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August 7, 2013

Daycare is not for Every Dog, Blogging and Sports Headline; Ernie on a Surfboard!

The article below is a perfect explanation of what Crate knows about dogs attending daycare. Often people feel they have done something wrong if their dog does not act or behave a certain way. Great read!

My Dog Got Kicked Out Of Daycare Today

courtesy of Dogster Newsletter

 I received an email the other day that started with, “My dog got kicked out of daycare today.”  It was from a dog owner I knew. She loves her dog and was looking for outlets for his energy.  She is a fantastic owner — the kind every dog trainer wants to meet. She was bonded to her dog, committed to his well-being, and loved to hear advice from pet professionals on how to improve her dog’s life.

So she emailed me to find out what she had done wrong. She needed to express her embarrassment with her dog, and wanted to cry on my shoulder (virtually) and find out what she should be doing to fix what she viewed as her dog’s problems.

She had a lovely dog, with no behavioral problems.  The dog was friendly with people, well mannered in the house, walked nicely on leash and was absolutely adored by everyone in the family. But there was this one problem….her dog got kicked out of daycare today.

My advice to her?  “Just don’t go to the daycare and don’t go to dog parks.”  That’s it.  No magic wand to fix a problem.  No behavioral modification program to force her dog to tolerate the presence of large numbers of other dogs.  No litany of tools and tricks she should use to get her dog to accept the environment of off-leash play.  Just don’t go to the daycare or dog park.  That’s it.

Far too often we try to force our pets into environments they may not like.  And when we do, the dog suffers.  I’ve seen shy dogs taken to crowded parades.  The dog is not happy. I’ve seen sound sensitive dogs taken to fireworks displays. The dog is not happy.  And I’ve seen dogs who don’t particularly enjoy the company of other dogs taken to dog parks and daycares.  The dog is not happy.

Most of the times these situations occur because well-meaning dog owners are trying to do things they think would be fun for their dog.  In the excitement of taking the dog someplace new, many owners fail to notice how their dog is responding to the new environment.  I recommend looking to the dog for clues as to what makes them happy.  Watch for loose, wiggly body language in your dog.  If your dog is hiding, shaking, jumping up on you, or appears more nervous than when you are hanging out at home, he’s probably not happy.

Not every dog likes off-leash play and that’s ok.  It’s not a statement about the dog. It’s about an environment that just isn’t a good fit for a particular dog. Just like an evening at the fireworks isn’t the best environment for a dog who is sound sensitive and a crowded parade isn’t the best environment for a dog who doesn’t enjoy crowds, an off-leash play environment isn’t the best place for a dog that doesn’t enjoy playing with other dogs.

When a dog doesn’t do well in off-leash play it is not necessarily a symptom of a problem, or a bad dog or a dog in need of behavioral modification.  This might be the case, but more often than not, it’s just a dog who prefers people.  It’s a dog who would rather hang out with the people he loves than dogs he doesn’t know. It’s a dog who would love a hike in the woods but doesn’t enjoy off-leash play with a group of other dogs.  This doesn’t make the dog bad.

But is this normal? Don’t all dogs want to play with other dogs?  Shouldn’t I socialize him so he gets used to it?  I get asked these questions all the time.  The truth is, there are far more dogs who do not enjoy off-leash play, than there are dogs who love it.

When a pet care professional dismisses your dog from daycare or recommends you don’t go to the dog park, you should thank them.  Thank them for caring more about your pet, than about making a buck by bringing your dog into their facility if the dog isn’t going to enjoy the off-leash environment. Thank them for seeing your dog as a unique animal with individual temperament traits.  Thank them for trying to look out for the well-being of your pet and putting your dog’s safety and comfort first.

What if you dog doesn’t like the off-leash play?  It’s ok. You are not a bad owner and your dog is not a bad dog. Just find other ways to exercise your dog that don’t involve interacting with other dogs.  Go for a walk, take a hike, give your dog a massage, or try some activities such as agility, chuck-its and fast walks/ jogs.  You’ll both have a great time bonding, and your dog will be happy.’

Mystery Blogger Revealed

Ok, probably no mystery. My name is Barb and I write the blogs.  I have been with Crate Escape for 7 years,  4 years at Crate Escape too and the last 3 years doing marketing.  You might remember Calvin, my yellow lab, who was an icon at Little Crate, with his bed right under the front windows.

I am telling you this for a couple of reasons. As Crate Escape grows, we want to make sure everyone knows who we are. Our history is key to the solid strength of our dogcare.  ‘All about the dogs’ is the consistent theme that promises safety, exercise, socialization and doggone fun to our customers. With Cambridge and Belmont our growth was totally through word of mouth. The last year, in Charlestown, we have been telling Boston people about who Crate Escape is.  It is great to hear our staff’s personal dedication to the company, as they talk to potential customers.

Since I left ‘operations’ in 2011, I find myself observing the growth and changes, recognizing clearly, over and over, that we do not stray from ‘all about the dogs’. I can look and listen as an ‘outsider’ and find myself impressed with how the small company has gotten bigger and more professional, still maintaining friendly and personal customer and dog care.  I am going to share these experiences with you in the blog.

In general I share information and observations about Crate and dog topics. I am not an expert by any means in any specific dog areas; mostly I am a consumer just like you who wants to give my dogs the best care.  From experience, I am confident that Crate is a well educated (through experience) ‘go to’ for many things DOG.  I will tell you about that too.

Thanks for reading!



The Best Time Ever!


Ernie surfing with her Dad!

Later, Ernestine

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