Bruce the dog can read the post

I’m the first person to admit that I see my dog as little person but even I was surprised to discover that my patterdale terrier cross can read.

 

Bruce likes to be helpful while we're at work!

Bruce likes to be helpful while we’re at work!

Our computers are not at our home address – we’d go stir crazy living and working in the corner of our kitchen at home. This is good for several reasons – we have access to a garden straight out of the back door on office days and Bruce enjoys the various comings and goings of other family members throughout the day.

No post addressed to me or Michael is ever delivered to this address – it all comes to our home address. And Bruce is not the sort of dog to shred letters up as the post person drops them through the door, nor does he collect the paper and bring it to our laps on a morning. Never.

Except twice. Twice Bruce has charged to the top of the house where we sit roasting at our computers with paper clutched between his teeth. The first time, he was carrying a rogue letter addressed to me – the only letter that has been delivered addressed to me in the last year. Clever or coincidence?

Perhaps I could put it down to coincidence if the only other time he did this hadn’t involved post that was very much in his interest. Yes, the other day he ran up two flights of stairs following the postman’s visit to deliver to us a leaflet for a local pet shop that was having a sale. I kid you not.

Now try and tell me that dogs can’t read. 😉

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Photograph taken on iPhone – not indicative of our professional work 🙂

A colour-coordinated spaniel called Brin

Brin is possibly the loudest dog photography client we’ve ever had. Apparently he barks wherever he goes and he certainly brought his big personality to this photoshoot.

Brin is exuberant with a huge personality

Brin is exuberant with a huge personality
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

He also looked superb against the scrub on the moors, coordinating beautifully! As a result, most of the shoot was in colour with just a couple of black and white images.

Brin looked fantastic against a red moor Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

Brin looked fantastic against a red moor
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

As we’ve mentioned in previous pic of the shoot posts, light is our number one concern out on a shoot. Running through the heather, for example, has to be done into the light, in order to catch it in our subject’s eyes. See how Brin’s eyes shine in the shots and there are no displeasing shadows on his face – it’s all about direction of light, as well as the quality of it.

Brin ran towards the light - and the camera - thanks to a narrow path with bush to either side Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

Brin ran towards the light – and the camera – thanks to a narrow path
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

When we were photographing his action shots, Brin was quite unpredictable in terms of the direction he would run in. We had to choose narrow paths with high bush to either side to steer him on the path we wanted him to go, while we waited with the camera focused ready to capture an awesome shot.

The big puddle - it had to be done! Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

The big puddle – it had to be done!
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

We managed to steer Brin away from the dirty puddles at the start of the shoot but, as we came to the end of the session, he enjoyed a good paddle and we captured a great image as a result. Look how happy he is!

Most of the shoot was in colour, with a couple of black and whites Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

Most of the shoot was in colour, with a couple of black and whites
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

What a handsome chap Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

What a handsome chap
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

More running!Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

More running!
Photograph copyright of The Mighty Pooch dog photographers

Words: Aislinn Kelly. Photographs: Aislinn Kelly and Michael Thompson at The Mighty pooch.

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some more of our shoots.

Keeping dogs cool in the heat

With his thick black coat, it’s a tough job keeping Bruce cool in this gorgeous weather. Rather than complain about the heat though (we don’t get this often!), I asked around to find out how other people keep their dogs cool in summer.

A friend with a British bulldog told me her dog loves crunching on ice cubes – what a great image! – while another friend with a terrier cross said she freezes carrots for her little chap to chew on. I tried both with Bruce – he loved the cold carrot but wasn’t so keen on the ice cubes. We’ve also tried frozen mashed food stuffed into a kong – Bruce enjoyed the challenge of scraping all the food out with his cold tongue.

photo (38)

A wet towel is a good way to keep dogs cool – photo supplied by Bruce’s Grandma Shirley!

Another friend told me he puts socks in the fridge and then wraps them around his labrador’s paws and pops them under her armpits. There’s a good use for the poor sock, which is surely otherwise redundant in this weather. He also pops a wet towel on the floor for her to lie on, as dogs cool down from the bottom up.

Quite a few dog owners advocated the cold pack, which can be wrapped in a tea towel and popped into your dog’s bed to keep that area cool. Similarly, I have set the hairdryer to the cool setting and blown it all over Bruce’s body. He seemed to quite like it. A fan next to his bed would also work well. Yesterday, when the heat was blistering, I opened the freezer door and let Bruce lounge in front of the frozen peas and homemade burgers for a few minutes, which looked like bliss. I had to remember to come back and close it again though!

One friend with a young child has rigged up a paddling pool in her garden, ostensibly for her little daughter to splash in. It seems the dog has claimed it for his own, though, and can be found lounging in the cool water of an afternoon like he’s enjoying the Mediterranean sea. We don’t have a paddling pool but Bruce did enjoy a cool shower yesterday, despite the puzzling realisation that he was being washed when he hadn’t even rolled in anything juicy.

The heat is so tiring Bruce can't even be bothered to take his harness off before he's flaked out - photo supplied by Grandma Shirley

The heat is so tiring Bruce can’t even be bothered to take his harness off before he’s flaked out – photo supplied by Grandma Shirley

Many people are avoiding the midday walk, which seems a good idea. Bruce finds the heat quite tiring, so there’s less charging about after a ball than usual and more sedate strolling at cooler times of the day. Some people have invested in doggie shoes to prevent their pup’s paws burning on the pavement – not a bad idea really, as even wooden decking in the garden can really heat up.

And of course, we all know we should never leave our dogs in the car, which could be fatal in the heat.

If you’ve got any awesome tips, please share 🙂

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Cool June slides into hot July – June’s round-up on the blog

Apparently we’re in line for a heatwave in the UK and I, for one, am all for it. There’s a small chap sitting at my feet as I write, however, who isn’t so keen.

We'll be going boating again this month

We’ll be going boating again this month

Bruce’s black fur heats up like a furnace in the sun and overheating means he can’t charge about for as long as he would like. He will be on a constant look out for little patches of shade into which he’ll disappear, so that only his lolling tongue is visible to the human eye. But, before we heat up for summer, let’s recap June on the blog.

Last week the lovely people at the Kennel Club dropped us a line to let us know about their Dog Photographer of the Year competition, which looks like great fun. We’ll be preparing our entries next month – paws crossed!

In Crazy Dog Lady, I wondered if dogs ever hold grudges and lamented the amount of poop lining our parks and pavements. We also looked at the relationship between dogs and cats and how all cats must be called Dave in our house to keep Bruce sweet.

Bruce's becobowl is currently out of action

Bruce’s becobowl is currently out of action

I also checked out five of the best dog bowls and purchased a beco bowl for Bru, which I then promptly left at our best friends’ house. At the moment Bruce is eating from a dinner plate! On the subject of eating, I also discovered that brushing dogs’ teeth is even more important than I realised and have begun a regime of tooth polishing with the little guy that he stoically accepts. Finally, at the very start of the month we visited a fabulous dog-friendly hotel in Norfolk, which we couldn’t help but recommend to you.

This month I’ll have more Crazy Dog Lady nonsense plus another pic of the shoot and all manner of dog-related loveliness to share, including a dog-friendly boating trip on the River Thames. Enjoy the sun!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Could you be Dog Photographer of the Year 2013?

If you are handy with a camera and your favourite subject is your four-legged friend, you might like to check out the Kennel Club’s competition, Dog Photographer of the Year 2013.

 

The competition is free to enter and supports the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which relies on donations and looks after the health and welfare of all dogs, funding research into canine diseases, dog welfare organisations and the promotion of support dogs.

Get down to eye level to really capture your dog's expression

Get down to eye level to really capture your dog’s expression
Photograph by The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers

There are six categories to enter in the competition: Dogs at Work, Dogs at Play, Dog Portrait, Man’s Best Friend, Puppies and I Love Dogs Because… (under 16’s only). Head over to their Facebook page to find out more – and don’t forget to click ‘Like’ to support it!

You can also find out more at the website www.dogimages.org.uk

You have to enter by 31 August and the winning images, as well as runners up, will be displayed at Discover Dogs 2013 and Crufts 2014, which is pretty cool. The category winners receive trophies to display on their mantelpiece and runners up will be awarded rosettes and certificates.

Last year’s Dog Photographer of the Year winner, Catherine Laurenson, said, “Photographing animals is my passion and I’m absolutely delighted to have won this award – it is so exciting! The photograph is of Max, our working Collie, at home on our farm in Shetland, although he is more of a part-timer these days!”

Heidi Hudson, Kennel Club’s picture librarian, added, “I’ve seen some of our past winners who are also professional dog photographers get a massive jump start in promoting their work through the exposure from DPOTY at Discover Dogs and Crufts.

“There are so many inspiring stories that come with the entries for DPOTY. What’s also great is that, by entering, you are helping to make a difference for dogs.”

Photograph by The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers

Photograph by The Mighty Pooch Dog Photographers

The Mighty Pooch’s top 5 tips for photographing your dog

1. Get down to eye level with your dog. This provides a much stronger angle and enables you to really capture their expression beautifully.

2. Position yourself so that your dog’s face is turned towards the light source. You want to be able to see light in their eyes (especially with dark dogs), which ensures their faces come alive.

3. Try attracting your dog’s attention with a squeaky toy or a whistle. If you want to capture that delightful ‘cocked-head’ expression, a silly noise works wonders.

4. Don’t bring the treats out too early – some dogs become treat- and pocket-obsessed and, once the biscuits are out, their gaze won’t falter from the grub, making it tricky for you to get eye contact with the camera.

5. Always be really patient and ensure you let your dog have a rest and a sniff between shots, so they don’t get agitated and bored.

Check out www.facebook.com/DogPhotographeroftheYear and www.dogimages.org.uk – and good luck!

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

Do dogs ever fall out with humans?

I’d like to propose a serious question here, people: is it conceivable that dogs could fall out with humans and then hold a bit of a grudge?

 

OK, I know I’m at risk of making myself seem even more crazy than the title ‘Crazy Dog Lady’ suggests, but I think the answer to my above question is a great big “Yes”. Because I believe I’ve seen it happen.

Are you talking to me?!

Are you talking to me?!

Let’s start this story with a bit of character information about my Gran, who crops up on the blog from time to time as pet parent to Bruce’s Great Uncle Sam. Now, my Gran is a woman with opinions and she’s not afraid to unleash them. It’s fair to say that, if you were so inclined, you could participate in a healthy debate with my grandmother on a weekly – even daily – basis.

And so Bruce’s grudge began. There we were, relaxing in armchairs after a lovely meal, when Gran voiced her opinions on a subject and I vehemently disagreed. And lo, quite a furious debate ensued (more heated than any debate before or since between us), which culminated in some exasperation on both sides. Bruce, sitting at my feet, followed the action like an umpire at Wimbledon.

We cooled off and made friends, Gran and I. We agreed to disagree. But it seems that Bruce did not. Immediately, his body language changed towards my Gran. When she reached to stroke him, he dashed away. When she tried to offer him a treat, he wouldn’t take it. He would have nothing to do with her whatsoever.

It took two weeks before Bruce would speak to Gran again and we concluded it must have been the debate that sparked the cold shoulder treatment. When Bruce finally decided to forgive Gran, we were mightily relieved – and I’m pleased to say he and she are still firm friends.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Let me know …

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article is taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

Karma, poo and plastic bags

There are around eight million dogs in the UK, probably producing three or four poos each per day. Imagine that piled up into a heap – it would take a pretty daring explorer to scale that particular mountain.

 

Got my poo bags at the ready!

Got my poo bags at the ready!

Dogs Trust says that, for the first time in 10 years, the amount of poop not being scooped on the streets of Britain has increased. They’ve launched a new campaign – along with Keep Britain Tidy – called the Big Scoop, which is aiming to persuade more people to pick up after their dog. TV presenter Ben Fogle, who is involved in the campaign, is unhappy about the amount of poop in his local park and often clears up after other dogs: “I pick up one extra poo each time I pick up after my dog but authorities … need to do more to enforce it.” Collecting more than one deposit is a good idea. But why should it have to be the case? And, let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than picking up a cold poo that belongs to someone else’s dog. Eww.

One morning on holiday last month, Bruce leapt off the boat and trotted up the bank to deposit in full view of a family on a sailing boat that was also moored up. I lost sight of his movements as I went to get a bag to collect it. I had to get Bruce to show me where the poo was, which greatly impressed the lady on the sailing boat who was watching. All I did really was call Bruce over to the general location I thought the poo was and, because I can’t help chatting to him, said, “Show me where it is then.” Of course, as dogs do, he came over and, as expected, went to sniff his poo, thereby indicating to me where to get scooping. I scooped while the lady on the sailing boat said what a clever dog I have, believing that Bruce had clearly understood my question before pointing out very helpfully where he’d been to the toilet. Did I dispute that? Er, no. Course not! 🙂

She also said what a good dog owner I was for picking up the poo. I was surprised – isn’t that what’s expected of all we dog owners? People shouldn’t have to praise us for it. I explained that I believe in karma – if I don’t pick up Bruce’s poo, guaranteed I will tread in someone else’s poo before the week is out. And, in summer when the open-toed sandals come out, that is a particularly terrible prospect.

It’s simple really. If we always picked up our own dog’s poo, there’d be no poo for us to tread in. We’d never arrive at a friend’s house harbouring a decidedly offensive odour on the bottom of our shoes and we wouldn’t have to spend the majority of our walks looking at the floor to avoid the stuff. Let’s hope the campaign works.

Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn: hello@themightypooch.co.uk

The Mighty Pooch are specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

The image in this article is taken on an iPhone and is not representative of our professional work 🙂

%d bloggers like this: