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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

HeatherD_Profile

Planet Dog is one of my favorite toy brands that we carry at our Two Bostons stores — and lucky for us (and you!), we have their amazing new toy, the Orbee-Tuff Snoop.

One of my favorite things about U.S.A.-crafted Planet Dog toys is that they’re completely guaranteed … 100% of the time, every time! They’re made with a special Orbee-Tuff rubber that is designed to help a dog’s teeth rebound off while they’re chewing (instead of sinking in or puncturing the toy). With my border collie Ahsoka chomping all day on her Soccer Ball toy, I’m definitely thankful for this. So far, she loves the Soccer Ball, the Tennis Ball, and the Snoop from the Planet Dog line.

The Snoop is translucent, blue or orange, and squishy. Although it’s definitely tough like other Planet Dog toys, it’s specifically designed for puzzle play that can stimulate your pet’s natural intelligence and curiosity. It has a deep crevice in the center that can conceal a treat on the inside to create a fun challenge for your dog. I always recommend using Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch, because it’s so tasty and healthy — my girls (like most dogs) will do anything to get it!

 

PlanetDog_OrbeeTuffSnoop

Whichever treats you choose to use, pups will nudge the Snoop with their nose, their paws, their forehead, and/or their mouth trying to get those yummy morsels out (which can not only be smelled, after all, but seen right through the toy!). All this activity helps deliver the mental and physical stimulation every dog needs. For even more puzzle fun, take that Orbee-Tuff Tennis Ball or any other 2.5” Orbee-Tuff ball, stuff it into the concave center of the Snoop, and challenge your dog to remove it. Since the Snoop is intended for interactive play, it isn’t necessarily designed to stand up to those dedicated toy-destroyers out there – but it will still be a great way for them to release energy! Just be sure to use with appropriate supervision.

It’s easy to see why the Orbee-Tuff Snoop won the Gold Medal in “Product Innovations” at the 2013 HH Backer Total Pet Expo, which Two Bostons attended last year in Rosemont, IL. It’s fun, durable, cleverly designed, and easy to clean: just fill with hot water, shake vigorously, and rinse. Plus, with every purchase you make from Planet Dog, you help support canine service programs. 2% of every Planet Dog toy sale goes toward the company’s unique grant-giving and product donation programs. More than $850,000 in grants and product donations have already been shared with exemplary non-profits nationwide. That makes these toys an even better choice for your pups at home!

Remember that every Planet Dog and Orbee-Tuff toy — including the Snoop — is non-toxic, made in the U.S.A., and 100% guaranteed any time, every time! Just bring the toy back if it gets damaged or destroyed, and we’ll be happy to replace it. So stop by with your furry friend soon, and our Team Members will be happy to show you the Orbee-Tuff Snoop. You’ll never be puzzled for a playtime solution again!

 

If you’ve visited our Springbrook store recently, you may have already met Sammy in person. But if you follow Two Bostons on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or Instagram, you may have encountered Sammy’s pet expertise without even realizing it! Here’s our “Top Ten Team Member Tidbits” list, so you can get better acquainted:

Q: At which Two Bostons store do you work, and what type of role do you play on the team?
A: I work at our Springbrook store, and I’m also on the all-store Marketing Team. When it comes to our marketing efforts, I’m the community outreach coordinator and also help facilitate our social media presence. So I’m responsible for several of the posts and entries you may frequently come across on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Q: Do you have any pets at home?
A: Yes! I have a two year old Wheaten Terrier named Finn. He’s quite a picky eater, but he LOVES to chow down on Himalayan Dog Chews and Bully Sticks. He also loves to play, and enjoys playing with other dogs so long as they have good doggie manners. Plus he really likes hiking for hours, provided the weather’s just right. We affectionately call him “Finicky Finn.”

Q: What can you tell us about yourself?
A: I love to run. Even when there are months – or years – between lacing up, I always end up at it again. I also love trying other fitness activities like spin, kickboxing, yoga, and circuit training. Plus I enjoy crafting and creating art. I have a BFA in Interior Design, so I take any available chance to express my creativity.

Q: What first got you interested in working at Two Bostons?
A: I already had an offer from Ethan Allen as a full-time designer, when one day I stopped into Two Bostons to pick up some treats for Finn. While I was there I began chatting with the owners, AdreAnne an Andy. I knew I was looking for a job where I was truly happy and enthusiastic about going to work every day. AdreAnne mentioned that if the other opportunity didn’t work out, Two Bostons was always looking for energetic, pet-loving Team Members. I ended up turning the other job down, and I applied to Two Bostons the very next day! I started as a Springbrook Team Member in September 2013, and joined the Marketing Team in January 2014.

 

Wheaten Terriers

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers like Sammy’s sweet Finn (above, left) are known for their intelligence, energy, agility, and cheerful temperament. They’re an affectionate, people-oriented mid-sized breed. Stop by our Springbrook store, and Sammy can give you some great firsthand pet product insights!

 

Q: If you had to pick one “top favorite” Two Bostons product, what would it be?
A: Stella and Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dinners. From the very first bag, Finn has been hooked. He loves the Duck Duck Goose and Pheasant dinners. We use them as a kibble topper or as a full meal, depending on the day. This was also the miracle food that got Finn to eat EVERY meal — which had never before happened in his entire life! We love it!

Q: What’s your very favorite type of pet, and why?
A: I love all animals. Well okay, snakes give me the creeps — but I can still appreciate their beauty. My favorite pet, though, would have to be dogs. If I could, I would be the crazy dog lady down the street!

Q: What are some of your favorite pet-related activities and locations?
A: When the ground isn’t covered in 18 inches of snow or a solid sheet of ice, Finn and I love to run together. We usually run 2-3 miles, 3-4 days per week. We also love to walk through downtown Plainfeild, as well as Renwick Community Park. Additionally, we’ve visited the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien, which is lovely … though it can get very buggy in the summer time.

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I grew up in Charlevoix, Michigan — a beautiful but very small tourist town in Northern Michigan. I miss it every day, and can’t believe I took it for granted when I lived there. In April 2013, we moved to Romeoville from Los Alamos, New Mexico. Los Alamos was an interesting adventure, but I’m glad to be back in the Midwest. Though I have to say our recent winter weather has been a bit much!

Q: What are some common cat and/or dog terms that describe your personality?
A: Loyal, protective, nap lover, snack lover.

Q: What’s the most helpful pet-related piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: That switching up foods is OKAY, and actually good for your dog! Growing up, our dogs ate the same kibble every day. I always thought that switching foods would make your dog sick. With my current pup Finn, we have 3-4 different foods in the house at any one time. I think he would have starved to death if I’d stuck with the idea of ONE single food.

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!