The Blog Ring

The blog ring! Originally a 52 Week Project, this blog ring features pet photographers from all around the world. Start here at About A Dog Photography and once you’ve made it through everyone’s blog you’ll land back here!

Why do doodles have hairy faces?

What makes a doodle’s face so hairy? Furnishings!

And as for doodle, it is a blanket term for mixed breed dogs with a percentage of poodle ancestry from 50% to a slim less than 25%, pending generation. And yes doodle lovers, they are mixed breed as they don’t breed true – poodle x lab doesn’t always produce the same result!

The common doodles:

  • Labradoodle / poodle x lab
  • Goldendoodle / poodle x golden retriever
  • Cockapoo / poodle x cocker spaniel
  • Aussiepoo / poodle x Australian shepherd 
  • Bernadoodle / poodle x Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Cavapoo / poodle x Cavalier King Charles
  • Sheepadoodle / poodle x Old English Sheepdog
  • Yorkipoo / poodle x yorkie

Of course there are variables of nearly every dog breed crossed with poodles to create “hypoallergenic” dogs. (Hypoallergenic dogs is a whole other conversation!)

Now what does the poodle aspect of doodles lend to appearance? Furnishings!

Furnishings are the extra long hair that can be found in eyebrows, mustaches and beards of various dog breeds, poodles included. The gene that causes them, RSPO2, is a dominant gene. Which means any parent dog with furnishings will automatically pass the furnishings gene down to its offspring. Thus, any dog with poodle ancestry will always have furnishings. 

Are poodles the only dogs that have furnishings? Nope! These breeds all carry the furnishings gene:

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Bearded Collie
  • Bichon Frise
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • Bouvier Des Flandres
  • Briard
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Chinese Crested
  • Dachshund (Wire-haired)
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Fox Terrier (Wire-haired)
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Havanese
  • Irish Terrier
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Jack Russell Terrier (and related breeds)
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Maltese
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Schnauzer (all varieties)
  • Scottish Deerhound
  • Shih Tzu
  • Silky Terrier
  • Skye Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Welsh Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Yorkshire Terrier,

The above isn’t a complete list, merely more commonly owned dog breeds that have furnishings. 

Where in the domestication history did wire hair, curly hair and furnishings begin?

Not from aliens but more likely from a mutation in a dog’s genes that created the eyebrow hair, mustaches and wiry coat. And with a dominant gene, you only need one copy for the offspring to have the attributes. Original dog ancestors and ancestor wolves carried a double coat, with variation in thickness due to geographically location – thicker the farther into the Arctic they moved and smoother and thinner the more seasonal the temperatures.

To get from the double coat to a wiry coat is a genetic mutation. These frequently show up when inbreeding occurs. Mom & son, dad & daughter, siblings, grandparents, dogs don’t keep track of how they’re related to one another. Female in heat? Every male in the area is going to take advantage of spreading his genetic code. Inbreeding occurs.  From this, variations in coat length and texture started to occur.  (Did you know that short hair is dominant over long hair in dogs?)

And not only did dogs not keep track of who was related to who, humans too didn’t take that into account until they moved away from their nomadic ways. Even then, only the upper crust of nobility could have the best dogs of a type being bred with another best dog of the same or similar type. Ancient farm dogs, town dogs and hunting dogs would have been less regulated, excepting when one farmer to another proposed a union of a good herder with a good watchdog, coat & color aside. 

  • Ancient Egyptians had two different types of domesticated canines: iwiw for “barking dog” and tesem for “barkless dog,” or hunting hounds. Within those two types there were roughly 7 different kinds of dogs noted in various hieroglyphs. Many are shown with upright ears, narrow noses & thin curled tails or as hound types with drop ears and feathering on their tails. [3100 BC – 332 BC.]
  • The Greeks had 4 types of dogs: The Laconian (greyhound type) and Molossian (mastiff type) the Cretan (hunting dog, perhaps a mix of Laconian & Molassian). and the Melitan from Malta (Small lap dog with long hair type – Maltese!) [Ancient Greece 700 – 480 BC. ]
  • The Romans had 5 different types of dog: watchdoghuntingluxury(peace), fighting and herding.  [From 625 BC to 476 AD, in 3 separate ages]
  • A Celtic hound called a Vertragus (deerhound or greyhound type?). Known to be fast & a skillful hunter. [Celtic age was 600 BC to 43 AD.]

After the fall of Rome, developing different types and breeds of dogs continued. Greyhound types and mastiffs were still common, as were the hounds and hunting type dogs in various sizes and abilities (some smaller & slower, others larger & faster) and lap dogs, the smaller the cuter, living lux lives with royal ladies. Small stocky working man’s type dogs became turnspit dogs – they would run in a caged wheel that would turn the spit for evenly roasting a hunk of meat.

As time moved from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance even more types and breeds of dogs came into being (Alaunt, basset, beagle, harrier, Irish wolfhound, Levrier / greyhound, Lymer / Bloodhound, spaniels, Barbet, and terriers.)

History moved forward and created more specialized dogs for more specialized jobs, especially for hunting. Early 19th century (1800s) began the start of dog shows in England, with hounds being the first dogs shown and pugs in 1850 (though it turned into more of a social event than show). The first recognized dog show was in June of 1859 featuring pointers & setters with the first American dog show arriving in 1874, also featuring pointers & setters. In 1877 the first Westminster show was held, though it was originally called “The First Annual N.Y. Bench Show.” By 1884 a group of gentlemen fanciers created a national organization to rule the sport of dog shows – this group would become the American Kennel Club. 

The Victorians adopted dog shows with great vigor after the first show in 1877, men & women alike. A large percentage of the dog breeds we know today were “tightened up” in the late 1800s and early 1900s and fashioned into many modern breeds. Extensive rebuilding of breeds had to occur after each of the World Wars, formally landing us to the dog breeds of our modern age. Whew!

Ok, a bit of a ramble, but man do I love history!

Back to furnishings! Where might they have come from aside from a random perchance?

  • Greyhound type – nope unless deerhound & wolfhound are considered part of the type, then yes
  • Mastiffs – nope
  • Maltese – YES!

How about some other very old, if not ancient breeds? (Hint, these dogs all have furnishings!)

  • Tibetan Terrier – roughly 2,000 years old
  • Irish Wolfhound – 1,000+ years old
  • Barbet – descended from the ancient canis aquaticus, progenitor of the poodle & many pointing breeds
  • Pyrenean Sheepdog – centuries old if not the oldest French sheepdogs – YES to both versions! 
  • Picard – known since the Middle Ages, widespread in northern France
  • Catalan Sheepdog – possibly migrated with cowherders into Spain 
  • Bergamasco – roughly 2,000 years old – technically it has furnishings, though the coat is corded like the Komondor (1,000+ years old)
  •  Bearded Collie – popular in Scotland by the time of the Roman invasion
  • Old English Sheepdog – rather old…
  • Schnauzer – originates from medieval Biberhund & two old & wide spread indigenous types of dogs – rough haired companions of waggoners & ratters
  • Wiredhaired Fox Terrier – earlier than 55 B.C (modern breed has been improved on)
  • Otterhound – first known in 1212
  • Irish Terrier – approx 2,000 years old
  • Italian Hound rough haired variation – ancient, cross of Egyptian racing hound & Roman molossus, it’s golden age occurred during the Renaissance period
  • Griffon Fauve De Breyagne – known in the Middle Ages
  • Spinone Italiano – known since the 15th century
  • Bolognese – known since the 13th century
  • Bichon Frise – developed in the 15th century
  • Shih-tzu – dating from the 6th century
  • Deerhound – oldest breed of the British Isles, earliest notation is 9th century
  • Spanish Greyhound, wire hair variation – ancient lineage
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – believed to be the oldest terrier breed in Ireland

And how many of those breeds do you know? All of them? Hahaha! Thank you dog breed books (Guide to the Dogs of the World 1983 & Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Dogs 1980) for all of those furnished breeds, known & obscure! (Did you know I borrow & read dog breed books from the library when I was in grade school? True fact!)

The genetics of furnishings!

As a rule, a dog with furnishings will always pass the furnishings down to its offspring, regardless if the other parent is furnished or not.  Pretty straight forward until we get into multiple generations with non furnished parents. 
To explain we’ll use a poodle and a lab. The poodle is F/F (which means furnished), while the lab is “improper coat” – for simplicity we will use N/N as none. 
Poodle x Lab = 3 puppies! Yay!
Each puppy is F/N which means each puppy is furnished! This will continue as long as the lab & the poodle produce puppies. 
One of those doodle (F/N) puppies is bred to another poodle (F/F).
The puppies will be furnished either F/N or F/F.
A different doodle puppy (F/N) is bred to a lab (N/N).
Up to 50% of the puppies with be unfurnished! You can get F/N & N/N puppies!
Doodle puppy #3 (F/N) is bred to a different doodle (F/N)
Up to 25% of the puppies will be unfurnished! You can get F/F, F/N & N/N puppies!
Due to the variable of doodle x doodle potentially producing up to 3 different varieties pending parents each litter means that they don’t breed true. Which means they aren’t considered a breed. 
And… the Foundation Stock Service (FSS) created by the AKC to allow aspiring AKC breeds to maintain a studbook and compete in events such as agility, obedience, rally & tracking, states that to protect breeds that are already AKC recognized, they do not accept any dogs that result from crossing two AKC registrable breeds.
Which means doodles of all types are out. The poodle, in all 3 sizes, was recognized in 1887 by the AKC. The Labrador in 1917, Golden Retriever in 1925, Bernese Mountain Dog in 1937, Australian Shepherd in 1991 and so on and so forth for each dog that is combined with a poodle to create a doodle type dog. 
Sorry doodles,  you’re just mixed pups with teddy bear looks!

A long read for sure, but now you know why doodles have hairy faces!

Oh and if you were curious:

  • curly hair is dominate, straight hair recessive 
  • short hair is dominate, long hair recessive

Fresh air has nothing to do with how to do Easter pictures of your puppy!

WHEW! That’s a doozy of a title! But it is true… fresh air has nothing to do with how to do Easter pictures of your puppy! (We’ll get to those briefly!)

As we travel throughout the weeks of the blog ring, we sometimes land on interpret as you will type themes. Fresh air is one of those.

For those who live in Minnesota, our fresh air for the past half a year has been freeze your face off and make your nose runny as you marvel at all of the snow we’ve gotten (a record year, I think we’re landing about the 3rd snowiest on record…) and do your best not to turn into a comic as you encounter ice & slush. Which means many of us have avoided fresh air as we’ve kept to our cozy interiors. I know Blue and I have. 

Oh my, did you know it was spring? And do you know what Minnesota is often called? Minne-SNOW-ta! In fact we got a few inches the evening and into the morning of April 1st. Good joke Mother Nature! Move forward a couple days and there was more impending snow / rain / sleet / freezing rain (pending on where you live in the state) so Blue and I headed out to the river for some fresh air before the mess hit.

I forget how pretty the banks of the Mississippi River are during the winter. The wind was brisk, but tromping through semi supportive snow and getting dragged about by Blue had me rather warm. We paused at a few pretty spots (Blue was leashed the whole time, we need to work on his photography skills outdoors…) then took some time to gawk at the geese and ducks on the open water. Blue couldn’t quite decide if he could figure out what the floaty noisy things were. The geese seemed to question us too, it seemed they thought the human form should have snacks, but the 4 legged form was most likely predatory and swam towards us and slightly away to return towards us. 

The fresh air did wonders for Blue and he snoozed into the afternoon. 

How to take Easter pictures of your puppy!

Indeed this is a two part blog! This weekend hosts Easter on Sunday. So Blue and I thought up some tips for you to get adorable Easter images of your pup!

  • Start with patience.
    Bunny ears and Easter things are new and novel, especially for puppies. Let them sniff the props you want to use and remind them not to eat them.
  • Request a sit & place the bunny ears.
    Place the ears on your puppy, followed by “leave it”. Don’t worry if they brush the ears off and attempt to eat them, these are a mega weird thing to them. Remove the ears, get your puppy settled into a calm sit and replace the ears. Use “leave it”. Repeat until your pup doesn’t bother with the ears.
  •  Enter the props.
    Same as the ears, use “leave it” for the prop. Remove if it becomes too much of a toy, the retry. Repeat until your dog doesn’t pay much mind to the prop. As for props, there are loads of things that can be used – carrots, bunnies, lambs, pastel colored things and flowers all could help convey spring & Easter time. When picking props, I recommend thinking like your puppy is a baby or a toddler – things will go in their mouth! Plush props are great as they won’t break if chomped on. Metal & wood items can handle chomps as well. Or just opt for dog and puppy toys that will handle teeth, chomps and play!
    Blue says loads of treats will help your pup focus on you and realize that leaving the ears & Easter props alone equals loads of treats. 

Once you’ve gotten your pup comfortable with bunny ears on their head, THEN add in the camera.

You may only get a couple of seconds for each image before the ears are dismounted, but remember to be patient. The more you practice having the weird ears (this works for Christmas antlers & decorative headbands for other seasons too!) on their head, the less likely your pup with try to swipe them off. 

If your pup is too nervous for the bunny ears, don’t push it! You want this experience to be fun. You can use the bunny ears as a prop next to your pup or opt to not even have them (you can wear them instead!). Pick a different prop that is less intrusive but still conveys Easter / spring and see it it works. If it doesn’t, take a break, go for a walk or have a batch of play and revisit later. Always remember to make pictures fun, especially when props are involved. 

Blue is nearly a pro as we’ve been doing props since he was a teenie pup and he’s now 9 months old. It takes a couple of “leave it / leave” instructions to refresh him, loads of treats, sometimes a soda can (he’s a weirdo) and he’ll pose like a pro model. 

And if you want to get pictures of your pup holding flowers, you can work on a “hold” command or… let your pup chew on the flowers as you get their attention. Can you tell he’s chomping on the stem of the tulips? Haha!

For those who want the tech details for the “shitty weather studio Easter pictures”:

  • Interfit S1 monolight at 4.0 power + front baffle, placed at photographer’s left. 
  • Neewer TT560 Speedlight at 2nd to lowest power (1/64th?), no modifier, placed at right on loveseat or floor
  • Nikon Z9 + Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 / most images at 35mm
  • ISO 100 + 1/200th shutter

5 awesome parks perfect for portraits in Minnesota!

Parks, parks, parks! Minnesota is home to one national park, Voyageurs National Park, along with 75 state parks and a plethora of country & regional parks (approx 330+) and quaint city parks nestled into neighborhoods. Which means it’s quite easy to head out of the hustle of the day and commune with nature. Plus the parks around the state are as diverse as they are in number – from prairie & farmland, to wooded forests and rugged shorelines.  

With so many parks to pick from, we picked 5 awesome parks that are perfect for portraits in Minnesota!
(Or at least in the central area of Minnesota haha!)
  1. Theodore Wirth Regional Park, Golden Valley, MN
    Nestled right at the urban foot of the Twin Cities Theo Wirth boasts a size of 740.29 acres including 83 acres of water and a 280 acre golf course. Size aside, this park has LOADS of diversity throughout the park – from a sandy beach, to many points of water access, untamed woods, various paths that loop around swampy wooded areas, a big pavillion, and open grassy areas (great for puffy dandelions!). The neatest spot is a little bridge that spans an even smaller creek, both are quite scenic. There is a fair amount of walking around the park to get to the various areas, though the walking is rather easy with small hills and well defined paths. 
    Drive time from Minneapolis: under 15 mins
    Drive time from St. Cloud:  1 hour 7 mins

  2. Hidden Falls Regional Park, Saint Paul, MN
    This park is old (dating back to 1887) and quite large with a rocky beach (great for sunset pictures!) and boat launch into the Mississippi River, an open grassy picnic area, a primitive woods area and the scenic falls area. You’ll do some solid walking from the parking lot to falls and beach, but the going is rather easy. If you only have a little time, opt for the falls area. The path tucks into the woods and heads upwards slightly, putting you into a secret feeling woods. The path follows the creek as it flows downward through a manmade riverbed. As you make you way up to the falls, you’ll see the wicked moss covered stone stairs heading upward to the street level. Not how many stairs there are, but they are too epic not to include in your images! Continue to the falls and you’ll be delighted by water or a tinkle of water over dark colored rocks that will make your dog look like a wild wolf in the wilderness. If you have more time, stroll to the beach then into the primitive woods for even more great portrait areas.
    NOTE: If you are doing portraits in the falls area, you may want to bring a flash for a little extra light as the area tends to be dimly lit especially when you’re working around golden hour. 
    Drive time from Minneapolis: 25 mins
    Drive time from St. Cloud: 1 hour 26 mins

  3. Montissippi Regional Park, Monticello, MN
    This park encompasses 170 acres of land with walking trails, disc golf course and public water access. The magic of this location is the pines planted in rows upon rows that create awesome leading lines to pose a pup or person in. Beware, this area of the park is known to have pointy wild raspberry branches and poison ivy, just be careful where your pup steps and you kneel or sit. Following the path loops you into a grassy area, through gnarled trees & scattered pines and points you the direction of a more primitive path. There’s a ginormous grassy area by the playground and water access if your pup likes to swim. You’ll walk a bit, but the going is very easy. See what kind of textures you can find to complement your portraits!
    Drive time from Minneapolis: 55 mins
    Drive time from St. Cloud: 33 mins

  4. Bend in the River Regional Park, Rice MN
    The favorite spot of photographers in central Minnesota. And who could blame them? There’s a grassy prairie area, a house, barn, and other outbuildings with various textures. A walking trail loops around the park, hops over the road and flows into a great walking path that is much quieter. There’s also a steep path that leads down to the edge of the Mississippi River which puts you in dinosaur era floodplains with wonky trees one way, more trees to a dead end another direction. If you don’t have a ton of time, this park is great because a short walk brings you to all of the different buildings and tons of textures. Be aware that the fall is buzzing with photographers, especially on weekends and golden hour. 
    Drive time from Minneapolis: 1 hour 28 mins
    Drive time from St. Cloud: 18 mins

  5. Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, St. Cloud MN.
    This park contains 683 acres – the largest in the Stearns County Parks system! A favorite with those wanting to stroll in the woods as well as photographers. You’ll find a floating “bridge” over a marsh, water filled quarries with cool stone sides, ample wooded and grassy prairie areas. You can fish for trout, go scuba diving and rock climbing and even go for a swim in some of the quarries. Due to this, the summer season does get rather busy with people. (Your dog also isn’t allowed in any of the quarries so no swimming for them!). There is some walking from spot to spot, though the routes are easy going. You can also hike into the scientific and natural area, though your dog won’t be able to accompany you. Summer season does tend to be buggy, bring ample bug protection for you and your pup!
    NOTE: You will need a parking permit – $5 in the off season, $10 in peak season. Or snag a yearly for $25 if you’re planning on visiting a ton!
    Drive time from Minneapolis: 1 hour 14 mins
    Drive time from St. Cloud: 13 mins

  6. BONUS: Mississippi River County Park, Rice MN
    Directly across the river from Bend in the River is Mississippi River County Park. Compared to it’s cross river companion, this park is much quieter with bigger areas of space. There’s a disc golf course that winds through the woods with tons of different stands and pockets of trees. (Blue & I traveled this path this winter, but have not done any photography in this area.) Across the parking lot, towards the river is another path that winds through the woods and runs next to the river. There’s a cool fallen tree and tons of cool trees and bends in the path. This area can become buggy during the spring/summer. Driving away from the main parking lot loops you to the public water access. The trees are tall and quite stunning on this route, especially when you pause at the little parking area just before the boat launch. You’ll find a path that heads into the floodplains area. When I was out with Jack & Lindsey last summer we weren’t able to explore this area much due to the massive amount of mosquitos that attacked. Best strategy for this area would be in the spring before the bugs arrive (beware of water & mud) and later in the summer/fall season when the temps begin to cool.
    Drive time from Minneapolis: 1 hour 31 mins
    Drive time from St. Cloud: 20 mins

OOOO Fun facts that you didn’t know:
From the Minnesota DNR – Minnesota state parks include:
  • 66 state parks 
  • 9 recreation areas
  • 9 waysides
  • 4,466 campsites
  • 244 horse camp sites
  • 104 group camps
  • 108 water access sites
  • 644 archaeological and historic cemetery sites
  • 306 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places
Number of visitors:
  • There are an average of 9,857,793 visitors to Minnesota state parks each year
  • Most visitors come just for the day
  • An average of 1,049,382 visitors camp overnight each year
  • Nearly 19 percent of park visitors come from other states and countries
Most visited parks in 2021:
  • Gooseberry Falls –  782,125 visitors
  • Fort Snelling – 702,351 visitors
  • Itasca –  569,835 visitors
  • Tettegouche- 564,992 visitors
  • Split Rock Lighthouse – 544,327 visitors

Minnesota became the second oldest state park system in the country with the establishment of Itasca State Park on April 20, 1891!

We are the land of lakes, snow and parks! Plus we have the size to host all of these parks and lovely bodies of water – the entire state is 86,943 square miles making it 12th in area among the other 50 US states! 

Have you been to any of the 5 awesome parks perfect for portraits in Minnesota? Do you have a favorite park Blue & I should visit?

We’re in a blog ring of dog and pet photographers around the world! Next up Marie Wulfram of Marie Wulfram Photography shares advice on where to take your dog or cat hiking in Washington state.

Does it take loads of luck to capture portraits of your dog?

Does it take loads of luck to capture epic portraits of your dog? Or is it more akin to skill?

First, what is luck?
Luck is defined as success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

Then what is skill?
Skill is the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance. 

In a sense, they are on opposing sides, nearly opposites to each other. Pure luck shows up as gambling, while pure skill lands in the game of chess. The rest of the encounters throughout our lives land somewhere on the gradient. (Google “skill vs luck” for some rather in depth articles on how the two work with each other. This one is interesting.)

Guess if it is skill or luck:

  1. Camera use & image creation
  2. Seeing lighting conditions
  3. Capturing an epic action image
  4. Dog body language
  5. Capturing the perfect head tilt

The results: SKILLS!

That’s right! All of the above are skills!

NO WAY!?!?!?

You may think that capturing an epic action image is luck based, but with the right skills & knowledge it is very possible to do (a beginner might attribute the image to luck, whereas the professional knows it is skill). Head tilts don’t always happen and you may think they for sure are a point of luck, but the skill of the photographer is what draws them out, not just pure chance.  

Well hot dang! 

Plus it’s not only the skill of the photographer but the skills of your dog that lend towards epic portraits! 

If your dog has ample skills under his or her belt, they are going to lend way more to their portraits than us just chancing it with luck. And most dogs have tons of skills in their repertoire, even if they are rather primary. 

Skills such as:

  • Sit & lay
  • Standing still
  • Running & jumping
  • Head tilts
  • Shake, speak & roll over
  • Eye contact

Yes, eye contact is totally a skill dogs have and it gives them the leg up over their wild cousins (and was one of the way their ancestors forged their bond with ancient humans). Eye contact makes for stunning images with soul to them.

If your dog looks away when you aim a camera or phone their way, it’s not that they aren’t photogenic, but that they associate the camera as a big scary eye that is staring them down. Luckily, it is easy to transition them into eye contact with every device you use to capture their image. 

Start with a bazillion mega tasty treats. Have your dog sit & treat. Raise your camera just below your face, treat. Raise your camera to your face, treat. Click, shutter sounds, treat. Treat for continued eye contact. Repeat until your dog gives you supermodel eye contact any time your camera is raised. This same process will work with a cell phone too!

And… luck of the Irish, today is St. Patrick’s Day! 

A little history about Saint Patrick, from an article in the Virginia Free Press, 1833.

“St. Patrick received his commission to preach to the Irish nation in the year 431 from St. Celestine. It is generally agreed by writers, and especially by the the great Butler, that he was a Scotchman, and that when at the age of sixteen, he was carried a slave, by certain barbarians, to Ireland, and there retained in captivity for six months. However, admonished in a vision he had from God, he went back to his own country, where he was again enslaved, but recovered his liberty after two months. Finally, he was enabled to make his father’s house, where, by long preparation and careful study, both in science and virtue, he prepared himself for priesthood. In 432 he passed over into Ireland, and there effected a complete conversion of the whole island. He established and endowed innumerable monasteries and houses of learning, and left behind him a priesthood that has since not been out-rivaled for learning, virtue and constancy in maintaining the faith.”

The shamrock legend per 1961: “Long ago, when Ireland was the land of the Druids, there was a great Bishop, Patrick, by name, who came to teach the word of God throughout the country. This Saint, for he was indeed a saint, was well-loved everywhere he went. One day, however, a group of his followers came to hime and admitted that it was difficult for them to believe in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick reflected a moment then stooping down he plucked a leaf from the Shamrock and held it before them, bidding them to behole the living example of this ‘three-in-one’. “

Why March 17th? That’s the day Saint Patrick passed away, about the year 469. 

The first St. Patrick’s day parade in New York was held in 1737!

Why not do some St. Patrick’s day pictures? Heck, we should set up the backdrop stand and backdrops we’ve collected. Blue helped by barking at the backdrop stand, stood on the backdrops and thought they were rather fun to wrestle. 

Once they were up, he was quite a charmer & pro model! (Cheese treats & tripe treats work rather magically!)

First, the St. Patrick’s themed images. I love the green foliage backdrop, though the hat gets a little lost. I may keep this backdrop hung up longer as we haven’t seen rich greens in 6 months…

And a quick series with all of the other backdrops. All with front light provided by the living room windows paired with my new camera. (Yes I got a new camera! A Nikon Z9! A new car too! Haha!)

Looking to give a dog some extra luck and a new home? Check out these “Lucky” dogs on Petfinder!

And also, someone needs to adopt Drumstick! With a name like that, he’s sure to be a charmer. He’s at Tri County Humane Society, just down the road from me!

Or if you’d prefer something Green, or a little good fortune with a Shamrock or  Clover or just a good pal named Pat, you’ll be sure to find the luckiest dog to add to your family this March!

We’re in a blog ring of fellow dog & pet photographers around the world. Next Kim Learn of Two Saints Photography in St. Catharines, Ontario, finds the third time’s a charm with her dog photography.

How to have an indoor play day with a puppy!

Minnesota winters can be rather brutal, then nice, then brutal. This February is a testament to this – teens, 20s, 40, 20s, 30s, teens, 40! (For those who don’t know, 20ish is the average temp for February in Minnesota. Below that is quite common as well.)

With the temps & weather (Tuesday it was 40s & rain, Wednesday it was 20s, snow & loads of wind, high of 18 on Thursday) it meant that Blue & I stayed bunkered down in the house more than we were outside. 

What to do to keep a 7.5 month old puppy entertained?

Time for an indoor play day!

  • Grab the toys!
    Opt for some tug of war, fetch or chase. Bring out toys that aren’t in the regular rotation (they’re new again!) and have tons of fun!

  • Name game!
    Start with a toy your pup enjoys. Point to it, say the toy’s name (corn, ball, raccoon, etc) and when your dog looks at it, reward the behavior (yes or click your clicker). Repeat a couple of times, ending on success. After your dog looks at the toy on cue, see if you can get your pup to engage with the toy when you say the toy’s name. Once that happens consistently, add in one, two and more toys. Repeat the process for each toy with a different name. Show off to your friends when your pup can find “duck” out of all the toys in the bin.

  • Hide & Seek!
    Easiest- you hide, pup finds you. Step up with hiding favorite toys or treats. Help your pup if they don’t understand right off the bat. “Find it” is a great cue to use for this game.

  • Flirt pole or flirt rope!
    For any pup that chases, a flirt pole is a great way to have your pup work to catch the “flirt” while expending a solid amount of energy. A flirt rope is similar, though instead of a pole with a “flirt” on the end, it’s a double ended soft rope with “flirts” on both ends. Not sure how easy they are to find, but made mine! (If you’d like one, I could make you one too!) The biggest thing l don’t like about the flirt pole is once Blue catches the “flirt” the activity turns into tug then drop it before the activity restarts. He’s also good at catching the flirt so it ended up being less about getting him to move & chase. The flirt rope doesn’t have the catch to drop activity. If an end is caught, a game of tug can happen, then the other end is engaged to get him to pursue it (usually resulting in a drop of the first end he catches), making this an ongoing game of chase & catch!

  • A big ol bone!
    Chewing is great for dogs. It helps them burn energy, relieve stress and will occupy most dogs for a couple of hours. Blue loves big smoked bones, Bender loved stuffed shin bones. Certain bones can splinter when chewed, so keep an eye on the bones your pup is chewing. Make sure pieces aren’t small enough to be swallowed whole to avoid choking. Yes bones can also be messy! Other good chew options include antlers, hooves (very stinky), bully sticks, or nylon bones. Avoid rawhide – it can be choked on & doesn’t get digested very well.

  • Make your own game!
    This could be a chase me, I chase you game, the floor is lava, building & destroying a fort. Or play with nontraditional things.  Blue LOVES soda cans, silverware, a metal cuff bracelet and a full slip chain collar as toys – the weirdest toys ever when he’s got a bin full of made for dog ones bwhahaha!

In addition to play, being cooped up indoors for the winter is a good time to work on obedience skills – sit, lay, stay, leave it & so forth – and also work on trick training like hold, bow, spin, speak and many other skills that don’t just make your dog a good dog but a totally awesome dog! Remember, shorter sessions are best, end on a positive note (that could be as simple as a sit depending on the day) and have fun!

Luckily, Blue isn’t a high energy or drive dog, which means a new bone chewed for an hour or so will tucker him out for a solid nap. Playing with the flirt rope tires him out as well (and frequently ignites a bout of the zoomies) and he’s getting better with solo play and self settling when tired. 

Here’s how we play:
– Corn catch & tug. This also involves Blue shaking the corn & beating his sides with it haha!
– Bearable, Racool & Rudolph toys, with Racool being the preferred.
– Flirt rope! Blue chases one end and the other end is dragged & wiggled to get him to pounce. 
– Big big bone!
– Metal cuff & spoon – stay weird Blue!
– Time to nap!