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  • Wildebeest's Guide to Dog Photography

    dog-photography-guideBetween wagging tails, park distractions, and having to constantly restock on treats, there’s no doubt that dog photography isn’t easy. We’re always amazed at the pups we see on Instagram, and more amazed at the pawrents’ dedication to their craft.

    In order to learn more about the dog photography process, we decided to consult with the humans behind our Ambassadog accounts. We asked them about everything from training to equipment to how in the world they get their pups to stay still. Read on to learn their dog photography tricks & treats!

    On managing dog personalities & keeping pups patient

    “Dog parks are nice because the dogs are off-leash and can act more natural. A squeaky tennis ball almost always works to get the attention of a dog the first time they hear it. For those who do not respond to the squeaker, a quick up and down hand motion or a food incentive is helpful.” — @seattledoggos

    “I used to hold one of [Otis’} tennis balls in my free hand that wasn’t holding the camera and keep the ball right next to the lens to get him to focus. Otis, like most dogs, like to work to receive a reward or praise. Another tip is to try using freeze-dried liver treats as motivation during photo shoots. I’ve never, and I truly mean never, met a dog who doesn’t love those!” — @otisbarkington

    On maintaining focus & getting the perfect pose

    “There are definitely times where our surroundings are a little too distracting so sometimes, I let [Delilah] get some curiosity out and try again in a little bit or sometimes if I get in her face with a treat, she’ll refocus. I’ll be honest, sometimes I can really get a good reaction from her when I say “Do you want to go to the park?” But I swear I’m not lying to her!” — @heytheredelilahthedog

    “[Otis] was definitely food motivated in the beginning. A few good beef liver treats and constant encouragement was the key! Otis has always had a great engaging connection with us, so eventually, when I ran out of treats during a photo session, he kept his eyes on me and held his poses with no problem. He’s pretty talented!” — @otisbarkington

    On deciding on equipment & editing

    “My DSLR is faster than my iPhone, thus more reliable when taking pictures of wild and energetic dogs. I only use my iPhone when I am out and about and happen to run into a cute dog. That being said, recent iPhone models (and the equivalent smartphone) take very high-quality images, so they are good for someone who happens to have one and is experimenting with photography.  Although I am looking to upgrade, I am currently photographing with my dad’s 12-year-old Nikon which can still produce decent images. They lack the impressive specifications, but older DSLRs are also significantly cheaper than recent camera and iPhone models, making them another option for a beginner.” — @seattledoggos

    “The aesthetic of Delilah’s Instagram is something that I work really hard to keep consistent. I use primarily gpresets (https://www.gpresets.com) for Lightroom and occasionally will bring a photo into Photoshop if it needs some extra attention. Maintaining the color palette has been very difficult to achieve even when using the same presets. I’ve learned that my photos often have to be taken during similar parts of the day where the light is soft because my editing reacts differently to harsh light versus soft light.” — @heytheredelilahthedog 

    On training for prop photography

    “Always make sure to keep the priority of making your dog(s) comfortable. Never put them in a situation where they feel stressed or anxious, and always be encouraging and patient with them. Start off small! Otis used to be able to only balance my beanies on his head, then one day he worked up to balancing some of my empty lens glasses. He’ll do anything for treats and some belly rubs.” — @otisbarkington  

    On managing a dog’s IG

    “Something I was unprepared for was just how much time this account would take to manage...I feel like I’m running a full-time side gig. For those starting out, decide how serious you want to be about this before you get into it. I had no idea what I was doing and what this account would turn in to. If you want to make it a serious account, be prepared for how much time you will need to invest in it. I’ve been very lucky to make some awesome friends through this account, but it comes with a lot of dedication and genuine engagement. Lastly, manage the account and take the photos for you, not for the likes. I see so many people constantly worrying about how one post didn’t get as many likes and comments as another. That shouldn’t be what matters. You’re doing this because you love your pet and you want to share that with anyone who wants to see.“ — @heytheredelilahthedog


    A special thanks to @heytheredelilahthedog (pawrent @briannawollard), @otisbarkington, and @seattledoggos for taking the time to talk! Curious about how your own pup could become a Wildebeest Ambassadog? We’ve got a page for that!

    Apr | 17 | 2018

    Wildebeest's Guide to Dog Photography

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  • 5 Tips To Get Your Dog Ready For Hiking Season

    The chill of winter is fading away, meaning it will soon be prime hiking season for you and your beest! Whether you have a seasoned adventure pal or a young pup excited for their first spring in the wild, these tips will make sure you and your best friend are prepped and ready to enjoy your wild adventures.


    1. Take the Road Less Traveled

    Just like breaking in your hiking boots to keep your feet happy, your dog’s endurance level is an important factor in how comfortable you’ll be on the trails. The usual walk around the block is less stimulating to a dog’s senses than exploring the great outdoors, and walking in all-terrain environments will put a different kind of strain on their body. To help prepare your dog’s muscles (and nose!), try walking new routes around town or embarking on a few “urban adventures” before you hit the backcountry. Another great way to build endurance is by teaching your dog how play frisbee. Jumping high in the air to catch the frisbee will help build their reflexes, strength, spatial awareness, and stamina.

    2. Refresh Those Manners

    Depending on where you’re hiking, hitting the trails on a busy weekend might feel more like a group nature walk than a wilderness adventure—meaning your pup will be exposed to all sorts of new humans and dogs. Even if you’re going to a less populated area, your pup will still experience a plethora of smells and stimuli that might tempt them to ignore even their most familiar commands. Taking some time to refresh your pup’s memory of directives and leash manners will help their good behavior transfer seamlessly to the trail. Whether they're an off-leash pro or you plan to keep them tethered to your side, making sure their basic commands and leash etiquette are top notch will keep you both stress-free in any hectic situation.

    3. Update Their ID tags

    Dog tags are something all owners hope they’ll never have to rely on, but making sure they’re up to date before a big adventure never hurts. Check not only that the phone number is current and legible, but also be sure the tag is soundly secured. Brush and branches can easily snag dangling hardware as your dog romps through, so securing dangling tags or upgrading to a contoured plate will ensure they’re readily identified no matter what they get in to.

    4. Pack Water for Two

    It's super important to stay hydrated while you're out & about especially on warmer days. Don't forget to pack enough water for you AND pup according to your activity plans. Having an ultra-compact portable bowl on hand will keep your load light while offering peace of mind that pup won't go thirsty on the trek.

    5. Keep The Right Supplies

    You probably already keep a first aid kit with your hiking supplies, but adding a few tools to make it equipped for dogs and humans will keep you both safe and comfortable should an accident occur. Most of what a dog might need in the wild overlaps with a human’s first aid needs, but there are a few canine-specific supplies to bring. From itchy bites to splintered paws, knowing you’re prepared for anything is the best way to have fun without worry. If you want to put together your own hiking first aid kit for your pup, ASPCA Pro has a downloadable list to ensure your ready for hiking season.

    6. Be Ready for Any Weather 

    Unfortunately, even the most pleasant days can give way to showers, chill, or sweltering heat in an instant. Make sure that you and your adventure pal are prepared for any weather so you both stay comfortable and content! The proper outerwear for your pup will provide protection against damp chills, while booties provide traction in the event of slick mud. Additionally, overheating is a concern for some breeds regardless of where the thermometer lies. If this applies to your pal, pack enough water to wet down fur should they start to get too warm. For more sever situations, you can also use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on their paw pads, and other vet approved methods to keep your dog from overheating. When planning for your adventures, simply equipping the right gear will allow you and your Beest to tackle any weather with ease!

    7. Camp much?

    Are you the type of pack that's into adventures beyond day hikes? Spending the night outdoors with your pup is a whole different experience and can be so special and magical. Pitching the tent, preparing the meals, enjoying a campfire and stargazing... give you & Beest a chance to slow down, unwind and reconnect with nature together. We highly recommend a camping adventure for any Beest, but keep in mind that it does take a more in-depth preparation and packing prior to your adventure. Check out these handy tips from campingcooks.com. 

    Happy Hiking & Beyond!

     

    Wildebeest creates everyday essentials that help you build that special bond, share adventures big & small and make amazing memories with your Beest. We'll be right there every step of the way, with our gear & Wild4Life Warranty in tow, supporting you & Beest all throughout the lifetime of your companionship!

    Mar | 06 | 2018

    5 Tips To Get Your Dog Ready For Hiking Season

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