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Blog & News

May 11, 2014

Ernie with Belmont Town News Update, 8 Spring Dog Tips, & the Three Second Rule for Introducing Dogs


The sun is out, in more ways than one around Crate Escape these days. I know many of you heard that Belmont Crate was challenged by the town, over amending general by-law wording; calling dog daycares  ‘kennels’ and whether to accept the ASPCA guidelines requiring a certain amount of space per dog. Like we need to worry!! We are B  I  G!  Looks like all is OK, and we can go forward giving you our usual dog loving care!!

I also want to comment on Blu, our icon pooch, now dashing across Belmont’s front steps (rumor is his brother will soon take up residence in C’town!)  Just because Blu is bigger than I, he is NOT a JRT!  I am way smarter and the Top Dog for all things Crate. I must say, however, he is rather handsome and dashing.


Later, Ernestine


 8 Serious Spring Dog- Safety Tips

photosfor spring issuesblog

1.  Save the sticks 
Sticks – now readily available after the winter thaw – can cause choking and severe injuries in dog’s mouths and throats. So if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, tennis ball or other toy instead. A recent article:

2.  Keep Fido Away from New Plants
Many dogs like to eat grass, but if your dog likes to chew on other plants, now’s the time to get out your plant guide. Some native plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea or even death, so before you let your pooch chomp down on those leafy greens, check out the plant guide:

3.  Use Pet Friendly Products for Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is the perfect occasion to review your cleaning products pet-friendliness. If the containers do not state that their ingredients are dog safe, assume that they are not. If your dog does ingest a household cleaner, do not call a human poison control center; they do not have the necessary information to give you safe advice.  It is best to contact your vet and/or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (888-426-4435) for accurate information. Here is some basic info:

4.  Watch Your Dog for Signs of Seasonal Allergies
Some dogs develop allergies to common seasonal plants, like ragweed. Unlike people, these allergies usually present as skin problems in dogs, according to Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, D.V.M. in her book,  How Do I Know if My Dog Has Allergies?. “Because dogs with atopy (inhaled allergies) are frequently allergic to pollens and grasses, they often have a seasonality to their symptoms, but can show signs all year long if they are allergic to something that is always in the environment (like dust mites).”

5.  Hide the Antifreeze
Cars use antifreeze year round, so you always need to stay vigilant to keep your pups safe. Many dogs like the sweet taste of antifreeze, but it is also deadly. Contact your vct immediately if you think your dog has been exposed.  Here are some safety suggestions:

6.  Start Tick and Flea Prevention Early
The American Heartworm Association now recommends keeping your dogs on year round flea and tick preventatives to guard against heartworm disease. If your dog is not already on a preventative regimen, it is worth looking in to.

ernie drawing from website1 (editorial comment from Ernestine: Although we don’t see as much heartworm ‘up north’, winters are having less deep freezes, and ticks are staying alive throughout winter months!)

7.  Prevent Dog Park Bullying by Knowing the Signs
As the weather gets warmer, you may be taking your dog to dog-parks more often. Make sure it is a safe and fun time for all, by knowing the symptoms of bullying and how to deal with them.  Learn these simple tips for stopping and preventing dog park bullying and how to stop a dog fight before it starts.

8.  Keep Artificial Sweeteners Away from Your Dog
Day to day, it is always possible to have many dangerous treats around that are toxic to your dog. Keep your dog safe by assuring all sweets, candy and gum are kept away from your dog. While many people know the dangers of chocolate, only a small amount of the artificial sweetener, xylitol, can be deadly.


Letting Dogs Meet: The Three Second Rule

By:  Chad Culp, Certified Dog Trainer and Canine Behavior Consultant

As a dog owner, I’m sure you have been in the situation where your dog had to meet another dog he didn’t know.  If you haven’t yet, you will.

Whether you’re having a friend and their dog over for a BBQ or you happen to run across a new dog on a hike, there are some fundamental things you should do and be aware of to properly manage dog greetings. Remember, just because your dog may typically be happy-go-lucky, doesn’t mean that all dogs are easy to get along with and it doesn’t guarantee that the chemistry will be good between your dog and the new dog right from the start. If you happen to stumble across a dog out in the world and you don’t feel comfortable with having your dog meet him, that’s ok. You can politely excuse yourself from the  greeting by saying that your dog is in training and you need to keep him focused.

Know your dog. If your dog has a history of biting or aggression, your situation is beyond the scope of this blog. Consult a dog training professional to help your dog with his particular needs.

Before you let your dogs meet, both owners need to agree to let the dogs engage. When I say agree, I mean be comfortable with. Don’t allow yourself to be talked into a meeting you don’t feel good about and don’t try to convince someone else if they don’t seem at ease with the idea. It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask the other owner if their dog is dog friendly.  If you are both comfortable with allowing the two dogs to meet, you should make sure everyone is calm (humans and dogs) and do so with a loose leash. Be sure to have an exit strategy. Don’t allow their leashes to become a tangled mess potentially locking you in a game of Leash Twister Madness.

The Three Second Rule:

  • Three seconds is the maximum amount of time the initial greeting should last. When I say three seconds, it’s one alligator, two alligator, three and walk away. Number three does not get an alligator. I’ve seen it time and again where dogs loose it on the third alligator. Now, if there’s barking or growling that happens before that, walk away sooner. We don’t want it to escalate.
  • When you’re walking away after number three, give the dogs a second to forget about one another. Once both dogs have been distracted, you can bring them back for another meeting assuming the first one went well.
  • Keep your eyes peeled and be fully present (Don’t be texting while a dog meeting is taking place.)
  • Eye to eye greetings are a recipe for disaster. If there is a stare down going on, don’t allow them to meet.
  • Tails tell a tale. If tails are stiff, tucked or only the tip is wagging like a rattle snake, this is a sign that you either need to disengage before the three seconds are up or really watch closely for those initial three seconds.
  • If one dog is positioning his head over the top of the other dog’s head, walk away.
  • If their jaws are tight and they’re not breathing, walk away.
  • What you want is a relaxed posture with loose wagging tails and relaxed jaws.
  • It is common and good for dogs to sniff each other’s butts. Believe me, they think that our hand-shaking ritual is weird too. That being said, even if the initial greeting is good, the three second rule still applies for the one out the gate.
  • Last but not least, the three second rule is particularly important for the first greeting, but a very good practice for all dog greetings, even for dogs that already know each other. Give them their three seconds, walk away and if all goes well, take it from there. There will most likely come a time when you can eliminate the three second rule but it’s always a good idea to work up to it.

Facilitating a proper greeting lays the foundation for your dog to have strong relationships not only with other dogs, but with you, their owner, as well. It is another opportunity for your dog to know that you’ve got things under control which builds trust.

Socializing with dogs and people helps to keep them balanced and fulfilled, so by no means do I want to discourage you from having your dog acquire new playmates. All I ask is that you set yourself up for success by having your eyes wide open and your attention on the dog.

As with any of these tips, if you have questions or are nervous, get a professional involved. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.




May 2, 2014

Meet Bridget, Our Wonderful Pen Manager! Spring Fling Time Again! Yappy Hours Every Month at Crate Escape too!

first thursdays at ce2

Huron Village First Thursdays

On May 1st Huron Village hosted the first of 5 monthly events, when the Village stores stay open late and from 6pm – 8, they feature a specialty service or giveaway. Crate Escape too hosted a Yappy Hour inviting dog people and their pups to visit the store and enjoy drinks and snacks. The fun part is that people get to go into the dog pen, and out in the yard, which almost never happens. Everyone had a blast, once the dogs accepted that their people were in their play area. It is a great opportunity for staff and customers to share some down time, for customers to meet and see their dogs play and socialize! Everyone is welcome! Save the dates, June 5th, August 7th, September 4th & October 2nd!

Introducing Bridget!

Each month, as a part of our 10th year anniversary, we honor a long term employee, who has been key in our growth and development. Join us in celebrating Bridget!

Bridget’s love of dogs started early; when college came around, she got her degree in Canine Science. Her first job was at a dog daycare as a real ‘hands on’ Operations Manager. The job included all of the back of the house organization and tasks, including training and managing the housekeeping and pen staff. In addition to her strong work ethic and organization, she has a kind and heartfelt demeanor; which is certainly felt by the dogs too!

Interacting with the dogs daily at work, Bridget knew it would be a great help to be educated in dog training. She became certified as a Dog Training Instructor, then initiated and implemented dog training as part of her operations. She also became skilled at grooming and bathing of dogs.

THEN, in early 2007, Bridget started working at Crate Escape in Belmont as Pen Manager. The job requires excellent dog socialization and temperament skills. The Pen Manager manages all the pen attendants and is responsible for the dogs being grouped to assure they have good socialization, exercise and fun! She is amazing at multitasking, and paved the way for other employees to learn the job. When we opened Charlestown in January, 2011, Bridget transferred to get the new Crate up and running. She is a huge asset to us and we are grateful she is with us, guiding our dogs!

Bridget with Her Favorite Belmont Dog, Monty Hound!


som|dog’s Second Annual Spring Fling

Sunday, May 18 10:00a
Precinct Bar
Somerville, MA
Crate Escape participated last year and it was FUN!! Join us!!

This Free event will host activities, unique vendors, a Frisbee demonstration, live music, craft beer, a Kiddie Corner with crafts, face-painting and much more. Local trainers will host education sessions for children to learn appropriate ways to interact with canines and be onsite to consult with pet parents regarding behavior questions. Practice your pup’s best trick for your chance to win a prize from Crate Escape during the “Tricked out Pup” contest. Beer Garden Tickets also available below.

Save the Best for Last!

Hi, it’s Ernestine. I don’t have much to say today…. still recovering from my super special birthday party!! So happy that the sun is out and excited to announce that I have a new ball!! The famous blue ball is in semi-retirement and this beauty is what I am pushing around these days! Next week sounds delightful!

(ball picture to follow on 5/3)

Later, Ernestine

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