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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

It is COLD Outside…actually it is freezing outside!  I was hoping that it was only going to last a few days and then be back into the 30’s for the rest of the winter, but that doesn’t look like it will be the case this year.  Here are some tips to keep your pup safe during the cold weather.

Limit time outside – Even dogs with thick, heavy coats can still feel cold.  Our pets can also get frostbite and hypothermia just like we can. Not even an Arctic sled dog is meant to spend long periods of time outside during the winter. Only take them outside for any length of time if they are going to be active and exercise.

Bundle them up – Small and short haired dogs especially need a little extra help when it is cold out. You may also want to give the puppies and older dogs a little extra warmth because it can be hard for them to control their body heat. If you need a new sweater or coat, look at our warm dog coats on our website or come in and we will help!

Protect their Paws – Your pups paws are very sensitive and in the winter ice, snow, salt, antifreeze and de-icers can be very harmful to your their paws and pads. Make sure you wipe down their paws after coming inside.  You can also get Mushers Secret Paw Protection by Top Dog that creates a wax barrier to protect their paws against particles and harsh temperatures. And you can get dog boots so they can enjoy walks and outdoor fun still in the winter!

Don’t leave them in the car – We know not to leave our pets in the car when it is hot out…same goes for when it is cold too!

Know the Signs – If you see your pet doing any of the following, get them inside right away:

  • Whines or acts anxious
  • Has ice on her body
  • Can’t move or they slow down
  • Won’t stop shivering or is weak
  • Looks for a warm place to burrow

If you see any of these signs of frostbite and hypothermia call your vet right away.

At Two Bostons we have several sweaters, coats, boots, blankets, beds and more to keep your pups warm and cozy during the winter months. Stop in and any of our team members can help you today!

 

 

In last week’s blog: Keep Your Pup Busy this Winter, I told you about a starter puzzle toy to try out with your dog this winter.  Did your pup figure it out already? Or is your pup just so smart that you need to try out some puzzle toys that are little more difficult?  Well, we have them for you!!  Here are some of our favorite puzzle toys to try today!

  • Dog Twister by Nina Ottosson ~ Skill Level – Hard. Spin to reveal the treats! This puzzle toy encourages your pup to learn to dislodge the bones and move the compartments to earn the treat hidden inside.  You can make your dog work even harder by hiding less treats or even locking some of the compartments.  This is great for cats too!

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  • Hol-ee Treat Ball by JW Pet ~ Skill Level – EASY.  It Rolls, Slides, Rotates and out come the TREATS! Holey moley…this is an awesome dog toy!  All you have to do is unscrew the top and fill it with our dog’s favorite treat!  It is made from durable, non-toxic natural rubber.

 

  • $T2eC16d,!zkFJJwSE2bJBSZR2Vfm,!--60_35Dog Magic by Nina Ottosson ~ Skill Level – EASY.  Remove the bones to reveal the treats! This is a relatively easy game, where your pup has to dislodge the bones to get the hidden treats.  You can choose to put the treats under one, several or all of the bones, to vary the difficulty of the game. Great for Cats too!

 

 

  • Tornado by Nina Ottosson ~ Sill Level – HARD.  Rotate the layers to reveal the treats! The idea behind the ‘Dog Tornado’ is for the dog to dislodge the removable bones, then turn the revolving sections to reveal hidden treats.  It has many variables to increase the level of difficulty as the dog’s skill improves.  This one is good for Cats too!COA-054_1z
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  • Bob-A-Lot by StarMark ~ Skill Level – EASY.  The Bob-A-Lot’s innovative design dispenses treats or food as your pup uses its nose or paws to tip it over.  The top and bottom chambers can have the dispensers adjusted to make it easier or harder to get the treats out.  The Bob-A-Lot is also a great way to stop your quick eaters from gobbling down their food too quickly.

Celebrate National Puzzle day by stopping in and picking up one of these or any of the other several puzzle toys that we have!  Your fur-kid will be thanking you this weekend!

It is cold outside…really cold!  Let’s face it, when it is this cold out you don’t always get your dog out for a walk, so they might be getting a little rambunctious or even getting into things they shouldn’t.  Well, we have a solution for you…we have several puzzle toys that will keep them busy for hours…but if your dog is new to puzzle toys we have a great starter for them, the Dog Pyramid by Nina Ottosson.13256803-origpic-5cd5b6.jpg_0_0_100_100_550_447_85

It wobbles and rocks as your dog pushes it around.  It rolls and is really fun to chase…plus, when the opening hits the right angle, a treat falls to the ground, ensuring that you pup will want to play for hours!

The treats are not too hard to get out, which makes it a great first puzzle activity toy for your pup to try.

The weighted base will ensure that the toy will pop back up and the size of treats you fill it with can increase the difficulty of the toy.  This way you can make it more challenging if your dog figures it out too quickly.

The solid plastic of this toy makes it ideal for indoor or outdoor play and your pup will benefit from the fun and activating brain training due to the fact that it has irregular movements.

As a reminder…with any new toy, don’t leave your pet unattended and when your dog has emptied the Dog Pyramid, put it away until next time.  This toy is not meant to be chewed or thrown around.

We have two sizes of Dog Pyramids…great for any size dog!  So stop by today and pick one up so your dog can keep busy during this cold winter.

AmberWalker_Profile

Boy oh boy! That groundhog sure wasn’t kidding. Don’t get me wrong: From December 1st through February 28th, I am winter’s biggest advocate. I fist-pump for snow! But as I write this, March is already upon us and I believe Mr. Weatherman has predicted something less appealing than warm weather and sunny skies ahead. So for those of you surprised that I chose this topic, I think we’re in for another round of brrrr … and if you’re anything like my family, we’ve reached the point where we ALL have a fair amount of cabin fever.

I wanted to take a moment to share with you a few wintertime activities I undertake with Hadley, my yellow lab. She’s a senior dog, so going out in sub-zero weather (much as she thinks she can handle that) just doesn’t work for her. Her joints freeze up, her feet freeze up, and somebody ends up carrying her back into the house in all her 70 pound glory. If you’re in a similar situation, you know that cold enough weather means even short walks outside are not happening. So jump down beneath the photos to see some favorite activity options in my house:

 

Winter Pet Boredom

Extra-long winters can mean extra-bored pets … and that boredom can take many forms. Some pets lie around. Some pets sleep a lot. Some pets get a little more creative. Don’t let this happen to you! Use the opportunity to provide increased mental stimulation and activity.

 

Treadmill
Hadley is a great treadmill runner, and is super-easy to train. Not only can this activity be a physical one for your pup, but it can also sharpen mental acuity since it requires your dog to stay on-track. Start on the slowest setting (which may even be standing still) so your dog may not initially recognize that the surface beneath her feet is moving. Treat your dog for simply being on the treadmill (I use frequent, TINY bits of peanut butter on the end of a spatula). From there, just work the speed up gradually until it’s a desirable and safe speed for your specific dog. Hadley runs for about 12 minutes before we take a break. She usually chooses to continue after our break by going onto the treadmill and sitting on it while staring at me. (Editor’s Note: As we’ve mentioned before, to help with calorie control you can also consider treating your pooch to extra-yummy fruit-based treats like Fido Fruits, Grandma Lucy’s organic fruit treats, or Fruitables Skinny Minis. They come in a wide range of tasty flavors, they’re packed with nutritious vitamins, and they’re also low in calories.)

Food Puzzle Toys
Two Bostons has a great supply of puzzle toy options, some of which were discussed in a previous blog. Put your dog’s meals inside, or simply hide treats in the puzzle toy. It can take some dogs hours to get everything out — a fun way to use up excess energy and stimulate your pet’s creative intelligence.

Training Games
I teach “throw away behaviors.” These are behaviors I teach my clicker-savvy dog to perform — with no intention of ever asking her to perform them again in the future. It’s simply a training game that stimulates her mental activity. Yesterday, for example, I taught her to go get my husband’s sock, bring it into the living room, and put it inside his boot. You could teach something as simple as having your dog sit on a towel in the corner of the room. Last month, I taught Hadley to pick up her ball, put it inside a cottage cheese container, then knock the container over with her foot so the ball rolls out. Pretty likely I’ll never ask for that behavior again – but it was a fun and rewarding game for Hadley!

Training
As an alternative, train a brand new behavior you CAN use again! For example, teach your dog to go to a specific place in the house, or to go fetch your warm slippers.

“Find It” Games
Every night, Hadley and I play the “Find It” game. If this game is new to your dog, give it a try: Drop a treat on the floor, and tell your pup to “find it.” Once he/she understands the cue, gradually begin making the treats a little harder to find — harder and harder until you can play it like us! Hadley gets put in the bedroom, and asked to “sample” (sniff) the item she is searching for. Then the item is hidden in the living room, and she is released to “search and rescue” the sampled item … then eat it, if it’s food!

Take a Training Class
Sign up for a fun indoor class like agility or nosework – it can help you and your dog bond during these cold remaining days, while giving your dog something new and interesting to do!

Hadley and I do a lot of other fun activities too, but I hope these suggestions can get you started so you can end winter with a fun, stimulated, and enriched bang! Now come Spring, come! I’ll give you a cookie …

Amber is a certified dog trainer with more than 12 years of training expertise. As owner and lead trainer at Animal Intuitions (A.I.), she has won numerous dog training awards and has also been featured on local news programs. Amber has a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from Southern Illinois University. To date, she has worked with a variety of animals including dolphins, walruses, otters, puffins, monkeys, and alligators at places like Brookfield Zoo, Alaska Sealife Center, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Visit the A.I. web site at www.aitrainers.com or call 630-53-PUPPY (630-537-8779).