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May 31, 2014

Handsome Hermes, Ernie Beach (again) & Being Polite to Your Dog

Ernestine’s Elation!

It’s June!! Almost beach time!! I love my job, but I LOVE the beach TOO!

We did a super fun Yappy Hour in Charlestown last week, on the roof of a new apartment building! Resident dogs came up, and played! Parents had wonderful local pizza and thirst quenching, easy breezy drinks. The views were amazing! (as not shown by the photo)

top of gatehouse

My buddy Hermes is featured below! We used to play, play, play at Crate Escape too when we were puppies.

And, a very important read – Being Polite to Your Dog!! I love it!

Ernie on grass

Later, Ernestine

Here’s Hermes!

In celebration of our 10th Anniversary, we are honoring some of the original dogs who started daycare at Crate Escape too ( then named, Raining Cats and Dogs).  One of our first dogs was Hermes, a regally handsome golden doodle.  He was adorable as a puppy and continued to receive compliments from people as he grew.  We looked forward to seeing him in daycare. He loved the staff and had some strong bonds with Crate Escape dogs.  In addition, his family was always fun to see. We watched daughter, Grace grow up and Jay, his father, is charming and funny! These are memories from his wonderful Mom, Melinda:

‘Raining Cats and dogs opened shortly before we got our puppy Hermes. I remember visiting with my daughter and choosing the leash and collar we would use to take him home. A few months later, we enrolled him in doggie daycare. He would rush through the door each day and imediately lie down so all the big dogs could check him out. When I would pick him up at the end of the day, he was usually on the couch, holding hands with one of the staff, beautifully worn out. The hand holding continued as he grew to his present 85 lbs. If you forgot to take his paw, he nudges you until the petting starts. When he gets really comfortable, he burps loudly, like the son I never had.

Soon Hermes had a life of his own outside our home. People would mention that they had seen him at Crate. He had lots of regular visitors who dropped by to see him in the store, and many phoned to ask the name of his breeder.

Hermes, like his Greek god namesake, was mischievous from the start. He loved to steal the small stuffed animals on sale at Crate, often putting two or three in his mouth and keeping his head down as he sauntered out the door, hoping we wouldn’t notice. He also liked to put front paws up on the counter looking for treats.

When he was about a year old, my daughter and Hermes won the pet/ owner look alike contest at the Huron Village Street Fair. wearing tee shirts that said, ‘obey me’ and ‘question authority’, respectively.

I always know when Hermes encounters a dog or person he met at Crate, because he is so excited to see them. A Stephanie or Barbara sighting leads to groans of joy. He loves his Crate pack and so do we!’

Thanks to the Cantors and big hugs for Hermes!


Be Polite to Your Dog — It Benefits Both of You

by Kelly Pulley | Dogster

Dogs pick up your tone of voice and your body language and there is not better way to convey good nature than by being polite.

“Oh, Baxter, I’ll take you to foggy London town ’cause you’re my little gentleman”. — Ron Burgundy to his dog in the movie Anchorman.

Most of us try so hard to teach our dogs good manners. some of us even praise them by saying inane things like “What a little gentleman!”. There are at home manners, visiting a friend’s house manners, dog park manners, walking on crowded sidewalk manners, and just good doggie manners in general.

“Oh, Baxter. I’ll take you to foggy London town ’cause you’re my little gentleman.” — Ron Burgundy to his dog in the movie Anchorman

But we many be less likely to work on our own manners in our interactions with our dogs.


Using polite phrases is one way we humans attempt to be civilized with each other. It may seem odd to incorporate politeness in your conversations with your dog — and we all know that we talk out loud to our dogs all the time — since dogs can’t understand the nuances behind phrases such as ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘Thank you’.

What they do pick up on is the tone of your voice, your body language and the positive effects that these niceties have on our brains and bodies.


Believe me, I was skeptical about this until I did a few experiments with my Pit Bull, Bunch. It certainly seemed to make a difference in my own perceptions and actions as well as in hers. One thing that is critical, though, is that you have to mean it when you’re being polite to your dog! If you’re not sincere, then neither of you will get any benefits.

Different genteel sayings have different effects on the person saying them. But, overall, they increase our sense of awareness of those we say them to and even release endorphins in our body. Saying them can make you feel better, in short, while they change your dog’s behavior.

Here are some sayings I used with Bunch and how they were successful:

‘I’m sorry.’

It's easy to kiss and make up.

Apologizing to another person obviously can make her feel better, but it affects you, too. When you say “I’m sorry” to your dog after accidentally stepping on his foot or after losing your temper when he tore up a pillow, you are acknowledging that you have done wrong and helping to insure you’re not blaming your dog for the incident.

This humbling of yourself comes out in your tone and body language. It eliminates an unnecessary use of treats, which we often use to bribe our dogs for “forgiveness.” Instead, it is usually accompanied with a big hug.

Bunch decided to eat a part of my bed when I first got her, and I unduly lost my temper. Immediately — and that’s important — I said I was sorry with open body language, holding out my arms. Because I meant it, I’m sure Bunch understood the gestures.




My kitchen is in a small, narrow hallway in my apartment. It’s not the best place for Bunches to be when I’m cooking. I’ve found that when I just say, “Get out,” Bunch gets out and comes right back. But if I say, “Please, get out,” Bunch stays out for a much longer time. This is due to my more positive and persuasive tone when using “please.”


‘Thank you.’

This phrase promotes gratitude in the speaker, and gratitude releases tons of those great endorphins. Whether we’re thanking our dog for doing a command or something more nebulous (such as being quiet while we write an article), these words remind us of the importance of our dogs and make us feel good, which makes our dogs feel good, too.


Bunch recently became a toilet paper thief. I often thank her for many things and thought I’d try it in this situation. When I see a white streak of Bunch and trailing toilet paper go by, instead of chasing her, I calmly go over to her, thank her for the roll and gently take it. She’s still a toilet paper thief but now she brings it to me. I thank the positive atmosphere that comes from all of those fabulous endorphins of mine for her behavior.

Behaving in a well-mannered way to your dog may not seem all that important in the scheme of things, and it’s not as crucial as, say, teaching some commands. But it’s an easy thing to try, and the benefits to yourself, and thus to your dog, are certainly worth it. But do it in the moment (saying “sorry” a day later doesn’t work) and remember to mean it!

May 24, 2014

Warm Weather Coming! Dog Safety in Cars, SUV’s & Boats, + More Dogs Outside- Be Aware of their Body Language!

It’s Here, Right?? Memorial Day Weekend and the Week After are Almost SUMMER!

My favorite time of year!! My parents haven’t dared to say the word ‘beach’ in front of me, because they know I will go JRTC (jack russell terrier crazy)!

Over the years, I have become wiser I get why my parents are even more careful when warmer seasons arrive,  and we spend more time outside the house and in the car.  As exciting and fun as summer is, it presents challenges that you guys must be aware of and plan for, to keep us, precious dogs, safe!

So that is my blurb in the blog this week.  Check safety first, then HAVE FUN!


Later, Ernestine


Pets and People in the Car

With summer right around the corner, this is a reminder to be extra conscious and safe, driving with your pets. The ideal is to buckle up the whole family, pets included.

That sounds like a lot to ask.  We get used our dogs’ ‘car behavior’ and (think we) know how they react to various situations. At the same time, with phones going, summer traffic, heightened excitement over special trips, there is a lot for drivers to pay attention to.  Anything extra you can do to add to your dog’s safety is a great plus.

During summer trips in a car, truck, SUV, and even boating, remind yourself, safety-first! You can buckle up the whole family. It is really easy to do,  pet travel harnesses, crates and for boating, a life jacket, for sure!

The scary statistics are that despite all the warnings against leaving pets and children in cars, we still hear all too often the horror stories of dogs who suffered or even died after being left in vehicles as temperatures inside soared. Studies have shown that a healthy dog, whose normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees, can withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees for only a short time before suffering brain damage or death, at even 85-degree weather, temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees in less then 30 minutes, even if a window is cracked.”



So, take extra care and enjoy!

Why do Dogs Bite?

There are a variety of reasons dogs bite, and sometimes they are not the most obvious reasons. Dogs bite when they are afraid, feel threatened, get excited, are at play, have been trained to be aggressive, are being protective with food or treats, are in pain or i f they are annoyed.

Many people are not aware that, even friendly looking dogs can be snappy and they ignore owners’ requests not to pet their dogs. These situations often result in dog bites.

Never approach a strange dog without first asking permission from the dog’s owner. If the owner indicates that handling the dog is dangerous, listen to that advice and keep your distance.

“Tips to prevent dog bites:

  • Know the basics of a dog’s body language. A wagging tail does not always mean a dog is friendly. Depending on the carriage of the tail, it could mean the dog is nervous, stressed, and uneasy.
  • Teach children to never approach a stray dog under any circumstances. And if they are approached by a stray, they should “be a tree,” and not move until the dog moves away.
  • Never taunt a dog. If you dare a dog to bite you, he just might give you exactly what you’re asking for.
  • Don’t put your face in a dog’s face you don’t know. Children should be taught to never get up in a dog’s face, even the family pet. Many dogs read that as a challenge and react out of impulse to protect themselves.
  • Respect the growl. A growl is a warning from a dog that he may bite, and you should always believe him!
  • Never sneak up on a sleeping dog. Never approach a dog who is eating. Never back a dog into a corner where he feels he can’t escape.
  • Supervise all interactions between young children (under 10) and dogs at all times.Children forget to tie their shoes and make their beds, so naturally they could forget the correct way to play with and handle the family dog. An adult should always be present to make sure the rules are followed.

dog bites







May 17, 2014

Enjoy the Spring! (staying safe and careful!) 5 Smart-Ass Answers to Stupid Dog ?’s, 8 Ways to Green Your Pet

From our Rover Reporter, ERNESTINE

We can finally, definitely say it, SPRING IS HERE!  We will be writing about some great ways to take advantage of local spring and summer activities and fun places to go.  For now, check out your dog’s leashes, collars and harnesses to make sure they are safe and fit well. If your dog is not great on a leash, talk to trainers and our staff, who can make suggestions and guide you in the right direction.  And be careful letting your dogs off leash. So much can happen, just be sure the situation is truly safe and will not change suddenly or abruptly.  Check out your off leash commands to get your dog back to you when necessary.

Pretty preachy, huh? Partly because they love me and partly because they are in range of so many dogs and stories, my parents have trained us carefully. Until we go to the BEACH that is – then all bets are off!

The next article is from Dogster.  Emily Kane writes her honest answers to non-dog-people’s silly questions.

Enjoy the weather! And don’t forget when it is too rainy or hot, Crate is climate controlled 24/7!

ernie on sand1

Later, Ernestine

5 Smart-Ass Answers to Stupid Pet Questions

When I get a dumb question about my dog, I’m SO tempted to use one of these comebacks. Let me just start by saying that these smart-ass answers to dumb question only run through mymind — they don’t come out of my mouth. Negativity doesn’t help dispel misconceptions and sarcasm doesn’t cure stupid. But sometimes it is nice to let these things out (most of the cartoons below are from me, too), just so my head doesn’t explode. Here are five smart-ass answers to dumb questions people ask me concerning my dog:

1. “Why is your dog so skinny?”

I blame Santa’s Little Helper on The Simpsons. That dog is clearly either anorexic or on drugs. He’s a terrible role model for impressionable young canines.


But seriously: Obesity seems to have become the norm in many people’s eyes. A dog with a perfectly normal body condition will attract disapproving tuts and glares at the dog park. On top of that, some dogs are also just naturally skinny as part of the normal variation between individuals of any species. And now that I have a greyhoundit seems some people think I am somehow responsible for the tuck of her belly, which is quite normal for any lean sighthound. Now, I spoil my dogs, but getting a Greyhound to be obese is beyond even my cosseting abilities. (Although the rescue I got her from told me one adopter did manage it.)


I would encourage anyone to consider that a dog who looks lean might be this kind of individual or type, older and dropping a little condition in their advanced years, or struggling with illness under the care of a conscientious owner. So it is not a good idea to leap to conclusions too quickly.

2. “Why do you walk your dog so much?”

I’m actually casing your house, but now you’re on to me I guess I won’t rob you after all.


But seriously: A lot of people seem to think you walk your dog until it poops and then go home. If someone could invent a dog toilet, these people probably wouldn’t walk their dogs at all.

But walks are more than that. For many dogs, the world is pretty small, except what they see, smell, and experience when they are outside with us. I live in an apartment. So, yes, I walk my dogs. A lot. Consider it my contribution to the neighborhood watch.

3. “Are you going to pick that up?”

No, I like to watch my dog poop, do a celebratory dance with a colorful plastic bag in each hand, and then walk off and leave it there as an offering to the gods of community discord.


But seriously: I can see that not everyone is picking up after their dog.  And I can understand how that pisses off anyone who wants to live in an attractive neighborhood where you can walk down the street without playing poop hopscotch. But go hassle those people who pretend they can’t see their dog is pooping and do not even have poop bags with them. Don’t take it out on me. And when it comes to poop that does not belong to my dog, I am no more interested in picking it up than you are.


4. “Is that dog hair on your jacket?”

No, it is chupacabra hair; my house is infested with the damn things.


But seriously: There are three times I want you to mention dog hair on my clothing. 1) As an excuse to start a conversation about dogs, 2) If someone nearby is deathly allergic to dog hair, and 3) If I am about to go into an important meeting with a billionaire neat freak. The rest of the time I am at peace with dog hair being my everyday accessory. I just try and keep it down to a few here and there rather than the full fluffy.

 5. “How can you spend so much money on your dog when there are children starving in Africa?”

If you ask this while you are in the middle of handing out nutritional packs to starving refugees, I will be more than willing to discuss it with you.


But seriously: I think it is incorrect to think of pets as disposable accessories. Dogs and people hitched their fates together tens of thousands of years ago. Dogs and other domesticated animals helped humans become settled people with agriculture and advanced trade and technology — to essentially become what we are today. In many ways we created each other as modern species.

Suggesting that we could just dispense with dogs to save money for other purposes makes no more sense to me than to suggest we could just dispense with driving motorized vehicles or dispense with wearing clothing for decorative purposes rather than just to regulate our temperature. It ain’t going to happen, so lets figure out how to carry out these activities in a responsible and sustainable way.


 8 Ways to Green Your Pet

From: Jane Harrell,

Have you thought about earth-friendly steps you can take to help reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint? Here are some ideas:

1. Prevent pet overpopulation “Spay or neuter!” All pets have some environmental impact, but spaying and neutering keeps the pet population in check (and unwanted litters out of shelters).

2. Buy in bulk When you buy the biggest bags of pet food available you save on gas back and forth to the store.  It also cuts down on packaging waste (and is easier on the wallet).

3. Scoop poop Unscooped dog poop can pollute water and spread disease You can take it a step further by composting pet waste. (Pet poop should be kept separate from the compost you put on your vegetable garden.)  

4. Recycle what you can’t reuse Make sure to recycle dogfood cans — many other types of food have recyclable packaging, so be sure to check. Organic dog food often comes in recyclable bags.  If you can find a good food that  is locally made,  there is less pollution.  

5. Use earth-friendly pooper scoopers Use biodegradable poop bags,  and biodegradable poop scoopers.  Reusing old plastic bags works too.  

6. Make your own pet toys There are so many household items that can be renamed a dog toy. The cardboard rolls inside paper towels and toilet paper, old clothing can be tied into knots for a tuggie toy, and, of course, old balls!  

7. Harness cuddle power! In the winter, turn down the thermostat and snuggle with your dogs!  

8. Adopt a homeless pet This brings us back to our No. 1 point: Pets, like humans, inevitably impact the environment. But buying from a pet store or breeder just encourages more breeding, while adopting a homeless pet doesn’t add to the pet population. Pet adoption is the original green option!

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