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June 15, 2014

What are Dock Dogs? Interesting read on Vaccinations & Great June Events!

The Eloquence of Ernestine

Happy June! I have lots to share with you this week! Be sure to read this to the bottom, where we talk about our exciting events coming up this summer!

On August 2nd and 3rd, we are participating in an event named, Pet Palooza, which includes dogs ‘Dock Diving’. Having seen magnificent photos of this sport, we wanted to learn more.  I checked into some history and info about the sport. Pet Palooza will be held in Somerville at Assembly Square (using a pool!)

I wanted to talk about the whole vaccination rigamaroll – did you know that some dog people applied the ‘don’t vaccinate your kids’ scare to their pups? Since we require certain vaccinations at Crate Escape and keep track of expirations, this is a necessity. Having said that, who hasn’t wondered/worried about over vaccinating our dogs?

An option to vaccinating at each expiration date is to have your vet do a titer test for your dog. The results will tell you if the prior vaccinations are still active. When determined that there is enough of the vaccine present in your dog, the vet will give you a copy of the titer test, which you can present at the Crate Escapes for our records. The following article is kind of long, but an easy read and  informative!

ernie on sand1

Later, Ernestine


Dock Diving



Dock jumping first appeared in 1997 at the Incredible Dog Challenge, an event sponsored and produced by pet food manufacturer, Purina. There are now a number of organizations that run dock jumping competitions in different countries.

In the United States, DockDogs was established in 2000. It’s first event was at the ESPN 2000 Great Outdoor Games competition.

The Super Retriever Series Super Dock was also established in 2000 and created as a qualifier for ESPN Great Outdoor Games along with the Retriever Trials. (

Splash Dogs was started in 2003. Ultimate Air Dogs was founded in 2005, by former Major League Baseball player Milt Wilcox. In 2008, UAD partnered with the United Kennel Club (UKC) which added dock jumping as a recognized UKC sport. In 2009, UKC also recognized competitions run by Splash Dogs. Dogs can get UKC titles by competing in dock distance or height jumping like they can in agility, obedience, weight pulling, and others.

In the United Kingdom, Dash ‘n’ Splash, which runs competitions across southern England, was established in 2005, followed by JettyDogs in 2007.


The dock is usually 35 to 40 ft long by 8 ft wide and 2 ft above the water surface, but may differ depending on the sanctioning organization. Any body of water or pool that is at least 4 ft deep can be used. The dock is covered in artificial turf, carpet, or a rubber mat for better traction and safety for the competitors. The handler may use any amount of the dock and they may start their dog from any point on the dock when competition

Official Jump Distance

The jump distance is measured, by most organizations, from the lateral midpoint of the end of the dock to the point at which the base of the dog’s tail (where the tail meets the body) breaks the water’s surface. Purina’s Incredible Diving Dog event measures the distance to the point that the dog’s nose is at when its body enters the water. The jump distance is measured electronically using digital video freeze frame technology or, in some cases, is measured manually by judges.
Each team takes two jumps in round-robin format. The longer of the two jumps is that team’s score for that competition. A jump in which the dog’s tail enters the water at a point further from the dock than another part of the dog’s body is scored using the point of the dog (for example, the head/nose) that breaks the surface of the water closest to the dock. If the dog’s strides are off so that the dog starts its jump before the end of the dock, that is a disadvantage, because the jump is always judged from the edge of the dock, not from where the dog leaves the dock. A jump is only official if or when the toy leaves the handler’s hand. The dog is not required to retrieve the toy for the jump to count.

Two different techniques can be used to encourage the dog to jump into the water.

Place and send

Walk the dog to the end of the dock and or, hold the dog back while throwing the toy into the water. Walk the dog back to the starting point,place the dog, then release or send the dog to go get the toy. This is effective for dogs that are not trained to wait or stay on the dock, especially if they have a lot of speed and can compensate for the lack of lift at the end of the dock.




The dog is placed in a stay or wait at its starting position on the dock. The handler walks to the end of the dock holding the toy, then calls the dog and throws the toy, trying to keep the toy just in front of the dog’s nose so they chase it into the water. The goal is to use this method to get the dog at the optimum launch angle to increase distance by getting him to jump up, instead of just out or flat, as with place and send. The chase method is difficult to master. However, if the dog is toy-driven, he can be trained to follow the toy.



There are many divisions depending on the sanctioning organization. All teams are ranked according to how far they jump and are rated against teams within their own divisions for placements. Even small dogs have their own division, “lap dogs”, along with older dogs (8 years and older), the “veteran” division.

The Pet Palooza will be held in Assembly Square, Somerville. We are partnering with somdog at the event. You can google Pet Palooza to read details of last year’s event!


Anti-Vaccine Ignorance Is Bad for Dogs

Dogster | Chris Hall| June, 2014

Anti-vaccine madness has spread to pet owners as well as parents. In hindsight, it seems naïve to imagine it would not. Bad ideas are more contagious than the most easily spread virus.

Recently there was an article on ABC News about dog owners who refuse to vaccinate their pets. It focuses on Rodney Habib, a blogger and pet nutrition activist who refuses to vaccinate his three dogs beyond the original cluster of shots for parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and rabies. Habib claims that booster shots are dangerous and unnecessary, and that the original shots should keep his pets immune for years, if not their entire lives. Scientific research says otherwise, of course.

The current hysteria around vaccines originated with a 1998 study published by a grossly incompetent and unethical researcher named Andrew Wakefield. The study claimed, based on a sample of 12 children, that there was a link between administration of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine — known as MMR — and development of regressive autism. Not only was Wakefield’s sample tiny, but much of the data that he did collect was fraudulent.

So extensive were the procedural and ethical problems with Wakefield’s study, that in 2010, his license to practice medicine in England was revoked, and The Lancet retracted the paper. But by that time, the damage had been done: For 12 years, Wakefield and his followers had been building up hysteria, not only around the MMR vaccine, but around vaccines in general. The cost to our society hasn’t been merely an abstract one of truth vs. falsehood. Just last week, the CDC announced that measles cases are at a 20-year high in the United States. This is not a trivial thing that means your kid stays home a few more days from school. Thanks to successful vaccination campaigns, most of us have never seen why measles was once such a feared part of childhood. Its consequences can include brain inflammation, permanent deafness, and death.

Which brings us back to dogs. To Habib’s credit, he’s not one of the extreme vaccine denialists, who would rather risk disease than the minuscule chance that some problems might result from the vaccine. But the fact that this argument is considered credible among pet owners at all is a problem. As with humans, canine diseases that were previously well-controlled, such as parvovirus, are making a comeback. Just last month, Los Angeles County officials announced a highly increased rate of parvovirus infection in the first four months of this year. The same problem is happening in England. Last year, the British charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals issued a release urging owners to get their dogs vaccinated after they saw 1,800 cases of the virus show up at their hospitals in the first six months of 2013 alone.

The ABC story also quotes Kate Berger, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who lays out the facts simply: “Abnormal responses occur so infrequently, and more unvaccinated animals die from the diseases the vaccines prevent, that the benefit of vaccination outweighs the minimal risk of the abnormal immune response.”

The majority of arguments against vaccination are based not on long-term research, nor on broad-based studies that are subjected to peer review, but anecdotal accounts of individuals. People such as Rodney Habib are getting their ideas from what a friend of a friend has said, and selectively choosing what to listen to through confirmation bias. We are all biased in the direction of things that confirm what we already believe to be true; that’s why real science has checks and counterbalances built in to account for confirmation bias.

The preponderance of scientific evidence backs up what Dr. Berger says. When you get your dog or your child vaccinated, it’s not simply to protect them; it’s also to protect the people and pets around them. There are people and animals who, for whatever reason, do have adverse reactions to vaccines. When those of us who can get vaccines do so, we’re also helping to keep those most vulnerable around us safe by creating what’s called “herd immunity.” Herd immunity happens when a significant majority of a population is vaccinated against a disease, giving it fewer and fewer avenues of transmission. As herd immunity diminishes because of lower rates of vaccination, those who can’t get vaccinated themselves are at greater risk.

We owe a lot to the fact that vaccination for some of the most horrible diseases known is now cheap, easy, and common. We cannot afford to throw that away.

Summer Event with Crate Escape

I KNOW we talked about our summer events last week… we have more details to share!

The first is in Charlestown, in conjunction with the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, we are putting on an Ice Cream Social: Here’s the scoop!

Ice Cream Social for People and Pups!

Thursday, June 19th, 5:30 – 7:30pm

On the Green, in the Navy Yard

Located near Parris Landing, between Piers 6 & 7

We are excited to sponsor this fun event! Offering free ice cream to all pups and people who stop by our tent!

Join us and bring your kids, both two legged and four.

Ice Cream Social pic


johnhensel photos

(click on photo to expand)

cookout cartoon

Crate Escape Franks for Your Business Cookout!

Serving hot dogs and beer on the Lawn, Belmont Crate Escape!

Thursday, June 26th, 5pm – 7pm

Join us!




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