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.



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.



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:

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.’

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.

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.



children-and-dogsThe bond we have with our childhood dogs cannot be aptly describe by mere words alone. But in order for that bond to thrive, parents of both the pet and canine variety should be aware of a few key points to ensure that little ones and furballs live in harmony (and have a lot of fun along the way!)

Dogs will usually give all sorts of warning signs before being pushed to their absolute limit. Nobody really enjoys being clamoured all over, sat upon or pushed around and usually if a child is doing this (which a child should not be) to a dog the dog’s body language will stiffen.

Happy, relaxed body language means the dog is comfortable, confident and happy. Stiff, jerky body language means the dog is uneasy, fearful or upset which can lead to an unwelcome incident. Teach your child to be respectful of a dog’s space and to interact in a manner that is polite, but always keep an eye on your dog’s body language too, especially with very young children.

Little ones are always going to play a bit roughly while they learn the social dos and donts of life. In order to prepare your dog for this somewhat rambunctious addition to the family pack, handle them frequently.

Get your dog used to being touched all over — on their tail, their ears, between their toes, their bellies, their necks etc. — and make it a positive experience. This will help a dog be ready for little hands all over them.

It is no secret that dogs have very acute hearing. Loud screaming and crying can frazzle a dog, so be sure to have a quiet space that your dog can occupy when your babe starts fussing. As the child matures, teach them that quiet voices are nicer for Fido.

Puppies and children are very similar in many ways. In particular, both do better when they are given boundaries, structure and routine. Creating a routine for your dog and your child to interact together helps both to learn what is expected of them. For older children, giving them a dog-friendly task such as brushing the dog after dinner, helps them to understand their dog as a unique personality with certain needs, likes and dislikes.

Dogs can benefit from a refresher course in basic training to brush up on their ‘sit,’ ‘stay’ and ‘drop it’ commands. Children should also be taught that roughly stealing a dog’s toys and food is rude. Teaching both parties basic lessons such as this will help to create a respectful bond.

Often times little ones don’t realize that their actions are effecting others, so be sure to teach them that how they act towards others — especially animals — means something. Be sure to teach your child that how they act effects Fido’s mood and can hurt their feelings. Translating dog behaviour into the basic language of moods and feelings can help small children better relate with the family furball.

Of course, if a dog has difficult behaviour issues or if you are not comfortable preparing your dog-friendly home for a baby and a dog, it is always recommended that you consult a professional, experienced and certified dog behaviourist to help your family adjust.

{Photography by PAWSH Studio.}

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