Archive for May, 2014

Popular Dog Breeds: The Bichon Frise

 

Bichon frise, 5 years old, sitting in front of white backgroundBichon Frises are cheerful, happy dogs that are easily recognizable by their cotton white coats and dark eyes. They look mischievous and merry with a plumed tail they carry over their backs. These playful, intelligent dogs do not shed and they often make a good dog for people with allergies.

History

The Bichon Frise has a long history. They originated around the Mediterranean from the Barbet, a poodle breed (rare today), and the Water Spaniel in the 13th century. Probably because of their happy personalities and smaller size, the dogs were popular and Spanish sailors seem to have taken the dogs with them on their voyages, even bartering with them. The dogs became a fixture in the Canary Islands which was a popular port for sailors. Italian sailors brought them to the courts of Europe in the 14th century. The dogs were especially popular at the French court in the 16th century and with Italian and Spanish nobility. The breed has become increasingly popular in the United States throughout the 20th century. They first arrived in the U.S. in 1955 and the first litter was born in 1956. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1972.

Temperament

The Bichon is a gentle, playful dog and they make excellent family pets. They are very active dogs and they need regular daily exercise but they will be perfectly happy living in an apartment as long as they get enough exercise. The AKC breed standard calls for the Bichon to be “gentle mannered, sensitive, playful, and affectionate.” They love to be with people and they will require a lot of attention. Bichon Frises tend to be quite sociable dogs and they enjoy going places with their owner. Most Bichons are charming dogs who are quite affectionate and intelligent. They usually get along well with other animals.

Appearance

In terms of appearance Bichons usually looks white but they can actually be white, white and apricot, white and buff, or white and cream. These are pale shadings and are usually found around the ears. The breed stands 9 ½ to 11 ½ inches tall at the shoulders. They usually weigh around 10 pounds, give or take a few pounds up or down. (No specific weight is given in the AKC standard but the dog should be proportionate to his height.) The coat is curly and dense. These dogs do have an undercoat and an outer coat but they do not shed very much which often makes the breed a good choice for people with allergies. However, Bichons need to be brushed regularly and trimmed every four to eight weeks to help remove dead hair. Otherwise the hair can mat badly.

Health

Bichons are considered to be a healthy breed when purchased from a good breeder. According to the Bichon Frise Club of America, the top five diseases afflicting Bichons from the last health survey conducted by the club are not life-threatening. So, like all breeds, there are health issues in the breed, but the most common problems are not likely to shorten the life of a Bichon. http://www.bichonhealth.org/

Bichon Frises tend to have a longer life than many dogs (this is true of many smaller breeds). They live, on average, 12-13 years. Some Bichons live well into their teen years. A 2004 health survey of Bichon Frises by the Kennel Club in the UK found that the leading cause of death was old age (23.5 percent), followed by cancer (21 percent). A 2007 survey of breeders in the United States and Canada found that the leading cause of death was cancer (22 percent).

The breed can suffer from hematological issues such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP). These diseases tend to strike Bichons at younger ages, causing death at a median age of 5 years.

Liver shunt can also occur in the breed. Dogs can be born with liver shunts but they may not be detected until later in life when the condition is hard to correct and can lead to liver failure. If the condition is detected early it can be easily corrected with surgery, but if it’s not detected there is less chance of success later. Signs that a dog might have a liver shunt include being underweight, being the runt of the litter, having a bad reaction to high protein food. Other signs include dark urine, lethargy, loss of appetite, and increase in drinking water, as well as seizures. However, it should be noted that liver shunts occur in many small breeds and are not especially common in Bichons.

Training

Bichons are considered to be of average working/obedience intelligence by Dr. Stanley Coren in his book The Intelligence of Dogs but this is probably inaccurate. Like Poodles and other small white dogs, Bichon Frises have often been used as performing dogs and circus dogs. They are quite intelligent and learn quickly when they are motivated. They can do well at obedience, agility, rally, and other dog sports and activities, especially if you begin training your Bichon when he is young. They love to do things with their owners and that includes companion events.

Popular Dog Breeds: Golden Retrievers

golden retriever

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States and in many other countries. They make great family dogs and they love children.

History

The Golden Retriever is a relatively young breed. They were developed in the 19th century in Scotland by the Earl of Tweedmouth. He crossed yellow retrievers of the time with Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct) to produce the first Golden Retrievers. Later he added Irish Setters, Bloodhounds, and more Tweed Water Spaniels to perfect the dogs.

Temperament

Golden Retrievers are active, energetic dogs. They require lots of exercise. They can adapt to living in many different circumstances as long as they have plenty of daily exercise. They are loving and affectionate dogs who are devoted to their families. They are gentle and love children. They are exceptionally intelligent and easy to train. Many of the most outstanding obedience and agility dogs are Golden Retrievers. They love to earn your praise and please you. They make a great dog for an active family or individual. They are friendly, reliable, trustworthy dogs. They are usually outgoing and they don’t make very good guard dogs.

Appearance

Golden Retrievers are members of the Sporting group. They weigh between 55 and 75 pounds and stand between 21 ½ and 24 inches tall at the withers. They have a dense, water-repellant coat with a good undercoat and they have feathering on their legs, chest, and tail. They are usually recognized by their coat which is a rich lustrous gold. It can range from a light gold to a darker gold.

Health

Golden Retrievers are generally healthy dogs and they have an average lifespan of about 11 years, but there are some health problems that are known in the breed. Hips, elbows, eyes, and hearts are considered the “big four” for Golden Retrievers in terms of health. Goldens rank #34 among 168 breeds in the OFA database for canine hip dysplasia. In years 2006-2010 they had 9 percent of dogs test with Excellent hips; and 13.3 percent of dogs test with some degree of dysplasia out of 12,805 dogs reported tested during this time period. The breed has made great progress since testing began some 40 years ago.

For elbow dysplasia, Golden Retrievers rank #29 among all breeds in the OFA database. Eighty-eight percent of dogs that have been tested over the years (elbow testing began in 1990) were rated with Normal elbows. While 11 percent of the total were rated as having some degree of elbow dysplasia.

Eye diseases, such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (prcd-PRA), can also affect Golden Retrievers.

They can also be affected by heart diseases such as subvalvular aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy.

Cancer does seem to be very common in Golden Retrievers. The most common forms of cancer in the breed are hemangiosarcoma, followed by lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumour, and osteosarcoma. According to a 1998 health study conducted by the Golden Retriever Club of America, 61.4 percent of Goldens died from some form of cancer. A 2004 health study conducted by the Kennel Club in the UK found that 38.8 percent of Goldens died from cancer.

Hypothyroidism and allergies are also found in the breed.

If you are thinking of getting a Golden Retriever, especially a puppy, be sure to talk to the breeder about the health of their dogs. Ask about the health of the parents and ask if the dogs have been evaluated for hip and elbow dysplasia; had their hearts examined by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist; and had their eyes examined by a board-certified veterinary opthalmologist within the last 12-18 months. The breeder should also be able to answer your questions about other health issues. Don’t worry. These tests are not hard for breeders to obtain. They are routinely offered by many veterinarians, by vet schools, veterinary teaching hospitals, and even at clinics at some dog shows. Good breeders have their dogs health tested before breeding. This is how breeders work to improve the health of their breeds. Note that these particular tests apply to Golden Retrievers. Other breeds may require different tests.

Even with all the testing and good care in the world, dogs are not perfect. Just like people, a puppy or dog may get sick at some point. But a good breeder will have a contract that will spell out their obligations and yours. Breeders will usually be responsible for genetic health problems and for some other issues for a certain amount of time. Go over the contract carefully with the breeder before you sign it and buy the puppy. (Obviously, there are limits. Don’t wait until your dog is 14 years old to claim that he has a genetic health problem. That’s a long life for most dogs and the breeder probably won’t take you seriously.)

Training

Golden Retrievers are extremely intelligent and easy to train. They do well with clicker training and positive reinforcement. Many of them are food-motivated so you can train with treats. Goldens do very well at almost any kind of activity. They excel at obedience, agility, rally, hunting and field work (they’re natural retrievers), water activities such as dock jumping; flyball and frisbee are also fun with this breed. They are active, intelligent dogs and they love to please and do things with their owners. They can learn to do almost anything.

Popular Dog Breeds: Siberian Huskies

siberianhusky

 

While they are usually associated with sledding, Siberian Huskies are friendly, active, all-around dogs who are good at lots of things. With their thick coat, they love cold weather and they do need regular brushing. They also need plenty of exercise.

History

Siberian Huskies are a spitz breed that likely originated with the Chukchi tribe, off the eastern Siberian peninsula. The Chukchi people used the dogs as endurance sled dogs. The survival of the tribe depended on the dogs. They needed dogs who could travel great distances at moderate speed, carrying light loads in low temperatures. The dogs needed to spend a minimum of energy. According to research, the tribe maintained the purity of their sled dogs through the 19th century. These dogs were the only ancestors of the breed known today as the Siberian Husky.

Around 1900, Americans in Alaska began hearing about these superior sled dogs. The first team of Siberian Huskies made its appearance in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes Race of 1909, a 408-mile long dogsled race. Shortly after that, a large number of the dogs were imported into Alaska. Many of the dogs also took part in the heroic “serum run” to bring supplies of antitoxin to Nome, Alaska, when it was stricken by diphtheria in 1925. Some of the most famous drivers and their dogs, such as Leonhard Seppala, came to the lower 48 states following the serum run, and the dogs became celebrated. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. Many Siberian Huskies were later assembled and trained for use on the Byrd Antarctic Expeditions. Siberian Huskies also served bravely in the Army’s Arctic Search and Rescue Unit of the Air Transport Command during World War II.

Temperament

Siberians, or Sibes as they are sometimes called, are agreeable, outgoing dogs. They do require regular daily exercise. They were bred to have great endurance and to be able to run for miles so it takes a lot of running and play to tire one of these dogs. You should expect to provide plenty of outdoor activity for a Siberian. They also have strong predatory instincts so while they are friendly dogs, you need to supervise them around any other house pets, especially smaller animals such as cats. If you have rabbits or guinea pigs as pets, you need to make sure they are kept in areas where your Siberian can’t get to them.

Siberians maintain some wolf-like behaviors, like their predatory instincts. They also tend to howl instead of bark. They were bred to run so they can have a tendency to roam if they are not securely confined in a yard. They may also make attempts to escape from the yard. However, they are very affectionate dogs. They are also very good with children. They like to be around people and other dogs.

Appearance

Siberian Huskies are medium-large dogs that stand between 20 and 23 ½ inches tall at the shoulder. They weigh between 35 and 60 pounds. Their coat is thicker than most other breeds of dog. They have a dense undercoat that feels like cashmere and a longer outer coat with straight guard hair to help repel the elements. The outer coat also helps reflect heat in summer. In warmer climates, the undercoat can shed out to keep the dogs cooler.

 

The coat may be all colors from black to pure white. A variety of markings on the head are common, including many striking patterns not found in other breeds. Dogs often have white paws and leg markings, white facial markings, or a white tail tip. The most common coats are black and white. Less common are copper-red and white, gray and white, pure white, and the rare “Agouti” coat, though many individuals have blondish or piebald spotting. Striking masks, spectacles, and other facial markings occur in wide variety.

Siberians have a well-furred tail of fox brush shape that is usually carried over the back.

They have an expression that is friendly, interested, and even mischievous. Their eyes are almond shaped, moderately spaced and set a trifle obliquely. Eyes may be brown or blue in color; one of each or parti-colored are acceptable

They are quick and light on their feet, and very graceful dogs.

 

Health

Siberians are known to be relatively “easy keepers.” They have a typical lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Problems that can occur in the breed include eye issues such as juvenile cataracts, corneal dystrophy, canine glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy. The breed can also have problems with congenital laryngeal paralysis. It’s rare to find problems with hip dysplasia, but not unheard of. Hip dysplasia affects about 2 percent of tested Sibes. Dogs that are used for racing can have other problems such as gastric disease, bronchitis, bronchopulmonary ailments, and ulcers. Overall, the breed is very healthy.

Training

Siberians rank as having average working and obedience intelligence, though it should be remembered that these tests usually rate how quickly dogs obey. That doesn’t necessarily reflect how smart a dog is. Spitz-type dogs, such as Sibes, are usually very smart. Some allowance should probably be made for their historic work, which called upon them to make some decisions for themselves. It’s a good idea for anyone with a Siberian to take a puppy or dog to obedience classes from a young age. Since these dogs do like to run and chase things, it’s a good idea for them to learn to answer commands. Learning to come when called is especially important for this breed.

Siberians can make excellent therapy dogs and they enjoy all kinds of activities with their owners. They are active dogs and will probably enjoy learning anything you would like to do.

Did you know that dogs, just like humans also get travel sickness?

While taking a trip either to the nearest store or a site seeing road trip with your pooch can be thrilling and fun for both of you, it is important for you to take prior precautions to avoid making the travelling experience unpleasant for your sick dog.

How To Know That Your Dog Has Travelling Sickness?

Unfortunately, dogs are not like human beings and will not be able to let you know how they are feeling. However, if you know your dog well, by a close observation, you will be able to tell if the dog is experiencing a travelling discomfort.

Here is how to know whether your dog is likely to be experiencing travel sickness;
1. Your dog may seem unusually uneasy
2. He may drool excessively especially if chewing onto something
3. Be on the lookout for vomiting
4. Whining and inactive
Note that this list is not exhaustive and the symptoms largely depend from one dog to another.

How To Prevent Travel Sickness Of Your Pooch

Prevention is better than cure. While you may not be able to stop your dog from experiencing travelling sickness, there is so much you can do to make the experience much better.
• For starters, your dog is more likely to experience less discomforts if he travels facing forward other than looking outside the window. Just like a baby, this does not mean that you automatically put him on the front seat because it is a potential risk. There are special seat belts to keep the dog in this position.
• If you are not able to get access to the seat belts, then using a special crate in this case will also be of some assistance. The crates have an added advantage as the vomit can be contained in it, making it a less messy affair.
• Just like in humans, stuffy air in the car can contribute majorly to your dog’s discomfort. Keep the car cool and well ventilated. You can do this by slightly lowering the window to allow fresh air.

Treating Your Pooch’s Travel Sickness
If you have done so much at prevention, but the condition does not seem to improve, then this is no reason to give up on the lovely trips with your dogs. There are several treatments that exist for this condition
• Phenothiazine has been found to reduce vomiting and provide a sedated effect.
• Anti-histamines are also good in reducing drooling and for sedation.
• The best treatment, however, will be the Anti-nausea drugs.

So if you were wondering what to do with your Turkish Visa now that you have no one to leave your rather sickly Pooch with, then you need not worry anymore. With the above tips on how to prevent and contain your dog’s travelling sickness, you can explore Turkey together with your dog comfortably.

Author Bio:
Ruth Anoya is a passionate blogger, living in UK. She writes on behalf of Turkey Visa. She loves to write as a guest blogger with interest in Travel, Health and Automotive. You can contact Ruth on ruthanoyawriter@gmail.com.

Popular Dog Breeds: Pomeranians

Pomeranian Dog

Pomeranians are confident, animated, outgoing little dogs who can make wonderful companions. They are a compact, active Toy breed and known as one of the smallest dogs in the world. They have an alert personality and a foxy little face. Although they are small, they demand lots of attention.

History

The Pomeranian is a spitz-type dog descended from the sled dogs of Iceland and Lapland. The spitz dogs from Pomerania (part of Germany and Poland now) weighed about 30 pounds and they were good at herding sheep. These larger dogs were recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1870. Queen Victoria saw them in 1888 in Italy and fell in love with them, bringing some home to England. They became very popular at that point. Since that time they have been bred to be the small size they are today. They no longer herd sheep. Today they are kept as companions. They were first recognized by the AKC in 1888.

Temperament

Poms are outgoing, intelligent dogs who love to please. They’re very cocky, active little dogs and they can make excellent family dogs with the right training for the dog and for the family. They are usually better with older children who will be careful not to fall on the little dogs or play too roughly with them. Poms are extroverted and vivacious. They are friendly, happy dogs with a docile temperament. They don’t require much exercise but they are energetic little dogs and they need lots of attention from their owners. They often bond very closely with their owners and they can be territorial in the home. Barking can be a problem.

Appearance

The Pomeranian usually stands 5 to 11 inches tall at the withers and weighs from 3 to 7 pounds, although they can look bigger because of all the hair. They have a dense double coat that requires frequent brushing. The undercoat is short and dense while the outercoat is harsh and longer. They have a heavily-plumed tail that is set high and lies over their back, giving the impression of even more hair. The coat forms a ruff around the head that frames it. They can come in all colors, patterns, and variations although orange and red are the most popular. The dogs have a definite foxy expression.

Health

The Pomeranian is generally a very healthy breed. However, there are some issues which can crop up such as luxating patella (slipped kneecap), tracheal collapse (which can occur from pulling against the leash – harnesses are preferred). A rare problem is alopecia ex or black skin disease when the skin turns black and the dog loses hair. Like some other Toy breeds, Poms can have problems with their teeth so feeding dry food is recommended, along with regular brushing and dental care.

Pomeranians are a long-lived breed and their life-span is generally 12-16 years.

Training

Pomeranians are very smart dogs and, despite their small size, training is recommended for them from an early age. Most owners are inclined to spoil these dogs because they are cute and small which can lead a Pom to terrorize the household to get his way. They can become spoiled rotten very quickly. Treat your Pom like a dog and not a small child. Take him to puppy pre-school or puppy kindergarten classes. Take him to basic obedience classes. Yes, he will look adorable out there with the big dogs, but he should learn obedience just like other dogs. If you don’t train your Pomeranian from an early age, he will develop some bad behavior problems no matter how cute he is. Just because he’s small and cute doesn’t mean he can’t bite and turn into a little devil if you don’t make him behave.

How aptly do you know your canine companion sitting on your lounge? Why is he acting strange sometimes? Is your canine doing it on purpose or just desire to make fun of you? The days you are with your dogs do not guarantee how good you know them as well as their strange practices. Let’s try to know some fantastic dog facts and know them more than what their wagging tail seems to say.

Dog fact number One: When your canine companion chases his/her tail, he needs help from the vet.

Many reasons clarify why dogs chase their tail: exercise, predatory instinct, worry or presence of fleas. Nevertheless, to speak with your nearest animal hospital is the safest and surest method to get the real reason why your dog keeps chasing his/her tail.

Dog fact number 2: Dogs dream at night.

Do not be dismayed if you witness your dog barking or moving his/her feet while asleep. He/she may have been chasing his/her dearest at the park in his/her dream. Humans and dogs partake the same SWS (slow wave sleep) as well as REM (rapid eye movement) while asleep. So let him/her experience the moment to enjoy twitching while the eyes are closed.

Dog fact number Three: They can see things in the dark.

Have you ever wondered how they seem to go liberally at night? How did they even get robbers trying to steal your valuables when the sun has gone down? Well, your canine companions have tapetum lucidum, which enables them to see even when it’s dark.

Canine fact number 4: If he/she is acting odd, go find your umbrella.

Although experts have not yet found the secret behind this, but according to Petside.com, dogs can determine the weather especially when it’s going to rain. So, the next time you witness your dog acting funny, go get the umbrella immediately. Besides, it pays to be prepared at all cost.

Canine fact number 5: Dogs don’t sweat like people do.

Dogs cannot sweat just anywhere. As a matter of fact, dogs only sweat on their pads. When you realize that their paw pads are sweating, you get the impression that the room is a bit warm for them remain.

Dog fact number Six: Your canine companion’s nose is wet because he/she is absorbing scent.

Popularly known to be the captain of scent, dogs secrete a mucous on their nose to help them recognize the scent (more accurately than we do). When their noses get wet, they would lick them to sample the scent they have absorbed with their mouth.

Canine fact number 7: They are the chief of scent.

Dogs can determine the scent 100,000 times more accurate than humans. No wonder why even the FBI and peace order departments of our local government seek help from them in searching unwanted items in many public places. This also explains why when you leave your cookies unattended; you would be left with nothing but the plate.

There are many things that you do not understand about your pet so do not carelessly judge them by the way they behave or kick after peeing in your garden. Most of the bizarre stuffs they do may really be funny but it is always ideal to see your vet on a regular basis.

Author’s bio:

Would you like to know more about your pet and pet neutering?
Visit http://www.hopianimalhospital.com/ and talk with a team dedicated to provide pet care services for the wellbeing of your pets.

Popular Dog Breeds: Doberman Pinschers

black and brown doberman on white background

Well-known as a guard dog, the Doberman Pinscher also makes an excellent companion. They are elegant, intelligent, affectionate, energetic, and obedient. They make good watchdogs and when they given an alarm, they can back it up with action.

 

History

Like many German breeds, the Doberman Pinscher is a relatively young breed. They date to around 1900 when a man named Louis Dobermann of Apolda, a tax collector, wanted to develop a medium sized guard dog that could act as a guardian and companion. Breeds that probably contributed to the Doberman probably include the old shorthaired shepherd, the Rottweiler, the Black and Tan Terrier, and the German pinscher. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1908. Because of their great intelligence and ability to retain training, the breed has always been in demand as police and military dogs.

 

Temperament

The Doberman Pinscher is known for being energetic, watchful, fearless, and obedient. At home they are loving and affectionate with their families, obedient, and loyal. These are very active dogs and they require regular daily exercise.

 

In the past Dobermans have been overbred at times without proper regard for temperament and some dogs were not reliable in the home or for training. But that was several decades ago. Today breeders are careful to breed for good temperament. Before getting a Doberman you should inquire about the temperament of the dog and his or her parents.

 

Appearance

Dobermans are a medium-large dog with a square body. They are compactly built, muscular, and powerful, capable of great endurance and speed. They are elegant with a proud carriage reflecting great nobility. In height, Dogs are 26 to 28 inches high at the withers, ideal about 27½ inches; Bitches 24 to 26 inches high at the withers, ideal about 25½ inches. Males typically weigh 70-90 pounds while females weigh 60-80 pounds.

 

The coat is smooth-haired, short, hard, thick and close lying. Colors are black, red, blue, and fawn (Isabella). Markings: Rust, sharply defined, appearing above each eye and on muzzle, throat and forechest, on all legs and feet, and below tail. White patch on chest, not exceeding ½ square inch, permissible. In the United States Dobermans usually have their ears cropped and tails docked.

 

Health

The Doberman Pinscher has a typical lifespan of 10-13 years. Possible health problems that can occur in the breed include dilated cardiomyeopathy, cervical vertebral instability (CVI), von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) (a bleeding disorder similar to hemophilia – a genetic test is available which allows breeder to screen for and avoid this disease now); and prostatic disease. Other issues which can occur include hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism. Canine compulsive disorder also occurs in Dobermans. If you are thinking of getting a Doberman Pinscher, you should talk to the breeder about these health issues and find out what health tests have been done with the parents of the dog.

 

Training

Doberman Pinschers are usually ranked as one of the most intelligent of all dogs and one of the most easily trained. They are exceptionally smart dogs and highly motivated to learn. They are particularly well-suited for guard work and any kind of training that requires curiosity and problem-solving. Dobermans rank high in playfulness and curiosity, too. You should be able to easily train your Doberman to learn basic obedience and beyond. In fact, it’s highly recommended that you train your Doberman and continue training. These dogs are so smart that they will enjoy learning new things all the time. They can excel at any kind of training and athletic activity. They are natural athletes and love to play frisbee, get involved in tracking, agility, rally, and most other dog sports. These are active, intelligent dogs and they need to stay busy

Tips For Photographing Your Dog

We all love pictures of our dogs but some people have a knack for getting great shots while the rest of us keep getting pictures that look very ordinary. They don’t really capture the “essence” of our pets. Here are some tips to help you get that picture of your dog that you’ll remember forever.

1. Take lots of pictures. With digital cameras and camera phones, it’s easy to take pictures today and you aren’t using up film. It doesn’t cost you anything. Snap away! The more pictures you take, the better your chances of taking some pictures of your dog that you really love. Plus, the more you use your camera around your dog, the more he’ll become accustomed to it. He’ll act naturally when you point it at him.

2. What makes your dog special? Ask yourself what makes your dog special. Is it his playfulness? His beautiful face? The way he looks at you when you talk to him? The way he curls up when he sleeps? Whatever it is that you find particularly endearing, use that in your photos. Try to capture your dog’s personality when you take pictures.

3. Consider the light. Dogs usually photograph better in natural light. Try to take your pictures outside or, if you’re taking pictures indoors, pull the curtains back and open the blinds as much as possible so there will be more natural light. A flash can make the light look harsher and leave your dog with a startled expression or red eyes. The exception would be if your dog has a very dark or black coat. In that case you might need to use a flash even if there is good natural light.

4. Consider the surroundings. You should also consider what else will be in the picture. It’s usually best to focus on your dog in the picture but you can add an emotional connection if there is a person in the picture that your dog loves, for example. So, you might take a picture of your daughter holding your dog in her lap. Another example where the surroundings could enhance the photo would be if you have a hunting dog and you take a picture of your dog pointing a bird. As long as there is a clear connection between your dog and the other things in the picture, the photo will be interesting. But the picture should tell a story.

5. Focus on your dog. Pictures of dogs usually succeed because they focus on the dog. The more focus on the dog, the better. Don’t be afraid to get close. The dog’s eyes, especially, can be very compelling. Leave out the background and stay focused on your dog.

6. Be natural. Posed photos are great, where every little hair is in place. But they can also be boring. When you are trying to take a great photo of your dog at home, take candid pictures. Follow your dog around with the camera and take pictures of him doing all the things he loves to do, even when he’s being naughty. Take pictures of him stealing food from the trash and digging holes in the backyard. Take pictures of him sleeping. Take pictures of him barking and running and anything else he does. You’ll be surprised at some of the great pictures you get. Most cameras today can easily handle action shots like these and you’ll probably take some pictures that you’ll cherish.

If you follow these tips you should get some great photos that really capture what you love about your dog. Plus, you and your dog should have a lot of fun in the process.

Dog Hotels and Spas

At one time boarding your dog meant placing him in a utilitarian kennel with chain link kennel runs and concrete flooring. Your dog probably got some attention from staff when they fed him and cleaned his kennel. Perhaps he had some time out of the kennel to play and exercise in the grass. It was spartan and useful if you had to leave your dog when you went somewhere, but it certainly wasn’t luxurious.

 

My, how times have changed!

 

Today dog owners have many more options when they need to board their dogs. Many cities have dog hotels and spas where your dog can relax in the lap of luxury when you’re away from home. Kennels today can offer your dog every kind of amenity to keep him happy and comfortable while he visits.

 

  • Facilities. Instead of plain kennels, dogs today can stay in full-service dog boarding hotels that are more like resorts for dogs. There is cage-free dog boarding, doggy daycamp to keep dogs entertained during the day, and accommodations for dogs with different kinds of rooms and suites. Rooms are typically climate-controlled so your dog will be comfortable. Some hotels feature television for dogs and music to keep your dog calm. Many hotels also have web cams so owners can check on their dogs while they are away from them. Dogs can even have “slumber parties” with their doggy friends at some hotels. Here’s a hotel that provides a good example of some of these services: http://www.pamperedpethotels.com/dog-boarding.php

 

  • Spas. Spas provide your dog with a complete grooming experience so he will look his best and be beautiful when you bring him home. You can leave specific instructions about how you would like your dog groomed or let the groomers know if your dog has any grooming quirks. Grooming spas are a good way for your dog to be groomed in a relaxed atmosphere by professional groomers.

 

  • Other Services. Some dog hotels offer other services such as obedience training, training for puppies, or classes for you and your dog in nosework, agility, and other fun activities. Doggy daycamp or daycare is often available for owners who must leave their dogs alone during the day while they work. A dog hotel is often a center of dog activities in the area since it attracts so many dogs and owners.

 

As with any boarding situation, you should check out a dog hotel or spa before taking your dog there. Visit ahead of time and find out about any requirements. Your dog will likely need to be current on all his vaccinations. That is usually standard for any dog that will be mingling with other dogs to reduce the risk of disease. Ask about any other requirements. Meet the staff and see the accommodations. Observe how the staff interacts with the dogs. You can also check online for reviews. There are reviews of boarding kennels at sites such as Yelp.com and Angieslist.com. Plus, you can always ask for recommendations from friends and your veterinarian.

 

Dog hotels and spas are a wonderful alternative if you have to board your dog. It’s always hard to leave your dog behind when you have to travel, but if you know that your dog is comfortable and having a great time, it can make the choice much easier.