No more waiting for their next walk !
Blog & News

April 25, 2014

Yappy Hour at Crate Escape too, 10th Anniversary Party Pictures and Great Article on Dog Training- What Method Works?

Copy of Charlestown Crate Escape Yappy Hr. (1)

Crate Escape 10th Anniversary Celebration


Hi, it’s Ernie. On April 19th we got together at Crate Escape too to thank our customers for 10 years of Crate Escape.  The party was wonderful. We had a chance to catch up with lots of people, in PERSON, not by phone or email. Thanks to everyone for a great party!!  Stephanie (owner) and Nikki (GM) were the party planners, and put together a truly memorable occasion!

Location:  Our Beautiful Venue– Crate Escape too


And Now! The best picture of all!

! erniedraw

Later, Ernestine


Training Methods and Stress Levels in Dogs

from Best Friends Animal Society

Bonnie Weinhold, Chocolate Dog Ad., Inc.Top Contributor

‘Whenever the conversation turns toward the effect of various types of dog training methods on a pet dog’s behavior there seems to be a line drawn between two venues, one being “positive dog training” involving rewards of food and play; the other being “discipline-based training” which uses slip collars, leash tugs and other physical enforcement to produce compliance. Actually, there are four methods used to teach dogs the kinds of behaviors that we desire they learn. The first method is call “positive reinforcement” with the word “reinforcement” referring to anything that will increase the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated by the dog. The term “positive” refers to giving the dog something he desires, like food. The second method, “negative reinforcement” refers to taking away something unwanted or annoying such as pulling up on the leash causing a choke chain to tighten and pushing down on the dog’s hindquarters while telling him to sit. The negative reinforcement results when the dog sits to relieve the pressure around his neck and lower back. The next two methods involve punishment that reduces the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated by the dog. If a dog does something we don’t want him to do, “positive punishment” is taking something the dog wants away from him. While positive dog training is based on positive reinforcement, discipline-based training uses negative reinforcement and positive punishment combined.

Around the mid-1940’s, most dog training was discipline-based due to training models from military dog trainers but over time, positive dog training came to dominate the canine training scene. However, over the past few years, discipline-based training has begun to gain in popularity due to high profile dog trainers like Cesar Millan. Two French researchers wanted to test the effect of the two training styles by collecting data based on observation rather than changes in blood chemistry, heart rate or other invasive procedures. After attending a number of dog training classes to observe the training procedures used, they selected one class which used positive dog training methods exclusively and contrasted it with another, mostly negative reinforcement dog training class. There were 24 dogs’ trained using positive training and 26 using discipline-based methods and each dog and owner pair was tested on familiar exercises such as heeling and sitting on command. The researchers measured the amount of stress the dogs showed when performing these learned exercises; behaviors associated with stress such as mouth licking, yawning, scratching, sniffing, shivering, whining, low posture, attempts to run away, and avoiding eye contact with their handler. The results: 65% of discipline-based trained dogs showed at least one such sign compared to 8% in positive trained dogs, yawning – 23% discipline trained, 0% positive trained, and low posture – 46% discipline, 8% positive. As for having a tendency to avoid eye contact, (avoid looking at things that make them uncomfortable), 38% of the discipline trained dogs looked at their owners face compared to 88% of the positively trained dogs. This is a small study but it is one more to suggest that using punishment and negative reinforcement can produce harmful and unwanted emotional changes in dogs.


April 18, 2014

Countdown to Ernie’s 12th B’day, Almost April Stools! Yikes! Ticks Already? Fun Training with Elsa Larsen!

OK, You Can Officially Say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to ME!

On Monday, April 21st I will celebrate my 12th birthday. As much as I joke about my role as Top Dog, and how I do everything at all 3 Crates, a great part of my life has been about Crate Escape. I truly am the one who caused Brad and Stephanie to think about opening a dog business. They had dogs before me, but they say I am the super most specialist dog they have ever known.

This week, join me in applauding Crate Escape’s 10 years in business. We cannot thank you enough for your dogs, friendship and business.


Later,  Ernestine

Three Reasons You Want to Attend April Stools

** A great chance to meet other responsible dog people, who value the cleanliness of the places they take their dogs to play.

** April 26th is in Somerville, if you would like us to schedule a clean up in your favorite dog park, let us know!

**  Find an April Stool and you win a prize!

spring fling1



Believe it or not, it’s TICK time already!

We have heard many reports that woodland areas and the surrounding land is crazy with ticks as of early April. We address this every year, and our overall viewpoint and recommendations are to go as natural as possible when choosing a tick repellent.

Dr. Karen Becker has become well known and regarded for online explanations and remedies for dog ailments. She is a proactive Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who is also trained in homeopathy and acupuncture. Here is her take on ticks and how to best treat them.

‘In April of last year, the EPA issued an advisory about “spot-on” chemical pesticide products. These are products applied to the neck or back of dogs and cats as a flea and tick preventive.

The advisory was issued due to a significant increase in reported adverse reactions – everything from mild skin irritation to seizures and death. In 2008, over 44,000 reactions presumed to be tied to spot-on products were reported by pet owners, veterinarians, and other animal caretakers.

And the 44,000 reported incidents in 2008 was a significant jump from the 28,000 the prior year, and included 600 deaths.

 In my opinion, the risks of these products are simply too great to warrant their routine (monthly) use. I encourage dog and cat owners to avoid these pesticides in favor of safer, more natural alternatives.’

I strongly believe in using a more natural pest repellent formula combined with a regimen of daily grooming and nose-to-tail body checks of your favorite furry friend.

And speaking of body checks …

There is one thing I cannot stress enough. No matter what pest control solution you use, you must examine your pet daily, particularly for ticks. Even if you’re applying some of the harshest chemical solutions on the market (which I don’t recommend), your pets can still wind up with little blood suckers embedded in their coat and skin.

I realize this is not what most pet owners want to hear … but I’ve seen it all too often in my practice regardless of what repellent is used.’

The Crate Escapes have several different tick repellents.  Any of our staff will explain the benefits of each product.


Your Dog Can Do What??!!

Elsa Larsen has an amazing history in dog training. She began her career in the field as a volunteer for the Assistance Dog Institute in Santa Rosa, California — a unique program that engaged incarcerated youth in the care and training of dogs to assist people with disabilities. In June 2000, Elsa moved to Maine to start My Wonderful Dog – Maine’s only non profit dedicated to the training and placement of dogs for the disabled. In 2008, My Wonderful Dog closed the non profit, but Elsa continues to bring her training skills to dogs and their people. Recently she expanded her services to the Boston area.

She will be holding a six week course at Crate Escape, designed to teach your dog fun and practical tricks including:

  • How to open a drawer or door
  • How to retrieve items such as a pencil or wallet
  • How to turn on a light switch
  • How to pick up his/her toys and put them away.

Cost:  $165

Dates:  Saturdays, May 3 – June 21, 2014 (no class May 24 or June 7)

Times:  Choose either 11am – 12pm or 12:15pm – 1:15 class.

Location:  Crate Escape, 30 Brighton St. Belmont, MA.

For more information please visit:

















April 11, 2014

Skippy, 10 Years at Crate Escape! April Stools and Happy Birthday, Ernie!

Skippy, Forever Puppy

Stephanie Hastings

Skippy was one of our very first dogs.  A cockapoo, he has an amazing personality; gentle, sweet and just plain fun! When Skippy started coming to daycare, he was such a joy, never causing any trouble, and super friendly to everyone he met. Ten years later he is still exactly the same. His remembers everyone, and jumps up and says hello, even when it has been considerable time since he has seen people. Skippy is truly a dog to celebrate, for our 10th Anniversary. We love you Skippy!

skippy love

Skippy, In His Own Words

‘My name is Skippy and I am a Cockapoo. I am 10 years old (double digits!!). I live with my two moms, Nancy and Maura, and with our big boy Sascha when he is home from college. I             miss him when he is gone and when he comes home I jump up and down and give him lots of kisses. We live down the street from Crate Too.

Here is my story: When I was only about 2 months old, I came to live with my Pop, Nancy’s brother Fred, in Brockton. My Pop is really nice and fun, but he didn’t really know how much work it would be to take care of a puppy. Also, he is a nurse and he works VERY long hours ALL night long. So right after I started living with him, my two moms said that they would take care of me during all those long days and days when he was working, which ended up to be almost half the time.

This is where Raining Cats and Dogs (now Crate  Escape too)  comes into my story.

My moms had been noticing this small, cute pet store with a very small doggy daycare that was coming to our neighborhood. They wished that they had a dog that they could send there. They watched through the windows as the walls were built, they saw the place getting painted, etc. AND THEN…. I started living with them some of the time! My moms both work very hard, and they needed a place for me to go during the day that would be safe and fun. So they met Stephanie and Bradley, and a beautiful friendship was formed! Pretty much as soon as Raining Cats and Dogs was ready to open, I was ready to hang out there. I am pretty sure I was one of the very
first “customers” (really, I think of myself as a part of the family), and they call me one of the “originals”.

Well, after a few years of going back and forth between my Pop’s house and my moms’ house, my Pop took his daughters on a long trip to Ireland, and I lived with my moms for that whole time. When my Pop came home from his trip, my moms just never gave me back to him!! Really, I think they all talked like people do and they decided that it was better for me to live with my moms full time, but my Pop comes to see me and I am always very happy when he comes over.

From the minute I started going to Raining Cats and Dogs (even though I never saw any cats there, so maybe that’s why they changed their name), I LOVED it. Every person I have ever met there has been really nice and really fun. They have so many dogs to get to know and they seem to know what makes each one of us happy and comfortable. All of my doggie friends there are great too. I guess you could say I really grew up there, and everyone who has worked there has helped to raise me and has helped me to become the really sweet and happy dog that everyone says
that I am. In fact, no one can ever believe that I am 10 years old. When people see me they always ask one of my moms, “How old is your puppy?”. I think that is because going to Crate all my life has kept me young!! I get lots of exercise, learn how to get along with all different kinds of people and dogs, and learn how to be independent and have fun even when I am not with my family, who I love the best of family at all.

For my whole life up to right now, Raining Cats and Dogs/Crate Too has been like home to me. One thing my moms want me to say is that every time something unexpected happens in our lives, Crate is there to help us out and to make sure I have a good place to be while the people are doing whatever busy things they need to be doing. They also want me to say that they truly NEVER worry about me when I am there, because they know that I will be so well taken care of. I don’t know if Stephanie knew how much I would write when she asked me to write something for the Crate blog, but I really could go on and on. Crate is the best thing in my life, next to my family, and I wish all doggies could be lucky enough to spend time there. I even wish my guinea pig brother Charlie could go there with me!’

April Stools Month!

As you probably know, Crate Escape is celebrating our 10th anniversary year with a ‘special’ each month.  This month is about cleaning up after your dog.  We are offering 2 boxes of earthborn poop bags for $10/ usually $7 each  (see blogroll on right hand side).  We are also partnering with som|dog and doing clean up (s) of parks and public, dog friendly areas.  On April 26th,  we are getting together to pick up at a dog park in Somerville (more details to follow). We have painted fake stools and will place them around the clean up area; find one and you will win a prize! Thus, April Stools!

Dogster Magazine shared their opinions in the article below.

Do You EVER Get Used to Picking Up Dog Poop?

Lauren Zimmer, Brooklyn, NY

“You often have to carry a bag of hot poop for many long minutes while running into every attractive opposite-sex acquaintance you have.”

Dogster  |  Apr 4th 2014  |

At the neighborhood dog park the other day, one of the other regulars noticed something about me that made him laugh: “You make a face every time you have to pick up dog poop.”

No way that could be true, I thought. I’ve been a dog owner for eight years. But sure enough, when I next had to pick up after my dog Pelle, I caught myself involuntarily grimacing. To be honest, I’ve never gotten used to one of the most fundamental and grossest parts of dog walking: poop.

If only dogs would use toilets — and flush them afterwards. 

I’m sure I don’t have to describe it to you, the ritual involved in this most tedious of pastimes: Your dog goes to the bathroom. You fish around your pocket or your purse for one of your plastic poop bags. Most of the time, you find one. If you’re on the street, you merely steel yourself, hope it’s not too warm and the bag doesn’t break, and throw the poo in the nearest garbage can. (If you’re in Brooklyn, like I am, you might find the nearest garbage can is several blocks away, which means that you often have to carry a bag of hot poop for many long minutes while running into every attractive opposite-sex acquaintance you have.)

If you’re at the park and your dog scampers off before you can mark where he relieved himself, you get the added bonus of having to find your dog’s waste somewhere inside a few hundred square feet of wet wood chips, dirt, and other, forgotten dog poop. This is a fun test: Do you find the poop by making a mental grid and visually scanning every virtual box until you find your disgusting goal? Can you spot the poop by watching where the flies gravitate? Can you close your eyes and smell your way toward the scent that’s more familiar than you’d ever want to admit? If you can, congratulations. You are accomplished in ways I’m sure you’re never imagined before you owned a dog.


Photo by Parker Yo

Worse still is when Pelle poops and I’ve run out of bags. In a public place like my neighborhood, this is a bona fide disaster. There’s no hiding. Sometimes I quickly run to a corner bodega, pulling Pelle all the way, to ask for an unused plastic bag. If I’m on a stretch of street with no businesses whatsoever, I can get lucky in one of two ways: A fellow dog owner comes by, notices my distress, and offers me an extra baggie; or I find a plastic bag that used to contain someone’s Chinese food lunch but is now serendipitously empty and lying on the ground. Yes, this is the height of luck, this old, dirty bag.
Here are some things I’ve used when I can’t find a bag and have to rifle through my purse:  An especially long grocery store receipt. A pay stub (sorry, meticulous record-keeping). A wedding invitation (sorry, Paul and Cindy). I’ve ripped corners off of cardboard boxes in construction sites.

My friend Caroline confessed that in a similar situation, she cut the top off an old plastic bottle she found with her pocket knife and used it as a scooper, much to the revulsion of some nearby children. All of this is better than just leaving the poop in the street — which is rude and of course carries a large fine — but only marginally better. It can take me several hours to recover from having to carry a turd sandwiched between two torn cardboard box tabs from one neighborhood to the next while searching for a public trash can.

A wuss, you call me? Prissy, princessy, and overreacting? Hey, you don’t have to tell me. There’s nothing I’d like more than to pick up Pelle’s butt presents with the sangfroid I’ve seen in other owners. At least I love the dog and the neighborhood’s dignity enough to overcome it. But I often wonder if some of those other owners have never gotten used to it either and are only better at suppressing their “Oh, gross” face. Have you?


Ernestine, The Birthday Girl!



Can you tell I like this picture?

This is my birthday week,  I will be 12! Skippy and I hung out together 10 years ago when Crate Escape first opened! It has been an amazing  journey and I thank you for being part of it!

Later, Ernestine


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Crate Escape | 30 Brighton Street, Belmont MA 02478 | (617) 489-9003 | Fax: (617) 489-9002
Crate Escape Too | 368 Huron Ave, Cambridge MA 02138 | (617) 354-9003
Crate Escape | 200 Terminal Street, Charlestown MA 02129 | (617) 886-9003.