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!