Tips For a Successful Dog Holiday Card Photo Shoot

Are you looking to capture that picture perfect moment for your Christmas card this year? Did you buy the cutest little Christmas outfit for your dogs?

Oh no? Just me then?

I’ve learned over the years that sweaters and costumes don’t go over well with Bentley and Lambo. Well, maybe just Bentley. Lambo will do anything I ask him to do really. Except sit still for more than 30 seconds. Bentley knows the tricks of the trade. He clams up whenever you put a sweater on him and ever since my first Christmas card photo shoot attempt, he is afraid of our Christmas tree.

Which brings me to this year’s Christmas card photo shoot…

Outtake#1
Outtake #1

 

This year, I made sure I was equipped with the correct gear for a successful dog photo shoot:

Treats? Check

Cute and comfy Christmas scarves? Check

Fancy camera + tripod? Check 

Beautiful day? Check 

How did I make this day a success, you ask?

Patience. A lot of patience. And some new treats to entice these two to stay put for a couple of minutes.

If you don’t want to give your dogs a stomach ache, I prefer to use a larger treat and dangle it in front of them. It sounds mean, but it really does work.  This year, I used Rachel Ray’s Nutrish Soup Bones. Made with real meat and veggies, these long-lasting chews have all the deliciousness of a wholesome soup bone with a tender, meaty center inside.

Rachel Ray Soup Bones

They had never had them before and this intrigued them even more. I took one out of the bag, let them smell it, maybe even have a lick.

Rachel Ray Soup Bones

I walked out on the grass, treat in hand, and they followed me like puppy dogs.

Rachel Ray Soup Bones - Lambo

Clearly, it took a ton of takes to get them in the right lighting and in the correct position, but after about 10 minutes, they were happy to just follow me around the yard, posing for picture after picture as I held this bone over my head.

Bentley and Lambo Holiday
Outtake #4530302

 

Bentley sat in the same stoic position for the full 10 minutes, while Lambo would sit, then get up after he saw me squat down to take the photo. Tail wagging, he was so excited for a new treat. But he wasn’t getting the treat until I got my damn Christmas card photo!

Christmas Card 2016
Christmas Card 2016

 

Every time I see this photo, I laugh. They are so serious, especially Bentley. Lambo is just counting down the seconds until he can get his reward.

I headed over to TinyPrints and scored 40% off my Christmas cards this year! They have a ton of sales, so after you are done shopping for your dogs, head over there and create a pretty Christmas card!

*Financial compensation was not received for this post. A sample product was gifted from Chewy. All advice and opinions expressed are Bentley’s and Lambo’s.*

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve when it comes to photographing your dogs? Please share! 

 

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

The house is filled with love and the wonderful smells of Thanksgiving infiltrate the air. You fill your plate with juicy slices of turkey and all the trimmings. The butter is melting off the mashed potatoes, the biscuits are hot and the cranberry sauce is sweet as pie. Could it get any better?

While we enjoy all the Thanksgiving fixings, Bentley and Lambo will be enjoying their very own Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Merrick Thanksgiving Dinner

Merrick’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner is prepared with turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and Granny Smith apples. The best part? The cans are on sale! Stock up today and they will have “leftovers” all week long!

Lambo Thanksgiving

*Financial compensation was not received for this post. A sample product was gifted from Chewy. All advice and opinions expressed are Bentley’s and Lambo’s.*

2016 Howliday Guide: Five Gifts For Your Dog

Last year, I put together a fantastic gift guide geared towards some of the best gifts for your furry loved ones. I had such a great response, I wanted to curate another gift guide for this holiday season. Our dogs are such an important part of our lives, and I love watching them open their gifts on Christmas morning. Bentley carefully paws through the gifts, while Lambo wants ALL the gifts and often tries to take all the toys and treats to his bed. Either way, most of these will be on their list this Christmas!

Subscription Box

Kai Krates is a monthly subscription box that delivers high quality toys and treats that won’t break the bank. Their expert panel of dogs carefully test each product that goes out to ensure they are the perfect fit for your crate.


This affordable subscription box has two options: Treats & Chews Krate or Toys, Treats and Chews Krate. Every month, a new box full of the best products will be at your doggy door! Want to try? Use the code: breakfastwithbentley and get 10% off your first box!

Dog Bed

Your dog deserves to be comfortable while getting some shut eye. Chewy has a ton of affordable beds and mats that are machine washable and made with soft, luxurious material. Your dog will never want to get out of bed in the morning!

Dog Treats

Christmas is the perfect time to stock up on all of your favorite treats. These Caru Natural Soft n’ Tasty Dog Treats are Bentley’s favorite snack. They are nutritious and delicious!

Caru Wild Boar Treats

Dog Toys

It’s not a Christmas without some toys underneath the Christmas tree! Lambo is a powerful chewer and we have tried a ton of different types of toys to quench this thirst of his. Nylabone has been our favorite; the long-lasting bristles help to clean teeth, freshen breath, and promote oral health with every gnaw or chewing action.

Grooming Products

It’s important to keep your dog so fresh and so clean during these dry and cold winter months. Between the cold and the snow, their coat and paws need a little extra attention. Stock up on shampoo, brushes and paw pads to ensure your dog will be protected this holiday season.Bentley and Lambo Holiday

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

6 Actions Dog Bloggers Can Take To Grow Their Social Following

Dog blogging is fun and quite easy: just post your dog’s life whenever you feel like it. Then, you start looking at other dog bloggers and do what human do best: compare yourself to others. You realize your dog is the most beautiful yet his or her following isn’t taking off.

Eventually, you start looking for actionable tips to boost the engagement of your dog’s social profiles, and grow their following. And then, you find this article.

First, let’s just be clear on one point this article is NOT about. No, this is not an overnight system that will suddenly make you the #1 dog blogger out there. Yes, you will need to work hard and do things differently than what you used to. And lastly, the items aren’t going to track themselves up so you need to do more of what works, and less of what does not.

Fairly simple, right? So, let’s dive into it.

Action 1 – Declutter Your Social Presence

Contrary to popular belief: you don’t have to stay on every new platform. Of course, as soon as a new social network becomes relevant, signup and reserve your nickname on there but no need to scatter your sweat on several platforms and get very little results on each.

The importance of ONE. Target a single social channel and put all your efforts into growing and thriving in it. Only once you’ve managed to grow sufficiently, you can start thinking about the next land to invade.

Dog Blogger Dominate One Platform at a Time

Instagram is usually the first and most appealing platform because of it’s very searchable (hashtags) and you can easily interact with fellow dog bloggers and get the ball rolling. Dog breeders are all about it and it helps them get some eyeballs.

Action 2 — Cross Promote All Your Dog’s Social Profiles

As a human being having a decent Internet connection, I am sure you have one or several personal accounts on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest or even Google+.

This is a goldmine! Make sure you promote your dog’s profile through your personal accounts. You don’t have to be straight to the point (ie. go like my dog’s instagram profile) but you can share pictures or videos you posted on your dog’s timeline, for example.

Action 3 — Outreach Several Times, Every day

Prefer depth over width.

Meaning, before sending a tweet or a comment to another fellow dog blogger, check out their page and see what they like. Don’t just comment generic messages. People have an anti-bullshit radar and you won’t even get a reply.

Set a schedule, perhaps every evening morning and every night, to go on Instagram and find five relevant accounts to connect with. Be genuine and honest in your approach and even if 10% of them reply, you’ll win in the long run.

Don’t ask for something right away, provide value upfront and in due time, you’ll receive more help than you ever expected.

Action 4 — Use The First Mover Advantage

People who invade a platform in the early days have a much larger following. At first, quality profiles are scarce so people follow them all. Then, critical mass is hit by the platform and it becomes much harder to gain some traction.

But please… Don’t just wait for the next Snapchat or Periscope to use this tip. Make yourself known using existing and established platforms’ new features and organically reach a whole heap of new followers.

Dog Blogger New Platforms

Live video is huge on Facebook these days and too few people are using it. Same with Instagram Stories, go share several snaps a day! You don’t even need to show your face, this is about your dog!

Action 5 — Collaborate As Much As You Humanly Can

What do rappers and other singers do to grow their fan base? They do collaborations with bigger artists… And you know what? It works.

Buy a bunch of cheap-ish collars, leads or treat pouches and offer some of them to a few fellow dog bloggers. That way, they can organize a free contest and drive followers your way!

Another way to do it that is completely free is to contact dog bloggers at your level to promote each other so both can benefit from this collaboration. Don’t abuse that because you might piss off your current followers; but once every two weeks will be just perfect!

Action 6 — Create a Themed Posting Schedule

A lot of dog bloggers post photos and videos randomly to say the least. They are definitely not following precise guidelines and they don’t even know what will be posted the next day, week or month.

Some days where they have to post, they end up having nothing of interest and post average content. They don’t prepare their content.

Dog Blogger Create Themed Posting Schedule

Instead, you should find a theme for each day. No need for military-like discipline but just a set of broad ideas for each day. For example:

  • Monday is a dog quote (with your dog as background)
  • Tuesday is a homemade dog meal recipe
  • Wednesday is an outdoor photo
  • Thursday is a short video
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday are free

This helps you prepare high-quality content ahead of time and provide your audience with engaging ideas and concepts, contrasting with other bloggers’ random posts.

Take Aways

The essence of this post is to get you to see your dog’s social strategy in a more precise and planified way. To grow a social media following you must put in the work, the planning and the content creation it takes to succeed.

You can do everything hobby-like but don’t expect much results.


Thank you to Lazhar for this informative guest post!

Lazhar is the founder of Breeding Business, a free online magazine discussing ethical dog breeding. Debates, news, in-depth articles, reviews and guides: it is a platform for responsible breeders who love their breed more than they love themselves. You can also find them on Facebook.