I've started an ongoing project that I've been wanting to put into action for years. Why didn't I do it sooner? Looking back, I think it was the scary details. Aside from photographing dogs, everything about this project would have been brand new to me.
I have been hard at work for several months now planning all the details (the fun creative ones and the not so fun business ones) and Pawsitivity fundraising sessions are now a reality!
These sessions will happen once or twice a year and the goal is to raise money for charities. They'll each have a theme and the sessions will be short and sweet. They'll be a little different from my normal sessions as we'll be photographing inside and the images will have a minimalistic feel.
The first of the Pawsitivity sessions is called World At Your Feet and will take place in March. I'm so excited about this session! The images will focus on your dog and a bit of your own personality, too... your shoes! We'll be raising money to buy new shoes for the kids of Children's Inn and those supported by Mission Haiti.
If you'd like to know more about the fundraiser sessions you'll find all the details here!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Spring is right around the corner! ;O)
This post is part of the 52 weeks blog circle so take a look at what other's have to say about "details" starting with Jackie Petersen Pet Photography, serving pet lovers in Northern Utah.
Ok, when I heard that the theme for this week's blog circle was "Git Lit," I got this huge grin on my face from a memory from a few months ago. Of course the theme is referring to photography, but all I could think about was a little trouble that Hermes got himself into a few months back. ;O)
I had friends visiting from out of state and at one point, my friend came upstairs and asked, "Kelly, if Hermes got in our room would he get into things he shouldn't?" I just laughed and said, "Yes, what did he do?" She looked at me and said, "You might want to call the vet" as she held up what looked like a treat bag. When I asked what it was she said, "CBD dog chews." I smiled and asked how many were in the bag to start with. She said twenty. When I asked how many were left she said, four. (Good grief, Hermes! lol)
Of course this happened on a weekend so my vet was out of the office, and the girl at the desk told me I should probably call poison control. Instead I just googled it and found that every single site said, "...is not fatal." That was good enough for me. I looked at Hermes and said, "You're on your own, buddy" and decided we would just watch him for a bit and make sure that he was ok.
After about 15 minutes or so Hermes was, well... he was "lit." He was laying in front of the sliding glass doors with his head tilted back sloooooowwly inspecting every inch of the ceiling from one corner to the next and back again. (Can you picture it?!! Ha!)
I do wish that I had taken a picture now, but at the time we figured it wasn't going to look like anything out of the ordinary without a tie dyed t-shirt and some Doritos. ;O)
As it's in the single digits outside, the only thing these two are concerned about getting lit right now is... the fireplace. 🐾
If you struggle to get good pictures of your dog,
here are a few tips about lighting that can help.
Whether you're using a cell phone or a camera, turn off your flash!
The flash will almost always give your dog "alien eyes." This is due to a special layer of cells that help them see better at night. The flash can also make them uncomfortable and not want to look at you again if you have that "scary thing" in your hand. So, unless it is absolutely necessary, turn the flash OFF.
When you are outside you want your dog to be facing the light.
This is especially important if your dog has black fur. When the light is behind your dog, it can create shadows on their face and chest causing them to look very dark.
Find some shade.
Most people think that a bright sunny day is perfect for pictures. It's beautiful outside so the pictures are going to be beautiful, too, right? Not always. In fact, unless you are manually applying your camera settings you're probably not going to be happy without some editing. Bright sun, especially in the middle of the day will cast harsh shadows. These shadows will be unavoidable and in most cases your dog will be half really, really bright and half really, really dark. The best thing to do is to find some shade. On days with no clouds, tons of sun, and very little shade you'll find that early morning or early evening are the best times to take pictures because the sun is much lower and not as harsh.
Overcast days are great for photographing your dog (and perfect for black dogs).
Don't let the absence of blue in the sky fool you into thinking your pictures won't be nice. On overcast days everything will be evenly lit with no bright spots or harsh shadows. For the best results (especially with black dogs) you still want to have your dog facing the light (or where the sun would be if there were no clouds). This will insure that you will be able to see their awesome expression in every shot.
When you're indoors (again, turn off that flash), you want to get your dog in the best natural light available. If you have lots of windows you will probably be ok in the majority of the room. If you have limited light, get your dog close to the window. Ideally, you'll want to try and be between your dog and the window so that the light is not behind your dog. (Make sure that your body is not casting a shadow on your model.) The part that's different about photographing indoors is that mid-day is usually a good time to take pictures as the sun is not coming directly in the window.
I hope these tips help. With a little practice you'll soon be able to spot perfect lighting scenarios to compliment your dog. 🐾
As this is a blog circle post, you can check out lighting tips from others as well! Start with Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography, serving pet lovers in the Tampa Bay area of Florida to continue around the circle.
Through the years I have made scrapbooks filled with pictures and stories for each of my kids as well as for my husband and I. When I found Designer Digitals digital scrapbooking site I was instantly hooked on the journaling part that I could incorporate so easily. Going back through the pages that I had created I was surprised to find one page in particular. It sums up my photography business perfectly. The interesting thing is, this was written years before I even considered starting a business!
The journaling reads:
If I could...
I would visit the troops and take candid photos. I would give them to the men and women in the military so they could see what I see. That they make a difference. That they are appreciated. That it’s not a small thing that they do.
I would take candid photos of the participants and workers of the Special Olympics. I would give them to them so that they could see what I see. That they are wonderful. That they are cherished. That they are winners.
I would go to nursing homes and take candid photos (and some posed ones, too because they love that) of the residents. I would give them to the residents so that they could see what I see. That they are not forgotten. That they are valuable. That they are loved.
I would go to the streets and take candid photos of the homeless. I would give them to the men, women and children so that they could see what I see. That they are people. That they are worth as much as the next person. That they are seen.
I would go to the schools and take candid photos of the teens. I would give them to the students so that they could see what I see. That they are unique. That they are interesting. That they are attractive and important.
I would take candid photos of the ordinary, everyday people. I would give them to them so that they could see what I see. I would do this so that the teachers and the bus drivers, the taxi drivers and the mail people, the painters and the dancers, the stay at home moms, the janitors, animal control officers, truck drivers, cafeteria workers, hospital lab runners, and pizza delivery people. . . could all see what I see. That they are needed. That they are important. That they are part of the big picture . . . and can be proud of who they are.
"We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." -Will Rogers
So I will take pictures of the people who clap... and I will give them to them.
I've always loved candid photography and think everyone should have pictures of themselves and their loved ones that show the inside as well as the outside.
Pictures that tell a story.
If you're not ready for professional images quite yet, keep taking pictures on your own, but have someone else get some shots with you and your dog together, too. Frame a couple so that you will be reminded on a daily basis what it looks AND feels like to have such a great relationship with your dog. 🐾
As part of a Blog Circle, this post leads to another pet photographer's "tell a story" post and can be followed link by link around the circle starting with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper.
First let me say, Happy new year!!! I hope you have all recuperated from the holidays and are ready for whatever 2020 has in store. (All good, fingers crossed!)
Second, I am participating in a world-wide blog circle of pet photographers again this year. Those of you who have been around for a while might have realized (or not) that I went missing from the circle in September of 2016 and then again in May of 2018, but THIS year is going to be different! (She says with all the certainty of...well, she's certain that she would like to give it her best shot.) I'm starting with a clean slate. Well, would you look at that! The theme for the first post is Blank Slate. ;O)
I'm not one who makes new year resolutions. It's just toooooo stressful for me! But, I do look forward to starting something new at the beginning of each year be that making a new quilt, creating a new scrapbook, or starting a new photography project. (I've always had multiple hobbies and think they are good for the soul.)
At the end of each year I basically start with a clean slate when it comes to my business. I update my web-site and add some of the new furry faces and pet parents that I became friends with over the year. It's always so fun to relive those sessions! After I've stretched this out to last as long as possible, I get myself up to date on the administrative aspects of the business. (Who am I kidding, this is a constant battle, 2 miles, uphill both ways, in the snow!) This is all stuff that I need to keep up with, but it's not the most glamorous part of owning a business.
With all of the not-so-fun parts, I'm very well aware that my personality needs creativity and change, so I've also been hard at work on a new project. This will involve a new type of session that I'll be offering focused on fundraising for charities.
For twenty, no thirty, (ok, let's just say many) years now I've often referred to myself as a "professional volunteer." Several of the opportunities that I've had have led to insight about just how many non-profits there are that no one even knows about. So many organizations go completely un-noticed because the bigger ones are always the first to mind. A perfect example is when a business does a food drive or fundraiser for a local charity, (and, thank you!) they usually just go with the well-known places in town and call it good.
The hope is that these new sessions will not only help charities monetarily, but in a more impactful way by bringing awareness to their cause.
I hope I've intrigued you and I promise to let you know as soon as I've gotten everything set for the sessions. But, for now I hope that you are able to create something fun with your own blank slate. Happy New Year!! 🐾
If this is your first time with a blog circle just continue on and see what other pet photographers have created for the blank slate theme. Start here with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, capturing moments and memories for pets and their people in Northeastern PA.
There is often a lot of traffic and commotion in a household and sometimes dogs just need to get away from it all. If they have a crate (or kennel) that they are use to, it provides an atmosphere where they can feel safe and secure. They can go to their safe place to escape situations that might be frightening or stressful, or even just to take a nap.
We were Dash's fourth home. I was relieved for him when I found out that he had always liked his crate. When there were big changes in his life, he always had his
own little shell that he could retreat to when he was nervous. (Turns out he's ALWAYS been a bit high strung, but his crate helps with that, too.) ;O)
A crate is especially good for rescue dogs (in my opinion). When I foster, I always try and crate train them if they have not had a crate of their own before. I want them to be able to take their "safe place" with them when they are adopted. It really helps with the transition from one home to another.
I start a foster dog's crate training by putting the dog's bed in front of the open crate in the same room that I am in most of the day. When I decide that they are not concerned about the crate being there, I put their bed inside the crate (again, with the door open). Once the dog is going in and out of the crate on their own, you know they are comfortable. Closing the door to the crate is sometimes a little scary for them so I do this at night with the crate next to my bed. Before long the dog is going into his crate at night as well as when I leave the house without any hesitation.
Depending on the personality, the foster might just learn by example like Walter did. ;O)
There are some situations that require crates. Being from Texas, evacuations come to mind. If you ever have to evacuate because of a hurricane, tornado, flood, etc., the shelters always require that pets have a crate. They will almost always have to turn down pets that don't.
There are many other situations where a crate can make things a lot easier. I have a friend who's dog learned how to open the condo door when they would leave for dinner. She would escape the room and eventually find her way via elevator down to the main floor! As entertaining as it was (after the fact, ha!) it is not a safe situation to find your dog in.
Staying in a hotel, an RV or camper, or just staying at a friend or family member's home can be much more pleasant with a dog who is use to a crate.
One year my son and his wife brought their two big dogs home for Christmas. Since we didn't know how the dogs would react to a little white dog running around, (I pictured a rabbit in their eyes) we up-sized Hermes' crate to "shark tank" and let him stay where he was more comfortable and out of reach of the other dogs. Once all three dogs got use to each other, Hermes was still able to get under his blanket in the crate and take a stress-free nap when he needed some alone time. ;O)
Some people don't like the idea of their dog being in a crate and they all have their reasons, but I truly believe (if it is not EVER used as a punishment) a dog loves having his own space to unwind and feel secure just like we do.
**If your dog has never used a crate before, you need to take some precautions. You should never just put your dog in a crate and then leave if they have never been in a crate. They could panic and injure themself trying to get out. As with all training, each dog is different so the training will vary accordingly. There are many posts on-line about crates and I encourage you to look at articles from advocates of both sides before deciding what is best for your dog.
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.
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)
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.
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)