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10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Happy

Orange long haired kitten playing with multi-colored ball on white background

Toys are a great way to keep your cat happy.

September is Happy Cat Month, so how do you keep your cat happy? Here are 10 tips for a happier cat.

Entertain Me!

Cats need lots of different types of entertainment. Provide a variety of toys such as catnip stuffed toys, toys with bells, toys that roll, kick toys, and toys they can chase such as wand toys with feathers attached. Be sure to put any toys with strings away when you are not there to supervise. You don’t want you cat getting caught up in the string. Boxes and paper bags are loads of fun for cats too. Even a crumpled-up piece of paper that your cat can bat around can provide fun entertainment. Make sure you rotate your cat’s toys. You don’t want your cat to get bored, mix things up.

Providing toys is great but you also need to play with your cat. Playing with your cat on a daily basis will strengthen your bond.

Lots of Love

Spending time with your cat is another way to keep your cat happy. While cats don’t mind spending time alone doesn’t mean they don’t like attention too. Spend time petting and playing with your cat daily.

Calico cat using cat scratching post

Provide proper scratching items to keep your cat happy.

Scratch, Scratch, Scratch

Scratching is a way for your cat to stretch their muscles and sharpen their claws. It is a natural instinct, so it is important for you to provide appropriate things for your cat to scratch so that your cat doesn’t choose something inappropriate, like your furniture. Not all cats like to scratch the same way. Some cats like vertical surfaces, while others like horizontal surfaces. Some cats like carpeted items, while others prefer things covered in rope. Some cats would rather scratch the corrugated cardboard scratching boards you can buy at your local pet supply store. Take the time to find out what your cat likes. It will save your furniture and carpeting in the long run.

A Place to Escape

While cats enjoy spending time with you they also need a place where they can get away. Provide your cat with a place where they can sleep, hide or just relax.

black and white cat sitting on floor looking out window.

Provide a place for your cat to view the outside world to keep your cat happy.

A Room with A View

Cats love to look outside. Provide them with the window where they can see the birds, lizards, squirrels, and other wildlife while remaining safely inside.

Keep it Clean and Private

Want to keep your cat happy? Keep their litter box clean and secluded. Cats are fastidious when it comes to their litter boxes. Cleaning their litter box daily will give you a happier cat. Don’t be surprised if your cat finds another place to go if you don’t keep their litter box clean. Cats also like privacy and will be happier if their box is located in a private place such as a closet or unused room. Do not put their litter box near their food. Cats don’t like to eat in their bathroom any more than we do. If you have a multi-cat household you will need one litter box per cat, plus one extra box. So, if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes. Don’t have all the litter boxes in the same place. Disburse them throughout the house. As I said, cats like their privacy.

Persian cat eating cat grass

Cat grass is one way to keep your cat happy.

Let the Grass Grow

Cats love to graze on different types of grasses. Purchase some cat-friendly grasses at your local pet supply store and place the containers throughout your house. These grasses can be good for your cat’s health and are easy to grow. Your cat will thank you.

Cat drinking water from kitchen faucet

Fresh water should always be provided to keep your cat happy.

Fresh Water and Good Food

Provide your cat with fresh water at all times. Some cats prefer drinking water that is moving. You can purchase a drinking fountain online or at your local pet supply store. Providing fresh water is important especially if you feed your cat dry kibble as there is very little water content in dry food.

Don’t overfeed your cat. Open feeding can cause your cat to overeat and become obese. An overweight cat will become sedentary and unhappy. If you are concerned about your cat’s weight talk with your veterinarian about the best way to get your cat back to a healthy weight. Do not put your cat on a diet without first talking with your veterinarian.

Keep Them Healthy

Regular veterinary checkups are a great way to keep your cat happy. Cats do not show signs of illness readily, so regular trips to your veterinarian are imperative to making sure your cat is healthy.

Train Them

Yes, you read that correctly. Train your cat! Train your cat to walk on a leash so that they can safely enjoy the great outdoors. Teach your cat tricks to keep their brains challenged and amaze your friends. You can teach a cat to do anything you can teach a dog to do. Cats can learn the basics, such as sit, down, stay and even more complicated behaviors such as running an agility course. Keep your training sessions short and fun. Get creative.

How Can Dances with Dogs help?

If you want help training your cat our certified trainers can get you started. If you don’t have time to keep your cat entertained or litter boxes clean our professional pet care specialists will be happy to take care of those things for you. Don’t have time to get to the store? Our pet supply shopping service can pick up that kitty water fountain, those fun toys or the cat grass you cat is craving. Does your cat need a ride to the vet? We can do that too! Contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pets

Blacktop road with yellow are you ready wording.

Disaster preparedness should include your pets. Are you Ready?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. What most of us think about when we think about disaster preparedness is how do I keep my family safe? How many days of food and water should we have? How much water do we need per person? What important papers do we need to keep with us? What should we take with us if we need to evacuate?

You have prepared for your human family, but what about your pets? Here are a few things to help your disaster preparedness for your pets.

Identification

All dogs and cats should wear a collar and identification tag. It is a good idea to put more than one phone number on the tag if possible, in case you lose your cell phone. Pets can escape if your home is damaged or if you must evacuate and your pet gets scared and bolts out of an open door.

Microchip

Collars come off for a variety of reasons, so it is a good idea to have your pets microchipped as well. Make sure your information is up to date with the microchip company.

Pet Rescue Sticker

Some emergencies require you to leave your home in a hurry and scared pets can be difficult to locate. A pet rescue sticker will notify rescue workers that there are pets in your home. This sticker should be placed where it is very visible and should be updated to include current pets in your home.

Pet-Friendly Places to Stay

If you must evacuate with your pets you will need a pet-friendly place to go. Don’t wait until the last minute to try and find a place to evacuate to with your pets. Not all emergency shelters accept pets and once the pet-friendly shelters are full they cannot take in any more people and their pets. Some boarding facilities and veterinarians will board your pets during a natural disaster, but if they are under mandatory evacuation you will once again be looking for a place for your pets. These facilities also fill up fast, so make arrangements well ahead of time. You can also talk to friends and family that are out of harm’s way and close enough to get to, ask if they will take your pets. If you want to keep your pets with you, here is a list of pet-friendly hotel chains.

Who Near You Can Help?

If the disaster happens while you are away from home who can you call to help you with your pets? Choose someone who lives near to you that will be able to get into your home and evacuate your pets if you can’t.

Have an Emergency Kit for Each Pet

Each of your pets should have an emergency kit that includes the following:

  • Carrier – If you need to evacuate your pet you will need a way to contain them and easily move them. If you are going to stay in your home you should still contain your pets, in case your home is damaged.
  • Collar or harness and Leash – While your dog or cat should always be wearing identification, you should have an additional collar with identification in case the collar your pet is wearing should break or get lost. An extra leash should always be on hand.
  • Food and Water – You should have a week’s worth of food for each of your pets. This should be stored in airtight containers and stored with the rest of your evacuation items. If you feed dry food, make sure you change out the food every two months to prevent spoilage. Canned food should be changed out every three months. There is a possibility that authorities will declare the water unsafe to drink. Make sure that you have enough water for everyone including your pets.
  • Litter and Pans – If you are evacuating it might be easier to have several disposable litter pans that you can take with you. Make sure you purchase the pans that have the litter included. If you are going to be staying home have enough litter for at least one week and store in an elevated area where it will not get wet.
  • Pet First-Aid Kit – There are some great pet first aid kits on the market, but always check with your veterinarian to ensure your kit is complete. Your vet may suggest some items that are not included in a commercially available kit.
  • Medication – Plan to have at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s prescription medication. Your pet should be up to date on heartworm and flea and tick preventative too. If their next dose is looming near make sure you have those mediations on hand also.
  • Photographs of your pets – If your pet gets lost you want to be able to post their picture on lost pet sites and make lost pet posters quickly. This is also important so that you can provide proof of ownership if your pet is found.
  • Vaccination records – You will want to have proof that your pets are vaccinated.
  • Small pets – If you have small pets such as gerbils or hamsters make sure you have enough extra bedding for their cages. Be sure to take a water bottle for them.
  • Birds – Depending on the weather, have a misting bottle on hand to keep your bird cool in warmer weather. You may need extra blankets to cover their cage if the weather is cooler. Having a catch net and heavy towel or blanket on hand is a good idea.

Are your pets prepared for a disaster? Share your disaster preparedness plans with us. We would love to hear how you have prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do Cats Knead?

Orange kitten lying on back on grey sofa

Why do cats knead? There are several reasons.

That motion of your cat or kitten pushing their paws in and out against your lap, pillow, blanket or other soft surface is called kneading. I have even seen cats knead another resident cat and the resident dog. You may have heard it referred to as “kneading the dough” or “making biscuits”. Not all cats knead and not all cats use their claws. Most of the time your cat is purring contently. But why do cats knead?

Why Do Cats Knead?

Child’s Play

There are a lot of opinions on why cats knead. Kneading is most likely instinctive. If you have ever watched newborn kittens nursing, you have seen them knead their mother’s belly. This action helps stimulate milk flow so that the kittens get nourishment. As kittens get older is most likely continues to be a behavior that provides comfort for the cat.

Let’s Get Comfy

Cats like to sleep on soft surfaces. In the wild cats would knead down leaves and grass before bedding down. Now you might notice your cat kneading a blanket or pillow before bedding down.

Mine!

Cats are territorial, and kneading may be a way for them to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws and kneading activates those scent glands. This territorial behavior can also be seen when cats scratch surfaces from sofas to tree trunks. Their scent is like a calling card saying, “this is mine”. Next time your cat is kneading you it may mean she is claiming you as hers.

Love and Trust

Cats may knead as a sign of affection. Since kneading is a comforting behavior, next time your cat is kneading while lying in your lap it may be his way of telling you he loves and trusts you.

Kitty Yoga

Kneading could be a way for cats to stretch and flex their paws and legs. After all, being agile is important when you are a cat.

Pure Bliss

Cats purr and knead when they are happy. So next time you see your cat purring and kneading you can know they are happy.

Can You Stop Your Cat From Kneading?

It is never a good idea to punish your cat for any reason and since kneading is an instinctive behavior it will be virtually impossible to stop her from doing it. If your clothes are getting snagged from kitty claws kneading in your lap, make sure your cat’s nails are trimmed regularly. You can also place a towel in your lap.

Do Your Cat’s Knead? Let Us Know

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

Dog lifting weights wearing blue hat, blue shorts and gold chain

How much exercise your dog needs depends on several factors.

Owning a dog carries a lot of responsibility, food, water, veterinary care, love, and exercise. But how much exercise does your dog need? Generally, dogs need between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise per day. How do you know where your dog falls on that timeline though?

Dogs need to get out and explore their world so daily walks are important for not only their physical health but also their mental health. Walking, however, is not always enough. Here are some things to consider when thinking about how much exercise your dog should get and what type of exercise is right for them.

Health Advantages

Just as exercise is good for your waistline, exercise is also good for your dog’s waistline. Exercise will help keep the weight off, keep muscles toned and help extend the life of your dog. Exercise is also good for the mind. If you have ever experienced a bored dog, you know they can become destructive as a way to burn off excess energy.

Age

No matter whether your dog is young or old, they need exercise. But the age of your dog will be one of the determining factors in how much exercise your dog needs. Age is also a factor in what kind of exercise your dog should be getting.

We all slow down as we get older. While our senior dog will always enjoy getting out to sniff and stretch their legs, take your dog’s advancing age into consideration before setting out on a long, strenuous hike. Old creaky bones are not going to enjoy a high impact run through the neighborhood either.

Dog’s under one year of age should also avoid high impact exercise as their bones are not fully developed. Young puppies will not have the stamina to go very far either.

Breed

Some breeds are higher energy than others and require more physical exercise. Other breeds are much lower energy and require much less exercise. So, while some breeds will only require 30 minutes of exercise per day, others will require 2 hours of exercise per day.

A word of warning for owners of brachycephalic dogs such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Boxers, Boston Terriers, etc.: These dogs are prone to heat stroke, so use caution when exercising your flat-faced breed.

Types of Exercise for Your Dog

While walking is a great way to exercise your dog, it is not the only way.

Letting your dog out into your yard to exercise himself will usually not work. Running along the fence line barking at the neighbor’s dog may get some of his physical energy out, but it is most likely not good for his mental health. And expecting him to run around by himself is something most dogs don’t do. If you have more than one dog and they are close in size and age, then you usually have a built-in dog park. Dog play can be a great way to expend energy, but keep in mind it is difficult to know how much exercise your dogs are really getting, so it is best not to count this as the main way they are getting a workout.

If your dog likes to retrieve, then playing ball can be a great way to get some of that pent-up energy out.

Training your dog is the perfect way to exercise your dog’s body and mind. A few short training sessions a day will not only improve your dog’s health but will improve your bond together.

Before Getting Started

Before you start an exercise program with your dog it is a good idea to talk to your vet. Your veterinarian will tell you whether your dog is ready and how much exercise you should begin with.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

Our dog walking service can get your dog out when you are working long hours, not physically able to get your dog out for a walk or you just don’t have enough hours in the day. Our training program is perfect for people who want a better-behaved dog, have limited time but can squeeze in a few short training sessions a day, and want to further strengthen their bond with their dog. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

Planning a Trip? What Are Your Best Pet Care Options?

Happy dog with bowl

What are the best Pet Care Options for your pets?

As a pet owner, it is likely that one one of the things on the top of your list when planning a trip is what are your best pet care options for your beloved pet.

While some pet care options may not fit your needs others may be exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few to consider. 

Boarding

Boarding is a popular option, but here are some things to think about:

  1. Most kennels are very loud and can cause undue stress to your dog. If the facility boards both dogs and cats the constant barking of dogs can be especially stressful for your cat.
  2. Does your pet really want to leave home? Most pets do best if left in their own environment, with their own beds, toys and the familiar smells of home.
  3. Car travel to and from the boarding facility can be stressful to both dogs and cats.
  4. While you take every precaution, your pet is still at a higher risk of contracting a disease.
  5. Cats are not big on any kind of change to their surroundings.

Friends and Family

If you want to save money it is safe to say most friends or family members will not charge you to care for your pets. But before imposing on your family or friends here are some things to consider:

  1. Will they know what to do if there is a true emergency? Will they know the signs if your pet is ill and what to do?
  2. Will your pet be their first priority? What happens if they have other plans or commitments?
  3. While they won’t say it outright, asking your friends or family to care for your pet is an imposition especially if you are not paying them.
  4. Can you comfortably tell your friends and family how to care for your pet without sounding like you are their boss?
  5. How will you handle it if they don’t do a good job or something happens to your pet while under their care?
  6. Will they have a backup plan? If your friends or family have an emergency who will take over the care of your pet? Do leave it up to them, make sure you have a contingency plan in place.
  7. Will they send you regular updates? It’s a lot to ask of your friends and family.
  8. Of course, as stated earlier, it is definitely the most affordable option.

Professional Pet Sitter

With a Professional Pet Sitter, your pets get to stay where they really want to, home. A Professional Pet Sitter is skilled to care for all types of pets and will visit your pets as many times per day as you would like and tries to keep your pet on their normal routine.

When you are looking to hire a Professional Pet Sitter here is what you should look for:

  1. Are they true Professional Pet Sitters with bonding and insurance? What other qualifications do they have? You want a business that operates full-time as a pet care company.
  2. Are your visits guaranteed? What is their backup plan?
  3. Do they provide you with a contract? A true Professional Pet Sitter will have a contract that protects you and your pets.
  4. Will they send you updates? A Professional Pet Sitter should happily send you updates and pictures of your beloved pets.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

We offer Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking as well as professional dog and puppy training. Please contact us if you feel Professional Pet Sitting would be the best option for your pets.

 

 

Destructive Behavior in Dogs: Causes and Solutions

Golden retriever ripping up bed

Destructive behavior comes in many forms.

Chewing, digging and playing are all very normal behaviors for dogs, but sometimes they can get out of hand and become destructive behaviors. One of our dogs destroyed two sofas in a day. Any destructive behavior can be very frustrating, but there are things you can do to help your dog and correct these behaviors.

Why is your dog destructive?

There are several causes for destructive behavior. Here are a few of the more common ones.

  • Separation anxiety – This cause deserves to be at the top of the list as it probably the most common reason a dog exhibits destructive behavior. Dogs with separation anxiety can exhibit behaviors such as tearing through walls, urinating and defecating in the house, excessive vocalizing, and other destructive behaviors. These dogs are so attached to their families that they frantically greet their owners when they return home and may follow their owners from room to room. There are a lot of reasons for a dog having separation anxiety from a death in the family (human or another pet) to a move to a new home. 
  • Boredom – if your dog is not getting enough social interaction or exercise her or she may expend that excess energy on your furniture.
  • Teething – If your puppy is chewing on things it shouldn’t be, it may be because they are teething and their gums are painful. Chewing can relieve the discomfort.
  • Attention-getting – Sometimes negative attention is better than no attention. If you are not reinforcing your dog for being good, but reprimanding your dog for being bad, your dog may be being destructive just to get attention from you.
  • Fear – If your dog is afraid of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms your dog may be trying to escape which can be destructive. Besides your doors, walls, windows and door frames being damaged this can be particularly dangerous for your dog. A panicked dog that is trying to escape can be severely injured.
  • Barrier frustration – Some dogs, like some people, don’t like to be confined to small spaces. So, if you are confining your dog to a crate, bathroom or laundry room they may be destroying things because of being confined in such a small space. Dogs with separation anxiety are prone to dislike being confined.
  • Investigating – Dogs investigate by using their mouths and paws. Your dog’s destructive behavior may be caused by him or her checking out something new or unfamiliar to them.
  • Playing – Your dog’s normal play behavior may result in damaging objects. Dogs love to dig, chew, run, shred, but they may be shredding your sofa, chewing your shoes, or digging up your garden.
  • Hungry – If you are inconsistent in feeding your dog you may have a dog who is destroying things because they are hungry and in the search for food.
  • Not feeling well – Just as with teething puppies an adult dog with gum issues may take to chewing to alleviate the discomfort. Dogs with pica will eat non-food items. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian. 

What you can do to help curb your dog’s destructive behavior:

For dogs who are bored or left alone for long periods of time you can hire a dog walker to come in while you are away. A professional dog walker knows how to alleviate the boredom and give your dog some much-needed exercise and mental stimulation.

If your dog is destructive because they are not getting enough exercise, get out there and walk or play with your dog. If you don’t have the time you can hire a professional dog walker or pet sitter to come in and tire your dog out. A tired dog is a better-behaved dog.

Keep your dog on a regular feeding schedule to help prevent him or her trying to make their own meals.

If you have a teething puppy make sure you are providing enough appropriate things for them to chew on.

For more serious issues such as separation anxiety, fears or phobias please consult with an animal behaviorist.

And if you suspect your dog’s destructive behavior is caused by a medical issue please consult your veterinarian.

Does your dog exhibit destructive behavior? Contact us for more information on our dog and puppy training as well as our dog exercise programs.

When You Can’t Play Outside: 6 Indoor Activities for Dogs

English bulldog lying down white background

Is your dog bored? These fun indoor activities for dogs should brighten their day.

Getting our dogs enough exercise can sometimes be a challenge when you are both stuck inside. It may too hot during the summer months and the summer thunderstorms can certainly hamper outdoor activities. But our dogs need to be engaged both physically and mentally. Here are six indoor activities for dogs that will certainly keep them entertained.

Golden retriever playing tug with rope toy

Playing tug is one of the great indoor activities for dogs.

Tug of War

A good game of tug can be played just about anywhere and is a great way to tire your dog out. There are several tugs toys on the markets. Try to get a tug toy with a handle and that is long enough to keep your hands safely away from enthusiastic teeth.

Dog sniffing wooden box

Find it is a great indoor activity

Find It!

Hide your dog’s favorite treats around the house. Make sure your dog doesn’t see your hiding palaces and keep the treats small to avoid having your dog eat too much. You can also do this with your dog’s food. This is a great way to keep your dog’s mind engaged and satisfy his natural instinct to forage for food.

Dog with paws over eyes

Hide and Seek is fun and a great training game too!

Hide and Seek

You read that right. Hide and seek is a fun way to play with your dog indoors while letting them use their nose to find you. It is also a great way to strengthen their come when called. How to play: Put your dog in a wait and then go hide. Get creative hide behind doors or furniture, in closets or bathrooms. Call your dog’s name once and have him come to find you. Reward him mightily when he finds you and you will be reinforcing him for coming when called. Hide and Seek is a perfect way to train your dog while having fun.

Blue treat dispensing dog toy

Using an interactive treat dispensing toy can be used to feed your dog their meal too.

Interactive Toys

There are many interactive toys on the market. These toys can be stuffed with treats or your dog’s food and your dog must figure out how to get the food out. Some of these toys can be filled with fresh fruit, canned pumpkin, yogurt, canned dog food, peanut butter, etc., frozen and then given to your dog. These frozen treats will keep your dog busy for quite some time.

Small dog with yellow ball in mouth

Playing ball indoors can expend some of your dog’s pent-up energy.

Let’s Play Ball!

Ball? In the house? Yes! All you need is a hallway or an open area and a ball. Toss the ball down the hall for your dog to retrieve.

Westie up on hind legs with girl

Learning new tricks is fun for your dog.

Teach Them A New Trick

Learning never stops for us or our dogs, so take this time to teach your dog a new trick or use this time to freshen up already learned behaviors. Either way, your dog will be working their body and brain.

These are great indoor activities for dogs that will keep your dog entertained inside when you can’t play outside.

What are your favorite indoor activities for dogs?

What Does Pet Sitting Cost in Miami?

Dog paw and human hand

There is more to pet care than the pet sitting cost.

You are planning a business trip or getaway and you have decided to hire a professional pet sitter, but what does pet sitting cost?

On your search, you will find a wide range of prices and while your budget is important, you will be entrusting your beloved pets to someone so there are a few things that you should also consider when choosing a Pet Sitter.

What is Their Experience?

Experience matters when it comes to the care of your pets. Make sure your pet sitter knows not only how to care for your pets, but what to do in an emergency. If you have a shy or fearful pet your pet sitter should know how to work with your pet in order to keep your pet as calm and relaxed as possible. Read our blog on why you should use a professional pet sitter.

How Long Have They Been in Business?

The age of a business is important for many reasons. If they have been in business for a long time it means they have had time to implement proper procedures in order to provide the best pet care possible. Being in business for many years means they are serious about their business and won’t be leaving you to look for another pet sitter next time you need to take a trip.

Do They Have a Back-Up Plan?

An emergency can happen to ANYONE, so having a backup plan matters! What would you do if your pet sitter couldn’t complete their visits to your pets because they had an emergency? Who will care for your pets? What would you do? When hiring a professional pet sitter, you want to know what their back up plan is so that you can relax while you are away.

Do They Use Online Scheduling Technology?

While it may not seem important on the surface, it is actually a very important part. Scheduling software not only makes sure you are scheduled properly and not jotted down on a piece of paper that can get lost or written on a calendar somewhere. It ensures that everyone who needs to know your pets’ care schedule does. Our scheduling software sends an email out each day to our pet sitters so that they always have access to their schedules no matter what. Scheduling software ensures that your pets’ care instructions are always available to your pet sitter and their back up sitter if needed. All care instructions are recorded according to your specifications and how do we know that they are according to your specifications? Because you provide us with those instructions through our software!

Will They Communicate With You?

You want to know that your pet sitter will communicate with you and how. Will it be daily? Every visit? Once in a while? Never? How will they communicate with you? Email? Text? Phone call? A part of our scheduling software allows us to communicate with you at any time.  We send regular updates at every visit so that you can rest assured your pets are being cared for.

So, when looking at what pet sitting cost there is a lot to take into consideration there is so much more than price lone when it comes to the important task of taking great care of your pets.

Please Contact Us To Find Out More About Our Pet Sitting Cost and What We Will Provide You and Your Pets.

 

 

 

 

 

6 tips for Taking Great Pet Pictures

Woman taking a picture with a dslr camera

Great pet pictures take creativity and patience.

We all love our pets but taking great pet pictures can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips for taking great pictures of your pets.

Adorable pug and cute cat lying together on sofa

Decide where you want to take your pet pictures and set the scene.

1. Set the Scene

Visualize what you want the picture to look like. Are you looking for a posed shot or something more candid? Do you want a picture of your dog lying in the green grass or on a comfy bed or sofa? Maybe you want a more candid shot of your pet playing with his or her favorite toy or friend. Think about it and set up your scene as much as you can. This will be easier to do if you are looking for indoor shots. 

Cute dog near window at home

Use the natural lighting from a window to get great pet pictures.

2. Light it Up

If you are looking to photograph your pet indoors make sure the room has plenty of light. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on additional lighting, you can bring in lamps from other rooms or you can purchase clamp lights fairly inexpensively at your local big box home improvement store. You can position your pet near a window making sure the light is in front of them and not behind them. 

Dalmatian dog head shot

Get your pet’s attention for great pet pictures

3. Attention Please! 

In order to get great pictures of your pets, you need to get your pet’s attention! For cats, it may be their favorite feather toy. For dogs, any toy with a squeaker usually works as long as they are not noise sensitive. It helps to have an assistant that can get the pet’s attention while you are taking your pet pictures. 

Grey cat playing with feather teaser toy

Using your pet’s favorite toy is a great way to get perfect pet pictures.

4. Get on Their Level

Try to at eye level with your pet. Try lying on the ground to get as close to their level as possible. Pet pictures taken at their level are much more interesting and natural. 

photographer taking a picture of her mixed breed brown dog

Patience is key for taking great pet pictures.

5. Take a Lot of Pictures

In order for you to get that perfect shot, you will probably have to take a lot of pictures. You can put your camera on burst shoot away. This is especially true if you are trying to get that candid shot while your pet is playing with their favorite toy or at the dog park.

Woman Taking Picture of Dog

Patience is required when taking pet pictures. So is having fun!

6. Patience

You are not going to get the perfect picture on the first click of the camera. Your pets are not always going to cooperate. There will be times when they just get up and walk away or walk up and put their wet nose all over your camera lens. But with patience, you will get some great pictures you will cherish forever. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and you will get great pet pictures.

 

Do you have a great pet photography tip? Please share it with us!

 

The Importance of Early Puppy Socialization

Two puppies on gravel surface

Puppy Socialization needs to start early

As the owner of a rescue dog who was not properly socialized at an early age, this subject is near and dear to my heart. Because of my dog’s lack of early socialization, he is fearful and reactive. Maybe I am being wishful, but I can see the amazing dog he would have been if he had been socialized early. Don’t get me wrong, he is a wonderful dog, my husband and I love him very much, but if he had been socialized early I think his life would be so much richer and much less stressful.

What is Puppy Socialization?

There is a critical socialization period for puppies that happens between 3 and 12weeks of age. This is when puppies learn about the world and how to become part of it instead of letting it be a big scary place. This is the time when your puppy determines whether people, in general, are good, whether men with beards or wearing hats should be avoided, that children are fun, wet grass is okay to walk on, other dogs are friends, cats are cool, and the list goes on and on. Any experience the puppy is exposed to should be approached so that it is a positive experience for the puppy.

Why Should You Socialize Your Puppy Early?

Small white dog barking while on leash

Puppy Socialization can prevent reactivity.

Socialization is important for so many reasons. Dogs that are not properly socialized tend to be generally fearful of anything new. A leaf blowing down the street or a bicycle left lying in the grass could be enough to make your dog try to run away in fear. Fearful dogs are reluctant to move toward anything new. If you want your dog to enjoy adventures such as a trip to Starbucks for a Puppuccino or to your nearest home improvement store, socialization is extremely important. If a dog was not handled during that all-important socialization period it makes prove difficult to do such common things as grooming and veterinary exams. Fearful dogs can become reactive dogs. A trip to the dog park? Not if your dog wasn’t properly socialized around other dogs. Puppies need to be exposed to a lot of different dogs in a positive way in order to sharpen their dog body language skills. That dog you see on the street that is barking lunging and growling is usually so afraid they just want you to move away from them. It’s the only way they know how to deal with what is scaring them.

At What Age Should Puppy Socialization Begin?

A puppy should start being handled for very short periods of time when they are just days old, but if you don’t have the opportunity to visit your puppy from the time they are born socialization should start as soon as you get your puppy home. While a lot of training facilities offer puppy kindergarten classes they require puppies to have all puppy vaccinations before starting their puppy class. If your puppy has not yet received all of their puppy vaccines check with your veterinarian to see if they hold or know of a puppy preschool class in your area. Puppy preschool classes are for puppies that have not yet had all of their puppy shots. These classes are held in very clean, controlled conditions to limit the risk of exposure to disease.

How to Start Socializing Your Puppy

Two puppies playing in a kiddie pool fill with plastic balls.

Puppy Socialization should be fun for your puppy. Introduce them the lots of new things in a positive way.

While you want your puppy to be comfortable in a variety of scenarios and around lots of different people, dogs and items you must make sure that every exposure is a positive one. Get your puppy enrolled in a puppy class or contact a certified dog trainer to help you with socialization. Expose your puppy to new things slowly. If you want your puppy to have doggy friends, make sure those dogs are fully vaccinated and friendly. Handle your puppy daily, touching all parts of their body including their ears, paws, and nails. Gently lift the flaps of their gums and inspect their teeth. Expose your puppy to new surfaces such as grass, gravel, concrete, sand, tile and laminate floors, carpet, etc. While you want to introduce your puppy to lots of new people, never force your puppy to meet someone or do something as this may actually increase their fear. Use lots of really yummy treats to make each new experience a positive one.

If you would like to learn more about our puppy socialization program, please contact us.