Training your dog is essential, but getting the right pet trainer makes all the difference. So, you decided that you need professional help with your dog training. Maybe you have the basics but you want to hone those skills and take it to another level. But so many to choose from. How do you find the right one?
Obviously, not all trainers are the same and anyone can call themselves as a trainer. It's not a well regulated industry yet, so, what should you look out for?
First, be sure of your goal. What services do you need, is there an issue you want to address specifically. Are you looking for a group class or a private class? Consider the type of training approach you want. Knowing your specific goals and needs will help you to identify and click with the right person for the job.
Ask loads of questions. Find out about their education, or training, how long they have been at it, do they have past clients you can connect with. Ask them about their style, philosophy, and preference. What tools do they rely on for training? Ask about the training environment and if your schedule permits, request to observe a session.
Never underestimate a referral. Obviously, fellow pet parents are a wealth of knowledge and can be so helpful in steering you to the right pet trainer for your dog. If you are not shy, and you see a well-trained dog while strolling or in your neighborhood start a conversation ( most dog parents love to brag ) find out who they went to.
Training a pet is one of the best investment you can make so take the time to find the right trainer that fits you, your pet and your goals. It is so worth it!!
Dog, man's best friend, is, without doubt, the most adorable pet. However, without basic training and commands, they can be a bit frustrating and possibly embarrassing when they lack basic social behaviour with people and other animals.
At first, dog training can seem overwhelming, but if followed through, it may just be the best gift you can give yourself and your pet. Proper obedience training is among the basic things your dog needs and results in a happy, well-behaved, well-socialized companion, not to mention it strengthens your bond.
So where do you start? Well, you may choose to hire a professional for one-on-one lessons or send them to board with a trainer. However, you can train your dog on your own, and as mentioned it will strengthen your bond.
The earlier you get started with training, the better! Train your puppy the moment you bring him or her home, even at 4 weeks they can learn simple commands. Start with simple commands can build on them gradually till the he or she has mastered the command .
Best way to start your training is in an environment with few distractions. You will need a place where you can get your dog to focus on you alone. With time, you can introduce more distractions as necessary.
Give your dog frequent breaks, keep training time as short as possible, like five to fifteen minutes, and don't push yourself and the dog. Ensure you are keeping it fun, and successful to avoid frustrations.
Regardless of the method or technique, you choose to use, reward behaviours you like. Dogs learn through the immediate consequences of their behaviour, just like humans do. The reward can be in the form of food, a good belly rub, or whatever you have studied that gets your dog excited. Note that the rewards must be immediate and consistent with achieving a desirable result.
Some basic commands that are best to start with are:
Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off, and No. Each one of these will set a boundary for your dog, and instill basic obedience and behaviours that will make you proud
If you do decide you would like to enlist a professional below are a few local professionals that I know personally.
Just Doggin it Adventure & Training - Serving Shawnigan Lake and surrounding
Moto-vated dog training - Serving Cowichan Valley and surrounding
Source K9 - Specializing in Aggressive Dog behaviours
If you have had pets you realize each one has a distinct personality, and, tragically, their time with us is short. Portraits of your cherished friend is one way to keep their memory alive. It allows you time travel, so to speak, to moments of joy and laughter you experienced with your pet.
I transitioned to pet photography when my Great Dane Floyd died in 2018. It was a heart breaking loss made even more so because I had only images of him on Instagram, and FB and other social media platforms. Don't get me wrong they serve a purpose but they are certainly not memories worthy of adoring on my walls or a keepsake on my desk. That moment was when I realized the importance of portraits as art. Pieces that immortalized my boy Floyd for years to come. My family is my pets, and I have them hanging on my walls now, particularly when I added my girl Honey to the mix. I swore I would not go without having some amazing images of her to hang in my home. In fact I have a collage on my wall, of her and her step brother Fred, and every time I look at them I feel a warm glow and a smile.
Portraits are a luxury - yes, absolutely, however you don't realize how priceless they are in your home until you lose your best fur friend. So in 2021, consider portraits be it with your family or just of your fur baby, gift a session to someone, or yourself and enjoy the keepsake for years. Trust me.
June 6th 2020 I was invited to shoot a limited edition session up in Parksville, BC with Canis Major Bulldogs and her 6- 5 month old Bull Dogs. It was an absolute blast to work with so many puppies on the beach and the weather was just perfect. So, here are some of the images from that day, I hope you enjoy the chonk, and the wrinkles.
So excited to share a little about our Limited Edition Porch Session Contest Winner Dominique and her 2 babes, Red and Buddy. This fur family was so much fun to be out working with. We met at a local off leash dog park called Rotary Park in Duncan, BC. I arrived just before 7 pm to get set up and met up with Red, Buddy, fur mom Dominique and fur dad Sebastien. What a fun and energetic family - check out the video below of our session (thanks to Sebastien for being my assistant). I love the park we shot at because of the gorgeous open fields and trails around, so many options to work with. To top it off it is also the puppers favorite park and we ran into a few of their friends during out session.
Both these pups are rescues from Nanaimo SPCA buddy is 5 years old and Red is 10 months and a very recent addition to the family. These are some energetic dogs, and I had suggested that they have a good run prior to our session, but even with their daily run they were still ready for more and have energy for days. Speaking of energy, their fur mom Dominique is a professional IFBB Fitness Pro and keeps them all in tip top shape both mentally and physically with daily jogs and the occasional pup work out. If you live in the Duncan area, and frequent the Someno's Dog park you will likely have seen them along the dyke. Anyhow, our session took a bit longer than expected as they were very playful but the evening was gorgeous so we just took our time and strolled along to great spots.
This past week I went for a walk with my friend Bonnie, and her partner Michael, Teddy her pup, my Dane Fred and myself. During our walk she reminded me that it's her old dog's 1 year anniversary, of crossing the rainbow bridge on July 7. It may seem strange to mark the day you lose a dog, but this dog was Bonnie's fur family for 11 years. So although it is not a time of celebration on this 1 year anniversary, it is one of reminiscing. We chatted a bit about her personality, and how different Teddy is, and then I asked if she would allow me write about her and Roxie's bond. She said yes :)
Question: How old was Roxie, and do you know her birth date?
Bonnie: I had her for 11 years, adopted her in Oct 2008. The vet estimated she was around 2 when she became my fur family, and she was 13 when passed in July 2019.
Question: Do you know what breed she was?
Bonnie: Roxie was a 12 lb Papilllion cross, but she was marked as a Chihuahua cross in the shelter. I was curious to find out and at some point I had her DNA tested for fun. It came back as a yorkie-poo! Ummm...no.
Question: Did you have any nick names for her?
Bonnie: Oh YEA, She had many nicknames, 12 Pounds of Evil, Roxie Roller, Rockem Sockem robot, and Roxs with Socks. It was all with love of course but she was dog reactive and could be a handful.
Question: What was your favourite thing to do together?
Bonnie: One of our favourite things was go for walks, in the rain. She never minded the rain, and because she was such as asshole to other dogs, rain meant we were less likely to run in to other people walking their dogs. So we could both relax and enjoy our walking time. Our second favourite was to go to Island View Beach for an off-leash walk with my friend Nancy and her dogs. Nancy was my dog sitter and walker, so Roxie knew her and her dogs. One on one Roxie was very dog reactive, but with Nancy's pack of dogs Roxie could interact with other dogs and not pick fights. It was always so great to see Roxie behaving like a "normal" dog
I was so honored to be able to have been there to capture some images of Roxie, shortly before she passed. She was blind and mostly deaf but still was a rock star.
A little bit from Bonnie
The day we met - I was working at a shelter and I was looking for a small 20 lb dog that would fit into my life. I had already set time aside that day to see another dog that arrived at the shelter, with a load of dogs brought over from the mainland, but as fate would hav eit he she was too heavy. So I asked about Roxie (then called Panda). I was told she may not be a good fit - she was yappy- not good in a condo. I figured I would at least check her out and I took her for a short walk around the streets at the shelter. We sat on a bench for a bit, just relaxing and checking each other out, when I decided I would give her a shot. We headed back to the shelter, and for the rest of the day she hung out behind the desk with myself and the other staff working that day. I found our more about her history and that she came with a bite report. Technically she should have been euthanized but the person who seized her fought to give her another chance. So there is 4 staff and Panda, trying to decide on a good name for her (I didn't like Panda) - we decided she needed a tough chick name since she bit someone. Co-worker suggested Roxanne (Roxie). Oh I liked that and wanted to see if Panda liked it. I look over to where Panda is interacting with another staff person, and I say "what do you think Roxie, wanna come home with me?" No word of a lie, she turned around, walked over and sat at me feet, looked me in the eyes and tilted her head to the side. That was the moment she picked me and came home with me.
Roxie was my first dog, and she taught me so much about being a dog owner and about myself as well. She was very dog reactive when it was just the 2 of us - like she felt she had to defend me. She always did great in training sessions but then out in the real world and all the training went out the window. I would see a dog and my anxiety would spike fearing Roxie would misbehave...of course she would pick up on my stress and freak out. It took me a long time to realize I was causing the exact thing I was trying to prevent. Of course, there were days I would get SO FRUSTRATED with her, I questioned why I adopted her. The dog trainer I worked with once told me Roxie came in to my life to teach me things, so shut up and listen to Roxie's lessons
I have so many stories, and wonderful memories I never gave up on Roxie. Even though she could be an asshole she was my (asshole) dog and I loved her so much. It's a year since she passed and I still miss her.
This year Bentley wanted to celebrate Pawther's day with a photoshoot. How adoreable is that? The session was booked early June and I met with Grayg & Bentley at their home just by Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC and it was the perfect location. They are blessed with a beautiful garden area in back and in front of the home they had a wonderful rock and lavender garden we took advantage of and played in for a while.
Prior to the session I had done a quick check if Bentley would like to really do it up with a glittery crown and apparently the response was a resounding "WOOOF". So I planned for some glittery magic. I arrived around 6 pm for quick introductions and a walk around then got to work, Bentley is a Portuguese Water Dog, I mistakenly thought he was a Doodle of sorts due to his curly hair and calm demeanor but nope he is a working dog.
Once I found out Bentley's lineage I did a quick google search and found out these dogs are originally from the Portuguese region of the Algarve (so cool) and they were taught to herd fish into fishermen's nets, retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and act as couriers from ship to ship, or ship to shore. Now that is a working dog. Breeders also say that they are hypo-allergenic dogs, but really they just don't shed much which is a bonus and has made the breed more popular. Oh and here's a fun fact, President Obama also had 2 of these dogs named Bo and Sunny, which also boosted their popularity as a family pet.
Now back to Bentley. He was the most laid back dude I have met, and was happy to spend some time lounging in the sun spots in the back yard, or nuzzle his favorite toy Lamby. Bentley really wanted him included in the photoshoot but Lamby was just not photo ready that day, so we subbed in fur dad Grayg. I think Bentley approved as you can see that smile from miles around.
What a great gift Bentley gave his fur dad this year, happy pawther's day all!
I adore old dogs, their personalities always make me laugh, I mean, I really wish they spoke to us I would love to know what they think. Anyhow, I had the pleasure to work with a senior pair of 12 years young, and just adorable. Luna and Shadow are Sister and Brother, thick as thieves and partners in crime. We had booked a Limited Edition Porch session for June 6. June on the island is a tricky month, sometimes it is one of the wettest times of the year when it should be going into summer so it was touch and go. On the upside the home they live is had loads of room, and great light so there was a backup but everything cleared up just in time and we got some wonderful images of these seniors.
This is Luna, a graceful aging beauty living the life at 84 years old she still guards her people. They say age mellows you but not Luna, she is spry and attentive as a 35 year old. Luna had a bit of a rough start as she is a rescue pup (thank you Victoria Humane Society for being amazing) but quickly found her furever home with bro Shadow.
This is Shadow, a little bundle of sass and class. Shadow is the chill of the pair, and loves to just watch what is going on at all times. I think it's because he's looking for some fallen morsel of food or treat. He is another graceful senior at 84 as well he's a grandpa basically, but when you look at his face you can still see his quirky little puppy behind the grey beard.
Luna and Shadow's mum was so happy we could make this happen, at their age you just don't know how much longer you will have them around, and she has been planning a session for quite a while. All the stars aligned and I am so happy we could make it happen.
If you’re anything like me, you think your pet is the BEST PET EVER! Haha, no question :) And you're obviously wanting to take photos of your perfect peach but alas you just can’t seem to get that shot that’s right there before you. It’s like your pet knows you’re trying to take their picture and they're like “Ahhhh, I don’t feel like it today… thanks though”. Bogus. And truly it actually comes down to just a few key things.
1. being ready
2. having good light
3. being creative
Here are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a great shot of your pet using your mobile phone (because let’s be honest that’s what’s accessible in the moment).
1. Have your phone ready to go.
It might seem strange but if you know you’re in-it-to-win-it have your phone ready, don’t see the shot and then wish “UGH, I wish I had my phone!!” Maybe even tell Junior that you’re intending to take a really nice photo of him, hence why you’re phone is out so if they’re up for it, show off their moves or blue steel and you’re ready to snap it.
2. Let there be Light
Obvious lighting can make or break a great photograph, so if you're outdoors, be sure it is the right time of day, and keep the sun to your back, or in other words have your pet facing the light source ( the sun). Try using shaded area’s where there is more even light that won’t ‘wash out’ your pet. The best and most pleasing light is the light either in the late afternoon/early evening or early morning, where the sun won’t be too harsh.
3. Keep it Simple Silly
One trick to making a shot stand out is limiting clutter. So if you see your cutie snoozing and you are able, try to move some of the clutter like the coffee cup on the table or other distractions. Keep the area simple and clean looking. Another way is to get CLOSE up to your dog, and reduce clutter that way. Location, Location, Location
Think about your dog’s personality when figuring out where to take the photos. For example, if your dog really loves his bed, then try taking a few photos there. AND Attention
Try getting your dogs attention. It may take some serious creativity but it’s so worth it. Think about a word that may work to get them to look at you, or you can use a treat or a squeaky toy and hold it with one hand next to the lens. Just remember they are kind of like squirrels but don’t overuse it. Set your scene up and then try and get their attention with any means possible :) AND Its all about the Angles.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and have some fun with it. Take some shots from behind your pet or from above looking into their adoreable eyes or get down to their level and grab an action shot of them holding or chewing a toy. Maybe a game of tug-of-war could look cool… use your imagination and have some fun with it.
These are the moments of our lives and they’re meant to be captured so we can look back with pride years after. Adorn your pet with loving, memorable photos. And of course if you need any help with the above give me a call.
If you don't know by now, I am animal crazy (although I may have some challenges with spiders) I really enjoy them around the house. The past few months have seen a major change in how much time we spend at home, and my brood of critters are loving the change. It also offers opportunities to foster. I saw a story about Kings Harvest Animal Shelter that have had to shutter their doors as they have temporarily emptied out their shelter, having all their dogs find foster homes ! How amazing is that?
So, that brings me to Fred. Life can turn on a dime, and put you in a position you never though would happen, but that's what happened to Fred. He needed to find a new home through no fault of ANYONE's. After some time he came for a day visit to see if he would like to live with us. Did he fit with the busyness of the home, and the number of other animals etc. He walked in like a big brother to Honey and 2 weeks later he came to us for fostering. Since that time, he has settled in like a champ and learning to get along with the smaller critters in the household. He is a big bro to Honey, and they are constantly tussling and playing chase. I never thought I would foster and this may end up in a 'Foster Fail' with Fred remaining with us but either way, I adore it. So if you are able I strong suggest looking at Fostering a Dog in need, they do so much better in a home vs a shelter and who knows you may end up being a 'failure' as well.
Kim is a pet and people photographer who likes to think of herself as someone who can give you the opportunity to time travel through portraits. The blogs are of sessions, tips, tricks, and behind the scene video's to get to know more about what she does and how.