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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

MBB_Profile
Do you have a pup who tries to bolt every time you open the door? It’s a discouraging problem. As caring pet parents, we try to give our pets the very best of everything: a safe living space, a snuggly bed, healthy food, yummy treats, companionship. So why would they try so hard to get away?

“The majority of dogs are naturally curious,” notes Dr. Natalie Tate, DVM. “They like to explore and discover — so if they’re only taken out for occasional short walks and potty breaks, they make decide to seek out more activity.” Fortunately, not every dog is a natural runner. Just like people, certain canines are natural homebodies. Others simply lack the height, speed, or agility to ever make a serious go of it. Still others have a somewhat timid temperament, and would never dream of exploring uncharted territory on their own. But if you have a dog with a taste for increased adventure, there are steps you can take today to prevent problems later on.

Amp Up Excitement at Home
Nice, long walks provide physical exercise and mental stimulation. Natural, healthy, tasty chews like Bully Sticks, Antler Chewz, or Sam’s Yams veggie rawhide keep even relaxation time interesting. Interactive puzzle toys (including most of the amazing creations from Nina Ottosson) engage your dog’s natural curiosity and enhance his innate intelligence.

Teach Proper Recalls – and Teach Recall Properly
Getting your canine to come when called is part of basic puppy socialization training, but it definitely takes some work and practice. Always give your pup a really good reason to come back to you –reinforce the behavior with delicious treats (like Cloud Star Tricky Trainers), tons of praise, and/or lavish attention. Even if it takes your dog awhile to respond to your command, do NOT reprimand him when he finally does come back. Ever. This only teaches your pup that if he allows himself to get “caught,” bad things will happen. You want your dog to believe that, when it comes to being part of your awesome family “pack,” getting “caught” is a fantastic thing.

Make It Easy for Others to Return Your Dog
With the sheer speed of travel these days, a pup who does get separated can literally end up miles away from you in a matter of minutes. The good news is, there are animal-loving good samaritans who want to reunite dogs with their pet parents … so make their job as easy as possible. Inexpensive, etched aluminum tags may seem like a cost-effective option when you buy them, but it doesn’t take long for your information to wear away. Think about it: even a hazy digit or two could mean the difference between a tearfully happy reunion and a tragic end at the shelter. So ALWAYS purchase a good-quality steel or pewter tag that’s engraved to last (super-sturdy options we especially love at my house include Hot Dogs, Red Dingo, and Silver Bones tags). Then make this tag, along with your contact information, as large as possible and fasten it to a sturdy, dependable collar like any of the offerings from Up Country. After all, you want the tag in place, and very easily seen, if a total stranger attempts to lean in and help your nervous pup. As a backup, also get your dog microchipped and keep the information up-to-date. This way, a shelter, rescue team, or vet will be able to retrieve vital data with a special scanning wand.

Stop by any Two Bostons store, and ask a Team Member for additional suggestions on items that can help keep your own hot-to-trot hound safe, secure, and close to home.

MelissaG_profile
Puzzle toys (as we’ve talked about numerous times before, including here, here and here) are fantastic ways to exercise your pet’s brain. Not only do they serve as a fun treat dispenser, but they can even be used to feed pups who gulp their food too quickly so they’ll slow down. As great as they are, however, occasionally we’ve had customers come in with a slight problem: their dogs have figured out the puzzle toy! Once certain dogs figure it out, not only will they complete the puzzle in a matter of minutes, but they might not even be interested in the toy – even WITH the treats inside! If that happens to your pup, what’s an owner to do?

Luckily, the JW Pet Company makes a number of SUPER-awesome pet toys that can double as puzzle toys. JW is a unique company that has a number of very specific toys you won’t find anywhere else. One of my favorites, which we’ve covered before, is the DNA Dogs-In-Action toy. Not only could this be used as a tug toy, but I LOVE to use it as a puzzle toy by placing Shenzi’s bully sticks inside! It slows her down and forces her to maneuver around the toy to get at the bully stick. This makes each stick LAST much longer than just allowing your dog to chew away uninhibited.

Another awesome toy that doubles as a puzzle toy? The Hol-ee Roller! Some people see this toy and wonder how exactly dogs can play with it, besides just throwing it around like a hollow soccer ball. Well, it’s actually a fantastic hide-and-seek game in disguise! Many owners love hiding treats inside little strips of cloth, which are then tied up and wrapped around the openings in the ball (see an example, below left). This gives your dog something to work for: a tasty reward for using innate problem solving skills! Another plus to these toys? If you’re a fan of the Curly Q dog chews, these can easily fit inside the openings of the Hol-ee Roller. Again, this slows pups down by adding an obstruction to the chew. See how versatile these toys are? They’re amazing!

JWToy_Examples

Finally, my favorite treat toy is the Treat Tower by JW. This one is shaped very similar to the Dog Pyramid — but it can be more challenging than the pyramid or certain other beginner treat toys we sell. The tower has three adjustable levels through which your dog must maneuver the treat before being rewarded. Plus, each separate level spins on the cone, so you can adjust the size of the holes inside. Not only will it be harder for dogs to get a treat out the smaller holes, but those treats will change position as well, throwing your dog for a loop and making for a unique experience every time. This is one of Shenzi’s personal favorites (see her playing with it, above right), and I love that she can’t seem to figure out just how the toy works!

Not only will you notice your dog getting smarter (just as with humans, exercised brains = smarter brains!) — you’ll see your dog having a blast with challenging, unique JW puzzle toys. It’s great watching your pup get excited at the chance to play each and every time. Don’t forget to stock up on some Cloud Star Tricky Trainers as a tasty, healthy way to fill them up — then let the fun begin!

AnnaL_Profile
Whether you just got a puppy or adopted an adult dog from a shelter, training is an ongoing process for dogs of all ages. For food-motivated pups, receiving treats during training can really speed up the learning process. In fact, many brands have treats specifically made for training. Today I want to tell you about some of our Team favorites!

Cloud Star, known for their Buddy Biscuits, also makes a great training treat option called Tricky Trainers. Considering that your dog will probably have more than one treat during each training session, Tricky Trainers are low in fat and calories. They are also wheat, corn and soy free, making them a healthy, low-allergen treating option all around. Of course, Tricky Trainers are also very small, so they’re easy to store in your pocket or a treat pouch (which, by the way, is also available at any Two Bostons location!). Tricky Trainers come in two textures, chewy or crunchy; and three flavors: salmon, liver, and cheddar. After all, when it comes to texture and flavor, it’s all about what your dog likes best!

Another popular pet company, Bravo, makes a great variety of all natural, mini-sized, freeze-dried, grain-free Training Treats. Options include:

  • All-Beef Hot Dog. Most dogs love hot dogs, and these freeze-dried treats are the real deal.
  • Turkey Bites. These are perfect if your dog is a fan of poultry. They’re made with one ingredient — turkey thigh meat – with no added preservatives or hormones. This limited-ingredient profile also makes them ideal for dogs with allergies.
  • Buffalo Bites. This is another limited ingredient treat option, made from freeze-dried buffalo heart. Because this is an especially good source of protein, iron, and B vitamins, your dog ends up getting a healthy boost while he thinks he’s being treated.
  • Trail Mix. For those who are undecided, Bravo puts all three options together and adds some freeze-dried Vermont cheddar cheese! These are perfect for pet parents who want to try each of Bravo’s protein types, while giving their dog some yummy variety while training.

Our newest training treats include Five Star Organic Coconut Training Treats from Cocotherapy. These one-calorie treats are free of grain, full of fiber, and low in fat. They also contain USDA certified organic coconut flour and organic coconut oil, which are wonderful for your dog’s skin and coat. Choose from heavenly Coconut Gingered Pumpkin or Coconut Bananas Foster flavors.

Training Treat Options

When it comes to tail-waggin’ training treat choices, look for options that address your pet’s unique allergen sensitivities and weight management requirements. Cloud Star Tricky Trainers and cheddary Cheese Please are just a few furry friend favorites.

 

Also remember that at Two Boston’s, we have treats of all different sizes and protein sources available! Almost all can be, in some way, used as training treats. For example, Buddy Biscuits are easily broken up into smaller training pieces. Fruit-based Fruitables (my dog’s favorite) can be made smaller as well; and Healthy Dogma’s Amazing Apple Crisps or Blissful Banana Crisps are another tasty, dehydrated fruit reward. Is your dog a big cheese lover? Try Cheese Please. These yummy bites are just 3 calories each, gluten-free, low in salt, and 99% lactose free.

All of these options are available at any Two Bostons location. Come in today and find out which one works best for you. Do you and your pet have special favorites? Tell us about them below!

StephanieD_Profile

Let’s talk about how smart our pups are for a minute. We all love to brag about how intelligent our dogs are, and how we can’t believe what they have been able to get into. The only problem is that your furry companions are most likely getting into things they shouldn’t be to keep themselves busy. This is where the IQ Treat Ball (made by OurPets) comes into play. It has worked wonders for keeping my guys busy with something they should be playing with. You’ll be amazed at how smart your pups have to be to get all the treats out of this ball!

There are tons of awesome treat balls out there, but the IQ Treat Ball is the only one allowed in my house. Let me explain. I have two big dogs, dogs that like to chew things apart. This is why soft treat dispensing toys aren’t allowed in my house. The IQ Treat Ball is made of hard plastic that makes it difficult for dogs to pick up, which is good. Since they have a hard time picking it up, they have to find other ways to get the treats out. This means they have to roll and paw at the ball for their treats.

Now we believe in team work at my house; therefore, we only have one IQ Treat Ball for our Daphne and Moe. I know we could always get another one, but honestly they like to play with it together. One gives it a roll — maybe a treat falls out, or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, the other one takes over and they both get to enjoy the treats eventually … because you never know when one will fall out.

 

Moe_andDaphne_two

Moe and Daphne are big pups who use their natural canine smarts — and a creative teamwork approach — to score some well-earned treats from that tricky IQ Treat Ball.

 

That is the beauty of the IQ Treat Ball: treats NEVER fall out all at once!  The reason is the interior design of the ball. The treats have to go from one interior chamber to another interior chamber, and then out to the floor. This means there is no magic way to tilt the ball to get all those tasty treats out.

 

IQTreatBall_Graphic

The IQ Treat Ball has a special interior design that makes it tougher to get at the treats inside. This keeps even the smartest pet more engaged, for longer lengths of time.

 

Since the IQ Treat Ball never releases all the treats at once, it is a great toy to give your dog to occupy anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour (depending on how many treats you put in). If you have a pup at home with unused energy who’s in need of mental stimulation, the IQ Treat Ball is for you. It comes in two sizes and colors, small or large and orange or blue. So stop by your local Two Bostons and find out how easy it is to keep your pup mentally and physically busy with the IQ Treat Ball.

P.S. You will need training-sized treats for the IQ Treat Ball. Some of my pups’ favorites are Zuke’s Wild Rabbit, Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Minis Duck, and Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Liver Treats.