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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

I will assume that you want the cold weather to go away and Spring to stay as much as I do.  And this includes our pets too!  We are all really starting to feel the cabin fever and have a lot of pent-up energy.  This weekend we are going to be having our Free Harness Fittings, so I thought I would get you thinking about getting out of the house and out on regular, relaxing and enjoyable walks!

Most complaints about dog walking is about them pulling…Have you ever asked yourself, “Who’s walking who?” this is for you!!

1. Collars, Leashes and Harnesses: You want to find a collar that is an appropriate width for the size of your dog and a leash that is easy for you to hold and handle. We have all kinds of different leashes to choose from! We strongly recommend that you use a standard leash instead of a retractable leash.  Read about retractable leashes in a previous Blog: Do you know why you can’t find retractable leashes at Two Bostons?

Using a harness to walk your dog is safer and healthier. Placing them in a well-fitted harness will be much better for them and will give you more control as well!

If you have a dog that REALLY pulls (or maybe you want a very well-mannered walker) you should try the No-Pull Dog Harness by SPORN. This is the best no-pull system that we have found. The SPORN fits just like a regular harness but pulls up on the dogs’ armpits, which is a pressure point, when the dog pulls. This doesn’t hurt the dog at all, but it does make it uncomfortable if they continue to pull.  The best thing about this is that you don’t have to correct your dog, he will correct himself!

2. Poop Bags: Let’s face it, they do it…so be prepared! We have several different poop bags and poop bag holders to choose from. One of our favorite Poop Bags and Dispensers in the Lavender or non-Scented Bags by Earth Rated. These poop bags are for those who want to go green! Made of 100% renewable resources and dissolve in as little as 40 days.

3. Hydration: If you are just going around the block you may not need to worry about taking water with you, but if you are on a longer walk or it is in the middle of a hot summer day, you will want to keep your pups hydrated! We have a few different options for you to choose from. One of those is the Gulpy Water Dispenser by Kyjen. It is easy to use, doesn’t leak and you can easily carry it with the built-in belt clip.

 

The most important thing is to have fun on your walks! Stop into Two Bostons this Saturday, (3/11/17) for our Harness Fittings and we will help you find all the right walking gear for you and your pups!

Two Bostons will also be starting our very popular Weekly Walks on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at our Downtown Naperville and Burr Ridge stores.

Amber Walker

Amber Walker, owner and lead trainer at Animal Intuitions, Inc. provided us with some great insight on prong collars and why you will not see them in any Two Bostons stores.

Walking is one of the greatest activities an owner and dog can do.  It builds a great bond and is a good work out.  It can deplete a dogs’ energy lessening unwanted behaviors that a bored dog does like chewing, barking, and digging.  And walking is just plain fun!

Sometimes, we find ourselves not going on walks because our dog pulls, lunges, barks at other dogs, zig zags, and makes the walk horrible.  How can we change all that?  A change of walking tool is sometimes all it takes!

Animal Intuitions or Two Bostons will never recommend the use of prong, pinch, or chain collars and but most important, we want you to understand why.

First, prong collars work. We are not denying that fact.  Function is not the matter of why we don’t like them.  There are three main components as to why we won’t use them, sell them or prongcollarrecommend them: 1. Your dog’s anatomy, 2. their use as a training tool, and 3. the inconsistency with their use.

1. Dog’s Anatomy

Your dog’s neck is actually very delicate and includes the vertical vertebrae, trachea, jugular vein, tonsils, epiglottis, larynx, esophagus, nerves and veins.

Repeated stress (mild to severe) to this area will not only cause pain and problems to the immediate areas being touched but also can lead to neck, back and even eye problems and injuries.  Optical nerves in the neck can cause blindness.

Our dogs appear to not be especially sensitive so we are more likely to use greater and greater force.  By the time evidence of permanent damage is identified, it is too late.

2. A Training Tool

It is especially important to Animal Intuitions, that your dog learns how to walk because we are teaching them to make that decision through positive reinforcement i.e. PAIN FREE.  No human or animal can learn when he or she is in pain.

Our goal is teaching the dog to control himself and the owner won’t need to physically control the dog.

As with any tool, there is a right and wrong way to use them.  More often than not, these collars are used incorrectly.  And even if they are used ‘correctly,’ you still won’t see us using them.

To use positive punishment (adding something [pinch collar] to decrease a behavior [leash pulling]) it must be administered at the correct time.  Timing is important in clicker training too.  Wrong timing in clicker training means your dog gets a free treat.  Wrong timing in a pinch collar ‘pop’ means a lot of confusion for your dog, including the possible association with what the dog sees (dog, child, car, bike, etc.) at the time of a leash pop leading to fear and aggression, “That thing made me hurt and now I will be [insert dog emotion].” It must also be done with enough force to stop the behavior.  OUCH!

3. The Inconsistency

The use of the prong and/or pinch collar is not consistent.  It varies from person to person and from situation to situation.  Take the following for example:

  • The dog pulls and the owner follows (or is dragged) and the dog is positively reinforced for what it wants to do/where it wants to go because the dog still gets to move forward.
  • Sometimes pulling is corrected with a jerk other times it is not.
  • Collars are fitted incorrectly so the dog never gets relief even on a slack leash.

In the end, your dog has been habituated to the constant pressure and it no longer means anything.
It’s possible that the dog may develop a punishment callus.  This causes the owner to escalate the level of correction while the dog is reinforced by pulling to get to whatever he wants and it outweighs the punishment of the pain.

boxerfullharnessSo what do we recommend?  We do want you to use a tool that will be helpful to you and your dog.  There are certainly a variety of options that work for some and not for others.  We highly recommend the Freedom Harness or Sporn Harness.  You can get this at Two Bostons.

Positive Reinforcement is very important to Animal Intuitions’ training team and we want our clients to understand why we are so passionate about it.  AI has trained over 100 zoo and pet animal species with the same training techniques, methods, and science…every time! We can’t wait to show you our successful methods with all your dogs and dogs to come.

For more information on Amber and Animal Intuitions, Inc. visit them at www.aitrainers.com.

Worst Case scenario…you are on a morning walk with your dog and he sees a rabbit and pulls to chase it. Instead of pulling you this time, he drops dog-pulling-womendown and makes this horrible raspy wheezing noise as if he isn’t getting enough air.  You go to your vet and find out that all of that pulling against his collar collapsed his windpipe.  Yes, they will recover…

Many dogs will wear well made collars for years without a problem. But, there are also certain dogs who are natural pullers, or especially susceptible to trachea problems.  For those dogs, prolonged pressure against the windpipe (even simple over-excitement) can cause serious breathing issues.

One solution that we have to prevent this is the Sporn Mesh No-Pull Harness.  This harness is designed for moderate to heavy pullers; but it can also be used by any pet parent who wants to minimize pressure on their dog’s windpipe.  Like all Sporn products — including the double-dog adjustable leashes, which allows you to walk two pets at once — the harness is made of very high-quality nylon and nickel-plated hardware, so it will stand up to years of wear-and-tear.

There are SO many reasons we love the Sporn Mesh Harness at Two Bostons:

  • It fits around the dogs chest and shoulders – so when they jump or pull, your dogs neck and windpipe aren’t taking the full impact of his weight.
  • The mesh construction of the harness is cool and flexible.  It stretches with natural movements while walking or running.
  • It is very easy to get on and off – your pup just steps into it, adjust the straps and attach the leash…and off you go!
  • Sporn guarantees this harness for life against material defects or damage during standard use.
  • Sizing is super-easy!  Generally, go by your dog’s weight and neck circumference.  Stop by any Two Bostons store and one of our trained team members can help you with a quick custom fitting.

No-Pull Sporn HarnessAs a reminder…don’t leave your dog unattended while wearing ANY piece of gear with loops or buckles. These have the potential to get snagged on something in your absence.

So…if you would like to stop unwanted pulling in its tracks — while protecting your dog’s neck and windpipe — visit us today!

This Saturday, 5/14 we are having Harness Fittings from 11:00 – 3:00 pm at all Two Bostons stores!  You can bring in your current harness or our expert team members will help you find a the right one for you!

 

It’s Springtime and dog-holding-shoestoday is National Take A Walk in the Park Day!

I would have to assume that we are all happy to see the cold weather be gone. This includes our pets too!  They get cabin fever and pent-up energy just like us.  Now that we can get out more often for walks, let’s talk about a few pointers to get your pup out of the house and make it a relaxing enjoyable walk.  We all know that a tired dog is a happy dog!

Most complaints about dog walking revolves around them pulling…If the question, “Who’s walking who?” has ever been thought, this is for you!

1. Collars, Leashes and Harnesses:  You want to find a collar that is an appropriate width for the size of your dog.  You will also want a leash that is easy for you to hold and handle. We have all kinds of different leashes to choose from! We strongly recommend that you use a standard leash instead of a retractable leash for several reasons.  Read about retractable leashes in a previous Blog: Do you know why you can’t find retractable leashes at Two Bostons?

Using a harness to walk your dog is safer and healthier for any breed, but especially the short-faced breeds like the Boston Terrier, Pug, Boxer or Bulldog.  These types of breeds tend to have necks that are more susceptible to damage when they pull on their collars.  Placing them in a well-fitted harness will be much better for them and will give you more control as well!  sporn_mesh_harness

If you have a dog that REALLY pulls (or maybe you want a very well-mannered walker)  we suggest trying the No-Pull Dog Harness by SPORN. This is the best no-pull system that we have found!  The SPORN fits just like a regular harness but pulls up on the dogs’ armpits, which is a pressure point, when the dog pulls.  This doesn’t hurt the dog at all, but it does make it uncomfortable if they continue to pull.  The best thing about this is that you don’t have to correct your dog, he will correct himself!

2.  Poop Bags:  Let’s face it, they do it!  So be prepared…We have several different poop bags and poop bag holders to choose from.  There are the regular plastic bag cylinder shaped bag holder that hold a roll of plastic bags, or the more fashionable poop bag carriers that look just like cute cell phone holders!  Both kinds will attached to the top of the leash so they are out of the way but there when you need them!

WalkingBlog

3.  Hydration:  If you are just going around the block you may not need to worry about taking water with you…but if you are on a longer walk or it is in the middle of a hot summer day you will want to make sure you keep your pup hydrated!  We have a couple of different options for you to choose from.  One of those is the Gulpy Water Dispenser by Kyjen.  It is easy to use, doesn’t leak and you can easily carry it with the built-in belt clip and it fits into bicycle water bottle holders!

The most important thing is to have fun on your walks!  Stop into any Two Bostons store and we can help you find the right walking gear for you and your pup!

Two Bostons will be starting their Weekly Walks on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at the Downtown Naperville and Burr Ridge stores.  For more information visit our website at twobostons.com/pages/events.

MBB_Profile

The first time it happened, we thought our dog was dying.

Grant was on his regular morning walk, and started pulling on his leash to chase a rabbit. Only this time, Grant became way over-excited and suddenly couldn’t breathe. He dropped down on all fours and began making this terrible, raspy wheezing noise as if he couldn’t get enough air. And the thing is, he couldn’t – all that pulling against his collar had collapsed Grant’s windpipe. He recovered, but we were alarmed into action: We began investigating how we could prevent this in the future.

Two Bostons carries some really well-made dog collars, and many dogs will wear them for years without a problem. There are also certain dogs who are just natural pullers, or especially susceptible to trachea problems. For these dogs, prolonged pressure against the windpipe (even simple over-excitement) can cause serious breathing issues. After doing some research and checking with our vet, we got Grant a Sporn Mesh Non-Pull Harness. It helped fix the problem right away!

The Sporn Mesh Harness is designed for moderate to heavy pullers; but it can also be used by any pet parent who wants to minimize pressure on their dog’s windpipe. This product is made by the same company that manufactures the popular Sporn Halter. Like all Sporn products — including their double-dog adjustable leashes, which allow you to walk two pets at once — the harness is made of very high-quality nylon and nickel-plated hardware, so it will stand up to years of wear-and-tear.

Sporn Harness for all Breeds

There are SO many reasons we love the Sporn Mesh Harness:

  1. It fits around Grant’s chest and shoulders – so if he jumps or pulls, his neck and windpipe aren’t taking the full impact of his weight.
  2. The mesh construction of the harness is cool and flexible. It stretches with Grant’s natural movements while walking or running.
  3. Grant dislikes the feel of the harness tugging on his chest and body, so he stops pulling right away. It’s also very easy to get on and off – he just steps into it, we adjust the straps and attach his leash, and off we go.
  4. Sporn guarantees this harness for life against material defects or damage during standard use!
  5. Sizing is super-easy. Generally, go by your dog’s weight and neck circumference. Stop by Two Bostons, and anyone on our Team can help you with a quick custom fitting.

So if you’d like to stop unwanted pulling in its tracks — while protecting your dog’s neck and windpipe — visit any of our Two Bostons stores. Don’t forget to bring along your best furry friend, too!

(It’s always worth noting that it’s never a good idea to leave your dog unattended while wearing ANY piece of gear with loops or buckles. These have the potential to get snagged on something in your absence.)

Hi everyone. Amber Walker from A.I. Trainers here. The groundhog lied and the kids are on spring break playing in the snow. You probably aren’t looking at the 32 degrees on the thermometer and thinking, “Let’s go teach the dog to walk properly on a leash!” But believe it or not, this is the perfect time to start.
Anytime we teach our dog a new behavior, do we start in the most distracting environment possible? Never! We start in a quiet, controlled, low distracted area. So leash the dog up and head to your warm, cozy living room. The dog has to be able to focus on you and what you want inside long before we can add stranger dogs, cars, grass, trees, squirrels, people, and kids to their training experience.
Reinforce! Reinforce! Reinforce! You have to let your dog know exactly where you want them to be… and this is not a heel-to-keep-your-head-at-my-knee walk. This is a don’t-pull-me-down-the-street walk. First, no retractable leashes in training. Get an old fashion nylon or leather 6 foot leash. That way, if there is a “J” shape in your leash at *anytime,* you can reinforce it! Grab their dinner kibble and feed it to them throughout a mock walk in your home.
If you are of no value to your dog, your dog is not going to have any interest in you while we are outside walking so…
  • Reinforce every single time your dog looks at you.
  • Reinforce every time there is a relaxed “J” shape in the leash.
  • Reinforce anytime your dog positions themselves by your side.
  • Reinforce everything you like!
This is what you will do for every location:
If your dog pulls, stop your feet and wait for one of the above or change direction. Reinforce often for all of the above.
Where are you going to do this?
  • Start inside the house
  • Move to the driveway, parking lot, street, etc. Grass is too distracting still.
  • Pick two landmarks like mailboxes. Walk back and forth between your landmarks. 20 minutes back and forth is the same as walking the whole block to your dog.
  • As your dog “gets it,” take more and more steps outside your two landmarks until you are around the whole block.
And what are you going to remember to do every time at each location?
If your dog pulls, stop your feet and wait for one of the above or change direction. Reinforce often for all of the above.
Tools: You might find tools are very helpful during this training progress. I am a super fan of no-pull harnesses like the Sporn at Two Bostons. Avoid adding pain to your training session like prong and chain collars. If your dog pulls, stop your feet and wait for one of the above or change direction. Reinforce for all of the above and you’ll be setting yourself and your dog up for success!

People come in on a regular basis asking for pinch collars to help train their dog. We don’t carry them. Why? Well, I’m going to let Amber Walker, owner of Animal Intuitions, a wonderful dog training company, explain.

Hi everyone. Amber from AI here. You will never see us use or recommend prong, pinch, or chain collars and we want you to understand why.


First off, prong collars work. We are not denying that fact. Function is not the matter of why we don’t like them. There are three main components as to why we won’t use them. They are your dog’s anatomy, their use as a training tool, and finally the inconsistency with their use.

Dog’s Anatomy

Your dog’s neck is actually a very delicate and includes the cervical vertebrae, trachea, jugular vein, tonsils, epiglottis, larynx, esophagus, nerves and veins.

Repeated stress (mild to severe) to this area will not only cause pain and problems to the immediate areas being touched but also can lead to neck, back and even eye problems and injuries. Optical nerves in the neck can cause blindness.

Our dogs appear to not be especially sensitive so we are more likely to use greater and greater force. By the time evidence of permanent damage is identified, it is too late.

A Training Tool

It’s especially important to Animal Intuitions, that your dog learns how to walk because we are teaching them to make that decision through positive reinforcement i.e. pain free. No human or animal can learn when he or she is in pain.

Our goal is teaching the dog to control himself and the owner won’t need to physically control the dog.

As with any tool, there is a right and wrong way to use them. More often than not, these collars are used incorrectly. And even if they are used ‘correctly,’ you still won’t see us using them.

To use positive punishment (adding something [pinch collar] to decrease a behavior [leash pulling]) it must be administered at the correct time. Timing is important in clicker training too. Wrong timing in clicker training means your dog gets a free treat. Wrong timing in a pinch collar ‘pop’ means a lot of confusion for your dog, including possible association with what the dog sees (dog, child, car, bike, etc) at the time of a leash pop leading to fear and aggression, “That thing made me hurt and now I will be [insert dog emotion].” It must also be done with enough force to stop the behavior. Ouch.

The Inconsistency

The use of the prong and/or pinch collar is not consistent. It varies from person to person and from situation to situation. Take the following for example:

1) The dog pulls and the owner follows (or is dragged) and dog is positively reinforced for what it wants to do/where it wants to go because the dog still gets to move forward.
2) Sometimes pulling is corrected with a jerk other times it is not.
3) Collars are fitted incorrectly so the dog never gets relief even on a slack leash.

In the end, your dog has been habituated to the constant pressure and it no longer means anything.

It’s possible that the dog may develop a punishment callus. This causes the owner to escalate the level of correction while the dog is reinforced by pulling to get to whatever he wants and it outweighs the punishment of the pain.

So, what do we recommend? We do want you to use a tool that will be helpful to you and your dog. There are certainly a variety of options that work for some and not for others. We highly recommend the Sporn Harness.  You can get that at Two Bostons in Naperville.

Positive Reinforcement is very important to Animal Intuitions training team and we want our clients to understand why we are so passionate about it. AI has trained over 100 zoo and pet animal species with the same training techniques, methods, and science… every time. And we can’t wait to show you our successful methods with all your dogs and dogs to come. We would love to help you and your dog have wonderful walks together. Feel free to contact us at 630-53-PUPPY or via email at amber@aitrainers.com.

I have a confession to make: My little Beamer is not a good walker. In fact, it’s a chore taking him for a walk and goodness knows that he needs his daily walks to burn off that extra puppy energy.

So, this morning as I am being pulled, tangled, and twisted by this little bundle of cute puppiness I had an “Aha” moment: This is ridiculous! Let me start by doing something so insanely smart, it’s bound to be off the IQ charts. Maybe, just maybe I should take my own advice. You know, the advice I repeat over and over again with our wonderful customers on a daily basis.

If you want to enjoy walking with your dog, get him or her UNDER CONTROL. The more enjoyable your walks, the more often you will go on them, resulting in a healthier and more calm dog (and you!).

So, here’s the game plan: I will bring home a Sporn harness tonight after work. This is exactly the advice I would provide at Two Bostons. So, let me take some of my own medicine. I will video tape Little Beamer in all of his pulling a bad walking might in his regular harness. I will then show you how to put the Sporn harness on correctly and then…magic should happen. Let’s hope the “after” video shows a much more polite Beamer walking through our neighborhood!