In Category: ‘Dog Daycare’

Head Shots

July 23, 2015


As Brodie and Eli are demonstrating, I like to get at least one headshot during a photo session.
Headshot 1024x682 Head Shots

Headshot 2 1024x681 Head Shots

Canola Pictures

July 19, 2015

I was recently told about a canola field where the owner wouldn’t mind if I used it for a few pictures. I checked it out on a beautiful summer night but it was after a photo session and I didn’t have a dog with me to try it out.  So I put a call out on Facebook and Dan and Mandy arrived with their 6 (!) dogs and we did a little impromptu session.

Canola 1024x682 Canola Pictures


June 12, 2014

I’ll admit it.  I love technology.  Especially technology that other people might consider “gimmicky”. And I love it even more if it has to do with dogs.  There was no doubt that the Whistle was right up my alley.  I bought one a few months ago to help track my aging dog’s activity level. We were having trouble determining what was the “right” amount of exercise.  She thought she could run and fetch for hours still, and while we knew differently it was hard to reign ourselves in when she kept acting like everything felt great… until the evening… when suddenly she was walking like she was 103 years old.

I’ve been dying to put one on the daycare dogs and today we finally did.  Sage got to be our first guinea pig.  Sage is a young boxer/lab cross who plays almost the whole time he is here.  He arrived at 7:35 and left at 4:00.  In those 8.5 hours he was “active” for a whopping 363 minutes (just over 6 hours).

The first graph shows the overall summary.  The blue bars are how “intense” his activity was – each bar represents about 20 minutes.  I love how you can see how his intensity (aka energy level) slowly dwindles throughout the day, with a brief spike at noon when a few new friends arrive for the afternoon and another spike near the end of the day – almost as if he knows he’s leaving soon so he better get some last minute fun in.

photo 1 Whistle

The next three are when you zoom in a bit to see more detail. Now each bar represents about 3 minutes each.  The little bits of blue you see starting at 6 a.m. is me.  :)  I put it in my pocket at home so I wouldn’t forget it.  I ate breakfast, made tea, brushed my teeth and came to work… all that equaled only 1 minute of activity. It then just sat on a collar waiting for Sage to arrive.

photo 2 Whistle

photo 3 Whistle

photo 4 Whistle

As you can see Sage didn’t sit still much at all.  There was a brief time at around 2:40 and just before 3:30 where he stopped moving for more than 3 minutes.  As far as I can tell the dogs need to be moving a fair amount for it to be considered as an “activity” minute.  The little white bars would probably register as “rest” and all the other minutes that aren’t accounted for in his “active” minutes would just count as “awake” but not active.  So for example if I give my dog a bone to chew for an hour, she has blue bars showing that she was awake and not perfectly still, yet it doesn’t register any “activity” minutes as she isn’t up walking around a lot.

As a comparison, here is an “active” day for my 9 year old dog Coulee.  You can see the little blip when we got up at 6 a.m., how she puttered a bit with us as we got ready, that I can home around noon,  we went for an hour walk at around 1, she probably barked at the window, or chased the cats around 4:40, my husband got home just before 6 when she ate, I got home after 6:30 said hello and then we played for a bit at 7 and then went to bed at 9.  (Yes I go to bed early!)  That was 81 minutes of activity total, with 60 minutes on a walk. So that means there was only 20 minutes of other activity as she putters around the house and in the backyard.  Quite different from Sage at daycare!

photo Whistle

If find the information on these things fascinating!  I can’t wait to put it on more dogs at daycare.


The Chair

June 1, 2013

Ernie will often hop up on the chair and wait for me to come visit. He perches on the end or up on the arm and it is super cute so today I decided I wanted to get a picture of him doing it. I dragged the chair outside so the light would be brighter and as is always the way, nothing went as planned.  Here are my thoughts/actual conversation with the dogs as I tried to get the picture I envisioned.

Maggie can you wait for me to actually get the chair in place before you hop up? No? OK.  Plan B, take cute pictures of you in the chair.

Chair 1 The Chair

Errrr. Could everyone get out of the way?  I’m trying to get pictures of Maggie.

Chair 2 The Chair

Hey Maggie!  Wake up.  You are getting your picture taken but I still need everyone else to move.

Chair 3 The Chair

Oh Hi Ramone.  You are looking particularly handsome today but I’m trying to get pictures of dogs (or rather Ernie) in the chair today.

Chair 4 The Chair

Yay.  Finally got Ernie in the chair. Hey Ernie – could you look at me? Please?  Just for  a sec?  You know like you usually do when you want me to come visit?

Chair 5 The Chair

Over here.  Hey Ernie. Shelby, do you have to go there right now? I’m trying to get Ernie to pose for me.

Chair 6 The Chair

Apollo and Luna.  Hey kids.  Could you come over here?  I’m trying to get a shot of Ernie.  Oh wait this could be cute.  Could you all look over here please?  Sigh…

Chair 7 The Chair

At this point I went inside, showed Amanda my pictures of everyone BUT Ernie and she pointed out all the messy gravel under the chair.  So I went back out and swept…  OK.  I’m ready now.  :)

Oh Charlie.  Is it your turn now?  Apollo, what are you doing back there? Could you grab the ball while you are there?  It is kind of distracting in the picture. Ramone, could you maybe try sitting somewhere else so I could just get one dog at a time?

Chair 8 The Chair

Hey Shelby.  Why don’t you get on the chair.  No one else seems to be around.  Ummmm…. That isn’t quite what I intended but OK.

Chair 9 The Chair

Mya and Shelby – do you have to play right there, right now?

Chair 10 The Chair

Yes I’m talking to you.  I’m trying to take a picture of Ernie in the chair remember?

Chair 11 The Chair

Yes Ramone, I know you are better than Ernie at this but you don’t normally sit in the chair so it just isn’t “you”.

Chair 12 The Chair

Thanks for showing him how it is done, you handsome dog you.

Chair 13 The Chair

Yes Charlie you can have a turn too.  Charlie if you want your picture taken you need to look at the camera.  Ernie now what are you doing?  I’ve given up on getting a picture of you in the chair. It’s Charlie’s turn now.

Chair 14 The Chair

OK Ernie you are in the chair.  Great. Could you give me a nice smile now?  Why are you giving me such a deadly glare? What did I do wrong?

Chair 15 The Chair

Oh that’s better.  But could you look over here?  Ernie!  Hey Ernie!  You hoo!

Chair 16 The Chair

Wait. I didn’t get the picture.  Where are you going?

Chair 17 The Chair

Alright Kahlua you can have a turn too but you aren’t any better at this than Ernie. Could you look at me?  Please?  Just for a moment?

Chair 18 The Chair

Maggie you are supposed to be ON the chair not next to it.

Chair 19 The Chair

Thanks Apollo for being such a good sport. You look nice and relaxed up there.  OK.  Now let’s clear everyone else out of the way…

Chair 20 The Chair

What are you two doing under there??

Chair 21 The Chair

I couldn’t have set this up if I tried.  Now if you could all look at me please….

Chair 22 The Chair

Yes Charlie you can have a turn.  And hey.  You are pretty good at this. First try and everything.  Monty what are you doing there?

Chair 23 The Chair

Alright Monty.  You can have a turn too although you really don’t seem comfortable standing on the chair.  Hey.  Are you just using this as a chance to see onto the street better?  Hey Monty!  I’m over here.  Smile for me…

Monty 1 The Chair

I’m sorry this is taking so long Luna.  Is your head getting too heavy?  Why don’t you just stop and rest a minute.

Chair 241 The Chair

AND finally Amanda suggested I lock everyone else inside and just take Ernie out.  Seriously.  Why didn’t I think of that earlier!!!!

This is it!  This is the moment I wanted to capture, albeit on a cleaner chair. icon smile The Chair  Thanks everyone for all your “help”.

Chair 251 The Chair


May 2, 2013

Some completely random photos from last week….

Avery and Rosco playing chase.

Random 12 Randomness

Finn – take a quick breather between wrestling matches.

Random 11 Randomness

A very smiley Echo.

Random 10 Randomness

Apollo and Avery playing tug.

Random 9 Randomness

Avery playing keep away with Charlie.

Random 8 Randomness

Kahlua and Rosco just hanging out.

Random 7 Randomness

Ramone always has a smile on his face.

Random 6 Randomness

Luna was asking Brodie what he had for breakfast.  :)

Random 5 Randomness

Alfie sporting the windblown look.

Random 4 Randomness

Taylor and Charlie playing tug.

Random 3 Randomness

Monty and Alerya keeping an eye on things outside.

Random 2 Randomness

Alyera just “chilllin”.

Random 1 Randomness

And Tails

April 30, 2013

Tails 4 And Tails

Tails 3 And Tails

Tails 2 And Tails

Tails 1 And Tails


April 29, 2013

It was fun to wait and see who would poke their head out the door.

Heads 4 Heads

Heads 3 Heads

Heads 2 Heads

Heads 1 Heads

The Quiet Moments

April 27, 2013

Daycare is filled with running, wrestling and fetching. It is also filled with snuggles, pats and naps.  I like the quiet moments.  Not only are the dogs relaxed, but we get to let our guard down.  Keeping a constant vigilance on 30 active dogs can be exhausting.  Some days I’m not sure who goes home more tired – me or the dogs.  I just wished I burned as many calories a day watching as they do playing.

Marley 1 The Quiet Moments


While it may be hard to imagine when you are watching the dogs run and play, it is not complete chaos. We do have a few rules for the dogs.  One of those rules is that they aren’t allowed to  be a “Third Wheel”. A “Third Wheel” is basically a third dog that wants to get in on the play that two dog have already started.

Play between dogs is best when it is just 2 at a time.  If you watch 2 dogs wrestle, you’ll start to see their game has natural ebbs and flows. They will wrestle for a bit and then take a break.  Often that break lasts only a second and the dogs just pause briefly. Other times, it last a little longer and one dog might even get up and have a drink before coming back to the game.  These breaks are the dogs’ way of making sure that the play doesn’t keep getting more and more excited.  Essentially, it keeps their game of play fighting as just that, a game.

Third Wheel 1 2 Daycare Rules   Third Wheeling

One of the problems with a “Third Wheel” is that they tend to jump in during the breaks. So while one dog in the original pair is taking a break, the other dog is now busy wrestling with someone else so they don’t get any down time.  Eventually the dog that is constantly wrestling is going to have himself quite worked up, or the opposite might start to happen, and the dog might start to feel overwhelmed.  Either way, it isn’t a good situation.

The other problem with Third Wheeling is that it can take the balanced play of two dogs and bump it up over the edge of fun and into the “not so fun” category.  So in the case of the image below, Chuck and Rex are wrestling and Sako has tried to jump in to play with Rex at the same time.  In this case, Rex didn’t seem to notice or mind and I stopped Sako right after I saw it start to happen so that it stayed that way. If I’d been paying better attention, I would have noticed him coming up on the two of them and called him away and distracted him before he even had a chance to nibble on Rex’s back leg.

Third Wheel 1 Daycare Rules   Third Wheeling

Poor Sako. He is getting picked on in this blog post, but he isn’t alone in his third wheeling activities. It is something we are CONSTANTLY watching for and CONSTANTLY stopping.  Two dogs playing can be quite exciting to the other dogs and you can’t blame them for wanting in on the fun. The key is to direct them towards another dog that is also in the mood to play or to distract them until the wrestling match is over and then they can take on the “winner” in the next bout.

Third Wheel 1 3 Daycare Rules   Third Wheeling

The Whole Picture

April 22, 2013

If any of you have ever been to any seminars on dog behaviour or ever done any reading on the subject, you’ll know that it is important to look at the whole picture when it comes to trying to interpret body language.  It is easy to say that a dog is angry or about to bite when you can see all their teeth like Gertie is displaying.

Gertie 1 The Whole Picture

But at the moment this image was taken, nothing could be further from the truth.  Gertie was having an absolute blast playing with Sako.  This is what she looks like when she is having fun, not when she is angry.

Gertie 1 3 The Whole Picture

If she was angry, her nose would have been all wrinkled up, her eyes would have been hard, her body would have been stiff and there probably would have been some noise backing it all up. She also wouldn’t have looked like gumby just a few seconds later.

Gertie 1 2 The Whole Picture

Oh and if this had been a fight in the making, the daycare employee wouldn’t have been just sitting there watching with a smile on their face.  :)