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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

This Saturday (9/30/17) is our 8th Annual Adopt-A-Rama and we are so excited to see adoptable pets find new homes! This event has grown so much over the years and we now have over 20 shelters and rescue that will be attending to educate you on adoption and meet their dogs and cats.

If you already have a pet at home and you want to another, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to go about picking out and introducing a new pet into your home.  Here is a quick checklist of things to look for:

  • Consider the personalities of your existing pet(s), look for a new addition with specific traits. Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.
  • If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead. And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.
  • If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition. This can sometimes trigger a dog to chase.
  • Ignore the old wives’ tail – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion. This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend. Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition. The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.
  • Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet. Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”
  • After bringing you new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days. This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.
  • Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised. This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.
  • In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces. Try adding a few high up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.
  • Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

If you have other questions about introducing or training a new pet, Allie Bender, owner of Pet Harmony will be on hand at Adopt-A-Rama this weekend to talk to you and answer your questions! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday at Two Bostons, Springbrook from Noon-3:00 pm.

 

If you are reading this chances are you already know about the hazards of purchasing a new pet from a traditional “pet store.” More and more cities are becoming intolerant of puppy mill outlets looking for nothing more than a quick profit.  The city of Chicago has put a ban on the selling of puppy mill dogs at pets stores within the city limits.  This is critical, because the Midwest is considered a key distribution hub for mill activity.

But in an unfortunate twist, rescue and shelter pups often receive an equally bad rap.  Some have the perception that these pets are more neglected and somehow “inferior” to pet store pets. This reputation has gotten much better over the past few years, but it still has a long way to go…our area shelter and rescue organizations house dozens of healthy, happy pets who have received as much quality care and nurturing as the animal-loving staff and volunteers can shower upon them.

Here are five common myths about shelter pets…

Myth #1: Shelter pets are neglected or run down.dottie-atailof4paws

I am on the board of directors at one of the area shelters and I have always been impressed by the care and attention these pets receive, and how many volunteers that WANT to help! In well-run shelters, animals receive vaccinations upon intake, and they are placed on a regular diet.  Most are already spayed/neutered and even microchipped when you adopt them.

Myth #2: I won’t properly get to know a new shelter pet before taking him/her home.

Many shelter and rescue organizations offer online pet profiles that help you see and get to know some of the adoptable animals from the start.  And most shelters or rescues will have you schedule a ‘get-acquainted’ session with your prospective pet and most refuse to conduct same-day adoptions. To learn more about a given pet, ask to speak with the foster parents or staff that work with the animal because then they can often share some great personality and training insights.  It’s also smart to formulate a list of questions you can ask the staff veterinarian and available shelter team.

tomMyth #3: I’ll never find a purebred dog at a shelter or animal rescue.

According to current statistics, more than 25% of all dogs in shelters are actually purebreds.  They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Many adoptive parents may actually overlook a beautiful darker-colored pet (even a purebred or even-tempered mix), simply because these animals don’t show up as clearly in photographs.  It’s always worth taking a second look.

Myth #4: Shelter pets are generally older.

Local shelters and rescues have pets of all ages.  And the intake mix often changes from week to week, so check back periodically.  Many older pets have already been trained and housebroken, and most are calmer than a younger animal.  This means less initial (and ongoing) work for you as a pet parent.  What these older pets really need most is a safe, secure home and someone to show them consistent love.  In return, they provide unwavering loyalty, companionship, and affection.  Their adoption fees are often lower, as well.

Myth #5: Disabled or special-needs pets just aren’t an option for me.

As vets like Miranda Brady remind us, “Blind dogs can often get around every bit as well as their sighted counterparts, because dogs are so reliant on scent.  It simply helps to keep the environment somewhat stable. Much of the time, you might actually forget the dog is blind.” In the same way, deaf dogs often get along beautifully by learning special hand signals.

You can learn a lot more about the different shelters and rescue organizations in our area at our 7th Annual Adopt-A-Rama, coming up on Saturday, October , 1, 2016 from Noon – 3:00 pm at our 75th St. store.

adopt-a-rama-photos

We are so excited that our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama is this coming Saturday!  This event has grown so much over the years and we will now have 24 rescues and shelters on hand along with a dozen vendors and local businesses to educate you on products and services for your pets.

Last week we told you why owning multiple pets is actually good for you!  Today I want to give you a short checklist of how to go about introducing new pets into your home.

1. Consider the personalities of your existing pets, look for a new addition with specific traits.  Adopting an older pet has a big advantage – most older pets have already been exposed to other species in their past, which can really streamline the socialization process.

3abede6d6e2ae0f0ecb262c932190bd22. If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead.  And, a cat who constantly growls and bats, or hides from dogs would probably prefer the company of another cat.

3. If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or shy new addition.  This can actually sometimes trigger a dog to chase.

4. Ignore the old wives tale – Bringing a highly energetic, rough-playing pet home could bring “new life” to your existing elderly pet companion.  This pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend.  Look for an upbeat, but calmer new addition.  The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.

5. Pick a neutral location to introduce your existing pet and the prospective new pet.  Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”

6. After bringing your new furry friend home, periodically rotate which pet has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days.  This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.

7. Never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised.  This should be managed very gradually over about 3-6 weeks.

8. In the case of dogs and cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces.  Try adding a few high-up perching features (shelves or pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.

9. Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask for some firsthand advice on creating a happy, healthy homecoming for your new pet!  We look forward to seeing you and your well-behaved four-legged family members this weekend.

If you are reading this, you are probably a pet lover already – so you know and are already reaping the benefits of having a furry family member!  But sometimes, one just isn’t enough…are you wanting to add another pet family member to your house?  Do you (like me!) have to do a lot of negotiating and convincing of why another pet in the house is needed and beneficial…well now you can use this! Pet companionship is proven to reduce stress; increase feeling of contentment; even lower blood pressure.  That’s a lot of advantages from one devoted family member.

It is a fact that multiple pets are good for each other too.  Dogs and cats take cues from others in their “pack,” and will entertain each other while your away.  Adding another cat or dog to a single-pet household can help the current pet with separation anxiety and a younger pet can spark new energy in the life of an older one.

cat-and-dog-snugglingMost vets agree that owning multiple pets can give us pet parents:

Greater peace of mind – When we have to work a long day or be away for an evening, it is reassuring to know that your pets can keep each other company.

A better understanding of each pet – It’s amazing how you will see so many other aspects of your pet’s personality come out around other animals!

dog-puppy1Personal insight – If we pay close attention, each animal can teach us something different about ourselves and those we care about.

A greater sense of gratitude – Watching animals romp and play reminds us how much they live for (and in) the moment – and encourages us to let go of worries about the future or guilt about the past.

If you are thinking about adding another pet to your household, consider the type and breed that would represent the best “fit” for your lifestyle.  Take your existing pet(s) along with you to meet the new pet you are considering.  Neutral, non-territorial settings can help you get a better feel for general temperament, as well as food and sharing issues.  Experienced rescue and shelter personnel can offer invaluable insights that can help you all enjoy a smooth transition!

2015-adopt-a-rama-logo-with-TBlogo

Don’t forget that we have our 6th Annual Adopt-A-Rama coming up on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from Noon – 3:00 pm at Two Bostons – Springbrook…we will have over 20 Chicagoland shelters and rescue represented for you to meet, greet and help find you your next four-legged family member!

TeamMemberTip_General
Can you believe our 5th Annual Adopt-A-Rama takes place this Saturday? We’re so proud that this event has grown into one of the most popular pet adoption festivals in the western Chicago suburbs! In honor of the awesome shelter and rescue organizations that will have their sweet, adoptable dogs and cats on-hand, I wanted to share a short checklist about introducing new pets. As we’ve discussed before, owning multiple pets is actually good for you! There’s no reason your household can’t contain more than one furry friend, if you keep a few key guidelines in mind.

DogCat

  1. Consider the personality of your existing pet(s), and look for a new addition with specific traits. One big advantage to adopting an older pet is that most have already been exposed to other species in the past, which can really streamline the socialization process.
  2. If your dog tends to aggressively chase, pin, or otherwise “manhandle” cats, it’s probably best to consider getting another dog instead. Likewise, a cat who constantly growls at, bats, or hides from dogs might prefer the company of another cat.
  3. If you have a pup who loves chasing things, consider avoiding a fearful or extra-shy new addition. This can sometimes actually trigger a dog to chase.
  4. If you’ve just met a highly energetic, rough-playing pet, ignore the old wive’s tale that such a pet could “bring new life” to your existing elderly pet companion. In truth, this pairing could actually terrorize or even hurt your older furry friend. Look for an upbeat-but-calmer new addition. The extra company can still do wonders for an older animal.
  5. Try to introduce your existing pet and a prospective new pet under neutral conditions. Pick a somewhat airy, open area that neither pet considers “home turf.”
  6. Once you’ve selected and brought home a new friend, periodically rotate which animal has freedom to roam and which one is more confined for the first few days. This allows each animal plenty of space to investigate the other one’s scent.
  7. In the early days, never leave two newly-acquainted pets alone together and unsupervised. This should be managed very gradually, over about 3-6 weeks.
  8. In the case of dogs + cats, the cat will often “claim” higher territory and let the dog “have” the floor spaces. So it’s often smart to add a few high-up perching features (shelves, pieces of furniture) to your living area to help both animals feel comfortable.
  9. Don’t hesitate to work with a qualified animal behaviorist, who can often suggest very specific and effective strategies for helping new furry family members get comfortable with each other.

Stop by any Two Bostons store and ask for a copy of our “New Puppy Checklist,” plus firsthand advice on creating a happy, healthy homecoming for any new pet!

MBB_Profile

When it comes to people and dogs, there are housebreaking issues. There are diet and feeding issues. And then there are issues of personal space – this is my bubble, this is your bubble. From a safety and well-being standpoint, it’s important to remember that dogs and humans can perceive this last issue very, very differently.

It’s often easy to forget that other creatures (including dogs) don’t always rely on their senses in the same proportions we do. Human beings, for example, depend a great deal on our sense of touch. Often, our very first instinct is to reach out and touch something (which is why stores like Neiman Marcus often have signs that read “please do not touch the merchandise.”).

Dogs, on the other hand, have an extremely sharp sense of smell, and they tend to “scent” the world as a first step toward assessing. They don’t always understand (or welcome) a stranger’s desire to pet them. I learned this the hard way many years ago, when I began doing behavioral rehabilitation work with abused rescue dogs. As you can imagine, most didn’t react kindly when I’d reach out to handle them. But for any dog – particularly dogs in a new situation — touch is just not normally their first mode of interaction.

If you think about things from a dog’s perspective, it makes sense: We’re bigger than most of them, so leaning over their head or back can be perceived as very threatening. We’ve also been taught to make good eye contact with other humans – but to a dog, steady eye contact can be an intimidating sign of dominant aggression.

 

NervousDogs

Not all dogs are ready to be touched or petted the moment they meet a new person.

When you step up to meet a dog for the first time, consider your normal way of greeting. Do you square off in front of him, move in close, lean over his head or back, look him in the eye and/or reach your hand over the top of his face or body? If so, there’s a good chance you could be making that dog feel trapped or uncomfortable. Dogs often speak to us with their body language — telling us to back up or back off, before lashing out in more assertive (and damaging) ways. So as animal-loving humans, it’s always a good idea to understand their discomfort signals. These include the following:

  • “Shaking off” movements
  • Excessing yawning and/or panting
  • Excessive or rapid eye blinking or rolling
  • Repeated lip licking or smacking
  • Tail pulled tightly under the body, or low and tense
  • Attempts to increase physical distance by backing up
  • Looking away several times, or refusal to make eye contact
  • Rigid body posture (including stillness or sudden freezing in place)
  • Crouching, cowering, or trembling
  • Rigid face/jaw (often signaled by a tightly closed mouth)

There are also more pronounced behaviors including submissive posturing (crouching, cowering, even leaking urine), hard stares, outright growling or barking, snarling, snapping, and lunging. But again, when things have progressed to this level, the dog is feeling very threatened and someone could likely get hurt.

 

ScaredDogs

The eyes (and yawns) have it: Nervous eye-rolling or a hard yawn is a dog’s way of saying, “I’m stressed.”

Some dogs, of course, proceed right to these more advanced behaviors. But if you notice any of the signals listed above, that’s your pre-warning. Back away from the dog and modify your approach. If the owner is present and the dog is leashed, you can try crouching down, coming alongside the dog (versus in front), and keeping your hands beneath his chin level. Allow him to make the first move (usually some kind of sniff). It’s often smart to avoid touching the dog until he signals permission (moving close, nuzzling with his head or body). In fact, a really good “get to know you” trick is to throw small treats *away* from your body until the dog initiates contact with you. Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch is one extremely effective, healthy option – dogs adore it! Do you have other “meet-and-greet” suggestions? Share them with us below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

cat-and-dog-snuggling

 

My husband and I work with abused rescue dogs — and we’ve noticed that the addition of another pet in the family can really help each animal’s true personality “bloom.” In fact, most studies show that adding a new pet can be rewarding for animals AND humans – and through tons of trial-and-error, we’ve found that there are easy steps anyone can take to help ensure a smooth family expansion. We’re big advocates of the “Pet Parent 3-P’s” – be prepared, persistent, and patient. Here are a few insights we’ve learned along the way:

Introductions
It’s a good idea to have your new pet and existing pet(s) meet outside the home first, on neutral territory. Then, try to bring your new addition home when you can be around for the first few days. Remember that pets can feel jealous too, so it helps to plan quality TLC time with all the kids AND “furkids” in your family!

Supplies
Try to get the main supplies you need before coming home with your new friend. We’ve done this on the way home from the shelter, or a couple days before. Don’t forget a durable leash and collar (or harness, which puts less pressure on the windpipe), a high-quality food plus food/water dishes, and a sturdy ID tag. We also like to get a few new toys and a comfy bed. In certain cases, a security crate helps too.

Health
Make sure your existing dogs or cats are up-to-date on shots and in good basic health before bringing a new pet home. The first week after adoption, take your new guy or gal to the vet for a wellness check, and ask if he or she has been microchipped.

Expectations
Trust us … there are a few questions that are really helpful to work out in advance. For example: Who walks the dog at 6 a.m.? Who changes the litter box, and how often? Who’s in charge of feeding — how much, where, and when? Is the couch (the Tempur-Pedic mattress, Aunt Ethel’s heirloom rug, etc.) fair game, or off-limits?

Discipline
Just like humans, pets prefer some order. Let them know from the start who’s in charge. When you have to discipline, stay calm and use a stern, disapproving voice. But mostly, reward your pet when he or she does well! Many pets – especially those who have been without a loving home – respond amazingly well to enthusiastic praise. Once in awhile, sneak in a healthy treat too!

Housetraining
Just assume any brand new pup is NOT housetrained – so setting up a predictable routine (same time, same place, even a “cue word”) is absolutely key. Some pet parents really like the convenience of Poochie Bells, which hang from a doorknob so your pet can alert you when he or she needs to “go.” Ask anyone on the Two Bostons team to show you how they work!

What other special steps, tips and tricks have worked for you? We’d love for you to share YOUR comments below!
And don’t forget, the Two Bostons team can provide expert guidance when it comes to picking out the right homecoming items for your new pet.

Multiple pets make great family members.

If you’re reading this, odds are good you’re already a pet lover — so you appreciate the benefits of having “furkids” in your family! Pet companionship is proven to reduce stress; increase feelings of contentment; even lower blood pressure. That’s a lot of advantages from one devoted, fluffy friend.

It’s a fact that multiple pets are good for each other, too. Dogs and cats take cues from others in their “pack,” and even entertain each other while we’re away. Adding another cat or dog to a single-pet household can help the existing pet feel less separation anxiety – and a younger pet can spark new energy in the life of an older one.

What about for us pet parents? Most vets agree that owning multiple pets can give us:

Greater peace of mind.
When we have to work a long day or be away for an evening event, it’s reassuring to know that our pets have each other for company.

A better understanding of each pet.
It’s amazing how many aspects of a pet’s personality only surface around other animals! Our Maizy is a puppy mill dog who’s very shy and scared around people – but quite an impish instigator when it comes to her brother Grant.

Personal insight.
If we pay close attention, each animal can teach us something different about ourselves and those we care about. Grant, for example, just needed lots of time and space before he was willing to trust others – but the wait was totally worth it. Sitting with my good old dog Sparky as we nursed him back from a lengthy illness helped me appreciate my own capacity for love.

A greater sense of gratitude.
Watching animals romp and play reminds us how much they live for (and in) the moment – and encourages us to let go of worries about the future or guilt about the past.

If you’re thinking of adding another pet to your household, consider the type and breed that would represent the best “fit” for your lifestyle. Then take your existing pet(s) along to meet whichever new pet you’re considering. Neutral, non-territorial settings can help you get a better feel for general temperament, as well as food and sharing issues. And experienced rescue and shelter personnel can offer invaluable insights that can help you all enjoy a smooth transition!

Don’t forget: Our fourth annual Adopt-A-Rama happens this Saturday, October 5th from noon – 3p.m . at our Springbrook location. Come out and see us!