but seriously, it IS almost time for the beach! OK, back to business.
Please pay attention to the ASPCA article above; if you know anyone who is considering buying a dog from a pet store, share the resource. People often think they are saving a poor dog in need; in truth they are supporting deplorable conditions at puppy mills.

Last week SOWA was marvelous, Katie and Vanessa met lots of dogs and let them know how they could have more fuuuunnn!

Soon to be relived memories!
Later, Ernestine

June 10, 2013

Crate Escape at SOWA #3 and What does Dog Humping Really Mean?

Ernestine Leading the Pack Again!
This week I have chosen to share a read that questions if dominance, or alpha exists in dogs. I don’t necessarily need the title, ‘alpha’. As long as you acknowledge that I am the Queen of Crate Escape, it’s all good! Time for my blue ball.

looking left
Later, Ermestone

5 Reasons Dog Humping Does Not Mean Dominance

Humping is a common behavior in dogs and is seen in males and females, whether they are fixed or not. While it is most often attributed to “dominance,” nothing could be further from the truth. Dominance refers to ‘priority access to a resource’, and I have yet to see a dog use humping to gain access to food, toys, space, or anything else tangible. So, why do dogs hump? Here are the most common motivations behind humping in dogs:

1. Arousal
Once a dog hits a certain level of excitement, that energy has to go somewhere. Some dogs express their joy by doing “zoomies,” where they tuck their butt and sprint as fast as they can in circles. Some bark. Some hump.

2. Anxiety
Most humpers whose owners seek help are quite anxious. Anxiety leads to arousal, and as we saw above, that leads to humping. Technically, canine behavior experts call this a “displacement” behavior. When the dog becomes anxious, he or she may scratch, sniff, dig, or hump. People display displacement behaviors too (although luckily humping is not usually one of them!): We check our phones, play with our hair, or look at our watch when we’re in socially uncomfortable situations.

3. Play
Play is interesting. When dogs (or other mammals!) play, they mix up a bunch of behaviors in new sequences. These behaviors have very useful roots: chasing, stalking, and pouncing are useful hunting behaviors; mouthing and wrestling are useful fighting behaviors; and humping is a useful sexual behavior. Some biologists believe that play is practice for the real world. By mixing all of these useful behaviors up with some other signals that mean “just kidding,” dogs get a chance to practice moving their bodies in ways that could increase their chances of surviving a situation where the behaviors were needed for real.

4. Status
While this is a common attribution for humping, dogs almost never use humping as a form of status seeking or as a display of status. In fact, in more than ten years of training, I’ve only met one dog who appeared to use humping as a means of status seeking. (And even in that case, the dog was also pretty insecure, so the humping was more likely caused by her anxiety than by her desire to climb the social ladder.)

5. It just feels good
Frankly, dogs just like to hump sometimes; some dogs will hump a favorite toy or pillow. From a behavioral standpoint, there’s no reason not to let them have a little “me time”, as long as it’s not causing problems. I draw the line at humping people, and if dogs do this owners can redirect them and teach them more appropriate ways to interact with humans.

In conclusion, humping is a normal doggy behavior, albeit a somewhat embarrassing one for those of us on the other end of the leash.
(From Dogster Magazine: Sara Reusche)

Week Number 3 at SOWA Farmer’s Market in the South End
The weather was great for Crate Escape to set up our tent and talk to visitors of the Farmer’s Market about Charlestown Crate Escape! As an added bonus, Vanessa (CE2) and Kate (Charlestown) greeted visitors and told them why we really are the best!

sowa booth

The Booth at SOWA

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