Taking Great Photos of Your Dog

 

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Taking Great Photos of your Dog

There is nothing I love more than taking great photos of my dog.  This isn’t always as easy as the end result makes it look.  Dogs don’t have the longest attention spans, are often quick to give into distractions and very rarely hold still.  Even harder than getting a great shot of a dog, is taking a great shot of a person with a dog.  The person wants to look at the dog, is making a face or is in mid-sentence of telling the dog to “stay”.

Here are some key points to help you get the most beautiful photo of your dog.

 

  • Get down on the ground with the dog. You don’t want to be shooting down at the dog, but rather be down at his height.  Lie all the way down on the ground, don’t just stoop down.
  • Take really good, high value treats like lamb lung or beef liver. They are aromatic, break into small pieces easily and dogs love them. Make sure you give little tiny pieces so your dog doesn’t get sick from too many treats during a photo shoot.
  • Take a squeaky toy that you can use to get your dog’s attention. You might want to try several different sounds.  It’s nice to have a new sound that your dog isn’t used to just yet.  That way they are curious, but not necessarily expecting something like a ball toss.  A duck whistle is a good tool for getting a cute head tilt.
  • If a person is in the photo with the dog, ask them to not pay attention to the dog, but just focus on you. That way you can do your job of getting a great dog shot and not have to worry too much about the person wrecking it for you by trying to help.
  • The flip side of having the person not pay attention to the dog is having the person totally interacting with the dog. You can get great candid photos of dog and parent playing together, looking into each other’s eyes and being natural together.  Be sure to take both kinds of photos when you are doing a person/pet photo.
  • Pick a setting that is nice, but where you aren’t going to be worried about your dog running away from you. It’s very possible that your own backyard is the best place to photograph your dog.
  • Make sure the area is free of debris and clutter.
  • Have your dog groomed a day or two before the photos, but not clipped too short.
  • Collar free is always nice for a few images if you are working in the safety of your own yard.
  • If you are doing a person/pet photo, ask the person to wear solid colors that do not distract.
  • A slightly overcast day is always better than a cloud free one. Watch out for strong shadows.
  • Be patient. It might take several shots to get the perfect image.  In the photo world, we used to always say “film is cheap”.  Shoot lots of pictures and most importantly, have fun.

Car Safety for your Dog – Keeping your Dog Safe while you Drive

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This car seat inflates to help create a barrier between your dog and the seat in front of him. It also acts as a catcher mitt in a crash.

Keeping your dog safe while driving in the car is one of the most important things you do as a pet parent.  We’ve all see the cute image of  a dog enjoying the breeze as  his parent drives happily along.  The reality however, is that your dog needs to be restrained for his safety as well as yours. A dog who is going back and forth from the floor to the seat or the front to the back, is a big distraction to you while you are driving.  Even if your dog sits calmly with his head out the window, he could easily be distracted by something you are driving past and jump out or could have something harmful blow in his face.

The little dog that jumped out of a moving truck ran across the freeway

 

I’ll never forget the day that we were driving to Jackson Hole and saw a truck as it hurriedly stopped in its lane on I-15.  A man and son jumped out and ran across the highway chasing their small chihuahua that had fallen out the window while the truck was moving.

The dog was running as fast as he could, crossing over four lanes of traffic and then over the medium and into another four lanes of oncoming traffic.  He made it to the other side and kept running and running.  The man pulled his son, who wanted to continue to run after his dog, from the highway and they got back into their truck.  It was a ways still to the next exit where they could turn around and try to go after their dog on the other side.

We stopped, but there was nothing we could do other than try to keep the other cars behind us from hitting them.  I never stopped thinking about that little dog and wondering if his parents found him safe.

It was a scene that made a huge impact on me.  I don’t know exactly what happened, but my guess is that the dog was hanging his head out the window and either fell out or jumped out.  It’s amazing he survived the fall on a freeway where the speed limit was 70 MPH. It’s been a few years since I saw this happen and tears still fall from my eyes as I write about it. I can understand the terror and pain that family must have been going through.  I hope they were safely reunited.  It’s something I’ll never know.  It did strongly reinforce what I already knew, your dog needs to be restrained in the car while you are driving.

What car safety product is best for your dog?

There are a lot of different products on the market for car safety.  Over the years, the one product that we have consistently liked and used is a Padded Car VestHarness.  It’s easy to use and the seatbelt slides right through the back of the harness providing restraint.  We’ve also used a variety of car seats from the LookOut Booster Seat to the PupSaver inflatable car seat that acts like a pitchers glove with forward motion that might come from a crash.

We were involved in a crash a few years ago.  We were on our way to doggie day when it happened.  My dog was sitting in her Lookout Booster Seat.  She fell forward between the booster seat and the back seat and was suspended for a minute. I was glad she was restrained and did not hit the ground, but she was propelled forward.  Luckily, she was not hurt.  I still have the Booster Seat and its part of our rotation of products that we use at various time.  Like anything else, it’s not perfect, but it does have its place.  For years we swore by it, now it’s one of many things that we use from time to time depending on the situation.

Keeping them safe is showing them love

I love my little girl so much and always want her next to me.  It’s so tempting for me to have her in my lap when I’m a passenger or have her next to me in the passenger seat if I’m driving.  But the reality is, it’s not safe.  And quite honestly my dog feels more secure if she’s in the back and has less car anxiety.

I wish there were a perfect product.  We’ve tried everything out there and all I can say is that whatever you use, please use something.  The concept of the PupSaver is great.  It’s not perfect for my dog, but I know a lot of people love it and it is a good product. The best solution for us is the Padded Car VestHarness.  Keep trying to find the right thing for you and your dog.  If your small child put up a fuss about wearing a seat belt, would you let him go without?  My guess is of course not.  The same should go for your dog.  Keep them safe!

Cookies for your dog that you can eat too!

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Making cookies for you and your dog need not be two separate events. With this recipe, you can make something for the two of you with just a few simple modifications. This is a small batch recipe, making just enough for a few fresh cookies for both of you as a special treat. The cookies stay fresh for about 3 days. You can also double the recipe if desired.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup amaranth flour

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tbsp pure maple syrup (be sure to not use maple flavored syrup that is full of high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients)

1 Tbsp plain sparkling water like Perrier or club soda (do not use flavored waters with artificial flavoring ingredients. You can also use plain water, but carbonation makes the cookies more fluffy)

1 tsp herbs de provence

1 egg

1/2 tsp milk

raspberry fruit preserves

Mix the flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil, maple syrup and water. Add the liquid mixture to the flour and form a dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Let dough rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For you:

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. With a small circular cookie cutter (or the top of a small juice glass), cut into 8-10 rounds and place on a cookie sheet. With your thumb press the center to make a dent. Fill with dab of fruit preserve.

For your dog:

Take the remaining dough and roll a little thinner, to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into small flower shapes. Mix egg with milk. Brush the tops of the flowers with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with Herbs de Provence.

Bake on the same cookie tray for about 20-25 minutes. The thinner dog cookies will be crisp and your jam cookies will be more soft.

The small amount of pure maple syrup in these cookies is safe for your dog as an occasional special treat. That is also part of the reasoning for the small batch. Do be careful to not give your dog your fruit preserve cookies, especially if you are using preserves which may contain xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs. Use common sense and keep your cookies for you, but you can eat your dog’s cookies if he will let you share!

This is a fun and easy way for both of you to have a fresh-baked treat with minimal effort.

Homemade Chicken Jerky for your Dog

These tasty treats are easy to make and nutritious

 

These simple homemade chicken jerky treats for your dog are a snap to make and take worry away from buying jerky from the store.

Ingredients
2 Tbsp local wild honey
2 Tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 lb chicken (stir-fry cut)

Grind the rosemary by hand or in a food processor. Combine molasses, honey, rosemary and water in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to cover all pieces. Cover and marinade in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a roast pan with foil and place a wire rack on top. Twist and lay the marinated chicken on the rack. Brush any remaining marinade on top.

Bake for about 5 hours and let cool before serving.

These will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

For longer shelf life, pre-cook the marinated chicken strips on the stove top before placing in the oven to dehydrate, still baking at 225 degrees for 2-4 hours.

 

Wheatgrass for Dogs

 

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Wheatgrass is one of the best living sources of chlorophyll available.  It’s has over 100 elements that are needed by our bodies.  It’s loaded with amino acids, enzymes, protein, vitamins and minerals.  It is a wonderful detoxifier and rebuilds the blood stream. Chlorophyll washes away drug deposits in the body and neutralizes toxins.  It also helps in purifying the liver. On top of all that, it neutralizes odors and gives your dog fresh breath.

As soon as I get the wheatgrass juicer out, Tashi goes crazy for her favorite healthy treat of the day.  We grow our own wheatgrass and grind it daily with a HandyPantry macerating juicer.  It only takes a few minutes and is easy to clean up.  The benefits of wheatgrass are highest if you drink it within 20 minutes of juicing, but you can keep some in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze it in small amounts in baby ice cube trays.  I generally juice about 2 ounces of grass a day for myself and give Tashi about 1/4 tsp which she enjoys straight.  If your dog is not so keen on wheatgrass, you can also add it to food or water.

Powdered wheat or barley grass is a good option as well if you are short on time.  Just make sure you are buying a product that does not have other stuff added to it that may be harmful to your dog.

The key to using wheatgrass for your dog is to use it in small amounts.  Too much wheatgrass too soon can be too detoxifying and cause vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness.  Tashi weighs 14 lbs so she gets 1/4 a tsp, but we started with a tiny drop and built up from there over time.  A 50 lb dog can build up to 1 tsp a day.

Happy juicing!

Healthy Homemade Dog Biscuits

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Choosing the ingredients of what your dog eats is essential to good health.  Tashi loves fresh baked cookies in a variety of assortments!  These biscuits are very simple to make and are a bit hit at our house.

2 cups whole wheat flour (we use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/8 cup rolled barley oats
2 Tablespoons virgin coconut oil (melted)
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, wheat bran, barley oats, parsley and pumpkin seeds.  Add water and oil to dry ingredients.  Knead for 2-3 minutes.  Roll dough to 1/4″ thick and cut with a bone shaped cookie cutter.  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes.

 

 

 

Eggs for Dogs

Whole eggs are a great source of protein for your dog.  Our holistic vet recommends that the egg be cooked with the whites cooked all the way through, as to not cause a biotin deficiency, but with the yolks still runny.  Next time you are cooking eggs for yourself, fry up an egg or two for your dog.  It’s one of Tashi’s favorite meals!

 

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Blueberry and beef casserole

Home baked casserole for you and your dog

Everyone likes a special home-baked meal and your dog is no exception. This recipe incorporates whole food goodness in an easy to make recipe that you and your dog can share.

1/2 lb beef stew meat

1 cup goat milk

2 large eggs

6 slices Ezikiel sprouted whole wheat bread, crumbled

1/4 cup grated carrot

1/8 cup chopped italian parsley

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 Tbsp blueberries

1/8 cup peas

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried rosemary

1/4 tsp powdered eggshell

1 tsp olive oil

200 mg vitamin E, added from a one capsule

1 small garlic clove chopped fine

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together and press firmly into a glass casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown. This recipe can also be served to your dog raw, or baked you can both enjoy its wholesomeness!