Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How to Train Your Dog to Look at the Camera

Envious of those people you see with the most perfect photo of their dog?

You may be sitting around wondering how exactly they can get their dog to look at the camera and stay still for a moment in time. 

So how do they do it? Is it just that their dog is so well trained or has an extremely relaxed and docile personality?

It may be easier than you think. 

Just follow our tips and tricks in order to help you capture that perfect kodak moment of your dog.

Corgi smiling amongst grass




Noises

Making different noises is almost a guaranteed way of getting a response from your dog. However, it may take a few trial and errors to get your dogs attention. Yes, it may sound weird but making random noises with you mouth can get your dogs attention. Try out a few different noises with your mouth to see what your dog reacts to. 

You can also use words or noises that your dog knows to get their attention to look at you. This could be anything from the name of their favourite toy, food, activity or a specific whistle or funny noise. However, if you use known words to capture your dog’s attention, you must give your dog what you promised. Therefore, make sure you give them their toy or treat after you use the words.

If your dog knows commands, this will be the best way to get them to look at you or stay still. This could include them sitting, laying down etc.



dog tilting head with tounge out



Toys 

Most dogs will not be able to resist looking at their favourite toy with a curious or playful look on their face if you are holding it. Therefore, if this will do the trick, then simply just hold your dogs toy above the camera.

 If it has a squeaker inside, then use this to your advantage. Alternatively, you can download an app called iSqueek, which will make squeak noises and most likely get your dog’s attention.



dog with ball lying on grass



Food Treats

Dogs love food treats. This is a known fact by everyone. The best way to use this in order to get that perfect shot is by holding up a treat so that your dog is looking where you want. After capturing a few great shots, reward your dog with the treat. If you would like to get a few more photos, then repeat this process. 

You can also use the treat along with commands such as sit, lay down, roll over etc in order to help get the desired picture. If your dog is a bit food obsessed and won’t sit still from excitement of a treat, try to use one of the other suggestions to get your dog to look at the camera.  


hand holding biscuit with dog looking




Distractions

If you are trying to get the perfect shot of your dog in a busy area such as a park or at the beach then it may be difficult to get them to focus on you. Other people, dogs and objects can easily distract your dog no matter how many times you ask your dog to would sit. So, a little photographer trick is to use these distractions to your advantage. Try to get in-between your dog and the distraction and quickly snap away with your camera. You will be surprised with some of the amazing images you may capture.



pug outdoors looking at camera



Eye Contact

If you are using a camera that you have to hold right up to your eyes then your dog may be put off as they cannot see your eyes. Test out looking through the camera to take the photo of your dog as well as without looking through the camera to see if this helps your dog become more comfortable.


Golden Retriever looking up at camera


Wondering what it means when you cat blinks their eyes at you? Click here to find out why.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why Cats Blink Their Eyes at You

Do you often catch you cat intensely staring, squinting or blinking at you or other pets in your home?

You may be wondering what they are thinking or what they are trying to tell you or other cats.

Or maybe these behaviours go unnoticed and you just assume that they don’t really mean anything.

Well you cat’s eye behaviour might mean more than you think.

Different movements your cat does with his or her eyes usually has a meaning behind it.

So, what do these different eye behaviours mean and can you communicate with your cat by using them?

cat lying on bed with eyes half shut



Eye Blink Kitty Kisses


One of the most common cat eye blinks you may see when your cat is looking at you is the known as the kitty kiss. 

This is a common behaviour amongst most cats that indicates a non-aggressive, friendly or loving behaviour. 

Between cats, the slow eye blink is used as a non-threat signal to maintain good social interactions, or smooth over relationships between other cats.

The slow eye blink from your cat to you is the kitty kiss. This is your cat’s way of showing you love or is almost the equivalent of giving you a kiss.

Did you know you can show this love back?

If you want to show your cat just how much you love them, try this slow eye blink next time you see them glancing at you. Chances are, your cat will return this eye interaction with a kitty kiss.



Other Cat Eye Behaviours


Cat’s eyes will communicate information depending on how they open their eyelids and what their eyes do. Their eyes demonstrate strong emotions that can be easily recognised by other cats. Here are just a few eye behaviours between cats and what they mean.

An unblinking, prolonged stare between two cats is an intimidating gesture that will result in the lower-ranking cat of the two to turn away and leave the area. 

A long-distance stare from one cat to another is used for a cat to control the access of another cat to their territory.  For example, cats understand that the top cat will be guarding the hallway that leads to their litter box and will not dare to challenge and trespass into their territory.

A slit-eyed look from one cat to another indicates a cat’s fear of aggression, and is used to protect their eyes from a potential claw in the eye from the other cat. 

cat staring



Cat to Human Stares

If you are meeting a cat for the first time and would like to greet/pat them, it is best to not look directly into their eyes for the first part of the interaction. If you do, this will intimidate them and they will leave, or it could also bring out their aggressive nature. 

If this happens, you may never be able to form a civil or friendly relationship with this cat again. So keep in mind to be careful when greeting new cats and never start by looking directly into their eyes.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Have a Pet-Friendly Christmas

Christmas is a time of celebration, fun and cheer for humans. 

However for pets, it can be a time of change.

There will be more noises, visitors, as well as new objects and smells.

During this time, most pets will also be steered out of their usual daily routine which can be quite overwhelming for them.

Therefore it is super important that during the busy celebrations you take good care of your pet to keep them safe and stress-free. 

Here’s how to keep your pet safe and healthy during the festive season.


dog wearing reindeer ears




Food 

Whether it’s eating, drinking or spending, most of us overindulge at Christmas time. So do our pets! But while we may suffer no more than a stomach ache, the same can’t be said for our fur-friends. It’s perfectly normal to give your pets plenty of treats during the festive season, however there are several indulgent foods which can cause serious harm to your fur-friend. Let us take the stress out of your festive season by providing you with some foods your pets shouldn’t be eating this time of year. 

Click here to see 6 Christmas foods Not to Feed Your Pet Guide

Some pets will do anything to get their paws on Christmas treats so keep an eye on your animals and be on the lookout for any changes in appearance or behaviour. These will vary depending on the type of pet and food eaten. Signs to look out for include diarrhoea, excessive panting, lack of coordination, muscle twitching, poor breathing and vomiting.



cat and dog wearing santa hats eating christmas food


Weather

Although we tend to forget what the weather is doing outside when we are enjoying the company of guests, family and food the weather does not stop for anything or anyone. It is very important that your pets are looked after properly during the drastic changes of the weather to avoid bad situations. 

Ensure your pets are never left outside unattended and that you know where they are at all times. The right accessories such as sweaters and booties should be provided to your pet if you are going out in the colder weather. Even though they may have a large layer of fur, they still get cold like you!



dog wearing scarf in the snow


Fireworks

Many pets experience distress and anxiety during fireworks displays and as a result try to escape. Events such as Carols by Candlelight and New Years Eve which will often include fireworks, so caution should be taken during this time.

Do not punish your pet for exhibiting their behaviour during times of stress, instead attempt to engage, distract and reassure your pet that everything is fine.

Provide access to a safe area where your pet may feel more at ease. Animals usually indicate their preferences such as under a bed or inside a wardrobe. Allow it to go where it wants to feel safe. In saying that, ensure that fences and gates are secure and that your pet cannot readily escape through or over them.



dog with new years eve party hat on




Loud Noises & Overcrowding 

If you’re hosting celebrations this year, exercise pets before visitors arrive. This helps them de-stress, and makes them more inclined to nap once festivities begin. It’s also important to create a quiet, safe place for your pet away from the festivities, as even the most social animals will need a break. 

Inform your guests ahead of time that you have pets or if other guests may be bringing pets to your house. Guests with allergies need to be aware of the pets in your home so they can take any needed precautions to protect themselves.

Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door, so watch out!



dog lying on floor with party hat on





Decorations

Greenery, lights and Christmas trees can make the holidays festive, but they also pose risky temptations for our fur-friends.

Most dogs and cats love playing with Christmas decorations which can lead to some serious problems. Some decorations can be swallowed and lead to serious intestinal obstructions.

Decorations, including candles should be kept well out of our pets reach.  A plastic or glass tree ornament may look like a tennis ball to a dog, but if one breaks in his mouth, it could damage his tongue and intestines. Edible decorations, such as candy canes, are also tempting, but could prove fatal. Hanging decorations at the top of the tree will help reduce this risk.

Sparkly ribbon, tinsel, tree lights and wrapping paper can also pose threats as cats may enjoy chewing and pawing these. If swallowed, gift wrapping materials can obstruct an animal’s intestines. So just remember to keep an eye on your pet when decorating your tree or wrapping up presents.



kitten with presents and christmas decorations


Are you a responsible pet owner? Find out what some of the most important rules are to being a responsible pet owner. Click here

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Are You a Responsible Dog Owner?

There is much more to being a responsible dog owner than just adoring your dog.

Yes, adoring your dog is obviously important, however there is much more to owning a dog than you may think.

Being a dog owner is a very serious commitment that involves several vital duties.
It is crucial that you pledge to be a responsible pet owner before adopting a dog for you and your pup’s sake.

In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs, the following are some of the most important rules of conscientious dog ownership. 

woman kissing dog



Committing for the Long Haul


Once you get a dog, it’s not just like getting a car loan. If your dog plays up, you can’t just go trade them in. Getting a dog is almost comparable to having a new baby. You are 100% responsible for them for the next 15+ years and if anything happens to your dog, it is your duty to help them. 

It is very unfair and cruel to a dog if you decide one year in that you don’t want him or her anymore. Therefore, you must be in it for the long haul from the start.

lady hugging dog




Making Time for Your Dog


Bonding isn’t something you can do once and assume that it is complete. The bond with your dog is built during the first few weeks to months of ownership. And in order to maintain this bond with your dog, it is a lifelong process. 

Similar to any relationship, there needs to be continuous interaction between both beings to keep a healthy bond. Therefore, you must ensure you have quality bonding time with your dog frequently. 

man with dog outside



Providing Proper Identification


At all times your dog should wear a collar with identification including their name and your contact details such as your address and/or phone number. It is also very important that you register your dog with the council and attach a registration tag to their collar. 

Having proper identification on your dog can help you to easily be reunited with your dog if they become lost rather than letting them go to a homeless shelter. If your dog is not identifiable, there is a possibility that you will never see them again. To be even more safe, consider micro-chipping your dog.

dog with collar and leash on



Getting Your Dog Spayed/Neutered


Unfortunately, millions of pets are euthanized annually due to pet overpopulation.  You may be contributing to this problem if you do not get your dog spayed. In many cases when dogs are not spayed they will mate with other dogs and unwanted breeding can occur.

In addition to this, breeding dogs that are not suitable for it or that are not breed properly can be very dangerous and is illegal if you are not a registered breeder. It is very dangerous for dogs with health problems and/or unknown genetic histories to breed. 

You can help saves lives by getting your pets sterilized - so take this seriously! If, however your dog is suitable for breeding, you must take on the role of a responsible breeder and take the appropriate path to become a registered breeder.

dog with bucket on




Keeping Your Dog Healthy


It is very important to keep your dog healthy, just like you should keep yourself healthy. Ensure you always provide your dog with the appropriate food and portion sizes as well as plenty of fresh water. Your dog should have a place of comfort and shelter and be exercised regularly in order to satisfy their physical and mental well-being. 

It can sometimes be very hard to interpret if your dog is sick or in pain due to them not being able to properly communicate with you. Therefore, it is essential that you take regular visits to your veterinarian as they will be able to help you prevent your dog from health problems and/or detect minor issues before they become severe.

man and woman running with dog




Training Your Dog


Canine etiquette does not only benefit you and your dog, but others too. A well-behaved and properly socialised dog is less likely to upset and/or annoy other pets and people. It makes life a lot easier for you and your dog if they are well trained as dogs with bad behaviour can often create unwanted situations or incidents. 

It is most safe for everyone if your dog is properly trained as you can command them to follow the best behaviour in any given situation. Such as calling them back if they run far way on the beach or making them sit and wait when a new guest arrives in your home.

dog on leash sitting waiting for treat


Respecting Others


Really this is just common sense for the most of us, however there are still some dog owners out there who don’t seem to fully ‘get it’. It is common courtesy that all dog owners should follow by these rules:

1. When outdoors, keep your dog on a leash or within a fenced yard. If you are in an outdoor area where it is safe and legal to let your dog off the leash, you should ensure that you are supervising them at all times. Never let your dog roam the neighbourhood or get out of your sight.

2. Do not leave your dog outdoors if it has excessive barking behaviours. Excessive barking is not only unfair to your dog, it is annoying and disrespectful to neighbours. 

3. Pick up after your dog. No one (including yourself) wants to smell or accidentally step on a “gift” your dog left behind during your afternoon walk. Please pick up after your dog and dispose of it properly. For convenience, attach a small bag dispenser to your dog’s leash.

two dogs on leash



So how do you know if your pet is a little on the heavy side? The following points will help you to assess if your pet is overweight and how you can help them loose or prevent the excess weight. Find out here 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Signs that Your Pet Is Overweight

Currently, one of the top health concerns in pets is obesity.

Obesity in pets can result in serious health effects, such as reducing the lifespan of your dog or cat, even if they are only moderately obese.

Excess body fat can affect multiple areas of the body, including bones, joints, digestive organs and the organs responsible for breathing capacity. 

It is very important to assess and monitor your pets weight for the health and well being of your pet.

Taking a quick assessment of optimal body weight could be the start to lengthening your dog or cat’s life.

So how do you know if your pet is a little on the heavy side? The following points will help you to assess if your pet is overweight and how you can help them loose or prevent the excess weight.  

sad dog lying on floor


Your Pet Has Lost their Figure


When looking at your pet from above, you should be able to see some gentle curves on their back. There should be a gentle dip after their ribs (waist area) with a gradual slope until the base of their tail.

When looking at your pet from the side, the area just before the hind legs should view as though it is “tucked up”. From their ribs to their hind legs it should not appear as a flat line along the base of their belly.

It may be hard to view the shape of your pet if they have a heavy/long haircoat. If this is the case, simply run your hands along the outline of your pet as this should reveal these natural curves.


view of dog from above




You Can No Longer Feel Your Pet’s Ribs


You should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs by applying gentle pressure with your fingertip. If you are only able to feel cushioned body wall, your pet is probably carrying too much weight.

man holding cat



Your Pet is Food Obsessed


If your pet is constantly on the lookout for food, compared to a pet who is comfortable free feeding, they are more likely to be overweight. If your dog or cat loves to eat however needs to lose some excess weight, it is best to offer them low-calorie food and treats as an alternative. Treats such as raw carrots can be a great alternative if your pet loves a treat.

cat with empty food bowl


Your Pet is Uninterested/Unable to Exercise


A pet that is of optimum body weight and in good health are usually excited to go for a walk or to play with toys and their owner. If a pet is overweight they may have the want to play/exercise to begin with, however will soon begin to pant excessively or take breaks frequently in order to keep up with the physical activity. Carrying extra body weight can also lead to extra pressure on your pet’s joints, heart and lungs making it harder for them to exercise.



Your Pet Suffers More in the Heat


In addition to an overweight pet’s body having to work harder just to move around, overweight pets overheat easily. Fat is a great insulator. This condition is known as heat intolerance, and will put overweight pets at a great risk of getting heat stroke.


cat lying on chair




Support Tools for a Healthier Pet


Before taking action to guide your pet to a healthier lifestyle, it is best to work with your vet to rule out other medical problems that may be causing your pets excessive weight as some diseases may cause your pet to be overweight.

In most cases, obesity is caused due to overfeeding and the intake of high calorie foods as well as not enough exercise. In order to get your dog or cat back on track, it is best to seek your vet for a diet and exercise plan. Every pet is different and therefore require will require different diet and exercise plans to follow.

If you do think your pet is a little on the heavy side, start by trying to exercise them more, however only for short amounts of time. In addition to this, consider alternative foods if your pets current diet includes high calorie foods.





Is your cat trying to tell you something? Find out how to ready your cats body language here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Reading Your Cat’s Body Language

Is your cat trying to tell you something?

When she exposes her stomach does she want you to rub it?

Which signals mean ‘stay away’?


cat lying on ground



Their Eyes

A cat’s pupil will dilate when they are scared or surprised. A Vet knows that seeing dish-like pupils in a bright examination room means to beware. A constricted pupil could also mean your cat is feeling aggressive or tense.

Like a human’s, a cat’s pupil will react to light by dilating in darkness and constricting in well-lit areas, so it is important to take this in to consideration when reading your cat.

Your cat holding eye contact could be communicating a challenge, whereas slow blinking, having her eyes half closed, or sleeping is a sign that your cat trusts you. In a social setting, cats will often look at someone who is not paying them any attention.


cat looking up



Their Tail

A cat will often use their tail to communicate a message. A happy or confident cat will have their tail pointed straight up, whereas a tail pointed down could mean that they are feeling threatened or scared.

A wagging or thumping tail does not indicate the same feeling in a cat as a dog. If your cat’s tail is moving rapidly, it indicates they could be feeling agitated. On the other hand, a slow moving tail is a sign that your cat is trying to make up their mind about something.

When your cat is fluffing up their tail, they are most likely feeling threatened or in danger and is trying to make theme self look as big as possible. A cat with a fluffed tail is best left alone until they calm down.


cat lying down



Their Ears

Ears turned forward suggests that your cat is in a happy and playful mood, whereas if they are turned back they are likely to be feeling anxious or nervous. If their ears are flat against their head, they are feeling aggressive and possibly ready for a fight.

If their ears are standing straight up tall, your cat is alert and at attention. This will often happen when they hear an unfamiliar sound.


cat looking up



Their Body

A cat spread out on their back could be an invitation for you to rub their belly, however use caution when approaching them. A cat will also assume this position when they are feeling defensive, and may be accompanied by extended claws.

If they begin to attack your hand as you approach them, the best thing to do is to freeze. A cat is hard-wired to pounce on moving objects, and keeping still for a moment before retreating is the best thing to do.


cat lying on couch



It is important to keep in mind that these are only guidelines, and may differ from cat to cat. Nobody will know your cat as well as you.

Is your dog being territorial? Getting aggressive around other people/pets? Find out why this may be and how to stop it.