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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

We carry SO many unique and awesome toys at Two Bostons, there is an option for every type of pup (and kitty) personality! Yes, all of these toys can make playtime a blast for your pet…but most pets (especially dogs) love when YOU take part in the game as well.  With our Fall weather getting a little more rainy and unpredictable, here are a couple of energetic playtime ideas that are some big favorites with our team!  The best part is that they are great for both indoor and outdoor play, any time of year!

Monkey in the Middle ~ Remember this game when you were a kid? Well, it is also fun (and exercise) for your dog!  This is an ideal game for canines who like to chase flying objects – even those who don’t naturally retrieve.  It’s also perfect for families, because there’s no limit to the number of humans who can play along.  Simply stand about 7-10 feet apart (or in a circle, if there are three or more of you), and randomly flip a favorite toy or ball to each other while calling to your canine in an enthusiastic voice. A wonderful furniture-safe indoor toy for this game is the lightweight Chuck-It Indoor Roller, by Canine Hardware, Planet Dog Orbee Ball or even the durable Mega Junior Ring by Tuffys.  Whichever toy you choose, just make sure to “miss” it once in awhile so your pup has a chance to actually pick it up and play along.  When you call to your pup and he brings the toy over, he earns a tiny treat or belly rub! This is a fantastic game for high-energy breeds like Jack Russells.  Plus, if you keep it up long enough, many non-fetchers will even begin to exhibit fetching behavior once they figure out it’s so much fun!
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Bow-Wow Basketball ~ Here’s an incredibly fun and easy way to interact indoors with your pup on a cold, blustery fall day.  Grab a wastebasket, or an empty box.  Or, if you want to get really fancy, head over to the toy store and pick up a toddler-sized basketball hoop – even the kind you can suction-cup to a door or wall.  Place your “hoop” of choice in a place that is about chest-level for your furry friend.  Then, simply work on teaching your pup to drop his favorite ball into the basket for a treat!  Once your dog gets good at doing this, you can step it up a notch: Toss a soft ball or plush toy to your pup, and have her work on nose-tapping it into the basket for an extra-special reward!

Looking for more ideas? Stop by any Two Bostons, and ask us about fun toys (and creative playtime suggestions) that can help keep your favorite furry friend engaged, active and energized no matter what Mother Nature might throw our way this year!

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One of the things my husband and I really enjoy is helping to sponsor and support kids around the world by furnishing food, clothing, medical aid, and toys; and giving them the chance to attend school. At the moment we’re assisting children of various ages in Zimbabwe, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Thailand, the U.S., and Russia. So for us, part of this priority has been deciding that our own house doesn’t need to be as large or fancy as we’d once envisioned. And that means our pets need to be comfortable in a more modest living space as well.

I’ve found that dogs are pretty adaptable to numerous situations. But if you happen to live in a smaller-sized home, some breeds have an easier time adjusting than others. Perhaps most surprisingly, I’ve found that breed size is not always the most important factor. What seems to matter more is whether the pet has a certain kind of temperament — including a lower tendency to bark constantly (especially if you happen to have neighbors living in close proximity); and lower exercise needs that can be satisfied via daily outdoor strolls, regular indoor play, and/or ready access to a secure, dog-friendly outside area.

In particular, we love taking our pups to Aurora’s Gregory Island Dog Park. It’s in a quiet, peaceful setting right on the river, and adjacent to a nature preserve with walking trails. It also has completely separate, off-leash play areas for larger dogs and smaller dogs under 35 pounds. We appreciate this type of feature in a dog park, because large dogs can sometimes accidentally injure or trample a smaller dog during energetic play. Our pup Grant, for example, is built like a hedgehog but seems to think he’s a Great Dane – so he could easily get hurt if he were swept into a big-dog romp session. If you have a larger dog and want to visit Gregory Island, it’s important to note that the big-dog side of the park is not fully fenced in. The river itself acts as a barrier … unless your dog loves to swim, in which case you’d need to be very watchful. The small-dog side is fenced on all four sides. To register your pup(s), contact the Fox Valley Park District Park Police Office at 630-264-7421.

Dog Park Areas in the Fox Valley

The Illinois Fox Valley has some of the most beautiful, safe, and spacious dedicated dog park areas in the Midwest.

 

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County also has a number of beautiful, spacious off-leash dog parks. There are six in total, though we particularly like Greene Valley – which, again, has a separate fenced area for dogs under 35 pounds. Blackwell and Springbrook Prairie are two other fully-fenced areas that have lots of great trails, too. Keep in mind, though, that Springbrook’s “fence” encloses an absolutely gorgeous but huge expanse of land — so your dog can become lost in the high brush if s/he doesn’t respond well to callbacks. To obtain a permit, contact the Park District Office at 630-933-7248.

In addition to dog park visits, our two dogs enjoy a LOT of indoor playtime. They have one easily accessible toy box on the floor, plus a special “hidden toy box” that only makes an appearance during bonus-round, extended-play sessions. Grant is our “let’s play fetch” pup, so he especially enjoys squeaky plush toys from Hugglehounds and Planet Dog (the Hugglehounds Red Candy Cane is a special favorite). Maisy is our resident brainiac, and her sweet, serene puppy face conceals a surprisingly wolf-like set of teeth that can chomp through almost anything. So for her, we rely on hidden-treat puzzle toys like the Nina Ottosson Plastic Dog Brick , the awesome JW Pet Hol-ee Treat Ball, plus extra-durable offerings like the Kong Ballistic Bone. With the holidays coming up, these are some excellent options to consider when it comes to keeping your pups busy and active on snowy days.

Indoor Toy Options

Indoor play should be a part of every dog’s life. With the holidays coming up, consider extra-durable options plus puzzle toys that stimulate your pup’s natural intelligence.

Over the years, I’ve compiled a list of “small-space” dog breeds with the help of our vet and behaviorists. In an upcoming blog, I’ll share some of the breeds I’ve found to be among the best candidates when it comes to co-existing happily in smaller living quarters.