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LIFESTYLE

DIY DOG TOY: HOW TO MAKE A CRINKLE CUSHION

DIY-Dog-Toy-Pawsh-1If your house looks anything like mine at the moment, there is still evidence of Christmas everywhere. With chilly temperatures sweeping through the city this week and a pup who is slightly grumpy that she hasn’t been out running as much as usual, it is time to get inventive with holiday clean up and canine entertainment.

So today we have a fun and easy DIY dog toy that is sure to delight furballs of all ages.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • two pieces of 6in x 6in fabric (I suggest cutting up an old shirt or skirt)
  • black cotton thread
  • a couple of handfuls of tissue paper
  • a pup who likes to play!

DIY-dog-toy-Pawsh-2a HOW TO MAKE IT
1.  Place pieces of fabric face-to-face with the pattern facing inwards.
2. Using black thread, sew three out of four sides together.
3. Turn fabric envelope inside out to hide unsightly seams.
4. Gently ‘stuff’ fabric envelope with fluffed up tissue paper. Place tissue paper in as though you were stuffing a gift bag.
5. Sew up the opening. Examine the toy to make sure it is securely sewed. Squeeze to make it crinkle and give to pup to play with!

TIP: I would recommend double sewing each seam for extra durability. DIY-dog-toy-Pawsh-3 DIY-Dog-Toy-Pawsh-4Dogs will love the crinkly sound the cushion makes as they nose it around and you get to make use of that excess holiday tissue paper that is just a little too torn up to reuse next year. In a way this is an eco-friendly dog toy too!

NOTE: This DIY Dog Toy Crinkle Cushion is NOT recommended for tough chewers and should not be given to a dog to play with without supervision.

Rory enjoys her Crinkle Cushion so much that she totes it around all over the place — even carrying it into the laundry basket! Her idea of ‘helping’ with the housework.

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Paw-Couture-LogoThis column is made possible by Paw Couture. A Paw Couture monthly program will get you bonding with your pet in a new way each month! Choose a 3 or 6 month program from Paw Couture and receive two brand new items of your choice each month; from outdoor apparel, organic treats, plush, tough, throw, fetch or novelty toys – Paw Couture has you covered! Shipping included within Canada! FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

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TORONTO DOG PHOTOGRAPHER: A SWEET SHELTIE

Toronto-Pet-Photographer-Pawsh-Studio-Sheltie-1 Toronto-Pet-Photographer-Pawsh-Studio-sheltie-2Toronto-Pet-Photographer-Pawsh-Studio-6Toronto-Pet-Photographer-Pawsh-Studio-Sheltie-3 Toronto-pet-photographer-Pawsh-Studio-Sheltie-5 Styling and creating photoshoots for clients that capture their beloved pet in a unique manner is my favourite thing to do. It is a process that goes above and beyond simply taking their photograph and instead curates a mood and a memory that showcases their furry personality in an editorialized, yet genuine manner.

I recently had the enormous pleasure of working with this sweet little Sheltie called Beth. She was delicate and delightful; a real little princess bursting with sweetness. Her owner wanted to capture Beth’s dainty mannerisms in a classic and elegant way, so I brought out some pearls and set up a mini tea party on two volumes of Jane Austen novels.

The results you can see above — a series of images that depict little Beth and her many moods and mannerisms. Can you spot the crossed paws? How darling!

WHAT BETH’S OWNER HAS TO SAY
“I was absolutely astounded by the photographs Laura managed to create of my dog, Beth. I was expecting a few pretty pictures, but what I received were mini works of art that look as though they belong in a magazine. I’ve never had photos like this before. I ended up hanging them as a series of 8×12 prints in my home and every time I walk by them, they make me smile. Thank you, thank you for the incredible work!” ~ Carol Taylor

VISIT PAWSH STUDIO

EMAIL PAWSH STUDIO TO BOOK YOUR 2014 PET PHOTOS TODAY!

It’s never too early to book your own pet portrait session for yourself or a friend. I promise it is an investment you will cherish forever and never regret making.

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TORONTO DOG PHOTOGRAPHER: CATTLE DOG IN THE FIELD

Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-3Today I would like to share with you a fantastic fall pet photo session featuring the sweetest little cattle dog you’ve ever seen! Now that Pawsh Studio is up and running, I hope to share more of my pet photo sessions with you on a regular basis, because who doesn’t enjoy seeing a few furry faces from time to time?

So today, without further adieu, I would like to present Miss Triggs! As much as I love working in the studio, it was very refreshing to be out in the great outdoors watching Triggs tear around and watch cows. Just look at this face!
Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-4 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-5 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-6She was inquisitive about everything and had no problem jumping up on rocks and even tree trunks when her human asked. You can absolutely see the love and respect this dog has for people in her beautiful honey brown eyes.
Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-7 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-Photographer-8 Pawsh-studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-9 Jumping was also a favourite trick of Miss Trigg’s and she delighted in bounding around whenever she could. What else can I say? This was an ultra joyful session!
Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-10 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-photographer-11 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-Photographer-12 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-Photographer-13 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-14No matter where I am working with dogs — be it in the studio or in a vast fall field like this session — I like to always make sure that the dogs have an opportunity to be themselves and express their true dog personalities. Don’t worry if your dog won’t sit nicely for the camera — that’s not their job. Their job is to be themselves… it’s MY job to run around with the camera and capture moments that are genuine and raw in a pretty fashion.
Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-Photographer-15 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-Photographer-16 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-Pet-Photographer-17In 2014 I would love to try and come out to different towns and cities — YOUR town or city —  for a day or two at a time and devote that visit to doing nothing by pet photo sessions! What do you think? Good idea? Terrible idea?
Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-Trigger-1 Pawsh-Studio-Toronto-pet-photographer-Trigger-2Nothing can compare to having photographs of your beloved furball. Is it an investment? Yes, absolutely — I’ll be completely honest. But is it a worthwhile investment? As a crazy-dog person, I definitely think so. Pet photographs are something you can treasure for years and years to come.

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DOG PHOTOGRAPHY: A BOY AND HIS DOG PHOTO PROJECT

tibetan-mastiff-and-boy-3tibetan-mastiff-and-boy-1 tibetan-mastiff-and-boy-4 It’s getting chillier outside but these at-home portraits of a little boy and his dogs are sure to warm your heart. Taken by Seattle based blogger and photographer, Stasha Becker, this adorable series showcases her four-year-old son, Little J, and his giant furry friends, Max and Bruce the Newfoundlands.

The simplicity of these portraits is what makes them so incredibly special. I will definitely be bookmarking this for ‘one day maybe.’ Be sure to follow Stasha on Instagram for even more cute photographs.

PAWSH PERKS: The importance of childhood pets.

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DOG TRAINING ADVICE: HOW TO TRAIN A DOG NOT TO BARK

train-a-dog-not-to-bark-pawsh-2About a year ago, I moved to Toronto and into a new apartment. It was everything I was looking for in a space — hardwood floors, separate office space, working fireplace (a nice perk). But being in the heart of Toronto it was also a little noisier than Rory was used to compared to our sleepy Ottawa residence.

As a result she developed a bad habit — barking. Not only would she bark whenever she heard anything unexpected, but she would bark and charge down the hallway whenever she heard neighbouring dogs, people on the street or even our upstairs neighbours shuffling around in their apartment. Needless to say, it was a habit that had to stop.

So I started a strict training regiment. Using nothing but positive reinforcement, Rory’s frantic barking is now manageable and civilized. Here’s how I did it:

STEP 1: ACCEPTANCE
There is a saying — “if you can’t beat them, join them” — and that is the approach I took with Rory’s barking. There is no way you are ever going to stop a dog from barking and nor should you try.

A dog barks to tell you something isn’t quite right, that there is ‘danger’ nearby and to raise the pack’s attention. Trying to debark a dog through bark collars and negative reinforcement is like trying to combat a natural, engrained instinct that is programmed into a dog’s DNA. So instead, I chose to embrace Rory’s barking.

It is good that she raises the alarm when something is not quite right in her books — the key then became controlling the bark. In other words, I needed to train her to have an ‘off switch.’

STEP 2: REDIRECT
Every dog has at least one trick that they love to do and never fail to do when asked. For Rory this trick is ‘go to your bed.’ So I began to use that phrase to redirect Rory’s charging bark. Every time she started barking, I would tell her to ‘go to bed.’ Of course, she didn’t always go when asked in the beginning, so I would need to choral her to her bed and once all four paws landed in her bed, reward her with a treat right away.
train-a-dog-not-to-bark-pawsh-1STEP 3: TREAT RIGHT – AND RIGHT AWAY
Just any old treat wouldn’t work in this situation, because you are trying to distract your dog from a high-energy and agitated state. In order to aptly capture Rory’s attention, I needed to be offering something truly fantastic, so I alternated between cheese and dehydrated cow’s lung.

I also made sure to reward Rory as soon as all four paws were in her bed so that she associated completing that action with the tasty treat. Any pause between command and completed command can cause confusion in a dog’s mind.

STEP 4: BE CONSISTENT
The trick to this sort of training technique is consistency. I couldn’t intervene in Rory’s barking display once in a while and then let it slide at other times. Regardless of what I was doing or where I was whenever at home, if she barked I intervened.

Every single time she barked I would follow, tell her ‘go to bed,’ direct her there if need be and instantly reward with a high-value treat. Every – single -time. You would be amazed how quickly dogs can learn new habits when rewarded positively.
train-a-dog-not-to-bark-pawsh-3THE RESULTS
Now we have a happy quiet home once again. Yes, Rory still barks when she thinks something is wrong, but she is now enabled with a debark word/command. One quick bark, a word from me and she settles down again. In fact she has now got to the point that she barks once, sometimes twice, and then takes herself to bed to await cross-pawed for a treat.

Rather than punish Rory for giving in to her natural instinct and alerting her family that there might be danger, I have instead managed to reign that enthusiastic barking into a controllable and manageable habit. Rory feels like she is doing her job (protecting) and I am no longer getting frustrated (albeit sympathetic) calls from my lovely neighbours. It is a win, win, win situation.

{Photography via Pawsh Instagram}

PAWSH PERK: Expert advice for training a dog not to lick.

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