Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dog Runs Half Marathon

Dozier, a three year old goldendoodle, was so excitement when he saw the thousands of runners racing by his house, and he decided to follow the pack.  Reportedly, runners saw him at several points along the route. The pup crossed the finish mark — clocking in at 2 hours and 14 minutes!
Having no idea what happened, Dozier’s owner was frantically searching for his lost pet.  When Dozier finally made it home his feet were muddy and he was limping a bit, but he's just fine.
The race benefitted the University of Maryland Medical Center's Greenebaum Cancer center.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Tail Wag

Your doggie's tale indicates more about your dog's emotions than you might think.

High, stiff, and wagging = “I’m in charge”
A tail that’s upright like a mast doesn’t necessarily mean that a dog is feeling aggressive, but she’s certainly being assertive. Many people get bitten because they misinterpret stiffly wagging tails. A tail held high and wagging stiffly is the sign of a dominant dog, and it could mean that the dog is ready to attack.

Low, fast wags and short sweeps = “I’m no threat”
When a meek dog is approached by a more assertive dog—one with her tail up and stiffly wagging—she has only one reasonable response: to show the bossy dog that she isn’t a threat. Dogs who are fearful or submissive often will respond to another dog’s approach by holding their tails low and wagging them just slightly. This means, “Hey, I’m friendly and no threat at all.”

Low, slow wags and large sweeps = “It’s good to see you”
Sometimes a wag is really just a wag. You’ll know your dog is wagging because she’s happy to see you and wants to play when her tail is low or even with her body and is wagging a little slowly, but in wide sweeps back and forth. Usually, her whole butt will be wiggling as well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pet Photography Basics

Other than baby photos, pictures of pets are among the most popular in any household. Unfortunately, they also tend to suffer the most from poor quality.  Here are some quick tips to getting great photos of your fur baby.

1) Change angles
Most pet photos are taken from the perspective of a human being looking down while the pet looks up. Bor-rinnnnnng! Try something different and get down at their level or, if they're moving, pan with them as you take the shot.
2) Stick with natural light. Turn off or cover the on-camera flash
On-camera flashes are evil. They flatten everything out, cast harsh shadows and are the source of the infamous glowing green pet eyes. If you have to use a flash go with an off-camera one and bounce the light off a ceiling or wall.
3) Stay out of direct sun and shoot in the morning or late afternoon
Contrary to popular belief, bright sunlight is not a photographers friend. It wreaks havoc with your exposure and you typically end up with lots of nasty shadows in places you don't want them. I avoid photographing subjects outside in direct light except first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon before sunset when the light is angled low.
4) Don't wait for the perfect moment and don't be afraid to take lots of shots but...
Most of us are shooting digital these days so you can essentially take as many pictures as you want. With pets, unpredictability is the rule of law. You never know how a shoot is going to go. All you can do is be there and hope you catch the moment. This requires taking a lot of shots in quick sequence and culling through them later for the best one.
5) ...make sure you edit yourself
Some of the most important work happens after you shoot. It sounds cliche but less is more. It's easy to become enamored of the 100 pictures you took of Spot playing with his new ball but chances are your friends won't feel the same way. Limit what you show people to only the very best.

Dog Body Language Explained

Dogs speak to us, but in a different language. Unfortunately, there's no Rosetta Stone DVD to help us learn "dog talk." So, instead, we must analyze it ourselves, keeping it in context, avoiding asserting our own interpretations, and remembering that dogs were once wild animals.

 Confident and Relaxed

  • Stance - erect
  • Tail - wagging slowly
  • Ears - pricked up but with a relaxed look
  • Eyes - small pupils
  • Mouth - closed or slight parting of lips

Fearful or Anxious

  • Stance - lowered
  • Tail - tucked under
  • Ears - down
  • Eyes - a wide-eyed look with the whites showing
  • Mouth - panting


  • Stance - rigid
  • Tail - straight up or out behind, very rigid
  • Ears - pricked up
  • Eyes - intense, focused stare
  • Mouth - lips are pulled back and some teeth show
  • Hackles - this is a line of hair that starts at the base of the neck and runs down the shoulders. It is raised if a dog is feeling aggressive and lowered if he is relaxed.


  • Stance - dog is pulled into himself
  • Tail - tucked completely under
  • Ears - lying down
  • Eyes - wide-eyed and trouble focusing
  • Mouth - lips pulled back slightly or heavy panting


  • Stance - lying down or standing without any alertness
  • Tail - up and wagging or lying naturally
  • Ears - at their normal state, depending on the breed (A Terrier's would be up but relaxed, a Hound's would be down)
  • Eyes - normal pupil dilation, focused but not staring
  • Mouth - open and lightly panting or closed