How do I get my dog/cat to do that? Effective Communication During Portrait Sessions

How do I get my dog/cat to do that? Effective Communication During Portrait Sessions

Learning to communicate with our pets – both our own and other’s – is vitally important. There is no way around it: understanding animal-talk requires teaching. Dogs and cats make all sorts of different sounds in different situations – they range from growls, barks, and meows, to whimpers, and whines – and everything in between. And their body language says a lot, too. But it can be challenging for us to understand exactly what our furry family member is telling us.

During my portrait sessions, communication is absolutely vital. We want to ensure that this is a fun experience for everyone…including your dog or cat. We also want to set ourselves up for success when it comes to specific images that you may want. The key to all of this is communication. So, how can work together to make the session success?

dog looking up at parents with smile

1. Know your dog and cat and the unique signs they use.

Dogs and cats are unique individuals. We need to understand the unique or specific gestures your pet uses, what they mean, and what you and I should do (or not) if we see it. It’s why I insist on a pre-session Design Consult for our custom sessions. This is where we discuss the words and cues your pet uses as well as what behaviour and activities makes them happy or, maybe, uncomfortable.

2. Educate everyone on cues.

Everyone in the home should be on the same page when it comes to using verbal and/or visual cues to ask their dog or cat for certain behaviors. If, when your pet jumps up, one person asks for a “down” and another says “no”, confusion is the only result. Understood commands help us develop a healthy bond with our pets and is a foundation for effective communication.

It’s also helpful for me to use the same cues during our session. I’m pretty good at noticing what you use, but if I inadvertently use a cue that is confusing to your dog or cat, please do not hesitate to let me know. Good communication between the humans means a successful session too.

3. Respect the limitations.

Here’s a scenario… During our pre-session Design Consult, you tell me that really want your pet photographed on this beautiful chair, by a window with gorgeous light streaming through. However, when I ask you whether they are generally allowed to be on furniture, you tell me that they have never been allowed on this chair/in this room/on any furniture etc. The problem becomes obvious.

Dogs and cats do not understand that they are in the midst of portrait session and that exceptions can be made for this event. When they are asked to get on said chair – one that they know they are not allowed on and perhaps have been punished for getting up on – it becomes a no-win situation. On one hand, they don’t want to disobey you (or me) in this moment and be chastised for not complying. On the other hand, they don’t want to do something that they know from past experience results in discipline.

On the off chance that we can get them on the chair, we will probably see uncomfortable body language. Which doesn’t make for a happy, beautiful portrait.

So, what can we do? Ask them to go on a chair they are allowed on. Place their bed by the window in the beautiful light. Go hiking in the woods and get them to sit on tree stumps. Or…you can start in the weeks leading up to your session date, allowing them on the chair. Good, positive reinforcement for a new behaviour.

4. Recognize that a portrait session is not a training session.

While we are going to try and reinforce your great training, we also have to be realistic in our expectations. The first thing I tell clients is: Please do not be embarrassed by your dog and/or cat’s behaviour. I mean it. This is a situation that your pet probably has not been in before and they are trying to figure it all out. If they do something that makes you pause, but is not serious or dangerous, try and let it go.

So, when your dog who ‘never jumps up’, jumps up on me, please know that it’s not the first time it has happened. I’m not frightened. My clothes are chosen specifically so that I can withstand muddy paws. It’s no big deal.

In conclusion…

Most dog mums and cat dads are ecstatic at how well a session with me goes. They are even happier when they see the final artwork in their hands. Seeing their beautiful dog or cat with their gorgeous personality on display…well, that’s what it’s all about.

POSH PETS BOUTIQUE™ SESSIONS

Where it all begins

  • Pre-session Design Consult that ensures we create images you will be thrilled with.
  • The result is gorgeous custom artwork the life your pet shares with your family.
  • A personal Ordering Consultation to ensure you select the right images from the gallery.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Boutique™ Sessions can be found here.

Here’s looking at you…! | Pet Lovers Guide to Tech

Here’s looking at you…! | Pet Lovers Guide to Tech

No matter how much I love my kitties, I can’t be home with them all of the time. Obviously, I need to leave my home once in a while! (The most important reason being: to photograph all the dogs and cats of Toronto…)

But how amazing would it be to have at least some idea of what’s going on with our pets while we’re away? I imagine Panda and Bentley having a grand adventure together – Panda trying teaching him all the ways to open closed doors and sneaking all the snacks, while Bentley, as the teenage boy he is, doesn’t listen and tries things his own way.

While your dog or cat will definitely enjoy it better if you are home with them, for the times that you cannot, there is now all kinds of ways to keep tabs. Check out these fun techy solutions for pet parents that have both form and function.

dog sitting on sofa in modern condo

1. See what your dog is up to.

Indoor cameras are amazing for checking up on your furry family member. Maybe you are looking for all of their cute adorableness when they sleep, or you are trying to determine if their anxiousness is subsiding…a well-placed camera can give you lots of information. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! There are lots of indoor camera options, but if you want to go super simple, set up your iPad (or any other tablet/phone) to record video. When you come home, you can review and delete the recording.

2. Give rewards.

Think of all the great benefits of having a camera plus treat-tossing! The Furbo has tons of marketing showing dogs staring at it because it doles out treats. But the camera can do more than that – if you’re dealing with dog challenges like excessive barking or howling, you’ll probably benefit from the Furbo Dog Nanny because it will alert you to the behavior. As a result, Furbo has been known to save lives when the dog’s barking alerted the pet parents to a fire in the house while they were away.

While it was designed for dogs, Furbo’s basic features work for cat parents who want to check in on their feline friend, too.

3. See what they see – day or night.

Ever wonder what adventures your cats are getting into all day long? Me too! Bentley is the new guy around here and while he is learning manners when we are around, I’d love to see what he actually gets up to with Panda when we are not.

GlowTrack cat camera is super lightweight and after a gentle introduction of a few minutes per day, collar-tolerant cats can wear it when you need to know what they are getting up to. It captures clear video…even at night. Although it’s designed for cats, I think dog parents can have fun with this, too!

4. Track your dog or cat in real time.

Ever lost – or thought you lost – your pet? Remember that anguish? Not just for lost keys anymore, The Tile Pro can help you find him or her faster. This tracker isn’t made for pets, but it’s still easy to put on your pet’s collar! Great for when you’re traveling or even to track a cat that plays hide-n-seek inside your home…for hours.

5. NextGen playtime.

Who hasn’t daydreamed about being at home and playing with their pet instead of grocery shopping, sitting in boring meetings? When you cannot actually be home, PlayDate is the next best thing. It’s an interactive ball toy that you can control remotely via an app. There is a camera inside the ball. You can see your dog or cat’s adorableness in real-time and they can hear your voice via the two-way audio!

These techy gadgets are ways to enhance your pet’s life, especially while you’re out. But they’ll never replace human contact, of course.  Consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to be with your pet if they’re going to be alone for long periods of time.

Know of any other cool tech out there for pets? Tell me here.

The Dog and Cat Geek’s Guide to Interior Design

The Dog and Cat Geek’s Guide to Interior Design

Back when we got our first cat, Ripley, I was so excited to get our home ready! I remember going shopping for the bed, the collars and all of the toys.

Changing up your home is always exciting. And finding ways to make it an even more pet-friendly space is key to keeping you both happy and contented.

So, here’s my personal guide to making your home a stylish and functional space for you and your fur family.

cat lounging on beautifully designed chair

1. Add more washable, soft fabrics to your space.

Some fabrics are harder than others to keep clean. I really like the faux suede on our couch because it’s pretty resistant to scratches, tears, and cat hair. Especially as it has been treated to be stain-resistant.

Other great dog-and-cat-friendly materials include: genuine leather (or pleather), fabrics made from acrylic (great for outdoor furniture),  microfiber (keep a lint roller handy though), and vinyl (so easy to clean). Trust me – steer clear from tweed, chenille, and silk! Our first couch was made of a type of ‘pickable’ fabric and it was destroyed within weeks…

2. Laminate and tile for the win.

I grew up with carpet but it’s notorious for trapping odors and being difficult to clean. So, I vote for some sort of hardwood, laminate or tile whenever possible. They come in all sorts of colours and finishes so you can really create a space you love.

However, fair warning: if you choose real hardwood floors, you’ll probably want to pet-proof your floors and keep your dog and cat’s nails trimmed. And dark colours of any sort of flooring definitely show off the hair.

Of course, if you do have carpet, there are some great pet-odor eliminators and cleaners you can use, like Tackle The Tinkle.

3. Keep on top of the dog and cat hair.

While many have come to accept some dog and cat hair on their clothes, take care of pet hair in your home regularly. Trust me about keeping up with this! It makes all the difference. 

Vacuuming every couple of days (with some quick lint rolling in between) is fast and easy, and ensures that clumps of hair like tumbleweeds don’t appear around your home.

An added bonus is that if you have anyone (human) has mild allergies, they will be much happier. And, anyone (pet) who likes to eat everything they come across on the floor, will have less to chow down on and you will avoid finding wet deposits of thrown-up hair.

4. Use their stuff to accessorize your home.

Modern dogs and cats have a lot of stuff. But not all of it needs to be put away. In our home, we have specifically chosen cat trees, beds and furniture that matches our aesthetic and look really good in the living room.

Shop around for food and water bowls, dog beds, and blankets that go with your style and let it be part of the décor. 

5. Match your dog and cat.

Select pieces that match your dog’s fur or hair color. Your bedspread, wall treatments, pet beds, throw pillows can add an interesting element to any room. You can even go with a more permanent move like a matching accent wall or installing flooring that matches.

I had a client whose home perfectly matched the colouring or her cat. As you can imagine, the resulting portraits were absolutely stunning.

Which brings me to the next point…

6. Hang up a beautiful portrait of your dogs and cats.

My absolute favorite pieces of art in our house are the portraits I have of each of our cats. They are large (20×30 inches), properly framed, and they hang proudly in our hallway.

As a pet photographer, I am obviously biased, but ensuring that each client has beautiful portraits hanging in their homes too is what I do. The trick is to have a thorough design consult before any photos are taken. We talk about colours, personal style and yes, the aesthetic of your home. If you are including the artwork with a home renovation, I am happy to speak with your interior designer too.

 

So, there you have it! With a little thought and creativity, you can ensure that you, your cat, your dog and your family love your home.

I’d love to know what other dog and cat lovers are doing in their homes. What’s your favorite pet inspired interior design tip? Please click here to share them and let me know! (Send a pic too, if you can.)

 

Local Dog-Lover’s Guide to Toronto and the GTA

Local Dog-Lover’s Guide to Toronto and the GTA

Life in Toronto is fast-paced, expensive, and you can always find something to do. But it’s not just us humans who can have adventures around town. With so many dog moms and cat dads, the community is becoming more and more pet-friendly and there are ways to go out on the town with your dog or adventure cat.

Looking for something to do? I’ve put together a quick list of my absolute favourite dog and cat-friendly places around Toronto so you and your furry friend can adventure out together!

dog getting treat from mom

1. A pet-friendly patio

So many craft breweries are cropping up around the city and their patios often welcome pets. Take your pick from Black Lab Brewing (Leslieville), Stone Lion Pub (The Beaches), Mill Street Brewery (Distillery District), High Park Brewery (The Junction), and Brunswick Bier Works (East York). Some feature pet menus, a treat from your server, or special pet-themed events. Check them out and let us know your favourites!

If you’re looking for non-alcoholic options, check out your local Starbucks, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, Tom & Sawyer, and Rooster Coffee House.

2. A night away with your best friend.

A few years ago, we were planning a special family event and wanted to include the dogs. I phoned hotel after hotel and could only find TWO that accepted pets. Fast-forward to today and thankfully travel is getting easier for pet parents. From dog-friendly hotels to awesome pet lodges, if you need to leave town (or even go on a well-earned staycation), you now have choices.

If you want to splurge, I highly recommend Hotel X. (Shameless plug: We are their designated pet photographer so you can include a photography session during your stay – see link) Not only do they welcome your dog or cat with its own bed, treats, and other goodies, but the view is to die for!

3. Have a day of pampering and shopping.

There are groomers and then there are the groomers at Hound & Purr. The owner, Victoria, has many fans among the cute and furry and her team of groomers gets high praises from the humans too! One of the best things is that they not only just groom dogs – they have special cat days so that fabulous felines can get their well-deserved pampering in an environment free of stress.

Hound & Purr is also an independant boutique and Victoria works hard to bring in local and unique items. So you and your pet can have a great shopping experience too.

Know of an awesome dog-loving spot I missed? Send me a quick message here and let me know! I’m always looking for new places to check out.
Your Pet’s 360 – The Most Important Relationships in your Dog and Cat’s Life

Your Pet’s 360 – The Most Important Relationships in your Dog and Cat’s Life

dog family photographer

When I worked in Human Resources, we used to conduct what are called 360s for all of our management and high-performers. One reason being, you wanted to see how healthy their relationship was with the people around them and make tweaks as necessary. (I’m purposely being very brief here…ha!)

When it comes to our pets, the relationships our dogs and cats have with the people and animals in their lives also need to be healthy. We need to take stock and see what is working and what might need some changes.

The first step is identifying the people that have the most impact on your pet’s well-being. So, read on to see our list of the people who we feel are important to your pet’s own happy, healthy life. 

1. YOU (of course!)

In this case, you know you are #1. You are the one constant in their life and your pet looks forward to time spent with you, even if it is just in the mundane things of life. Spending time with them is vital.

In our house, Panda, is incredibly bonded to my husband I. Especially as we had to say goodbye to her furry brother, Baxter, last December.

We spend at least 20 minutes a day in active play where she zooms around all of the rooms. And, since the pandemic, she has learned new skills: she now knows that the words “let’s go to work!” mean that she will hop up on her bed beside my desk and has quickly become the best co-worker ever; she recognizes the sound of coffee being made to mean that lactose-free milk will be not too far behind; and she spends the rest of the day either sitting on me or napping beside us. We are her world.

2. Their compassionate veterinarian

Next to you, your pet’s veterinarian and clinic staff may be the most important people in his or her life. So, it’s vital that you cement that relationship with an annual check-up in addition to visiting when your pet doesn’t feel well. Or just drop in to say “hi!” so vet visits aren’t always scary. While the pandemic has made this more of a challenge, speak with your veterinarian to see what can be arranged.

We’ve always chosen our vets on the fact that they are exceptionally compassionate and truly care about our pet’s well-being. That, coupled with no “guilt trip” when discussing expensive medical options when helping us to navigate the unavoidable goodbye, has made us loyal to our clinic for 20 years.

And if you are in a bind and need emergency advice, there are services like Vetster, that are on-call, 24-hour connections to veterinarians.

3. Their reliable pet-sitter

Some pets grow to really love their pet sitter, whether they are a professional or your best human friends. Not only do they go to great lengths to make sure your dog has loving company, food, water, and exercise, they make sure your home is safe and secure, too.

A point about cats: While some feel that they can leave cats for days on end with ‘enough food’, I believe that it is not enough. We have never left our cats overnight without someone staying with them. It started with Ripley, who had terrible fears of being abandoned (he was a rescue who had his family move on him and leave him behind), and it has continued with all 4 of our kitties.

4. Their furry best friend

Humans are great! But when it comes to romping in the yard or curling up for a nap, some pets really enjoy the company of their own fuzzy kind. Baxter was Panda’s very best friend. If your pet craves companionship from a fellow canine or feline, call a fellow pet parent for a hike or a playdate.

Or if there is room in your heart and your home, it may be time to adopt another pet as a full-time best friend. Of course, choose wisely. We are currently in the process of deciding whether Panda needs another friend. Her days and nights were filled with Baxter, so she’s obviously had to adjust. But, I know that if we find the perfect boy companion, we will welcome another furry heart into our family.

5. Their soothing groomer.

A genuine bond between a pet and their groomer often lasts a lifetime. A great groomer can take a stressful bath event and turn it into a feel-good spa day. The fact that your groomer understands your dog’s unique needs and your particular desires when it comes to the final result, makes them invaluable. Your pet’s monthly relationship with their groomer involves trust and respect on both ends of the table.

6. Their good time dog walker.

Cue all the butt wiggles when the dog walker shows up! When you can’t be home, the dog walker is the one you and your dog trust for potty breaks, exercise and just plain good fun. 

How to know if you have found the right dog walker? Check out the 4-step process here.

In conclusion…

Who are the people in your pet’s relationship circle? Friend, family, or professional, be sure to let them know how much you both appreciate their expertise, care, and affection. A card, text, or just a heartfelt “thank you” will say aloud what your pet can only articulate with a happy nudge and welcoming eyes.

You Might Be A Pet Mum Or Dad If…

You Might Be A Pet Mum Or Dad If…

While some dogs guardians think of themselves as owners rather than pet parents, Dog Mums and Cat Dads are an entirely different breed! You definitely have the rights to call yourself a Pet Parent if you can check off at least half of these pet-pampering traits.

dog giving dog dad a kiss

1. You celebrate your dog’s Gotcha Day.

You count it among one of the best days of your life – certainly of your pets. And yes, it is celebrated with presents, and parties, and cards, of course.

2. Their health comes first.

You’ve been putting off a big expense for your house for years, but when your pet needs a dental cleaning, you pull out your credit card without hesitation.

3. You call your dog or cat grand pup or grand kitty when you discuss your pet with your parents.

And in some cases, you let them know that your pets may be the only grandchildren they’ll ever meet.

4. Your phone’s camera roll is 99.5% pics of your pup

You will delete apps to make room for more photos. You happily show the photos off to complete strangers. In fact, you’ve made new friends that way!

4. You sleep with your pet.

Notice the wording: you sleep with your pet. Not that they sleep with you. After all, you all agree that it is their bed anyway.

5. The very first thing you do when you get home from work is hug your dog!

And they greet you at the door looking for the hug.

6. You’ve given your dog several silly nicknames — and a middle name, too.

And they greet you at the door looking for the hug. Our cat does this too. And if she is not there when I return home, I go looking for her to ask her why.

7. Vacation planning always revolves around your dog or cat.

Absolutely. Plans are not finalized until you have made arrangements for their care.

8. You cook for your dog and cat.

Recipes abound with tasty treats and healthy meals for your pet. You might even spend more time cooking for them than yourself.

9. You have closet envy.

They have a wardrobe because you dress your dog (as long as your dog “approves”). If you don’t do “costumes”, your pet still probably has a weatherproof jacket, a snuggly sweater, and even cats have at least a simple bowtie or bandana for special occasions.

10. You arrange for play dates.

Whether it is meetups in the park, regular passes to daycare of a sitter/cuddler/walker that comes in regularly, you make sure that your pet has a social life.

So…are you a Dog/Cat Mum/Dad? Let me know below and tell me what I left off of the list…

Bonus #11: You have had a professional portrait session for you pet.

For your dog. For your cat. Choose a photographer whose style speaks to you and whose images you adore! If you think you want one with us, see some details, below:

POSH PETS BOUTIQUE™ SESSIONS

Where it all begins

  • Pre-session Design Consult that ensures we create images you will be thrilled with.
  • The result is gorgeous custom artwork the life your pet shares with your family.
  • A personal Ordering Consultation to ensure you select the right images from the gallery.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Boutique™ Sessions can be found here.

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss Your Pet? That is the question…

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss Your Pet? That is the question…

Here at Posh Pets® Photography, we are a divided camp. I have always regularly kissed our pets – after all, they know me and I love them. My husband? Not so much. He loves them just as much as I do, but he’s not a fan of putting his lips to fur.

But even I – a diehard fan of physical affection – knows that kissing your dog or cat may not always be for the best. So, here are 4 questions to ask yourself before leaning in for the kiss.

dog getting treat from mom

1. Where has that adorable nose and tongue been? 

All that is between your face and another dog’s bum is your dog’s cute nose. Where was it last? Burying a treat in the mud? Snuffling a dead squirrel they found in the yard? Licking their butt or that of some other animal’s? Think about that for a minute…

As for their tongue, remember that it is essentially your pet’s dinner fork and washcloth, lapping up food, cleaning up messes, and sometimes vomiting. Cats do all of that as well, but also use their tongue to groom themselves to remove dirt and debris. They don’t often lick you – but if they do as ours have – you’ll notice that their tongues are a little prickly. Be prepared for that sensation.

2. What is your health like?

Parasites like hookworms, roundworms, and giardia can be passed from pets to people. Pasteurella, bartonella henselae, salmonella, E.coli and more can infect both canines and humans.

Now, a healthy person won’t easily catch something from their dog or cat, but that is because of your robust immune system. But after 2 years in a global pandemic, we all know a thing or two about what happens when people with weak immune systems come in contact with illnesses. So, if you are on medications that suppress your immune system, or are battling a serious illness like cancer, you may have a harder time warding off infections. So, be careful.

Children and seniors may also have less robust immune systems, so perhaps stick to cuddles.

Remember too, the presence of allergies. Many complain of allergic reactions to cat dander. Dog saliva may be a more potent allergen than their dander. So, if you are allergic to dogs or cats, forget the kisses.

4. What is your pet’s health like?

If you choose to pucker up with your pet, keep it clean. Ensure they are healthy by having regular vet visits, de-worming as necessary and, picking up poop in the yard. Cats need regular vet visits as well (This month is #NationalCatHealthMonth which encourages cat mums and cat dads to take their feline’s health seriously.) Ensure that their litter box is kept clean.

3. Does your dog or cat want to?

Consent is everything. Lots of dogs aren’t comfortable with face-to-face contact. They may lick their lips, turn their head away, or show the whites at the side of their eyes to silently tell you NO. Respect their silent warnings, or nip or bite could follow.

Cats are often even more annoyed by kisses or even kissy noises. Often, they’ll simply turn around and walk away, tail held high. Respect their choice. And remember that they have claws. One well-placed swat and you could be dealing with infection.

In conclusion…

So, to kiss or not to kiss? It’s totally up to you. I photograph many clients who love cuddling up to their pet and we get gorgeous, natural portraits full of love and kisses. Others opt for not. Either way, let your dog and cat know you love them and your relationship will flourish.
Treats For My Sweet | What We Use During Pet Photography Sessions

Treats For My Sweet | What We Use During Pet Photography Sessions

It’s been a tough couple of years, but if there is an upside, it has been all of the extra time with our pets. They have seen us through thick and thin and, here in Toronto multiple rounds of lockdowns, so is it no wonder that we feel like spoiling them a bit? I know that here in the Posh Pets® Photography house, we are definitely making time for play and treatos.

Talking about treats, let’s face it: we all like treats – why would your dog or cat be any different? So, if you are in the mood to try something new (it is January, after all), check out the list below to find the tasty treats that we actually use during our photography sessions. I have a broad range of sizes and tastebuds in my discerning furry clientele, so these are all double and triple-tested in the field! The added bonus is that we try hard to support local, Canadian options, so we’ve included links and a few discount codes for you!

dog getting treat from mom

1. Crunchy

These beloved traditional “biscuits” are hard and crunchable (cronch is good!), and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Because they have a low moisture content, they don’t require seal-tight packaging and are a favorite of businesses who like to give their customer’s canine sidekicks a little something special at checkout. 

♥ What we use: Northern Biscuit from Concord, Ontario.  These biscuits are loved by everyone and they have the best names! (To receive 20% off your order, use POSHPETS20 at checkout. Valid until February 10, 2022.)

2. Soft + Chewy

These treats come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and flavors and are sniffably good! Because they are so attractive to canine noses and taste buds and can be easily broken into smaller bits, they are great as training rewards.

♥ What we use: Farm Fresh Pet Foods from Edmonton, Alberta.

3. Baked

Just like it sounds, these treats have that homemade vibe because they are baked in ovens. Single-ingredient, healthy options abound and they can often be broken up into smaller portions and used for training.

♥ What we use: Healthybud from Montreal, Quebec. (To receive 10% off your order, use POSHPETS10 at checkout.)

4. Freeze-Dried

Treats that are a raw food that has had its moisture removed through a freezing and drying process that sometimes includes pasteurization to decrease bacteria.  These intriguing morsels can be fed out of the bag or plumped up by adding water.

♥ What we use: Benny Bully’s from Mississauga, Ontario

5. Cat Treats

As you know, I photograph a fair number of cats and need some good options to keep the feline attention. We also have a picky cat at home – Panda has consistently turned her nose up at anything labelled a ‘cat treat’ and I have history of donating or throwing away bags and bags of treats. However, there is one that she will come running for. So, if you are looking for a cat treat, that might be one to try.

♥ What we use: Feline Greenies™ Dental Treats   The Roast Chicken and Tuna flavours are a favourite. Greenies are manufactured in the United States and imported by Mars Petcare Canada located in Bolton, Ontario.

Remember, treats are yummy but high in calories, too. You don’t want a pudgy pup or chubby cat! Choose treats that are appropriate to the size of your pet, and keep them to less than 10% of their diet. Use treats as a reward for good behavior, and both you and your sidekick will keep moving toward the best life ever.

Winter Blah-Busting for You and Your Pet | Dogs and Cats

Winter Blah-Busting for You and Your Pet | Dogs and Cats

Are you getting that sad eyes look more and more these days? Winter officially arrives this month and, whether your pup is a snoozing-potato-on-the-couch or one who thinks that playing in the white stuff is the best, chances are that at least one of you isn’t thrilled about dropping temps. Of course, here in Canada, Winter is our middle name. In Toronto, every day is different – we run the gamut of beautiful white snow and milder temps all the way through to those icy, cold days when no one wants to venture out. And sometimes all those types of weather happen in the same day!

No matter what your Winter looks like, it can be tempting to spend these months holed up watching movies and cuddling on the couch.  And there’s nothing at all wrong with that – until you and your dog are ready for it to be done. So, whenever that hits this winter, here’s a handy list of blah-busting winter activities you and your pup can enjoy together!

1. Play Hide-And-Seek

Remember playing this as a kid? (99,100…ready of not here I come…!) If you’ve never tried this with your pup you are both in for a treat! Plus, it’s fantastic practice for recall and can be played anywhere your dog is able to be off-leash – even indoors. 

It’s simple: Have your dog stay in one room of the house while you go and hide in another. Call your dog and see how long it takes for him or her to find you. When they do, ensure they get lots of praise and treats.

If you are going to do this outside, hide behind an object like a tree. If you are not in an off-leash area, have a friend hold the leash, but let the dog lead the way to find you.

Did you know cats can play this too? I’ve often played hide-and-seek with our cat, Panda, who loves to show off how smart she is when she easily finds us!

pet photography session in winter with snow

2. Be Nosey

Dog noses are amazing things and can be the path to great adventures! Letting dogs sniff freely is a great way to let them explore and can lead you both to unexpected places and sights. So when the winter blahs get you, consider taking a short trip outside and letting your dog’s nose lead the way. You might be surprised where you end up!

pet photography session in winter with snow

3. Be Crafty

I never considered myself a ‘crafty’ person, but months of lockdown proved me wrong. I also learned that we can all express our creative side in different ways. No matter your personal crafting abilities, winter is a fun time to let those creative ideas flow.

For me, I experimented with artist materials like resin, alcohol ink, watercolour, and card stock which led me to begin Posh Pets® Ink! (You can see all the lovely pet-inspired goods here.)

 So, if there is something you have wanted to try, dark nights spent indoors might be the time to try. Looking for ideas? Find some fun ones along with instructions here

DIY things to do that involve pets

4. Create a Tunnel Maze

So many of us shop online and you can feel a little guilty when you see how much packaging goes to waste. Why not get some extra mileage out of your boxes laying around and extend the joy? Dogs love dens, so you can encourage them with a few treats and cozy blankets and they should love their temporary digs pretty quickly. And cats…well, just put the box down. We built a 3-story maze with entrances and exits last winter and the cats had a ball!

Have I left anything out? Email me and tell me how you and your dog and cat beat the Winter Blahs.

Winter Snow Sessions are a thing! Where would you like to go with your pup?

POSH PETS BOUTIQUE™ SESSIONS

Where it all begins

  • Pre-session Design Consult that ensures we create images you will be thrilled with.
  • The result is gorgeous custom artwork the life your pet shares with your family.
  • A personal Ordering Consultation to ensure you select the right images from the gallery.
  • Please note: The Creative Fee covers time and talent to photograph a maximum of four (4) subjects, which can be any combination of people and up to two (2) pets who live within the same household. Additional subjects may be photographed for a small additional fee.
  • Examples of portraits from Posh Pets Boutique™ Sessions can be found here.
Before You Go | Tips for a Better Visit to the Vet

Before You Go | Tips for a Better Visit to the Vet

Toronto commercial photographer vet visit tips

Spring has sprung! A sure sign that Spring is here in the Posh Pets® household is that we plan our annual vet visit with our favourite veterinarian. Yesterday, I made the phone call – I always phone early, long before the reminder in mail arrives – because their vet is one of the best and is in great demand. If we want to see her specifically, we need to book early.

I realize that I am very fortunate to have two kitties who do not seem to mind their visit to their docotr. To them, the vet visit is a new place to explore and to be made a fuss of. It may be a product of the fact that, although being rescues, they have always been healthy. Sure, there is the occasional needle, but Baxter is far too much a gentleman to complain and Panda purrs through the whole thing.

However, every dog and cat is an individual and, just like the people, there are so many of us that can get a bit nervous for a simple and routine check-up. I am one of those people, so I can completely sympathize with our furry family members who just do. not. want. to. go.

So, for those cat mums and dog dads who struggle with their pet’s anxiety before you even walk in the door, here are a few ideas to make the vet visit as stress-free as possible.

1. Start with the car

Make sure your pets are familiar and comfortable with riding in the car. Take them on errands or play days at the park so that they associate your car with fun and harmless activities. If they associate riding in the car with more than a trip to the vet, their anxiety will not start as early or be as prolonged. While this may be a simple idea for dogs, consider also getting your cat to go on short trips with you in their carrier. It will depend on their character and if they enjoy such things, but a car ride that is just that – a short trip with no stress – can be a great start to a stress-free vet visit.

2. Choose the right veterinarian/clinic

A good relationship with your veterinarian is a must! If you are uneasy or do not trust your current vet, it makes for a stressful situation for you. Do not underestimate how much in tune your pet is with your emotions; if you’re uneasy they will be too. In most cities, there are a number of veterinary clinics and hospitals, so you will often have a choice. If car rides are already fun for your dog or cat, you can expand your area of search. I know that for the first few years, we drove an hour to get to a vet that we felt comfortable with.

3. Be social

Call ahead and arrange for a visit to your chosen vet just to say hello. If their first few visit are fun, easy events with lots of attention and treats and, most importantly, without the poking and prodding that a normal visit entails, they will be at ease when it comes time for a real visit. Most veterinarian offices are more than happy to accommodate these visits. The staff at our clinic love meeting new puppies and kittens as well as the older, but new family members.

4. Gather the evidence

It might seem like a small thing, but have all of the information regarding your pet’s health ready for when you go for the vet visit. Bring in any samples you need. Keep good records of any changes in their behaviour. For example, there is a great difference between telling your veterinarian that your dog has experienced diarrhea a ‘few times’ and providing very specific times and dates. I have found that it can assist them in diagnosing a potential problem more quickly, perhaps avoiding costly additional tests if they feel they are simply trying to narrow it down a cause to some common symptoms.

Any other tips that you have found helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

2018 Colour of the Year: Ultra Violet

2018 Colour of the Year: Ultra Violet

Ultra Violet Pantone

The start of a new year and the folks at Pantone have determined that Ultra Violet is the Color of the Year for 2018. If you have never checked out the Pantone page, you really should. Lots of resources and tools on how to incorporate the colour into your design, fashion and beauty lifestyle. Of course, because we are Posh Pets® Photography and love all things dog and cat, we have also scoured the city to come up with a few ways to ensure your dog or cat is current and on-trend in 2018.

1. The Fashion Accessory

A beautiful purple bow tie for the ever-fashionable dog or cat by Toronto’s own Rover Boutique. They have such a gorgeous selection of styles and colours for your pets and they are all designed and sewn in Toronto. They also have beautiful bandanas, coats and leashes.

Ultra Violet Pantone dog and cat bowtie

2. The Winter Necessity

Another great Toronto company is Canada Pooch. Stylish and warm outwear, knits, and accessories will keep your dog cozy as they brave the elements on their daily adventures.

ultra violet pantone canada pooch

3. The Harness

I stumbled upon the designs of Bowl & Bone Republic one day and have been smitten ever since. They create luxurious bowls, beds and accessories for dogs.

Ultra Violet Dog Harness Bowl & Bone

4. The Silverware

This beautiful dog bowl by Snooty Pets features the ultra violet colour and silver. You’ll wish they created dishware for humans too.

Ultra Violet Pantone Dog Bowl

5. The Home Decor

And do not forget about the kitties! A purple litter mat by Pet Safe will ensure that your feline is appropriately modern and your home is free of litter. What more could you ask for?

Ultra Violet Cat Litter Mat

Any dog or cat accessories you love?

Feel free to let us know the details in the comments, below.

PS: There’s more! We have lots of other ultra violet ideas for your pet on our Pinterest page.

 

Join us…

Once you have purchased all of these stylish accessories, you’ll want to show them off with great photography. Sign up here for the Tips for Taking Drool-Worthy Pictures of Your Pet With Your Phone – a free pdf showing how to work with your phone to get awesome photographs. Have fun out there!

7 Ways to Make Your Dog Happy on a Consistent Basis

7 Ways to Make Your Dog Happy on a Consistent Basis

dog happiness

Here at Posh Pets®, we have always believed this one truth: Dogs are family. As dogs take their rightful place as full-fledged members of the family unit, we are always interested in the source of dog happiness and canine well-being. After all, there is nothing like a content and happy pup – it fills us with happiness just looking at them. Is bringing more happiness and joy into your pup’s life on the list of goals for 2018?  Well, here are 7 ways to keep their tail wagging:

1. Spend time with your dog everyday

It goes without saying: our dogs love hanging out with their humans. They need and thrive in an environment where their people take an interest. So, the simplest way to make your dog happy is to spend some quality time with them. Every. Single. Day. What you do together will depend on your lifestyle and the breed of your pup: for some, simply cuddling them on the couch is enough; while others would love to go on epic adventures with you in the great outdoors. Daily walks are essential as it strengthens your bond and both of you get much needed exercise. If you love early morning walks, get up early and greet the sun together.

2. Keep your dog looking good (and posh)

Don’t you feel better when you know you look good? It’s the same with your dog. A good grooming routine is essential. However, some pups show a little apprehension with the whole grooming thing, so start with short brushing sessions and lots of positive reinforcement – praise, belly rubs and treats should never be in short supply. You can also make the session more relaxing by placing essential oils in the room and let the calming scents do their magic.

3. Make bath time fun

The simple state of being clean contributes much to your dog’s emotional and physical health, so rub-a-dub-dub! But, bath time can be another uneasy moment for some dogs. A main reason for that is the feeling of insecurity from the feel of the porcelain of your tub – when wet, that can be very slippery. So, consider getting a non-slip bath mat for your tub. It’s a simple solution that will help the dog feel more safe when in the bath.

There’s no need to hurry either. Move at a slow place, so your dog is relaxed and comfortable while being bathed. You can even massage their paws, shoulders and spine while in the bath so they can associate bath time with comfort.

4. Never skip meals

No one likes to be hungry, so make sure your pooch eats the recommended amount of food every day. If you’re unsure what is the exact amount they should be eating, ask the advice of a veterinarian or pet nutritionist.

Sticking to a feeding routine may be a challenge for working owners who sometimes come home late in the evening. Thanks to technology, feeding your dog is now a lot easier. If you are a busy owner, invest in automated pet feeders that can dispense food at designated times of the day. Or choose a dog sitter/walker that can come in and do it for you.

5. Make new buddies

It’s healthy for your pooch to play with other people or dogs once in a while. In fact, it should start socializing early on as a pup. Dogs need to be exposed to a variety of environments to develop self-confidence and avoid behaviours that manifest themselves when a dog is scared as a result of being exposed to new situations. A social dog experiences less stress, so be sure to introduce yours to new faces from time to time.

6. Give your dog gifts

Dogs can be very naughty when they’re bored, so don’t forget to leave out some chew toys and other play things to keep your dog occupied. When it comes to toys, there are so many new ones coming on the market all the time, including environmentally-conscious ones. A new toy is sure to keep your pup’s tail wagging for days, or at least a couple of minutes.

7. Teach and old dog a new trick

Teaching your dog something new makes for a fun bonding moment. Like humans, our four-legged friends are a curious bunch, and learning something new gives them mental stimulation as well as some physical exercise. The trick here is motivation: treats are great ways to reward your pup as they learn new things. If you want to go one step further, Go Fetch recommends seeking assistance from an animal behaviourist or trainer to show you how to properly train your dog. But do your research – you want to ensure that the trainer will use techniques that you are comfortable with – positive reinforcement is to be chosen over anything that frightens your dog. The goal is to make sessions fun for both you and your furry friend. A trained pup is a happy pup.