Inspiring Geometric Tattoo Ideas for Dog Lovers

13 Jul

geometric tattoos

A few weeks ago, we looked at some inspiring and seriously kick-ass watercolour tattoos. Honestly, Lucy and I completely fell in love with the style. In our search, however, we found even more really awesome tattoo styles that we had never even thought of!

Maybe we were inspired by the geometric design of The Odin toy we reviewed yesterday, or maybe there’s just something to be said about the understated use of lines and shapes to create something beautiful and emotional—a tribute to a beloved pet in a style that just feels right.

If clean, simple design is your cup of tea, we think you’ll love these geometric memorial tattoos we found! Thinking of immortalizing your best friend with a memorial tattoo? Consider the geometric style with these inspiring tattoos below.

geometric tattoos

(Tattoos: @bartekwojda, @karlmarks1, @javiwolfink, @bicemsinik, @szejno, @lisaorth)

So, what do you think? What’s your style preference? Do you have a memorial tattoo to share?

Photograph courtesy of Javi Wolf.

5 Things Purebred Dog Owners Are Tired of Hearing

22 Feb

dog plus bone_01

I always get a certain sense of anxiety whenever I find myself inspired to write a piece specific to purebred dogs. Truth be told, there can be a lot of negativity. Whereas owning a rescue tends to be seen as a noble, even heroic endeavour (and it is!), owning a purebred dog can sometimes be seen as an act of vanity.

Actually, it’s the negativity that made me want to write this even more. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting dog owners of both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between, which means there’s a good chunk of the Good Dogs & Co. community that are proud purebred dog owners who have done everything right (breed research, breeder research, etc.) and still get bombarded with questions.

Below are five things purebred dog owners are tired of hearing—but we’re also more than happy to answer these questions when they come from a place of genuine curiosity, and not with a negative inflection. All of that to say: if you’re thinking of getting a specific breed of dog, go on and ask anyone and everyone who already owns that breed every question you can think of. Being informed is a big deal.

Doesn’t that breed have health problems?

Yes, because my dog is of a well-established breed, there has been enough data collected to determine which health problems are common. That’s why I spent time searching for a good, reputable breeder who is aware of such problems, and thus has tried to better the breed through meticulous and thoughtful breeding pairs.

How much did you pay for him/her?

As much as a dog from a reputable breeder costs.

No, really! I mean, have I scoffed at the price I’ve heard for certain purebred dogs? Sure. But the people I know (and also from personal experience with Archer) who have done the research, vetted a few breeders, and decided on one they really feel comfortable with… the price you pay is what you—personally—are willing to pay for that dog. It’s your choice, not mine or anyone else’s. Whatever makes sense to you is what is reasonable.

Have you bred him/her yet?

No, and I don’t ever intend to. I purchased a family pet, not a dog prostitute.*

Why didn’t you crop his ears/dock his tail?

Because I—like many other people in developed countries, aside from Canada and the United States—believe cosmetic alterations like cropping a dog’s ears or docking their tail is cruel and unnecessary.

If you aren’t adopting a rescue, you’re part of the problem!

Thank you for your negativity.

There are two things that bother me about the rescue vs. purebred dog debate. The first is a blindness to the need for purebred dogs—that is, dogs bred for a specific purpose. Take our newest Good Dogs & Co. office pup (who belongs to my friend), Sirius. After much research, my friends knew they wanted a dog who could hunt, but also one with high energy to be a running buddy. A Vizsla made sense for their lifestyle. Could they have found a high-energy dog in a shelter? Probably. But the hunting quality is a little more tricky.

In that sense, comparing purebred dogs to rescues is a lot like comparing apples to oranges.

The second thing that bothers me in this debate is the just the pure negativity. Don’t yuck my yum. I adore my purebred dog, and you adore your rescue—and that’s a wonderful thing.

* This seems to be a question heard by all dog owners with fit, good looking dogs. Lucy gets the same question when walking Topher, and we kinda-sorta-maybe know what breed he is, probably? I see red flags the minute a stranger asks me if I’ve already bred my dog, or want to breed her. The answer is no, and go away please.

Photo Tips to Make Your Pup an Instagram Star

25 Jan

instagramstar

Unless you’ve decided to quit your day job and put all your eggs in one basket—that is, the my-dog-is-totally-gonna-be-an-Instagram-celebrity lottery—you probably don’t have the time to take pictures daily of your beloved pooch. Who has the time? More than that, who wants to put in all that effort in keeping a dog clean and camera-ready for some comments and likes online? It all sounds like a chore, but luckily it doesn’t have to be.

Can we guarantee your pup becomes an Instagram star overnight? Well, no. But there are some simple rules to follow to make sure you’re getting the most out of your photorgraphs, whether you’re using your phone’s camera or a real camera. Best of all, you can commit as much or as little time as you want and, with these simple pointers, can achieve some beautiful results.

The Basics

Ready to Go: If you’ve decided you want to snap some great shots of your pup, be sure they look their best. For us, that usually means a “drool towel” on hand for Archer. If we’re on a trail for a shoot, I usually also have to keep an eye out for mud and water on her, but for the most part it’s a matter of keeping her nose clean from her own drool. Make sure you have the tools you need to keep your pup clean during the shoot, and that they’re 100% ready to go before you even start.

Lighting is Everything: Whether you have the impossible-to-photograph black dog (welcome to my nightmare!) or you plan on using a lot of different props, keep in mind that clarity and lighting is everything for a good photo. In our old house, we had limited natural light and really had to be aware of when our best times were to take photos. For the casual photographer, natural lighting is your friend.

Thou Shalt Not Zoom: Whether it’s on a point-and-shoot camera or on your phone, make a mental note to absolutely never use the zoom. Get closer to your subject if you want a close-up shot, and avoid using that zoom at all costs! Why? Typically, the zoom will result in reduced quality—mainly, it’ll be grainy or even out of focus.

Change Your View: A downward angle from your point-of-view down to your dog can be boring. It’s what we see every day with our own pups. Change your view. Get really low (lay on your belly, even) and take a worm’s eye view shot! Or stand on a chair, get high, and go for the bird’s eye view. Change your angles, and play around! You’ll get some really interesting shots by simply changing your point of view.

Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds is a big thing in photography, and it’s pretty easy to understand. Actually, Instagram already has this feature built into their app! Ever wonder why, when editing a photo, the screen has two vertical and two horizontal lines? It breaks the image up into 9 squares. The idea is to place your point of interest along one of these intersecting points, or levelling your horizon line along one of the horizontal lines. Using the rule of thirds is a way to enhance the visual interest in your photo by leading the eye.

More Advanced

If you have the luxury of using a more robust camera, like a DSLR (Lucy and I both use different models of Canon DSLR cameras), you have a little more wiggle room to take some really unique, fancy shots.

Depth of Field: It’s a fancy photography term, but in a nutshell, when talking about “depth of field” we mean there is a variation between your subject and the background. The picture doesn’t look flat. You know those nice blurred backgrounds or even “bokeh” style backgrounds? That’s the result of a good lens and some great focus on the subject.

Focus: With your pup, you typically want to ensure the focus is around their nose/eyes. If it’s a close-up, the focus becomes more important and you have to be careful to make sure the clearest piece of the photo is to their eyes—it’s where the most expression comes through.

Plan Ahead

Collections: It’s time for big-picture thinking. Consider taking a few hours to do a collection of photos. These photos should have the same feel or theme, whether that means use of one or a few props (bandanas, toys, treats, etc.) or lighting (bright or white or dark or colourful!) or just mood (happy, excited, relaxed, etc.). The more you can do at once, and spread out over a set period of time, the more organized and thoughtful your feed will look to visitors.

For us, Collections usually mean props. When we review products, we typically have dozens of Instagram photos (and only a fraction of them are ever seen!). It’s nice to give yourself options.

Style: The Good Dogs & Co. Instagram feed is a little mish-mash of everything—we need it to be, because we cover so much and feature so many other pups! But many dog-specific accounts will veer in one stylistic direction. Check out accounts like Emily Wang’s or A Pup Named Loki for some great inspiration. Once you’ved eked out your own personal style, it’s easy to keep with it.

More than anything, it’s important to have fun. Let your creativity roam, and discover new ways to take great, visually interesting photos. Be true to yourself, and the number of followers you have will continue to grow!

Life Lessons from Your Dog for the New Year

4 Jan

new-year-lessons

Hello 2016!

Despite all the clichés associated with a new year, you can’t deny that it gives us all a clearly-marked line in the sand to start anew. Or maybe just to improve on things we already love. Whatever your new year’s resolutions may be, let’s also take this time to learn a little from our pups. We taught them so much—and man, did that training pay off!—but there are tons of things they can teach us simply in the way they are.

Express Yourself

Never be afraid of expressing yourself—your pup certainly isn’t! Happiness is an emotion to be shared, and you see that in your dog every time you walk through the front door. They’re ecstatic to see you, and they show it! So when you feel that big emotion bubbling up to the surface, embrace it and share it! Whether it’s a good emotion or a bad one, we strengthen our bonds with others through sharing what means the most.

Go Play!

Your busy schedule can be put on pause for an hour a day to go out and play! Whether that means hitting the gym, going for a run in the neighbourhood, or hitting a scenic trail with your pup, just go out and do it! Get your legs moving, and get your heart beating just a little faster. There’s a trickle-down effect when you take care of yourself, and you’ll see those changes in your everyday life. It’s about chipping away what causes you stress and anxiety with something that frees you.

Your pup has never needed an excuse to get excited and be active, and neither should you. Quite simply, it’s good for the body and for your soul—you need it.

Remember to Stretch

Dogs are some of the best teachers of the basics. As much as they live an open, exuberant life, they also never forget to slow down and stretch. Maybe they’re secretly yoga enthusiasts, but I’ve never seen Archer get up from a nap without a good stretch first. Take care of those muscles, and more importantly, your whole body. Take time to stretch, but more than that, be mindful of when your body needs a break. Take days off to rest, or take a weekend to binge watch a series on Netflix. Just remember to take care.

Be Curious

Dogs are the ultimate investigators. If they see something new or interesting, they just have to go in for a closer look. For you, maybe that’s a hobby that you want to explore further (and maybe even make into a career!) or maybe it means travel is in your future. If there is something that sparks your interest, do yourself a favour and indulge in it.

Embrace Simplicity

Dogs require such few components to live a happy, healthy life. Honestly, all the little extras we fill our lives with are just that—filler. We need so little to be happy. For me, having a roof over my head, being able to cook an awesome meal, and having the love and support of my family is just about all I really need to be happy—oh, and regular trail walks with Archer, of course!

So what’s your bare-minimum list for being happy? I bet it doesn’t include those new shoes, or that bigger TV. What’s the basics that keep you truly alive, body and soul?

So let’s start 2016 with a little more focus on what truly makes us tick, and most of all, what makes us happy. Most things in life can be boiled down to one or two simple facts, so take some time to reflect as we ease into the new year and focus on what brightens your life, and share that with the ones you love.

Good Dogs & Co.’s Best of 2015

17 Dec

best-of-2015

It’s that time again: we’re about to settle in for our short winter nap for the holidays. We hope you have all enjoyed this past year with us, as we grew into a thriving community of dogs and their people. Our reader survey is also still going: we’d really love your feedback as we start planning our content for next year!

We have lots in store for everyone in the new year, and it’s sure to be another wonderful 365 days! Until then, we hope you enjoy the best this past year had to offer, all packed into one post.

Treat Recipes

  • Sweet Potato Fries with Coconut and Turmeric
  • 3 Kong Filler Recipes

DIYs

  • Make Your Own Paw Wax & Snout Conditioner
  • How to Sew Your Own Dog Collar

Reader Stories

  • Meet Pippin, the Rescue Dog Who Climbs Mountains
  • Gentle Giants: Meet Moses the Great Dane

Health

  • Growing Your Own Dog Friendly Herb Garden
  • How to Exercise with Your Dog

Reviews

  • Dog + Bone Martingale Collars and Leashes
  • Review: The Odin Treat Puzzle Toy

Training

  • Do’s & Don’ts When Training A New Puppy
  • Training Hand Signals for Teaching Deaf Dogs

Just For Fun

  • 6 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding
  • Watercolor Tattoo Ideas for Dog Lovers

2015 Ornament Roundup for Dog Lovers

12 Dec

ornament

When you have a big dog, there isn’t really a need to litter your house with reminders that you’ve got a dog. The dog itself is one hefty (130 lb) reminder to all guests that, indeed, you have a dog and that dog is a big part of your family—and I mean that figuratively and quite literally.

So when it comes to the holidays, some gifts can just get too big. For me, it’s not about loudly shouting from the rooftops that we are indeed “Great Dane people” but including subtle reminders that Archer is a big part of our family, our lives, and is right there with us to celebrate!

That’s right. It’s time to roundup some lovely ornaments for dog lovers!

  1. Handcrafted Wire Dog Bone from DeighanDesign ($16)
  2. We actually reviewed this product earlier in the year under a different Etsy name, but it’s the same maker under a new shop that’s bringing these beautiful little ornaments to you.
  3. Dog Christmas Ornament from Puffin Patchwork ($12.50)
  4. Don’t worry, they have more than just Scotties! And they are all equally as adorable!
  5. Personalized Dog Bone Glass Ornament from Frontgate ($19.50)
  6. I’m absolutely in love with this elegant ornament. I think it would look lovely on any tree, no matter what your style!
  7. Snow Beagle Round Ceramic Ornament from Zazzle (18.50)
  8. The artwork from this artist is absolutely darling. Artwork by Jenn’s Doodle World, and she offers much more adorable things with these designs.
  9. Dachshund Christmas Tree Ornament from Red Barn Australia ($10.40)
  10. Cats and dachshunds and pugs, oh my! Some lovely woodcut ornaments available to decorate your tree.
  11. Starlight Starbright Ornament Plush Toy from BarkBox ($9)
  12. And of course, something for your pup to enjoy! No gift guide would be complete without a little something for the dog you love!

5 Silly Gifts for Dog Lovers

6 Dec

silly header

As a dog owner, you’ve probably seen it all by now. When it comes to gifts, there’s a huge selection for dogs and pup-parents that range from adorable to downright insane. It’s a delicate balance to choose a gift that’s funny without being kitsch. So we’ve done the leg-work and found our picks for downright silly gifts for dog lovers (and their dogs) that are actually worth checking out this holiday season!

Some are certain to bring a smile to your face. So spread some cheer, and get goofy!

  1. Squeaky Dog Donuts, Uncommon Goods ($18)
    You don’t give your dog people-food, and that’s great! But a little harmless donut-indulgence via toy would make for quite the happy puppy on Christmas morning!
  2. Grinz Ball, Rogz ($10)
    Be honest, these made you smile.
  3. Handmade Dog Slippers, Uncommon Goods ($58)
    We’ll file these under “perfectly weird” and call it a day. For the dog lover who is also a puppet enthusiast… or maybe a wacky sock enthusiast? Who knows.
  4. Year of the Critter 2016 Calendar in Corgi, ModCloth ($13)
    Is 2016 the Year of the Corgi? Ah yes, the forgotten Chinese Zodiac.
  5. Mad Dog Coasters, BarkShop ($29)
    Did you expect me to set my drink down on the table like some animal? Featuring the vintage artwork of Constance Depler Coleman, this coaster is perfect beneath a masterfully mixed Old Fashioned. Cheers!

And with that, go forth and be silly!

We Want To Hear From You, Our Readers!

21 Jul

call-for-submissions

One of our favorite things about the community we’ve built here with Good Dogs & Co. is how many stories we get to hear about our readers’ pets. We think pet stories bring us together in shared experience, in ways other tales (ha!) may not. And we want to hear more from you!

We’re looking for readers to share their experiences with their pets. You can submit your own story by heading to our submissions page, and filling out one of the forms. Here’s a brief reminder of the stories we currently feature weekly!

Adoption Stories

These are essays from owners about their pets. If you have a story to tell about your dog, how they came into your family or otherwise, we want to hear it. Whether you rescued your pup from a shelter or otherwise unfortunate situation, or conducted a multiple-breeder search for the right pup, all stories are welcome. Submit these stories here.

Breeder Spotlights

Being a breeder takes hard work and years of dedication to refining a line. We have nothing but respect for people who have dedicated yourselves so wholeheartedly into really preserving the great qualities of the breeds we love. Share your story with us—we think it’s fascinating work!

Rescue Spotlights

It takes tons of hard work and dedication to rescue animals, and we’re honored to help rescues by giving them our community platform for a day to showcase their current efforts. All you have to do is brag a little bit about the great work you do so well!

Don’t see an option that fits what you want to write about? Please contact us! We love hearing about pet owners’ unique experiences and challenges, and occasionally feature interviews from owners and pet industry professionals. If there is a good fit, we will also occasionally accept pitches for DIYs, recipes, and other articles. Any ideas are welcome!

First Look: Collar Keepsake

22 Jun

It’s difficult to imagine dealing with the loss of a pet. Their lives can be so short, especially in comparison to our own. We typically get little over a decade with these amazing, dedicated, wonderful animals before we have to say goodbye. It can be cruel and unfair, but it’s the price we pay—and would gladly pay again—to enjoy a life enriched by the companionship of dogs and cats.

Launching on Kickstarter today is Collar Keepsake, a beautiful and thoughtful means of remembering that beloved pet you loved and lost.

What is Collar Keepsake?

Collar Keepsake is a simple yet beautiful way of taking one of the few things we have left of our pet—their collar—and turning it into a memorial piece. All too often, we want to do something meaningful with their collar, only to have it get lost in the clutter when creativity doesn’t strike.

Collar Keepsake aims to remedy that. The minimal, low profile frame structure is available in three sizes. The backplate with integrated hanging slot is a rigid structure, which friction fits (presses) into the collar frame. It is light weight and made from injection molded plastic with a clear polycarbonate lens.

Collar Keepsake is designed as a structure that accepts your dog’s collar—essentially making the collar itself become the frame. The frames are molded in black plastic to further make your dog’s collar the focus and the frame to “disappear.”

collarkeepsake

Origins of Collar Keepsake

Collar Keepsake is the creative solution of painter and printmaker, Kent Ambler. In 2003, a very special rescue dog of his, Batty Suz, suddenly died. Kent wasn’t ready for her departure and wanted to keep her presence in the house. He made a wooden structure to display her collar and tags and glued her photo onto the front. Since that time, Kent has made two more collar frames for two of his dogs that have passed away: Bucko (2006), and Chumley (2010).

Guests in Kent’s home always noted the beauty of his memorial frames, leading him to tweak the design for a larger audience. Quite simply, there is nothing like Collar Keepsake available on the market today and we think it’s an absolutely lovely way to remember our beloved pets.

Why Kickstarter?

Kent has a few major hurdles to overcome to make Collar Keepsake a reality for a broader audience. The needed injection moulding is expensive, not to mention all the other details of product manufacturing and marketing.

Backing this project on Kickstarter means there’s some serious perks to being an early adopter of the memorial piece. If you have recently lost a pet, and have found yourself at a loss with how to remember and celebrate your dog’s life, you need to consider backing Kent’s project. One Collar Keepsake can be yours for a pledge of $8 (get 2 for $15, or 3 for $23).

Unfamiliar with the Kickstarter process? It’s simple. If Collar Keepsake reaches it’s funding goal, then the project moves forward—pledges are processed, and rewards will be sent out according to the production timeline. If it fails to reach its funding goal—nothing happens. Your credit card doesn’t get charged, and Kent goes back to the drawing board.

But honestly, we really hope to see this project be successful. Lucy and I think it’s a beautiful, simple way to remember the cats and dogs who have enriched our lives and have been such big parts of our families.

6 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding (Outside of the Ceremony)

21 Jun

wedding dogs

When planning a wedding, most couples will contemplate whether or not it’s a practical idea to include your dog in your wedding. I mean, your pup is a part of your family, right? He has every right to be a part of the celebration! But not all dogs perform well with crowds, and certainly a wedding can be a little bit hectic at times. Sometimes, it isn’t feasible to include your pup in the wedding ceremony. So what can you do if you still want your dog a part of the big day? We’ve put together six awesome ways to include them!

We rounded up some great wedding gear for dogs last year that you should absolutely check out too! However you decide to include your pup, be sure to dress them up for the occasion! And don’t worry, that doesn’t mean wrestling him into a tux—be playful about it!

The Proposal

Including your dog in the proposal is awesome, and an increasing trend among dog lovers. It’s always been popular, of course—and with good reason! Guy, take note: it’s almost impossible to say no to those sweet puppy eyes. Whether you ask with a sign attached to your pup’s collar, or have the ring there (Be careful! You don’t want to lose that precious ring!), including your dog in a beautiful setting is a wonderful way to propose.

wedding dogs

(Photo via HowHeAsked.com)

Engagement Photos

It’s nice to include some of your engagement photos at the reception during your wedding, and including your pup in those photos. Engagement photos tend to be more relaxed and personal, and it’s an easier environment for most dogs to be included. The laid back atmosphere with just you, your groom-to-be, and the photographer is great for dogs that are more excitable or anxious. Just be sure to mention that you’d like your dog (or cat!) included in your photos and ask if there’s anything you need to do or bring to make the shoot go smoothly.


(Photo by Jason + Gina)

Save the Date

Similar to engagement photos—and probably done on the same day—a photo specifically for your “Save the Date” reminder is a great time to include your pup!


(Photo by Hillyard Photography)

Wedding Photos

If you want to include your dog in your wedding, but not the ceremony, having a designated pup-sitter around for the photography is a great idea. After the ceremony is finished and you have the next few hours before the reception to take photos, have your designated pup sitter come along with your dog so you can include him in a few photos.


(Photo by Luis Corona)

Cake Topper

Love your pup but don’t trust him enough to be around your beautiful dress or well-dressed guests? Why not include him in your big day with a representation on your cake! It’s a great way to not only include one dog, but multiple pets. It’s your family, after all! A cake topper of the bride and groom with their beloved pets (cats, dogs, birds, whatever!) is a perfect way to subtly add that punch of pooch into your special day.

wedding dogs

(Cake Topper by TheRosemarryToppers)

Trash the Dress

Your dog was made for this job. Since we domesticated dogs from their wolf ancestors, your dog was made to trash your wedding dress! Or, at least help. Thinking of doing one of those fun trash-the-dress photoshoots? Conspire with your fun photographer to get some truly awesome shots with your pup involved. Muddy paws, playing at the beach, you name it! Your dog would be happy to help you ruin that egregiously priced piece of fabric.


(Photo by Roxana Albusel)

Got any other ideas to include your dog in your wedding (ahem, but not the ceremony)? Let us know in the comments!