Foxy’s always been intelligent and food motivated so I easily trained her in basic obedience. She excelled at agility classes and the obstacle courses strengthened our bond. Keeping her attention, eye contact, and speaking on command all came in handy in a shot video including Foxy and another dog. I’m so proud of this short where Foxy and I get to act alongside Foxy in this beautifully directed short film.
I've always secretly wanted to act! So I was delighted when asked to participate in my good friend Adrian's film from vision to reality. It was fascinating to watch him and Brad hyper focus, hustle and coordinate, flex their talents to make this story real. It was a wonderful lesson into the hours and days that go into creating a couple minutes of good footage.
Here she plays a boy dog (she had to grow a beard for the role). The challenge was directing her while I pretended Dodger was my dog. Although she would get jealous, I’m very proud of Foxy's obedience and devotion. We got her to sit and lay in certain scenes, run away from camera in another, and bark at the other actor. She’s such a good loving girl! I’m grateful that her personality was captured in the film for my memory.
Having Foxy recorded in a flattering video format is precious for me because I am unable to capture those moments and angles as flatteringly. This is the same thing my customers and friends tell me about my pet photography. It’s a nice feeling to look at beautiful footage and photos of your loved ones and pets.
I’m sure those of you who love Foxy will enjoy how the movie captures her spunk. It’s a film about romance, dogs, bad dates, and staying present in the moment! Hope you all enjoy this fun youtube video! "They can't take that away from me" story and vocals by Adrian Scott Jr.
Before the Holidays and cold weather, I focused mainly on shooting dogs in their natural environment at home or playing outdoors. I love natural light, and getting the dogs candidly doing what they do: living and loving life.
This Holiday I was challenged to create X-mas portraits for the customers of FitDog Sports Club in Santa Monica. This project propelled me to expand my equipment base to include a backdrop and lights. In this environment it became essential to have an assistant to setup and keep the dogs in place while I shot. Thankfully my wonderful boyfriend volunteered to assist. He loves dogs as much as I do so the job was fun and a success! Take a look at some of the photos we created! Our customers are very pleased, and I am happy to now have a small indoor studio set.
Everyone with a camera is now a pet photographer on the daily– but when it comes to a professional shoot with your pet photographer, what does it take to be fully prepared? Sure your pup is adorable and sassy, but is there anything you should do or bring to the photo session?
Here are a few tips to think about before coming into the studio.
Get groomed, exercise, and bring some fun treats and toys!
It’s that merry time of yeaaaar!! We are partnering up with FitDog Sports Club to shoot some lovely portraits for holiday cards and stockings. The event takes place Saturday December 1st. Space is limited so please reserve with FitDog!
People often ask me how Foxy is so obedient. They want to know if she is just naturally smart, or does she have a great trainer. The answer is both! Foxy is of the terrier breed which is extremely reward motivated. Secondly, I studied ways to train her using positive reinforcement and clicker-training. Having an obedient and well trained dog can mean safety for your pet, not to mention easier to photograph!
Part I: Dog Intelligence
Some dog breeds are more genetically disposed to be teachable. Of course owners have a hand in nurturing the best out of their dog, but dogs historically are bred to be companions, hunt, bred, or retrieve. Depending what blood your dog has, it will be more likely to want to work and please you.
Studies show that out of 110 breeds, the top dogs that absorbed commands in less than five repetition and obeyed them 95% of the time or better are the following types of dogs and their description according to the American Kennel Club:
1. Border Collie: A workaholic, this breed is the world’s premier sheep herder, prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct, and working ability.
2. Poodle: Exceptionally smart and active. Bred to retrieve things from the water. The miniature variety may have been used for truffle hunting.
3. German Shepherd: The world’s leading police, guard, and military dog — and a loving family companion and herder.
4. Golden Retriever: Intelligent and eager to please. Bred as a hunting companion; ideal as a guide and as assistance with search-and-rescue operations.
5. Doberman Pinscher: Known for its stamina and speed. Bred to be a guardian and in demand as a police and war dog.
6. Shetland Sheepdog: The “Sheltie” is essentially a miniature working Collie. A rough-coated, longhaired working breed that is keenly intelligent. Excels in herding.
7. Labrador Retriever: An ideal sporting and family dog. Gentle and intelligent.
8. Papillon: A happy, alert breed that isn’t shy or aggressive. Known as Dwarf Spaniels in the 16th and 17th centuries, they reach 8-11 inches high.
9. Rottweiler: Robust and powerful, the breed is happiest with a job. Suitable as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, obedience competitor, and devoted companion.
10. Australian Cattle Dog: Happiest doing a job like herding, obedience, or agility. Energetic and intelligent.
Part II: Starmark Clicker Training
Dogs can easily learn sit, stay, shake, leave it by receiving positive reinforcement in the form of praise or treats. Clicker training takes that one step further by using behavioral psychology to mark the desired behavior at a more precise moment. The “clicker” is a mechanical device that makes a short click noise to tell your pet when they are doing the right thing. It is much more clear using this to communicate “good boy” or a pat on the head because it sounds the same every single time. Clicker training was originated by two graduate students of psychologist B.F. Skiner who trained military pigeons!
I picked up a Starmark Clicker at my local pet supply store– really any clicker brand will do the job. I clicked and rewarded her with a treat 10 times for three sessions to associate the clicker sounds as a food reward. Then I proceeded to practice training her using a clicker instead of verbal or petting. First you click, then reward with food. Gradually you will just use the clicker alone as a reward, and use food sporadically to keep her alert. See a simple instructional video here.
Foxy already knew how to sit, stay and shake. I’ve trained Foxy to fetch, retrieve, jump over obstacles, and close cabinet doors. She really enjoys the mental exercise and loves drills. I’ve found that after using the clicker, Foxy will still respond to all that she’s learned even if I don’t use the clicker.