Giving the discerning dog owner the "upper paw" on the best products, nutrition and training tips.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on It's Way!!

With Easter coming up this Sunday we thought it would be fun to share how we are celebrating with our pups!

As usual, the amazing owners of Tails in the City hosted a fun-filled holiday event featuring the Easter Bunny and your chance to get a picture with him and your pup.  Photos were $15 per dog and all proceeds go towards benefiting PAWS Chicago.

Yes, this is happening

We decided to take our boys, Jack, Joey and Franklin, to get their pictures taken and to explore the latest goodies and amazing toys Tails in the City has to offer.  They had an absolute blast mingling with the other dogs (many dressed in their Sunday best) and being fawned over by fellow dog lovers.

Sensory Overload!

Truly, we can't say enough how much we LOVE this dog boutique!  Don't forget to check out Tails in the City for all of your needs, as well as, follow their blog for updates on events benefiting PAWS Chicago and other worthwhile canine causes.

"Chicks Man!"  Check out these adorable "chick" treats!

Happy Easter!


A & A

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Products We LOVE! Puppy Paw Press

Greetings fellow dog lovers!  This week we thought it would be fun to feature one of our favorite products:  Customized Stationery from Puppy Paw Press!

Whether looking for a fun and unique gift for a friend, or just shopping for yourself, this customized stationery is a great gift idea.  

Puppy Paw Press offers a variety of breeds, but even better, allows you to submit an image of your beloved pup to immortalize in  the form of stationery.  All you need to do is take a snapshot of your furry friend, download and complete the order form, and email to  It's that easy!

Customize to your dog!

You can choose to create note cards, gift cards, and note pads in a range of dimensions and sizes.  You can also select from 21 color palettes, 10 different fonts, and 5 paper options.  All of the note cards and gift cards are printed on the highest quality Crane Lettra and note pads are printed on Classic Crest, which does make these products a bit more expensive, but definitely worth every penny!  Pricing for stationery by breed ranges from $20 - $35 for note cards and gift cards, but customization starts at $65 - $105.

So, if you are looking for something special and unique for the dog lover who has everything, be sure to check out!


A & A

Be sure to check us out on Facebook to get more ideas and other customized stationery sites!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Collars vs Harnesses: Which is Best?

One of the questions we are often asked is "Which is better?  Collars or harnesses?"  Recently, the trend and preference for many dog owners has been the harness.  However, the real question they should be asking is "Which is better for My Dog?"

Just like people, dogs come in different shapes and sizes with varying needs and personalities.  What works best for one dog may not be ideal for another.  In this issue, we will discuss the pros and cons of collars and harnesses with the hope of better equipping you to make an informed and confident decision when it comes to your dog.

Choosing a collar or harness for your dog depends on 3 things:
1.  Your training and behavioral goals
2.  The size and confirmation of your dog
3.  Any medical conditions impacting your dog


Collars are certainly the most traditional approach when it comes to walking and training dogs.  Most people are familiar with the signature, necklace-like collar, however, collars come in alternate forms like the metal choke collar (not recommended) and the martingale.  We don't necessarily recommend the metal choke collar or its cousin the pinch-prong collar.  These styles can be potentially harmful for your dog and we feel there are more positive ways to train without choking your dog to get his/her attention.  The best options are really your classic collar and martingale.

So, when to use...

If your dog does not pull on leash and has no trachea or respiratory issues, then a collar is a good option for everyday.  Large or small, it really doesn't matter.  The only time a traditional collar is not recommended is for dogs that pull, lunge, or are at risk for tracheal collapse.

Traditional Collar

A martingale, also known as a slip collar or "greyhound collar", is great for dogs that tend to slip out of their collars based on their build.  Martingales function by gently closing around the neck when your dog pulls or backs up.  This allows the collar to be flush with the neck and prevent your dog from slipping out and getting loose.  This type of collar is a popular option for sight hounds, such as Greyhounds, Whippets and Afghan Hounds due to their structure.  The same also applies for dogs with thick necks, such as French bulldogs or pit bulls.  We actually use a fabric martingale on our Japanese Chin, Joey.  He has a thick neck with little to now differentiation between his head and neck, therefore, regular collars tend to slip off very easily.  Additionally, he has long hair that can get potentially tangled or pull in a harness...making the martingale a perfect option.

Martingale on Greyhound


Harnesses are a popular choice for many dog owners today.  This is partly due to misunderstandings with using collars and partly because of increased knowledge and awareness in regards to the impact that pulling and breathing complications can have on your dog.

So, when to use...

Dogs that pull and lunge excessively, are the best candidates for harnesses.  When dogs constantly pull ahead during walks or lunge suddenly, this can put strain on the neck and throat with potentially harmful affects over time.  Aside from pulling on the leash, toy breeds and dogs with short muzzles are also good candidates for harnesses.  Toy breeds, such as toy poodles or chihuahuas, are delicate and a collar can be damaging to their neck.  Breeds with short muzzles, such a pugs, also benefit from harnesses because of their predisposition to breathing complications and tracheal collapse.

So, if your dog meets one or more of the above, then a harness is a preferred option.  Now that you know you need a harness, you will need to decide what type is best for your dog.  Harnesses come in two common styles:  Front-Attaching Harness and Back-Attaching Harness.

For larger dogs, many trainers suggest a Front-Attaching Harness.  This type of harness attaches in the front of the dog between the legs and can offer more control as it gently tightens when the dog pulls and guides from the front.  Harnesses that clasp in the back will leave you with little or no control for a larger dog and may even make the pulling behavior worse as the dog will not feel the guidance necessary to correct pulling behavior.

Front-Attaching Harness

For many toy breeds, a Back-Attaching Harness is preferred.  It does not create the same pressure and tightening affect in the chest as the front-attaching harness would for a large breed dog.  Plus, toy breeds are smaller and more sensitive to pressure, making the front-attaching harness potentially more damaging and painful than effective.

Back-Attaching Harness

Lastly, if a collar or harness are not giving you the optimal blend of restraint and behavioral correction, then a hybrid option is the head halter.  A head halter looks like a fabric muzzle, but is not.  The head halter has a piece of fabric that runs around the back of the head and another strap that goes around the muzzle.

The Gentle Leader Head Halter is the most popular

As you can see, there are a number of options out there and there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to your pup.  We hope you found this post helpful and now have more information on what products will be the best fit for you and your dog.


A & A