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Hello Benebone fam! This week’s post is coming to you from @emwng. I’ve been a part of the Benebone team (or should I say, Kokoro and Chibi have), shooting content and testing out new products for the past few years.

We’re so grateful to have such a strong community of Benebone-lovin’ pups on Instagram. Today we’re going to share with you some tips on how to take the best photos of your dog!

Master the sit & stay

Teaching your dog a very solid sit and stay will make your life as a photographer much easier. This seems like a no-brainer, but it definitely takes time to achieve. Once your dog has a good “sit,” work on impulse control and teach them to ignore distractions that may come up during a shoot. Throw treats and toys at your pup, suddenly start running away, walk away to where they can’t see you, you name it. Your pup should keep staying until they hear their release command.

This is something we’ve continually worked on over the years with Kokoro and Chibi and is even more essential when you want to take group photos with other dogs.

Teach your dog to bark

We like using the “bark” command to get the dogs to change up their expressions. You can use the “burst” mode to capture your pup’s face as they bark to get some fun expressions out of it!

Know your dogs’ trigger words

One of the things we run into a lot with the pups when we’re photographing them “in the wild” is their ears fold back as they’re listening to all of the things going on around them. I like photographing them when their ears are pointed forward towards the camera — it just looks much cuter!

To get them to point their ears forward, I use some of their favorite words or phrases, such as, “Do you guys want to…” or “Is it time for a treat?”

If I’m lucky, I’ll even get a head tilt out of asking them a question!

Use squeakers and sounds to your advantage

On top of knowing your dogs’ favorite phrases that get them to pay attention to you, you can also keep a squeaker in your pocket or learn how to make animal sounds to get your pup to look your way. This works especially well if you have a dog who is toy motivated.

Our dogs are super food motivated so this sometimes doesn’t work for them, but you know your dog best so use what he loves the most to get his attention throughout your shoots.

Use treats / peanut butter to get funny facial expressions 

This is one of our favorite tricks! Put some peanut butter, yogurt, or honey on your dog’s nose and shoot away with burst mode. You’re bound to get one or two gold gems, trust me. Here are some shots we got just by using peanut butter!

Decide on a consistent style that represents you

This is especially important for establishing your style on Instagram. What is the aesthetic you want to use to tell your story? Is it clean and minimal backgrounds?

Or is it action shots paired with a shallow depth of field?

Sticking to one style and getting some practice will help you improve your photography and editing skills. Maybe one day you want to switch it up and try a new style? Go for it!

Daylight is your friend

We take 99% of our photos during the day in natural light. If we’re at home, we always shoot close to a window. Sunlight is your friend and dogs just shoot amazingly in natural lighting.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use studio lighting, but it’s much trickier to properly light a pup this way. And you just don’t get the same authentic effect as using some regular ol’ light from mother nature.

Stay in the shade

We love a good sunny day, especially here in LA. But whenever we shoot outdoors, standing in the sun can cast some harsh shadows in places you may not want in your photo. We try to look for a shaded area when we’re out and about with the pups and need to grab some outdoor photos.

Play with different angles

This is something that has taken me years to perfect. What unique and different angles could I utilize to make my photography stand out more?

The first simple rule of thumb is to get down to your dog’s height. Make sure you’re eye level with them for the best shots!

Utilize burst mode and video

It’s definitely hard to capture that “it” moment, especially with moving pups and their constantly changing expressions, so use the burst feature on your camera to continuously capture as many frames as possible! That way, you can pick and choose which exact moment you want to share.

Some of the best shots on my Instagram are even frames taken from videos, such as this. Because I had to throw the confetti myself, I wasn’t able to shoot burst photos at the same time, so opted to shoot a video instead. The photo quality won’t be as high if you pull a frame from a video, but for Instagram that isn’t really a problem at all since you’re just posting at 1080 x 1080 px!

Get your dog to smile by running them around

Is your dog looking a little too serious for the type of photo you’re going for? Take their favorite tug toy and play 5-10 minutes of tug with them. Or, run up and down the hallway a few times to get them active and panting. It’s a quick and easy way to get them to open their mouths and look happier for a shoot!

Use the right equipment

When I first started out taking photos of Kokoro, I had a 90mm portrait lens on my camera that I primarily used for taking photos of people. I quickly found out that this was going to require me to back up a lot before being able to frame up a shot. It proved to be near impossible when Kokoro was a puppy and didn’t have a perfect sit stay.

Wide angle lenses will get you closer to the dog so you don’t have to back up as much and so there isn’t as much time for the dog to break their sit stay. We’ve been loving our 24mm f/1.4 lens for wide angle shots and will occasionally switch to our 40mm f/1.8 prime lens when we’re outdoors.

Give your dog lots of treats

Treat photo shoots as training time for them. They have to put in work and follow commands, so they deserve lots and lots of treats and praise for being good dogs. And ultimately, don’t make them do anything they don’t want to do. Make sure you’re both having fun! This will really give you the most authentic photos that tell the story between you and your pup in the end.

Incorporate product creatively!

When photographing your dog and featuring a brand, think about different ways to naturally incorporate the product. There are many options aside from simply placing the product next to your dog.

Think about the natural use of the product! Is there a way that you can tell the story of how you or your dog would use it in one photo? Do you want to feature your dog’s face, whole body, or just paws? Here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing.

Think about styling the environment to make it more interesting and purposeful. In these photos shot for Benebone, @bordernerd and @ifitwags used props to help bring more interest to these simple, beautiful photos.

Perhaps you get your pup in motion, moving towards the product to show interest or excitement. Just like how @pavlovthecorgi and @karen.lao did in these shots!

Or this shot of Chibi and Kokoro, up to no good and sneaking their way into a bag of yummy treats:

That does it for our dog photography tips! What tricks do you use when shooting for the gram?

Watch a video on this topic instead!

Hello Benebone community! We hope each and every one of you is doing well amidst everything going on in the world today. It’s been great to get updates from our Benebone fans and we love hearing about pups benefitting from extra time with their parents. Today, we’re sharing some things you can do (some with your pup) with the extra time you may have if you’re able to stay safe at home.

Spring clean your pup’s belongings

Whether this be his toy bin, wardrobe, or stack of Benebone chews, now is a great time to do a little purge of items that have served their purpose! Wash and donate any old toys and clothes that your dog doesn’t use to another dog in need. For Benebones, evaluate whether they’ve reached the end of their life cycle, and throw out any that might be past their prime. Don’t forget to grab a new Benebone to replace the old ones if need be!

Deep clean your dog’s daily used items

Crates, beds, bowls, and leashes are a good place to start. We’re often too busy to deep clean a lot of items that are used on a daily basis, so now is the perfect time. Throw favorite toys in the laundry, wash bed covers and blankets, and disinfect lesser-cleaned items like their crate. Your dog will thank you!

Sew and donate masks

Sew masks with your free time! There are a lot of organizations that are in need of masks, including hospitals and emergency rooms. Veterinary departments are also experiencing equipment shortages and in need of masks to provide healthcare services to animals. Here is an example of how you can sew surgical face masks that comes with a free pattern!

Make cat and dog toys

Source: PopSugar

Once you’ve mastered sewing masks, try sewing some cat or small dog toys to donate to your local shelter to continue paying it forward! It will delight the animals that are going through extra stress because of any changes that might be happening in shelters right now.

Foster a dog in need

Source: @emwng

Many local shelters aren’t able to staff their facilities due to restrictions in place. If you’ve ever considered fostering a dog, now you have extra time to help out a dog in need! Reach out to your local shelters to see if they’re in need or open to fosters during this time. You can also consider donating to support if you have the means to.

Keep you and your pet’s supplies stocked

Source: @pudding.corgi

Pay attention to your supply of dog food and medications and make sure to have a few week’s worth readily available in your home. Just as you need to be prepared with some items in your home in case of emergency, it’s always a good idea to have more than enough pet supplies in your home. Keep in mind pet stores are essential businesses and will remain open, so no need to buy too much food at once! That way everyone can have the opportunity to purchase food for their pets throughout this time.

We hope you and your pups are staying safe and well these days, both physically and mentally. Don’t be afraid to reach out if there’s anything our team can do to support your pups during this time.

Source: @rubyruedood

Feature image via @livlovesleo

The holidays are about to be in full swing! This is also the most hectic travel season of the year, with airports and freeways filling up with people and their pets getting home to their loved ones.

Whether you’re planning on spending time with family or taking advantage of some time off with a vacation, traveling with your four-legged family member can definitely be a little stressful. Today, we’re sharing some useful tips for hitting the road with your pup.

Confirm logistics with airlines and hotels early on

Photo by @roolepom

Traveling with a pet requires notifying airlines and hotels ahead of time. If you’re flying with your dog, make sure you check the airline’s pet policies regarding maximum pets allowed in the cabin, the size of the carrier you need, and rules you and your dog have to abide by. Hotels will often charge a pet fee so let them know ahead of time if your pup is coming along with.

Invest in a quality pet crate or carrier

Photo by @designmilkpets

Whether you’re flying or driving, having your pup secured in a crate or carrier is a must. Get them used to their designated safe space by giving them ample time to use the carrier, lay in it, and get their scent in it so that when the big travel days come, they’re already comfortable!

Pack food and water in a portable fashion

Photo by milkyspoon

It can be tricky keeping your pup hydrated on the plane or in the car. Grab a portable pet bowl to make things easy for you and your dog. Make sure they’re getting ample opportunity to hydrate — it can be easy to forget when you’re on the go! Make sure to bring extra of your dog’s food with you just in case. You might not be able to find your brand wherever you are visiting.

Stick as closely to your daily schedule as possilble

Photo by @lennywiththeshoe

Even when you’re traveling, try to keep to your normal schedule as much as you can. Feed your pup and take them for walks as close to their regular times as possible. Dogs are creatures of routine, so this will make traveling easier for them!

Research what’s pet-friendly and what’s not at your destination

Photo by @vanilla.icedream

It’s a good idea to have a rough itinerary of your plans going into your trip. If there are certain activities that are dog-friendly, consider planning them out so that your dog can be a part of the festivities. Dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants, and outdoor activities are a good way to keep them involved during your holiday travels!

Be considerate when traveling with your pup!

Photo by @gus.and.gigi

Traveling with dogs is a privilege, especially with airlines and hotels that allow them to come with. Keep in mind that not everyone in the world is a dog lover. Respect others by keeping control of your dog, making sure they’re on their best behavior, and ensuring their presence isn’t affecting others negatively.

All in all, traveling with your furry bff to your holiday destination can make your holiday merrier and your New Year shine brighter. We hope these travel tips will help make the world a dog-friendlier place as you head out on your four-legged adventures. We’d love to hear your dog travel tips too! Share your tip in our comments below to help fellow dog parents and tag us @mybenebone with #benebone on your holiday travel adventures so we can follow along. 

Photo by @kelly_bove

Halloween is always a fun and popular time for kids and families to receive lots of chocolate and candy.

Photo: @lokistagram

Unfortunately, this is also a dangerous time for your dog. Chocolate and candy containing xylitol can be deadly for dogs if ingested and should absolutely be avoided. Typically, chocolate ingestion does not pose a deadly threat to your dog, but it can make your dog very sick. Why, you may ask? Chocolate includes a chemical known as theobromine, as well as caffeine.

As much as you try to keep your dog away from those Halloween treats, accidents can happen. Below are some tips for keeping your pup safe from the dangers of those oh-so-sweet human treats.

Photo: @emwng

1. Keep your pup separate from the festivities

Photo: @bordernerd

During the hours of trick-or-treating, it may be best to keep your pup tucked away in his own room or safely crated, so that they are separated from the festivities. Many dogs are not fans of the constant doorbell-ringing and knocking on doors anyway, so your pup may be more comfortable staying in the comfort of his own room.

2. Safely store your Halloween candy

Photo: @bezarchitekta.pl

Make sure you store your Halloween candy safely, whether it’s being given out or you’ve just come back home with a new collection. Dogs can sniff out anything delicious, so it’s important to use a dog-proof container, such as a screw-top jar. Store your Halloween candy in the upper cabinets of your kitchen where your pup cannot reach. If you’ve got a smart pup on your hands, try using kid proof safety locks on your kitchen cabinets.

3. If an accident happens, record notes immediately

If you call or take your dog to the Vet, the first thing they will ask is what your dog ate and how much. This can be a nerve-wracking time, so take a minute to write down exactly what your dog has ingested.

With candy, it can be hard to tell how much was exactly ingested, however, a good idea is to take note of how much is left. For instance, if your dog ate some of your M&M’s, write down if there’s a half bag left, ¾ of the bag left, etc. This will help give your veterinarian a good idea of how much could have been ingested.

4. Know the number to the ASPCA Poison Control

Photo: @yoda.thefrenchie
Photo Credit: ASPCA.org

Unfortunately, not all towns have a 24 hour Emergency Vet Clinic near them. Luckily, the ASPCA offers a poison control phone line that is operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While they may charge a $65 consult fee, this is often less than what an emergency vet trip would cost and they can potentially help you over the phone. Save their number (888) 426-4435 to your phone or put it on your refrigerator so that it’s always handy and available.

The best advice we can give is prevention! We want holidays to be fun and safe for all family members.

Photo: @livlovesleo

If you have any tips or tricks to prevent your dog from raiding the candy cabinet, we would love to hear them. Leave a comment below or show us on social media. Tag us on Instagram and Facebook with #benebone so we don’t miss your post!

Feature image photo credit: House Beautiful

No two dogs are always the same size. Dog sizes can vary not only between a Chihuahua and a Labrador Retriever, but they can often vary within the same breed. And, regardless of whether you’ve been eyeing up a cute jacket to help keep your pup warm or are in need of a new harness, it’s important to know how to accurately measure your dog since there is no universal sizing chart for dogs.

Photo Credit: @adventurescruffs

While you generally could order a small for a Chihuahua or a large for a Labrador Retriever, double checking the exact measurements will help to keep your dog from slipping loose out of his harness or avoid trying to squeeze your dog into a shirt that’s just too tight. With so many various dog brands on the market, sizing often varies.

Photo Credit: @chavoandsteele

Measuring your dog is actually easier than you may think. To get the best and most accurate measurement, you’ll want to pick up a tailor’s measuring tape, if you don’t already have one. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just soft enough that you can easily bend it to loop around your dog.

Photo Credit: Jalsa UK

Another option if you don’t have a tailor’s measuring tape, but are pretty crafty and have some string or ribbon in the house and a ruler nearby, you can use that as well. Simply use the string or ribbon as you would the tailor’s tape, then measure the length against the ruler.

Photo Credit: Blitsy

There are 3 main measurements you will want to measure: neck, chest and length.

Photo Credit: Lead the Walk

Neck: 
Measure your dog’s neck at his widest point. Dogs have a sensitive trachea and having a collar or harness that is too tight around a dog’s delicate neck area could cause breathing difficulty or even worse, it could lead to a collapsed trachea.

Chest:
This measurement is sometimes referred to a dog’s “girth” measurement. Again, you will want to measure around your dog’s widest point. The chest area is where your dog’s harness will lay. Too tight of a harness is like wearing pants that are a size too small. Not only do you want your dog to be safe, you want your dog to be comfortable as well.

Length:
To measure your dog’s length, start at the base of your dog’s neck and measure to the end of your dog’s tailbone (not the tail, just the tailbone).

If you have a long dog such as a dachshund or corgi, check around for specially made clothing, as most of the clothing sold in stores will likely be too short for your dog.

Photo Credit: @crusoe_dachshund

If you are ordering clothing or p.j.’s for your dog, you may also want to measure your dog’s legs.

Photo Credit: @lazyoneinc

Leg Length:
Start in between your dog’s shoulder blades and measure down to the top of your dog’s paws. If you’d prefer to measure your dog’s back legs, begin at the center of your dog’s tailbone and measure to the top of your dog’s back paws.

Generally, you should omit at least ½ inch to allow ample space between the length of your dog’s clothing and the top of his paws to keep your dog from slipping while your dog is walking or running.

Photo Credit: @robinventures

Obviously, if your dog is a puppy, you’ll need to remeasure him as he grows. If your dog is an adult, it’s a good idea to measure him twice a year: winter and summer. Dogs, like humans, tend to be less active in the winter months, which can lead to a little extra fluff.

We’d love to see your dog’s latest fashion outfits, collars or harnesses. Tag us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with #benebone and we may just share your photo.

It’s the busiest time for travel of the year, with vacations and visiting family members when the new year comes around. Of course, bringing your pup with you across country may seem like a daunting task, but you got to to do what you got to do to have your best friend with you! 

Today we’re sharing some tips to make bringing Fido with you on the road a little easier. 

1. Pack all of the essentials (but not too much)! 

Source: @fridasfluffyworld

Food, treats, poop bags, and a favorite toy. Don’t go overboard on things your dog may need. Chances are, if you forgot something, you can get it when you arrive at your destination. Most important of all, don’t forget to bring any medications your pup may be on! 

2. Bring portable versions of everything you need.

Source: @howl_and_growl

Forget the metal water bowl. Leave that at home! Get yourself travel-ready versions of those essentials if you can. Whether it be an on-the-go water bottle and bowl combination or a fold up pet bed, make your life a little easier with these made-for-travel items. 

3. Get your pup travel-approved by your vet.

Source: @_ba.iley._

Not all dogs are fit for travel. If your dog is sick or injured, it’s probably going to be a no-no. If your dog is one that gets over-stimulated or upset when their routine is disrupted, they should also probably stay home. Have your vet give you the thumbs up before heading out with your dog. Make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and consider having your pup microchipped if he’s not already. 

4. Double check rules and regulations where you’re going

Source: @olivethefancyfrenchie

If you’re staying at a hotel, make sure you study up on all the fees and rules associated with having a pet stay with you. Often times, you’ll have to pay a pet cleaning fee and it’s important to note that dogs are usually not allowed to be left alone without supervision. Leash laws where you’re going may be different from what you’re accustomed to, so double check there as well.

5. Do a trial run at home if you can.

Source: @mysimonagram

Whether you are driving or flying, you can probably try and get your dog accustomed to some of the things they’ll have to do when you head out for travel. Get them used to the crate or carrier they’ll be riding in. See if your pup needs a blanket or cover over the carrier to help with visual stimuli. The more they are used to this confined environment before you go, the easier the actual trip will be. 

6. Feed your pup early and potty often while you’re on the go

Source: @penniethepoodle

To avoid motion sickness, feed your pup well before you hit the road or board the airplane. Empty them out as much as possible with a nice long walk before heading out. While you’re on the road, try not to give too much water. Ice cubes are a nice alternative and provide hydration in moderate amounts. Whenever you have the chance, potty your pup so they don’t have to hold it too long during a long and stressful journey. 

7. Find your vacation routine

Source: @mariavanonen

Dogs love a stable routine. Taking them on the go may disrupt their normal day-to-day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t establish a new routine while you’re on your vacation or visiting your in-laws. Try and keep them on the same schedule every day while you’re away. Your pup will thank you! 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members safe and happy travels this time of year! 

Featured image via @littlecooperbear 

Photo Credit: @mapletales

With winter finally behind us and spring weather in full effect, many dog parents have dusted off their dog’s leashes and started hitting the pavement. While it’s great to take daily walks within your neighborhood or local dog park, have you ever considered taking a long, multi-day hike with your dog? Hiking with your dog not only provides you both with great daily exercise, but your journey with your dog will grow your bond even more than you ever expected. Maybe a long hike is something you’ve considered but not really sure what to expect or how to prepare? Look no further, we’ve got guest blogger Ryan of @fen_the_aussie here to help you prepare for your next big adventure.

Ryan and his Aussie, Fen, have been hiking together for quite some time now, but their upcoming June adventure will be their longest hike to date. Ryan and Fen will be heading to New Hampshire to hike The Presidential Traverse Trail, which totals 20 miles in length and 9,000 ft. elevation gain! Obviously, this is not small feat and not a trail for amateurs but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aspire to take a hike like Ryan and Fen.

How to Prep For Your Hike

Before you set out on your adventure, you need to prep both yourself and your dog for your great adventure. It is important to clearly assess if your dog is physically fit for your desired hike. Depending on your location, you may want to plan your hike for early June or September to avoid the summer heat. It is helpful to know your dog’s tolerance and ability to handle warm days outdoors. For instance, Fen does not like hot summer days due to his thick coat and black fur. On the other hand, some dogs do great in summer heat and are eager to hike.

Much like any sporting or physical event, you will need to train before tackling such a long hike. Don’t let the word “training” discourage you. Training for a long hike is both fun for you and your dog. Much like a runner trains for a marathon by running shorter distances and building up to a marathon distance, you and your dog should take shorter hikes to build up to the multi-mile and multi-day hike. If you and/or your dog have not hiked in the past, you may want to consider using this season as your training season and take your big hike next year. I have been training Fen to build his cardio in anticipation of our big hike for about a year now. Endurance training for your dog should not be rushed, as they cannot communicate with us to tell us when they are feeling ill. Dogs are so loyal and want to please their owners so much that they will often push their bodies past their limit. While you can certainly take long walks around your neighborhood, but putting in time on a trail with a full backpack is going to do wonders for conditioning your body.

In advance of your hike, it is a good idea to have a wellness exam of your dog with your Veterinarian. Even if you believe your dog is in good health, it is idea to double check heart rate levels and your dog’s general health. This is also a good time to get a copy of your dog’s vaccinations to keep on hand during your hike. Typically, your Veterinarian’s office can print out your dog’s vaccine record on 1 sheet of paper, so this will not add any additional weight or take up extra room in your backpack.

Personally, I have Fen groomed a couple of weeks in advance of our hike. If your dog has long hair, you may want to consider having your groomer give your dog a shorter than normal haircut to help keep him cool during your hike. Ask your groomer to pay close attention to your dog’s paws and nails. Since your dog will be hiking for miles, you want to make sure your dog’s nails are cut with caution and any excess fur trimmed tightly to the pads of your dog’s paws.

What to Pack vs. What Not to Pack

Okay, Dog Moms and Dads, this isn’t like packing for your Florida vacation. You will be carrying everything you bring, so less is more! Yup, that means you won’t be able to bring your dog’s closet full of clothes, however, the views you come across will be so breathtaking that you won’t even miss all those outfits.

The basic items that you must take on your backpacking trip are: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, pillow, sleeping mat, camp stove, fuel, water filtration and food. The other items that are extremely important that you should pack are: rain gear, first aid kit, fire starter, flashlight and GPS/compass. Once you’ve packed and determined the weight of your necessary items, you can decide if you have any ability to pack unnecessary items, such as: your camera, tripod or camp chair. Keep in mind that the more hikers going with you,, the more weight that can be distributed between each hiker, which in turn, will possibly allow you to pack those non-essential items.

The basic dog supplies needed for Fen are: collar, leash, backpack, boots, food/water bowl, food, grooming comb and nail clippers. However, keep in mind that each dog is different and may require different items. Your dog may require special medications or your dog may wear a harness as opposed to a collar when hiking. Nothing is set in stone, but having the food and water basics are the most essential.

To pack for your actual hike, you should lay your items out in advance, weigh and test how reasonable it is to take all your items. Too heavy of a backpack will put extreme stress on your body. Ideally, you should take some smaller pre-hikes with your full backpack to not only get an idea of what you can safely carry weight wise, but this is also a great way to pre-condition your body for your long hike. This goes for your dog too! If you are planning to put a small backpack on your dog, you will need to test the weight of the backpack on smaller hikes with your dog. As we all know, dogs cannot tell us when enough is enough, so it’s important to be mindful of their body language. Pay close attention to heavy panting, any discomfort in walking and if your dog often stops on your walks with his backpack.

Where to Hike?

It is highly recommended to have your hike mapped out in advance. This will help you to stay on path and of course, help you avoid getting lost! If you are unsure of which path to take, there are many resources available to you. I like to use the site All Trails to map out my hikes. This site details trails by their length and elevation level so that you know what to expect on your hike and there are no surprises. Other helpful resources are hiking and backpacking magazines and of course, Instagram accounts. A simple Instagram search of #hiking can provide you with fellow hiking accounts and you can see where others have hiked near you.

Photo Credit: @watson_the_adventure_dog

Photo Credit: @fourleaf

Photo Credit: @breeze.e.bear

Once you’ve decided on your trail of choice, you will need to make sure that dogs are permitted on the trail and inquire about any required hiking/camping permits. Yes, some trails do require a permit before you set off on your hike.

How to Feed Your Dog During Your Hike

If your dog eats a dry kibble, this will not be difficult for you. Simply portion your dog’s daily meals and put them into ziploc bags. Fen is on a raw diet, which poses a problem, as I cannot bring a cooler to keep his food cold. During our hike, I will feed Fen dehydrated raw food. I will portion Fen’s meals and place each meal into a ziploc bag just as if it were dry kibble. However, 30 minutes before feeding Fen, I will pour some cold water into the ziploc bag to rehydrate his food before pouring it into the bowl for him.

I hope we have piqued your interest in considering a multi-day backpacking hike with your dog. Not only is it a great opportunity to get out, get some exercise and see some beautiful landscape, but it is also a great bonding opportunity for you and your dog. As long as you plan and train ahead of time, you can have a great time and build memories that will last a lifetime.

We would love to see your hiking photos and hear any hiking tips you may have. Please leave them in the comments below or share your photos to any of our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #benebone.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Welcome to our newest series: Instagram 101! Starting an Instagram account for either yourself or your dog is fun and exciting. Instagram has a lot to offer people looking to connect with like-minded people worldwide.

What is Instagram?

Some of you that have landed here may already know what Instagram is and (thankfully) follow our Benebone Instagram account. If you are new to Instagram, welcome aboard! In short, Instagram is a photo sharing social media platform. Much like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram allows you connect with people around the world. While each platform may vary, Instagram is heavily focused on photographs and visuals. In fact, you can’t even post to Instagram without posting a visual of some sort.

Photo Credit: Jack’s Advice

What to Post?

This is the great debate. Should you post photographs? Videos? A combination of both? You will have to figure out what’s best for your audience through some trial and error. It’s always easiest to start with visually pleasing photographs, as it is probably the easiest to capture and work your way up to videos. Videos tend to bring more engagement with audiences on Instagram, but a good mixture is key to a great looking home feed (your overall Instagram page).

How Often Should I Post?

This question is harder to answer than most, as the answer is ever changing. When Facebook acquired Instagram, it brought along a complex algorithm with it. Quickly, Instagram changed from a chronological-based feed to a user-based feed. What’s this mean for you? It means that you have to work harder to have your posts seen by not only your followers, but any new potential followers as well.

Photo Credit: @gioiericcione

There are many theories about the best time to post. For us, we post at least once a day, everyday. In order for your account to stay relevant in Instagram’s eyes, you should stay active. If you have the time to post twice a day, that could certainly help your engagement levels on your daily posts. However, be mindful about posting too much. If you’re posting multiple times a day, that can be off putting to your followers and you may see a quick decrease in your following. Posting can be a balancing act at times, but you’d be surprised at how quickly you find a rhyme that works for you.

Quality of Posts!

It is true that professional photographs taken with an expensive DSLR camera and lens kit do well. But what if you don’t have that level of equipment or are not a professional photographer? Don’t let that keep you from having fun on Instagram.

There are many creators that use nothing but the camera on their phone. The key is to capture clear, sharp images. It may take many attempts, but even creators using a DSLR camera go through just as many takes as camera phone users.

 

Photo Credit: makeuseof.com

In addition to clear images, a thought-out caption is key! Decide before you post if you want your account to be funny, serious, informative or whimsical. There is no right or wrong, but you should stay consistent. Audiences should have a basic idea of what to expect from your account. A good example is @dogswhobrunch. As you can see from their feed, some photographs shared are taken with a DSLR camera and some are quick camera phone takes. But, what they all have in common is a consistent theme of dogs that like brunch.

How to Post!

Now that you have a basic understanding of what Instagram is, it’s time to post! Since Instagram is a mobile app platform, you will need to download the app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Instagram is a free app. The only time you will have to pay anything is if you decide to promote a post, which we will get into on a later blog post.

Google Play Instagram Install Photo Credit: Social Dong

Once downloaded, open the app and create an account. All you need is your email address (or phone number) and a username. (Tip: Create an easy to remember username. If you attend a dog event and exchange Instagram handles with another dog parent, you want them to be able to find your account and give you a follow. If your username contains a lot of numbers or underscores, they may not be able to find you.) After you’ve entered your information and hit “next” and voila, your account is created and you are ready to post!

Photo Credit: Social High Rise

Next, you will want to edit your profile. This is what people will see when they visit your page, so be mindful about the information you share. You can opt to make your profile private in the settings section of your account. When set to private, the only people that can see your posts are the accounts you have approved to follow you. If your account is set to public, anyone and everyone has the ability to view your posts. To edit your bio, simply go to your home page, bottom right icon in the app. At the top, you will see a button “edit profile”. From here, Instagram will walk you through the information you can list.

So Now You’re Ready to Post?!

Posting is easy and fun. Tap the + icon at the bottom of the app. This will open to your phone’s camera gallery.

You have the option of posting a photo or video that you have already taken or you can take one on the spot and post immediately.

Once you’ve decided on the photo or video you are going to post, tap the “Next” button, which takes you to the editing process of Instagram. Here, you can adjust, add filters, etc. to edit your photos. If you are uploading a video to Instagram, your editing options will be trimming the length of your video and picking a cover photo for your video. Once finished editing, click “Next” in the upper righthand corner.

Your next step will be to add your caption. This is also where you can add your location and tag other Instagram accounts on your photos. Tagging accounts is visible to your followers. This is a good way to share where you are, any clothes that your dog may be wearing, etc.

Once you’ve added your caption and added your optional location and/or tags, tap the “Share” button and watch your post go live! While it may seem like a lot of steps to add a post, once you become familiar with the process, it will be like second nature and only take you a few minutes to post.

Throughout our Instagram 101 Series, we will be talking all things engagement, stories, increasing your following and more! If there’s anything, in particular, you’d like to see us cover, please let us know in the comments below. And, please, be sure to give our social media accounts a follow: we are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

Feature Image: @sebastianlovesluna

The dull, gray months of winter haven’t seemed to leave us, despite the fact that it is supposed to be Spring. While your dog knows that the cold is not the most fun environment to romp around in, he still has that excess energy and the need to keep his mind—and his nose—occupied.

Cold temperatures, rainy days and bleak weather can eliminate the option of a delightful stroll through the park or a walk through the woods, so creativity is a must in order to keep your pup busy and engaged within your home’s walls.

Photo Credit: @ross_and_ruby

From technology and inside games, to learning new tricks and skills, there are a number of ways you can keep your dog—and yourself—entertained during what seems to be the never ending drab and cold months of the year.

Though a bad weather day might keep you and your dog indoors, sometimes a little change in routine opens the door for new activities!

Today we’re sharing seven methods you can use to keep your pup’s body and brain active, even when you’re stuck inside.

Photo Credit: @oscarwestiepoo

  1. Treat-Dispensing Cameras

Bring your dog’s entertainment sources into the 21st century with a unique treat-dispensing camera!

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These cameras help you do much more than just keep a watchful eye on Fido while you’re away. You can speak one-on-one to your dog and drop a tasty surprise now and then to keep him alert even when you’re not in the neighborhood.

From the convenience of your smartphone, you can chat with your dog while you’re at work or running errands—though just the sound of your voice will certainly be appreciated by your lonely pup, a treat is a welcome bonus!

Photo Credit: @meet.the.sirs

  1. Make Snack Time (and Dinner Time) Brain Time!

Dogs love a challenge—if they could hold a pen, they’d be eager to do your taxes, but alas – no thumbs! Unfortunately, while you’re hard at work all day, there is nary a challenge in sight.

Treat-dispensing toys offer a variety of canine-entertainment options to engage your dog’s attention for a while. Toys of this nature come in different levels of difficulty, from a simple chew to mind-bending brain-teasers.

Photo Credit: @omegasamigos

Some trainers even suggest removing traditional dog bowls all together and instead feeding your dog via puzzle toys. Believe it or not, dogs love working for their meals—give your pup what his brain craves and make him put in some effort for dinner!

If fancy treat-dispensing toys aren’t your dog’s forte, you can make your own intriguing challenges just by hiding chews, bones, and toys around the house. Just make sure to keep the game on the ground level so your dog isn’t encouraged to peek up on your counters or tables.

  1. Work on New Tricks

If you share your dog’s boredom, why not use the cold weather as an opportunity for indoor bonding between you and your pup?

An excellent way to do this is to work on new tricks—or perhaps just master the basic ones! You’ll get to spend the time enjoying your dog’s company and maybe teach your pup a thing or two!

Photo Credit: @Kelly_bove

  1. Try Doggy Daycare

If your dog is a social butterfly, consider a trip to doggy daycare to combat indoor blues. Though this may cost you a bit, just one or two visits a week may make a world of difference for you dog — the slightest bit of exposure to other four-leggers can have huge mental and social benefits!

Photo Credit: @furryfriendsinc

  1. Enroll in a Canine Agility Class

Keeping up on your dog’s exercise is important throughout the seasons—without the convenience of a walk in the nice weather, you should find new and creative ways to keep him in shape.

One idea is a canine agility class—you and your dog can learn the ins and outs of this sport, helping strengthen your bond while keeping fit! Plus, it’ll be a fun new hobby for you two.

Photo Credit: @nala.und.kurt

Embarking on an activity that you and your dog learn together can do wonders for your relationship.

  1. Hire a Dog Walker

You might want to consider hiring a trusty dog walker to help keep your dog in shape.

Photo Credit: NY Daily News

If you know you’re not going to be up for that 30-minute walk after work, hire a dog walker to pick up the slack. There are many nationally based dog walking services, but there are almost always plenty of local options too for any owner who lives in a major city. When that fails, neighborhood kids are often eager to earn a buck too!

Many dog-walking services also offer a discount for newcomers, so make use of those free walks while spring showers are upon us.

  1. Play Games Like Tug-of-War or Hide-and-Seek

If all else fails, simple activities like tug-of-war and hide-and-seek will still do wonders for your dog’s mental and physical state.

Just a few minutes of playtime several times a day will help keep your dog’s mind and body active. These are fun for both you and your dog—chances are, if you’re having fun, so is your pup!

Photo Credit: @king_mal_akhi

Whether it’s a rainy day or the temperatures aren’t optimal for outdoor activities, your dog still needs the same amount of exercise. With a little creativity, you can find new and interesting ways to keep your dog’s mind and body active throughout the year.

Make the effort to keep your dog from going stir-crazy, your dog will be most grateful you did!

Photo Credit: @emwng

Feature Image: @lizzie.bear


About The Author:
Meg Marrs is the owner and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine, a dog care resource site dedicated to helping owners better care for their furry four-legged pals!