Get those mats out of your Libertyville dog’s hair

Libertyville matts in dogs hair

A Libertyville Golden, such as this, has beautiful, soft hair. But, it’s a pain when he gets mats in his hair.

She takes Winston, her 3-year-old Golden Retriever, to Independence Grove Dog Park in Libertyville when she can. Most of the time, however, they walk to the prairie a couple blocks from their Libertyville townhome. And, boy, does Winston like to run. He runs. He barks. He chases happily after birds and squirrels.

Sometimes, Winston gets into the tall grass. If she’s not careful, after they’ve had a lot of rain, Winston also gets into some of the swampy areas. He seems to like this the most. Maybe it appeals to his hunting-dog instincts, not that she ever takes him hunting. He’ll spook some birds. He’ll have a ball. But she has mixed feelings about his romps in the weeds. Sticklers inevitably gather in his hair. Either way, matts are sure to appear.

She’s learned to deal with the sticklers and mats promptly. Keep in mind that the sticklers are the foundation for the biggest mats. But, however the mats start, with or without the help of sticklers, the longer they’re there, the larger and more tangled they become.

One way to deal with mats in your dog’s hair is to keep them out of areas that will tend to cause more mats. She could do this, but Winston loves running through the weeds so much that she hasn’t got the heart to stop him. Of course, mats will tend to appear in the coats of dogs with longer hair even if they avoid romping in troubled areas.

Assuming that mats are inevitable, what can you do about them? Here are some tips on how to deal with mats in your dog’s hair.

  1. Brush often. If you brush your dog, even when you don’t find any mats, you may brush out the foundation for future mats. Besides, your dog will probably enjoy the attention, especially if you make the activity fun. You can even reward your dog afterwards with a treat. Before you know it, your dog is liable to come to you, tail wagging, and the brush in its mouth.
  2. When you find the mats, be gentle. Removing mats from your dog’s hair is a tedious and time-consuming task. It’s often frustrating. Keep your emotions under control. Become good at taking them out without hurting your dog in the process. If you do hurt your dog taking mats out of his or her hair, you’ll probably find that you have to fight with them when it comes time to get the mats out.
  3. Collect the tools to improve your ability to deal with mats. A brush, a scissors, a metal comb, some spray de-tangler: these are some of the tools you’ll probably want on hand. But, among your most important tools, other than patience, are your fingers. Learn to use your fingers to pull the mats ‘gently’ apart. Pull them apart little by little. And, once they’re starting to come apart …
  4. Brush gently. When brushing, hold the hair so that it is slack between your fingers and the dog’s skin. Then, brush beyond your fingers. Remember, your fingers are there to buffer the pain for your dog’s sake.
  5. Time for a bath? Once you’ve taken the mats out, you may want to give your dog a bath. Use some dog shampoo. Rinse and ‘repeat’ – Not necessarily. Instead, you may want to use a conditioner to soften the hair. Then, after you’ve dried your dog with a towel, brush your dog.

If you stay on top of the mats, your dog will appreciate it. And, when you take your dog out for a walk on a Libertyville sidewalk, your neighbors are liable to comment about your dog’s beautiful, mat-free hair.

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Helping Paws holding Paw Crawl in Woodstock Square to support no-kill animal shelter

helping paws paw crawl

What are you doing Aug. 26? Why not come out to The Woodstock Square for the Paw Crawl to support Helping Paws Animal Shelter?


You’ve heard of a Bar Crawl, right? Well, this is the same thing except that it’s a Paw Crawl. And, while a Bar Crawl is often just for fun, the Paw Crawl is for fun and a good cause; it benefits Helping Paws Animal Shelter where they help homeless cats and dogs.

The Paw Crawl will start at 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 26, and last until 1 a.m. And it will happen in The Woodstock Square. As Helping Paws puts it, “Raise a Glass to Benefit the Animals!”

Helping Paws Animal Shelter provides “shelter, food, medical care, and comfort to abandoned, neglected, and abused animals until they are placed into loving, responsible homes.”

Helping Paws, a 501(c)(3) is also a ‘no-kill’ shelter. According to The Humane Society of the United States, approximately 2.4-million “healthy, adoptable cats and dogs” are ‘put down’ each year in shelters across the country. That works out to one every 13 seconds. For Helping Paws to operate as a ‘no-kill’ shelter requires additional financial support.

“Eighty-five percent of our dogs come from high-kill shelters,” said Sharon Bono-Fabian, a board member with Helping Paws and the coordinator of the event. “The majority come in with worms and some kind of kennel cough because they’re coming from such seriously bad conditions.”

Al Domrase, the owner of Aldens Kennels in Ringwood has also witnessed the terrible conditions of dogs that find their way into shelters.

“The way people in McHenry County love dogs and cats,” said Al Domrase, “it’s hard to understand why shelters are so overcrowded. The shelters, and the dogs and cats they care for, desperately need our support.”

The event in Woodstock is for animal lovers over the age of 21. There are two options for registrants: Raiser Your Glass registrants and DD-Designated Driver registrants. The early registration fee (before Aug. 12) is $45 and $30. After Aug. 12, the fees are $50 and $35.

Those who opt to raise a glass for needy dogs and cats will receive 5 drink tokens, a Paw Crawl t-shirt, koozie, shot glass, game care and a map. Designaed Driver registrants receive the same, minus the drink tokens. But, they can have all the free soda and water they want at participating bars and restaurants.

The registration form also provides an option to purchase additional drink tokens at $5 each.

The registration form is at:

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How much should you feed your Hawthorn Woods cat?

cat proper diet Hawthorn Woods

Are you feeding your Hawthorn Woods cat the right amount food?

Sunset Foods, Marino’s Fresh Market, Garden Fresh Market: it doesn’t matter which grocery store you go to near your Hawthorn Woods home, you know right where to find the pet food aisle. You’ve been there before, and with more frequency than seems to make sense. After all, you only have one cat. How much food can one cat eat?

No matter how many times you turn off Route 22 when returning to your Hawthorn Woods home, it always seems you’re greeted at the door by a hungry cat. You leave food for her but it’s always gone when you return. If you keep this up, you’re liable to have one of the proverbial Fat Cats on your hands.

Fat cats are kind of cute, in a way, but it’s not really healthy. And fit cats are often just as cute as fat cats. You’ll do your cat some good if you help your cat maintain a healthy weight. But, how much should you feed your cat if she’s always hungry? Should her appetite serve as the barometer for the frequency that you feed her or how much food you serve? The answer is most assuredly “NO!”

  1. Serve a healthy diet
    It’s possible to find healthy food in the grocery store but don’t assume all the food on the shelf is healthy. You may also want to speak with your cat’s vet to determine the best diet for your cat – whether you should serve dry food or canned. Even if it’s dry, you may want to add some water. And then, stick with the diet unless you see reasons to change.
  2. Provide measured portions
    Your cat’s vet can probably tell you how much to feed your cat. Once you have that target amount, don’t use the squinty-eye measuring system. Use an official measuring device. This will help so that, should you need to adjust how much food your cat receives, you’ll know the starting point.
  3. Monitor and adjust how much your cat eats
    Your vet can provide a BCS – Body Condition Score – that will tell you the optimal weight for your cat. With that target in mind, keep an eye on your cat’s weight. You can even weigh yourself without holding the cat and then while holding the cat. This can give you a fairly precise measurement of your cat’s weight. If your cat is gaining weight, reduce the amount of food you’re feeding your cat. If your cat is losing weight, give her a little more.
  4. Consider how much exercise your cat gets
    A cat that is active will burn more calories than a cat that prefers to lie around all day. If your cat is active, you may want to give your cat a little more food. Otherwise, you may give your cat a little less food. Once again, check with your cat’s vet.
  5. Consider changes as your cat ages
    How much food your cat needs will change as they age. Their metabolism is changing and, probably, so is the amount of exercise they get. Your cat’s age is a factor to consider when speaking with your cat’s vet. It’s also a point to consider, as you cat ages, with regards to adjusting how much food your cat eats.

A cat that is overweight is less likely to be an active cat. Instead, you’ll have yourself a cat that lies around your Hawthorn Woods home all day. A proper diet, with proper portions, is a gift of health you can give your cat that can help her to live a long and happy life.

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Do you worry your dog will run away?

dog runs away

Don’t just worry your dog will run away – do something about it.

The saying goes, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Unfortunately, it can also kill dogs. It’s curiosity that will motivate dogs to want to run – to run away if they have the chance. Dog owners have watched their dogs die as the dogs bolted into the street and into the path of approaching vehicles.

Think of dogs as though they’re children. Tell a child they can’t do something and you will tweak the child’s curiosity – they’ll want to know what they can’t do. Dogs are much the same way. They are on a leash, or penned in a fenced back yard, whenever they’re outdoors. Take them off the leash, or throw the gate to the fence open, and curiosity will send them charging off in almost any direction.

Of course, there are other things that can make a dog takeoff running. For instance, they might see a rabbit across the street and charge over to play. They could see another dog and, depending on your dog’s temperament and how your dog and the other dog get along, they could run to the other dog to play or intimidate.

In some cases, however, simply having the rare and unexpected freedom to run is all the incentive they need.

What can you do to keep your dog from running away?

There are several options available to avoid having to put photos of your dog up on telephone poles with phone numbers in case someone has seen your dog. The basic alternatives include:

  • Taking care that your dog never gets loose. This, of course, isn’t a fool-proof method of ensuring your dog never runs away. If it were, you would probably never have seen a ‘Lost Dog’ sign on a telephone pole before.
  • Installing an Invisible Fence. This can do wonders to train your dog to stay in the yard. And, you won’t need to worry about a regular fence or a leash.
  • The best thing you can do to ensure your dog doesn’t run away is to train your dog. Training your dog means training your dog not to run, training your dog to stay in its yard and training your dog to come when called. One essential part of training your dog, and an extra benefit, if you choose to look at it this way, is developing a caring relationship with your dog. Your dog will come to trust you and you will come to trust your dog.
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Can two dogs live together in your Evanston home?

2 dogs Evanston

It’s apparent these two dogs have no problem living peacefully together but can two dogs live together in your Evanston home?

Biscuit, a friendly Golden Retriever, has lived in your Evanston home for about three years since arriving as a puppy. She’s developed into a full-fledged member of the family. Everyone loves her. In fact, the family’s adoration of Biscuit so complete that you’ve all decided it’s time to enhance the experience – you’ve decided to adopt another dog.

This is understandable. Moreover, it’s not just that you want to have another dog to love; you also want Biscuit to have someone else to play with, to run around your Evanston yard with. You believe that the answer to the question ‘What is better than having a dog in the family?’ is ‘Having two dogs in the family.’

Your concern now is whether Biscuit and the new dog you bring home will share your enthusiasm. What if they don’t get along? What if they fight? These are valid concerns.

While you can’t guarantee that two dogs will get along you can take steps that will go a long way to helping two dogs get along.

The most important aspect of helping two dogs get along is the approach. Dogs are very territorial. It’s part of their pack mentality, which is part of their DNA. When one dog comes into another dog’s territory – enters the other dog’s pack (and, from your dog’s perspective, you and the family are part of the pack), there is a question of whether the new dog will fit in – whether it will be accepted.

What helps is if the dogs can meet on neutral territory. Instead of bringing the new dog directly into the your Evanston home, you can introduce them to each other at an unfamiliar park – unfamiliar to both of them.

You also want to avoid situations that would cause jealousy between the dogs, particularly until they’re acclimated with each other. If you show favoritism to one dog over the other, the dogs will notice. They’re attuned to that kind of thing. You may want to separate them at dinner time, until they’ve established their relationship.

Problems can arise if both dogs are of the same sex. Of course, ‘problems’ can also arise if the dogs are of opposite sexes. In the latter case, special steps should be taken to avoid the unexpected arrival of additional puppies into your Evanston home.

Whatever the sexes of your dogs, it’s important that you allow them to get to know each other without trying to force their relationship. You want to ‘mediate’ carefully, if they don’t seem to get along (be careful and don’t stick your arm or body between them if they fight).

There is some evidence that neutering a male dog will make it more amicable about the idea of getting along with another dog. This also addresses the other problem with having two dogs, of opposite sexes, living together.

Of course, you could throw the dogs together and hope for the best. In that case, the odds are less than 50/50. But, if you approach the potential relationship of two dogs living together seriously, you can go a long way to helping them get along.

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Hundreds attend Multi-State Mixer at Aldens Kennels

Multi-State Mixer crowd_72dpi

The Multi-State Mixer at Aldens Kennels June 6 was a great success with more than 300 in attendance.

There are mixers and then there are mixers. For those who aren’t familiar, a mixer, in this context, is a business event where business owners and managers meet to socialize, reinforce and establish relationships with other business owners and managers. The mixer June 6 at Aldens Kennels, however, was an example of a mixer on steroids.

Most mixers count the number of people who attend in the dozens – two or three dozen. The Multi-State Mixer at Aldens Kennels, however, included business owners and managers from nine different chambers of commerce and business networking organizations; they counted the attendees in the hundreds. This was the fourth year of the event.

Multi-State Mixer Janet and Al_72dpi

Janet and Al Domrase – hosts of the Multi-State Mixer at Aldens Kennels.

“We had (#?) people attend the mixer,” said Al Domrase, the owner of Aldens Kennels. “It’s a great way for people in the business community to connect with others in the community.”

The mixer started at 5 p.m. and lasted until shortly after 7 p.m. At 6 p.m., there was a demonstration, on dry land, by the National Champion Wonder Lake Ski Team. The speaking-engagement and radio team of 2 Bald Guys & A Microphone emceed the event (the 2 Bald Guys are Tim Stewart and Kent Jones). There was food, drinks and raffles – lots of raffles.

While an event of this magnitude required a lot of work by the folks at Aldens Kennels, as well as other volunteers, numerous companies and individuals also supported the event. Those who supported the mixer include:

  • Meals Like Moms
  • Step-it-up Rentals
  • CedarDale Pet Resort
  • Vindictive Vinyl
  • Photo Moxie
  • T’s Toffee
  • Valen Studios
  • Tastefully Simple
  • Alpha Laser
  • Home Inspections & More
  • 2 Bald Guys & A Microphone
  • Michael Delott
  • At a Glance Marketing
  • Crazy for Cookies & Cake Pops
  • GRIL
  • Langton Group
  • Café 31 North
  • Applebees
  • Lourds Kandel Serenity Spas
  • Pet Rescue Donations
  • Snarf Foods
  • Northern Illinois Windows
  • Missy Veterans of Valor
  • Halftime Pizza
  • Uno’s
  • ChaZio’s
  • Harbor Shores Lake Geneva
  • Focal Point Coaching
  • Boisette
  • Lake Lawn Lodge
  • The Abbey
  • Hampton Inn McHenry
  • Grand Geneva The Shanty
  • JB Aviation Galt Airport
  • Bemer
  • Young Masters Martial Arts & Fitness
  • 1st Midwest Bank
  • Walworth County Visitor Bureau
  • NJ Elite Performance
  • Journey Natural Wellness & Health
  • Meat & Potatoes
  • Geneva Inn
  • Kinnerk Scent Paradise
  • Belfry Music Theatre
  • Frequency-R-Us Products
  • Visit Lake Geneva
  • Meijers
  • The Village Squire
  • Capture the Moment
  • Rich Publicity

“We really want to thank all those who supported the event,” said Domrase. “They made this all possible.”


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Can you potty train your fully-grown Village of Lakewood dog?

potty train Lakewood dog

One of them made that puddle but they both look guilty. Can you potty train your Lakewood dog?

There are quite a few fully-grown dogs living in the Village of Lakewood. Only some of them use their homes as toilets. For pet owners in the village who have mature dogs that aren’t housebroken, it’s rather frustrating.

No one likes to walk into the living room and discover that they dog has left them a ‘special prize’ on the rug. The discovery often leads to another round of firm ‘Bad-Dog’ admonishments to do their business outside. In response, the dog looks guilty but it’s not clear the dog understands what he or she did wrong. The same thing happens the next time the dog leaves a prize and a cycle is created. It’s frustrating when a dog isn’t potty trained.

The question is whether you can train an adult dog – particularly whether you can housebreak a mature dog. The answer is probably. It will, however, require patience and determination on your part.

The first problem is that, by this time, the mature dog has probably developed a pattern; going in the house is a habit and habits are hard to break.

The key is to help the dog develop new habits. These new habits should include going out to do their business first thing every morning and last thing every night. Spend a little while outside with the dog. If your dog does its business, lavish them with praise. Make the experience fun and give them the idea that they’ve pleased you.

If they don’t go right away, give them a little while and then go back inside. Now, keep a close eye on them. If they look as though they’re sniffing around for a place to do their business, take them back outside. Even if they don’t look like they’re interested in doing their business, take them back outside again about 20 or 30 minutes after you came in.

If your Village of Lakewood dog is evacuating in the morning and at night, they probably won’t have the inclination to do so during the day. Still, keep an eye on them and take them out if they appear antsy.

You can also put your dog in its crate during times when it may choose to do its business indoors and you won’t be around. As a general rule, dogs don’t like to do their business in their bedding.

Stay at it and you’ll probably cure your mature dog of the tendency to do its business inside your Village of Lakewood home. Potty training can work with almost any dog.

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