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 email@example.com 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.