We've all heard people say they have a "service dog" or a "therapy dog" or even an "emotional support" dog. These titles sound like thy would be similar as far as what the dog's job might be, but they are actually all quite different.
A friend of mine who is not only a lover of all things dog, but a talented and gifted trainer recently wrote an article for a private Facebook page hosted by Paws Pet Resort. In the article Sami Jo explains the differences and fun aspects of working dogs and their jobs, and I wanted to share it with you guys. This is a copy of the article shared with her permission.
Recently I was speaking with a customer about the differences between "service dogs" and "therapy dogs." During this conversation, I realized people don't always know the unique and fun differences between these dogs. Below is some fun information regarding different working dogs!
Enjoy~Sami Jo Menning
*These are very simple descriptions of all the work these dogs perform and not an all-inclusive description*
SEARCH AND RESCUE DOGS:
These are dogs trained to help the public with any missing person. Whether alive or passed they are trained to tell their human where they are located. There are different organizations people can certify through. These dogs should be really good at problem-solving.
HRD - Human Remains Detection is dogs alerting on human remains. Gross right? But it actually is super beneficial for people who are missing more than a week or any type of scene where they need hints on the case. These dogs are trained to perform a final indication when they have smelt the scent of human remains.
Live Find (Area and Tracking) - There are two kinds here but practically a dog will get sent when they know the victim is probably alive. A kid stuck in a snowstorm, a guy missing for 24 hours or any time there might be a kid with a medical or mental illness that has wandered away. The dog is trained to bring their handler to the victim. The dog gets rewarded for finding the person.
Article Search - This is for dogs to help find clues where they indicate in any article that has a scent from a victim or fresh scent. A dog can tell the difference between old scent and new scent from a human touching an item.
These dogs are trained to help the public by providing comfort. These dogs should have good obedience and should be stable and confident around other dogs, people and places.
Organizations - There are many organizations you can go through. The most well known here locally is Therapy Dogs International. These dogs are certified to go into schools, hospitals, and places to offer therapy from just being around them. It is pretty cool to be apart of. Your dog has to have great obedience as well as demeanor to excel in this.
Disaster Relief - There are specific organizations that certify dogs to help with disaster relief. These dogs and their handlers travel where there is a big disaster that people may be staying in shelters for safety. This is a time a disaster relief dog will come. This is a different certification and test in itself.
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS:
These are animals that are there to offer emotional support. Sadly, it is something people take way advantage of to get free rent, hotel rooms, etc. They are for anyone who gets relief from their dogs instead of having to be on an alternative plan. These dogs do not get to have public access and there is no actual registered certification for any dog unless you were to get a note from a doctor.
These dogs are trained to perform specific tasks to help their handlers.
These dogs also do not have an actual certification. There is an ADA registration for the rights of Service Dogs. Most dogs that are true service dogs are bred to be service dogs. There are programs where they evaluate puppies from 4 weeks old to pick candidates for service dogs. They cannot be anxious, reactive, aggressive. They need to have the right temperament and the right drive to work! These dogs do have public access but should only be in public if they can behave.
Task Orientated - These service dogs are trained for people who cannot bend over, open the door, turn on the lights and struggle in their day to day life.
Mobility - These dogs are for people who might have medical issues that affect how they can walk, falling over unexpectedly or not having the strength to always hold them up. Not every dog can be this, there are actually charts on the weight of the person to be matched with a weight-fitted dog.
Medical Alert Dogs - These service dogs alert for diabetes, heart issues, panic attacks or severe health issues. There is a great guy in Texas who trains these dogs and I would love to show anyone what he can do.
Guide Dogs - Dogs who can lead people who are legally blind. These dogs have to be able to have some type of independence and disobedience. They need to be able to make the right call if you are telling them to 'heel' but there is a safety hazard. The dog should know to 'disobey' the command and to not put their handler in danger.
POLICE DOGS / MILITARY WORKING DOGS (MWD):
Really these and military dogs are a different breed. These dogs thrive off of work. The reward for them is to work. These dogs are also handed from handler to handler, there are many people that retire and their dog is still working so they will stay in the unit to be handed off to a different handler. These dogs are trained somewhere else and shipped to different units. A lot of them come from overseas. Most handlers have to attend a 2-3 week camp to become certified handlers WITH their dogs. The dogs already know how to do it, but the handler has to know, too!
Narcotics - Really this is just a type of detection. Many dogs are trained on more than one scent and some units who have many dogs will train their dog to just a few scents. To have a detection dog in the unit you have to meet standards of training and logging hours.
Apprehension - Police dogs are trained to bite dangerous suspects and hold them at the place. In many situations, they are the first ones to put their lives on the line and go in against an armed suspect to protect their human partner. That said, they must be stable dogs, with the ability to know when someone is a threat and to act solely on the command of their handlers.
These are used everywhere! If you can think of it, they probably already have a detection dog on it. They have started cancer detection dogs, hunting for truffles dogs, wildlife biology and of course law enforcement. Really it is endless what you can detect.
There are so many other types of working dogs. These are just popular ones you hear about lately.
Are you a fan of The Office? Say hello to Dwight! According to his humans he has a dry sense of humor if a dog can have one and he's "super chill." Dwight demonstrated that beautifully during his session. He also had three wardrobe changes and he rocked each and every one. :O)
Dwight can not hear, but that doesn't stop him from one of his favorite activities-watching tv. He's not shy and is always excited to meet other people. His mood changes when his humans are both with him, and he loves watching his dog mom work.
As far as hobbies go, Dwight is a leaf and stick collector. When he goes for a walk he always brings home a new stick and has them safely stored in a pile outside. (Take a guess what we used instead of noises to get his attention at the session. wink, wink)
We introduced Dwight to something new during his session...bubbles! And, oh my goodness he went for them with everything he had. (I know what the Easter bunny will be bringing Dwight next year!)
Dwight is not even a year old yet and he's eager to explore and learn everything he can. Enjoy the rest of the Fall season Dwight and I hope Winter is just a fun for you!
These three fur-balls are all heart and they bring so much joy and fun to their humans' lives. Don't be fooled though; what one dog doesn't think of the others will and they are involved in just as many hi-jinx as the next dog family. They are also so very loved.... and they know it. ;O)
During their session, Shiloh, Little & Moose showed off tricks, played with bubbles, ran through the leaves and even struck a pose every once in awhile.
It was obvious that these three love being around their humans, but they are also adventurous and ready for fun. Through it all, Moose was curious yet polite, Shilo was on alert for possible threats to the session (i.e. squirrels and other varmints), and Little never let on for one second that she wasn't in charge and running the show. And, did I mention hi-jinx?!
By the end of the session, we were all worn out. It's just another perk I offer for pet parents. ha!
As we were leaving we noticed a dog who was enjoying the park, but it was obvious that she forgot to bring her owner with her. So, while Brittany and I waited with the pups, Shelby took care to make sure that the dog was in safe hands, posted her on Sioux Falls Lost Pets Facebook page and we all crossed our fingers that her owner would be found. By the next morning I had a text from Shelby telling me that all was well. I soooo love dog people. :O)
What you do for one you need to do for the others. So, since we had so much fun with Tex in the water a couple of weeks ago, we made sure that his siblings got to have a great time, too.
This session was a little extra fun for me to go through the images because it included four very different personalities all in the same place. When trying to get one good family photo, no matter what the others were doing, Blu was ready. (Blu, you're so awesome.) If a duck flew over (and they did - several times), TEX was all business. ha! Lola just loved to smile and dash ahead wherever we were going, and Ray was a typical puppy who explored every inch of his surroundings (and looked cute of course).
There is lots of play time and lots of fun for these four, but when mom says, "look"... all eyes are on her.
We hiked, played with bubbles, watched ducks fly by, explored the "grassy jungle" and some, well, couldn't help themself. (Yes, they are adorable, but look at Tex!)
I always have a great time photographing sessions, and even though it's a bit more work with multiple dogs it's always that much more fun. Thank you for "that much more fun" you guys. :O)
This was a session I was really looking forward to! I love working dogs and have wanted to photograph one "at work" for a long time now. When Sami told me that she wanted to do a session, BUT she wanted me to photograph her dog hunting, I couldn't say yes fast enough.
Tex is a duck hunter so that meant we were going to be in the water. I borrowed some waders (thanks Greg!) and they only leaked on one side! (Thanks, Greg.) It didn't matter because I was having as much fun as Tex was!
Tex did some training while we were out there, too and I learned things like, one- how he learns to follow signals that lead him to where his owner wants him to go, and two, what a dog looks like when he's peeing in the water. ha!
Seriously though, this dog can be the biggest muppet out there, but when he's working he's all business. Look at that determination!
Tex is a hard worker and you can see the pride in him when he knows he's done well. It's quite humbling to watch a dog who is so in tune with his owner both as a friend and as a partner. The hard work put in by both does not go un-noticed, and it is very, very cool to witness.
** No ducks were harmed in the making of this session. ;O)
There are several ways in which we bring a pet into our family. Some purchase a puppy from a breeder, or buy from someone who's advertising that their dog has had a litter. Others get their pet by adopting from a shelter, a rescue or even from a flyer on a bulletin board. Even though discussions can get heated over how we obtain our pets, I really do feel like there is no right or wrong way.
For me, the decision to "shop" or "adopt" is actually determined by what my reason was for getting a new pet in the first place. If I were looking for a dog for a specific purpose like training a show dog, a dog for search and rescue, or a hunting dog, then I would probably look at reputable breeders for those specifications. If I were looking for a companion to hang out with at home and didn't have anything specific that I wanted from the dog except to love on and to be part of the family, then I would most likely adopt. This is not to say that adopted dogs can't be great hunting, service, or even show dogs. It's just more plausible if those dogs were raised and trained to perform from the very beginning. Likewise, this is not to say that all dogs from a breeder are going to meet your expectations either. If you're thinking about a breeder you need to do your research on the breed you're considering AND you need to research your breeder. There are some very responsible breeders, but like in every industry there are also those who do not exactly meet the standards that they represent.
Every dog that has joined our family has been acquired differently from the others. Our first dog I found in the newspaper. Bangle was half boxer and half Siberian husky. My reason for getting her was companionship as I was newly married to an Air Force pilot who was gone a lot. (Remember paper scrapbooking? They said it was perfectly ok to cut up your pictures! eek!)
The next two were litter mates that Santa got from a box on a sidewalk in the neighborhood. He brought them to our twin boys because he wanted them each to have a puppy of their own. (I do NOT recommend this type of reasoning/justification/insanity for getting multiple dogs at once!) Christmas Carol and Sandman were pointers with more energy than my 3 boys combined!
After a few years of having reptiles for pets my boys started asking for a dog again. It was then that I actually did some research and was able to at least settled on a breed that I thought would be good for our active family and military life. Zoe was a border collie that we got from a working farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Her parents were registered dogs and they were responsible for the cattle on the farm. As Zoe grew she did not disappoint as she spent her whole life keeping track of our kids as well as the school kids in the back field once we moved to our home in Sioux Falls.
Hermes (little white rat dog) was a gift to my youngest when his life was turned inside out as his older brothers and all their friends left for collage (and his dad deployed) leaving an always full house with just the two of us. Looking only for companionship, I found Hermes online from a goggle search for a small dog. He was and always has been a perfect fit in our home.
Dash was not planned. (I guess you could say he was a happy accident. ha!) A woman who saw Hermes on a weekly basis at doggie day care emailed me a Craig's List link and said, "I thought of you and Hermes when I saw this little guy." (That's how all great love stories start out, right?) I classify Dash as a hand-me-down dog as we are his 4th (and forever) home.
It seems to be socially acceptable these days to criticize others for how they obtained their pet. I think people lose site of the dog when they do this. In order to find the right pet for our family, our lifestyle, our needs, and our personality, we need to do some research before we make them a part of our life. Research breeds and research breeders. It's only fair to the animal after all as they really don't get much of a say in the matter.
Faust is a strong, lean German short hair. He is very handsome and confident, quite mellow, and like a lot of dogs showed me that he can also be a little derpy, too. Picture him with his ears back, nose in the air looking at you with a huge grin on his face (and maybe a bit of slobber). What's not to love??!!! What he didn't show me was his age. He's a vibrant nine year old dog who's distinguished white face is the only thing that gives it away.
Faust participates in obedience competition (I swear I didn't even know this was a thing, but how cool!), but his real love is "the hunt" part of hunting. He loves to search out the birds! Actually, I don't think it even has to be a bird. At one point during his session he became very alert and drug his dog mom off across a trail. It was a mouse. I never saw it, but Faust did and he was determined to sniff it out. I feel like if the grass had been mowed that little mouse might not have fared as well.
If his dog mom is around, then you'll find Faust with her. She is his person and they love to spend time together. Besides hunting and competitions they like to hike, run, and dabble in agility. If the weather's bad he'll even hop on the treadmill with mom.
Faust was a sport letting me drag him to different sections of different parks trying to avoid the still flooded areas around town. He really liked the tall grasses best I think. It was the end of the day, but he mustered up plenty of energy to run in and out of them. (I was pooped just watching him at this point. ha!)
In the end he relaxed a bit with mom and we got a couple of very sweet silhouettes. I wish you lots of fun adventures with your dog mom, Faust. She's a very lucky lady.
Does your dog love the water? Looking for something fun, challenging, and (dare I say) cool? When summer hits and the temperature starts to rise dock diving might be just the thing for you and your dog.
Dock diving is not a sport that you'll find in the Olympics (but, never say never). The idea is this... Your dog sits at the back of the dock and waits for you to give your command and throw his favorite toy out into the pool. When he hears the command he runs and dives off of the dock to catch his toy in mid air before it hits the water. The idea is to have the longest jump. It can be 2 feet or 30 feet, but all the dogs agree that no matter what, you're always a winner if you catch the toy.
Henry, Max, and Linus are all beginners and they are very keen on making sure that their favorite toy doesn't get lost in this new game.
Otis was a fast learner during his class. He loved the praise for simply getting in the water to leaping off the dock. It was all the same to him and he was eager to please his family.
Then there is something we call style. And, guess what? They all have it (and they all own it!)... and it is soooo much fun to watch!
If you think this might be a sport that you and your dog would like to do together, Paws Pet Resort now offers dock diving classes. Beginners can learn starting with the basics, and seasoned divers can utilize Open Jump days helping their handlers perfect their toss and getting in sync. If you just want to see if your dog might enjoy the sport, there are Try It Days available as well as one on one classes.
Get out there and enjoy the summer with your dog. And, if you feel like you need to cool off (or if you're just feeling like a cool cat) you might give dock diving a try. ;O)
Last week I did something a little out of my comfort zone. I went to Animal Image Makers, the first ever photography conference for pet photographers. What part of that scared me? I did it alone.
As much as I may come across as an extrovert, I'm really quite reserved about putting myself out there without the support of a like minded friend by my side. I like to blend in and be in a position where I won't be noticed. (This is probably one of the reasons I love candid style photography. Those of you who aren't crazy about being in pictures, I get it.) Since I know this about myself, I signed up for the conference right away so I couldn't talk myself out of it.
The 4 day conference was so much fun. It was jam packed with classes from national and international pet photographers and I was soaking it all in learning tips and tricks from each and every one of them.
Is that not the cutest pin??!!!
Besides instructors and speakers, this conference also included an image competition. It was not accredited, but it was a great introduction for people like me who have never entered a competition. I have a friend who is a fabulous photographer and an amazing image maker who is always telling me how much you learn from entering competitions. Dana Rose, of Rose Design Fine Art Portraiture has won top awards for her images and she pushed me until I agreed to enter. (Thanks, Dana.)
I won't bore you with the details, but one of the 3 images that I entered did quite well. It received the 3rd highest score (out of 68 entries) in it's category and out of 484 entries total for the competition, my image score was 21st. It was both thrilling and humbling. The image was this one... The Mountains Are Calling. Say hello to Birdie!
The best part of the whole thing was the people I met at the conference. Soooo many pet photographers, so little time. ;O) Will I continue to enter print competition? Probably not. I realized that I'm not willing to change my style of photography to that which would make good competition images. For instance, this image of Blu was not in the running because, well, her unmentionables are mentionable here. ha!
This "pose" and the look of joy on her face is what makes this image totally Blu! The personalities that shine through the images that I get for my clients are why I do what I do. So, as much as I LOVE looking at the amazing images in competition, I think I will stick to the stands as a viewer and supporter of others. ;O)
If you have the opportunity to better your craft, (be it photography, painting, or any of the arts) even if it means going outside of your comfort zone, don't let those little nagging fears stop you. You will learn and you will make wonderful friends with people who share your passion. One of the ladies at the conference said it perfectly,
The difference between online learning and in person
When I first saw Max all I could think was, wow, what a gorgeous dog! But, it didn't take but a few minutes to see that Max is just as beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside. Max adores his dog mom and dad, and he's quite high on their list of friends to hang out with, too.
Max is not shy when it comes to the camera and he was quite happy to show me how much he loves being outdoors. Running, jumping logs, and fetching were his favorites. But, honestly, I think he would be thrilled doing anything as long as it involves being with his humans.
Max played the whole session, stopping every once in awhile to pose. THAT'S when I saw the oh so handsome modeling side of him. (There might be good money in this one day, Max. Just sayin'.)
Yes, Max is a gorgeous dog, (and honestly, I don't think he has a clue how handsome he is), but you can tell when you're around Max that he knows he's a part of a team, a tribe, a family. It's a great feeling to know you belong, and I don't think there is any doubt that Max feels the love.
Enjoy the rest of the snow season with your family, Max!
Location plays a big part in the planning of the sessions I do. They are chosen specifically for the dog's size, color and personality. When I saw a picture of Willow, I knew the perfect spot for her snow session and couldn't wait for it to happen.
Just like I envisioned the colors were perfect for Willow. The bonus was that her dog mom could not have dressed in more appropriate colors if we had tried.
When I mentioned it to her afterwards she said that her favorite color is green and she wears it all the time. This is exactly what I like for my clients to do. The more natural and comfortable everything is, the better the images. It happens all the time. ;O)
Willow had such a great time at her session. She ran, she played fetch, she even slowed down a bit to have a couple of moments with her mom.
There is really only one rule when doing a pet session with me, and that is to have fun! Willow and her dog mom did just that.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job?! ;O)
Hercules - famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.
This boy lives up to his name. He was a big puppy and he turned out to be a very handsome and big dog. And, do you know what you get with a big dog like Hercules? You get a big heart.
Speaking of big, the snow decided to "go big" for our session as well!
When I have a client who wants to do a snow session with their dog we plan things a little differently. Instead of picking a date and planning for it, we plan the session first and then when the weather cooperates we pull on our snow pants and head out.
This particular day was perfect. With temps in the high 20s and very little wind everything was great weather-wise. What we didn't realize was that the snow at our location was deeper than we anticipated. This is where Herc's size was a Greek god-send. ;O)
He ran, jumped and played in the snow, and plowed through so that he could lead his littlest best friend across.
Herc even took a private (well, semi-private) moment with his mom for a picturesque image in front of snow filled trees.
Big dog, big heart and big snow... there was definitely a theme that day... and, it was wonderful.
Hermes went to his very first doggie birthday party! It was such a fun time with lots of dogs, lots of balls, and lots of shenanigans by his truly. (Bet you can't guess who?)
This is Lola, and she had lots of doggie friends to help her celebrate her first birthday. I'm telling you, this girl knew it was her day. She pranced and played and made sure that everyone was greeted in style and brightened the whole room with her infectious smile.
The dogs had so much fun playing fetch and chasing after each other. One dog even threw the ball to another like they were practicing for the big leagues! I'm not kidding, it was awesome!
There were lots of toys to play with, yummy human treats, and the most adorable treats for Lola's doggie guests.
Remember those shenanigans I was talking about? Let's just say his name was said pretty much every time I looked up from my camera.
Hermes those treats are for the guests!
Hermes, that's not your mom!
That's not your mom either!
When the dogs were tired from all the fun, Lola's mom wanted to get a group picture. It was a little tough, but the dogs were making progress. Quite a few of the dogs knew how to wear hats and "stay" for the picture (and one photographer's dog flat refused).
After quite a bit of shuffling around, some of the dogs thought that they deserved a treat (probably for wearing the hat) so they decided to go find their owners. Others just laid down and waited it out.
In the end there were a few who were willing to say, cheese. . . (seriously, Hermes.)
No worries, Hermes was led off to the side and we got a couple of shots to commemorate the day.
Happy Birthday, Lola! I hope you celebrate all month long!
For your dogs safety (and your sanity), the most important thing you can teach your dog is to come when called. The last thing you want is for your dog to chase after something right into oncoming traffic or get into a situation that is not safe.
The main components for any training are consistency and patience. Most people start by teaching their pet to sit and then to stay. Once your dog has these two down, you can start the most important lesson of all - "come."
If you want to teach your dog something new, you need to make sure that you've got something that they want. Be ready to reward your pet with something they love and lots of praise; it can be treats, toys, or whatever makes them happiest. Make it easy for them at first. When teaching them to sit, as soon as their little booty hits the floor, reward them! You can make them sit before everything that they do. Ask them to sit before you put their food bowl down, before you give them a toy, or before you put their leash on, etc. Once they've got the hang of it move on to "stay." When they stay for 3 seconds, reward them! Gradually wait a little longer for each "stay" before you reward them. I might be wrong, but I've always felt that "stay" and "come" work hand in hand once you start moving away from your dog during these training sessions teaching them to stay. When you are able to walk a little ways away while your dog holds his stay, you can give your "come" command. After the second try they will usually be more than willing to run to you for their treat.
After you've worked with your dog for a while and you feel they really understand the "stay" command, you need to take things to a higher level. (If your dog has a favorite treat, you'll want to use them for this command and no other. You want to make sure that your dog will come to you no matter what the circumstances might be.) Call your dog a few times throughout the day when you are not actively training. Make sure that you are prepared to reward them as soon as they get to you and praise them like crazy. You'll want to start off indoors while in the same room. At first make sure there are no distractions by anyone or anything. Once they come each time they are called, try calling them when they are playing or otherwise distracted. After a few days of success, try calling them from a different room. You will eventually end up in the yard with them, then possibly off leash somewhere safe. Remember that practice makes perfect. ;O)
The one thing that can put a kink in your training is if you ever call your dog with a frustrated tone or scold them once they get to you. (I was so guilty of this with Hermes... like every time he ran out the door straight to the neighbor's compost pile. ick!) They need to know without a doubt that you will be happy when they get to you so try not to let them down. When strong-willed Hermes was dining at his private buffet, asking if he wanted a treat never worked because he knew that the treat was not going to top what he was chewing on at that time. The only thing that worked with him was bringing out the leash and asking if he wanted to go for a walk. He would then come to me so I could put the leash on him and I'd take him on his walk... (straight home, darn dog).
*Although I do not post things that I don't agree with (without saying so that is), I need to stress that I am not a dog trainer. Information that I give to you in posts like this one are a compilation of information from others in dog related industries as well as research from books I've read and the internet. My blog posts are designed to give you enough information so that you can research on your own when you think the subject might be something that you and your dog can benefit from. When it comes to training I highly recommend seeking out a dog trainer. You can learn a lot about your dog while they in turn learn great skills. It will be a wonderful bonding experience for the two of you, too. ;O)
Is there a new puppy in your family?
Congratulations! There are usually a lot of new puppies delivered by Santa and his helpers so I thought I'd do a post about what you might expect from your new little family friend in the next couple of months.
Most puppies leave their mom for new homes at around 8 weeks. After getting use to their new family and starting the basics of house training, there are some big changes coming for these puppies between 12 and 16 weeks that you might notice.
Around 12 weeks, puppies tend to have better control of their bladder (YAY!) If you stick to a schedule most puppies can be fully house trained by the time they are 4 to 5 months old. Just keep taking your puppy out first thing when they wake up in the morning (and after each of the many naps they like to take), after every meal, and after playtime as well. As a general rule of thumb when leaving your puppy for work or errands, take the number of months your puppy is in age and add a one to it. This is the maximum number of hours that a puppy should be expected to hold it. (Can you picture them crossing those chubby little legs?!)
By 12 weeks, puppies start teething. You might notice more biting and chewing, redder gums, and you might even find a baby tooth laying around. Be sure your puppy has safe things to chew on during this time and make sure that there is nothing that they can get into that could hurt them like electrical cords, house plants, shoes that they can tear up, or socks that they can swallow (trust me, this happens all the time).
Puppies grow fast between 4 and 6 months and tend to look like miniature versions of their adult self. Small breeds will be nearly finished growing at 6 months where larger breeds will be about half their adult size.
Puppies are adorable, but between 3 and 6 months your puppy might start testing the boundaries (or pushing your buttons, ehem). They might not respond to the training that you have previously accomplished or they might start chewing on things they aren't suppose to chew on (simply because they can). You can lessen these tendencies by making sure your puppy has plenty of exercise and working on basic training. The exercise will tire them physically and the training will tire them mentally. The combination can do wonders for your pup.
At around 4 months old, your puppy might show signs of being afraid. This is normal as they experience new things. Loud noises, for instance might frighten them. Try not to overwhelm your puppy. If you notice that they are afraid, like maybe when you bring out the vacuum, do not "reward" them by cuddling or you will be reinforcing their fear. Simply ignore the behavior and calmly remove them from the situation.
Training and socialization are the best things that you can do for your puppy. From about 8 weeks until 6 months is the time that your puppy is prime for learning to be the best dog that they can be. Enrolling in a quality puppy class is a win-win for everyone, both human and canine. They will learn socialization skills, along with basic commands, walking on a leash, and manners. You want to let them be a dog because that's what they are, but you also want to make sure that they know how to treat you, your guests (both human and canine), and your home. Classes with a qualified trainer will not only show you how to work with and train your dog, but they will help you understand your dog better.
Now... after writing this I think I need to go find a refresher course in doggie manners for this dog mom. Hermes is a great dog and I don't want him to fall short because I didn't keep up my part of the bargain. ;O)
By the way, this little guy is named Scuttle and he will be looking for his permanent home in 3 weeks!
*Although I do not post things that I don't agree with (without saying so that is), I need to stress that I am not a dog trainer. Information that I give to you in posts like this one are a compilation of information from others in dog related industries as well as research from books I've read and the internet. My blog posts are designed to give you information so that you can research on your own when you think the subject might be something that you and your dog can benefit from.
There were so many great faces at the Pawliday Hullabaloo event that Paws Pet Resort hosted. Lots of dogs wearing their holiday best and kids and families posing with their furry family members. Here's a Facebook favorite. (If you'd like to see the event images, you can find them in the Pawliday Hullabaloo Gallery. )
When I go through images for a client or for events like this, I know that the owners are not always going to love the ones that I love. Mostly it's because they know their dog way better than I do. They know when a smile is cheesy and they know when their dog is "making a goofy face." ;O)
A lot of people like images where all the members of the family are facing the camera. It's always great to be able to capture that moment (or split second when dogs are involved), but some of my favorites are favorites simply because I know the story, or because I was there and know what was going on.
This is Abbie and Mabel. This might not be what we'd call a "Christmas card photo," but I love it! Because I know the story....
Abbie (on the left) had a doggie brother that they had to say goodbye to just two days earlier. Mabel is new to the family from Ragom (Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest). When I saw this image, I saw Mabel looking to mom for comfort and maybe asking "Is this ok? Am I doing it right?" Then I saw Abbie's smile. It's as if she's saying, "Everything is going to be ok." You're right, Abbie. So, help your mom and dad take care of Mabel while she settles in.
Wishing you and your furry friends a wonderful, (and even more than ok) Christmas holiday!
The Little White Dog product line grew by two. The first was the Acrylic Album Set and this second is this beautiful Folio Box! This box is sooooo impressive!
Folio Boxes are custom made with whatever you'd like etched into the top. This can be a name, a quote, a design, you name it. The box holds ten of your favorite 8x10 images printed on Fuji Silk archival paper and mounted on ultra thick ridged board substrate. If you purchase the Print Collection from our products then you will also receive digital images of your choice on a matching USB. There are over 60 fabrics to choose from to give your box a unique look. You can choose one for the entire box or mix and match them for the perfect pairing.
As I sat trying to decide which of my sessions to create this sample box with, I looked over and saw 4 marble shaped eyes staring at me. (Why are they always staring??) Well, the decision was made. Hermes and Dash needed to be the stars of this one. ;O)
Ophie's mom called me wanting to set up a photo session. She wanted to include the fall colors in her session and those were fading fast. So, after learning a bit about Ophie and her two year old schnoodle personality I did some scouting and found that one park had a bit of color left that might work due to the fact that it was low to the ground... like Ophie. ;O)
Rain was in the forecast so we pushed up the session to that evening and Ophie was great! Her mom describes her as feisty, sassy, and lovable. (I think this is a very healthy balance for any young lady, don't you?) Ophie's mom says that she tells you what's on her mind with no beating around the bush. She's a mama's girl and after enjoying her day, Ophie makes sure that she gets her nightly mom-time together in a favorite chair.
Ophie is motivated by treats, but that doesn't help with her diet. What's the next best thing? Her ball! Just when I thought we had tuckered her out, the ball came out of the bag and so did Ophie's enthusiasm. (Never underestimate the power of the fetch!)
Ophie, you are so fun and you mean the world to your mom. I hope your days are full of color, snuggles, and lots of opportunities to play fetch. ;O)
I'm in love with the new Acrylic Album Set that's been added to the Little White Dog product line!
The album is gorgeous with an acrylic cover that has several design concepts, and there are over 60 different cover options to mix and match in order to create a look as unique as your session. The album has thick pages with images printed on beautiful, seamless silk Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper and the Keepsake Box can be created from one cover option or paired with a second.
This album is classy and still uniquely fun at the same time!
(The Acrylic Album is a new album option on my product list, but is also a new Collection item that includes Digital Negatives as well as Gift Prints and more.)
Want to see what a complete session album looks like?
(Feel free to use firstname.lastname@example.org to view the session album.)
I've made some changes to my product line and I have some exciting news about sessions as well!
First, let's talk digitals... :O)
So many people want digital negatives these days. Some people want them for scrapbooking, some for printing their own wall art, and some want them for social media. There are a lot of things that go into a photographer's decision to sell or not sell digital negatives. For me, the point of creating images and artwork for the home is so we can look at them on a daily basis without having to do a thing. They bring us joy, they comfort us, and they bring back fond memories.
How many people do you know who have a CD of their wedding that sits in a desk drawer? The answer for me is "too many." A lot of thought, time, and money went into creating those images (for both the client and the photographer). I know that I have videos of my kids when they were young that were taken and then never looked at (unless you count viewing it on the back of the recorder at the time I took them). I recorded them so that I could look back at them when my boys were grown and relive the memories. Well, how many of you have VHS tapes, or even micro cassettes of video that you can not look at because there is nothing to view them with? Even the CD that most have of their wedding is no longer viewable on a standard computer because most companies have done away with the CD drive.
I feel very strongly that we need to print images so that we have something that does not require a device to view them with. Images that we can share with several generations.
From the photographer's point of view, digital negatives are the most vulnerable product they can provide to a client. They need to protect their art by insuring that it is not poorly represented by a lower quality print from Walmart or canvas from Costco. (This is the sole reason that a lot of photographers do not offer digital negatives on their product list.) If you're the client and willing to take the time and effort that is required to hire a photographer, then you should be able to enjoy the images from that session every day. Having printed images is the best way to ensure that you can.
Having said all that, I totally understand the reasons behind wanting to have digital negatives. In response, this is what I've done...
First, I need for you to know that every session comes with free discreetly watermarked social media files to share. I've always provided these files and there is never a charge for them. If sharing your images on Facebook, Instagram, or through email is what you're looking for, then you are good to go.
For those who want digital negatives to print on their own, I have developed a few digital negative groupings. Additionally, I now have two beautiful new products and have created packages with them that also include the negatives. (I'm anxiously waiting for my samples to arrive and will share as soon as I have them!) With these new products, I know that you will enjoy your images every day from the first moment you receive them (no matter when you decide to print from your digital negatives). It's a win-win! ;O)
Now for the other fun news...
There is no longer a separate session fee when booking!
Now, a retainer fee will be charged to hold your session date and time, but that retainer will become a product credit that can be used during the ordering session! (For those who have already booked a fall or winter session, don't worry, this will apply to you as well.)
I hope you survived the shock of waking up to the first 3" of winter yesterday! I have to admit I thought the leaves sticking up from all the white stuff was quite pretty. Hermes and Dash thought otherwise. ;O)
One hundred (plus) dogs and their families showed up for Paws and Pumpkins held by Paws Pet Resort this past weekend. What a fun day!! I got to say hello to soooo many new furry faces and I only wish that there had been time to get to know them all. Lots of smiles and wagging tails!
Here's one little girl who participated at the event. I bet her owner never has a bad day when greeted with such personality!
If you were at the event, you can download your social media images in the Paws & Pumpkins gallery.
Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months or even years where life just seems to throw one curve ball after another? I met a beautiful young lady who has managed to come out on top after one such period of time and she gives a lot of credit to her four-legged friend.
Through all the ups and downs Beagan was there. Rachel tells me that she and Beagan "saved each other." She found him in a parking lot, abandoned and malnourished. She took him in and nursed him back to health and in return he was by her side through thick and thin. He helped her through heartbreak, helped pack for moves (like only dogs can do), and probably should have worn a cap for his support during grad school and getting her PHD. They went on runs, hikes and road trips together; Rachel was the center of Beagan's world.
Rachel and Beagan moved to Sioux Falls only to learn (sixteen days later) that they didn't have much time left together. Beagan may have had an idea that his time was limited, but he took it upon himself to make sure that Rachel got to her new home before he said goodbye. On the last evening that they shared together, Beagan was visibly tired, but he made sure that Rachel would be able to remember him as the oh-so-handsome, loving, loyal, derpy dog that she knew and loved.
It's always so very hard to say goodbye to our four-legged friends, but memories of the times we spent with them help us hold them in our hearts forever.
"How Lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
- Winnie the Pooh
It's the event of the year according to the dogs in Sioux Falls (well, if they could talk that is). The Sioux Falls Swimming Gone to the Dogs event marks the end of summer with two paws up. Last night was packed and it was tough to see dogs from my level through all the human legs, but I managed to get a few images that will hopefully make the owners smile.
This was my favorite image of the night. It says everything about why I love my job.
Our pets are part of who we are.
Moments captured between people and their pets results in images that tell a part of their story; a part of who they are. Being able to share in this documentation, whether it be from a session or a city event, makes my day every. single. time.
When Sami told me that Blu liked bubbles, I thought, ok, I'll put some bubbles in my bag to take to the session. Well, "Blu likes bubbles" was quite the understatement! I don't think I have EVER seen a dog like bubbles like Blu likes bubbles. There is no way I can describe the pure JOY on this dog's face when she realized what was about to happen... but, I took pictures. ;O)
Not to be left out, Tex had his turn, too. He wasn't going to give up his fair share of the bubbles.
These two adore their owner and live to please her. Sami says Blu is her "everything dog." She is eager to learn and works as a therapy dog, does search and rescue, agility and dock diving. Tex is just a puppy and is best pals with Blu. They play with and chase other dogs together, and they love to adventure with Sami. Tex will be getting ready for duck hunting soon, and gets excited when he sees a bird or hears a gun. Tex loves everyone, but when mom is around he will not hesitate to claim Sami's lap and let you know that she is his person.
There is a quote that I heard the other day...
There are friends, there is family,
and then there are friends that become family.
From the short time that I spent with Sami, Blu and Tex, I feel like this was written about them. Take care of each other you guys, and have fun!
Bella is definitely the princess of her house. She's a senior who loves bows in her hair and polish on her nails, and she has a basket of toys that would rival that seen on Toy Story.
Bella goes everywhere with her mom. It's a "we" thing as far as the two of them go. If you see one, you'll probably see the other. Bella has attended school functions, family weddings, and she even voted!
Although Bella is a mama's girl, she knows when it's time for dad to come home and she patiently awaits his arrival. Once he's home, it's time to do a few laps around the table just to let him know that she loves him, too. And, speaking of laps, this little girl can run!
This tiny little dog has a big heart and a big personality, and she fills up a big space in her family's life. Take care of them, Bella. I think it's safe to say, you complete them. ;O)