Thankful Thoughts

Rosee is thankful for her pound of cozy blankets because snuggling is her favorite activity this time of year.


She’s a pitbull in a blanket!



Being Thankful This November

Halloween may be over, but the holiday season is just beginning!

And while I may not be quite ready for Christmas, I am definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I mean there’s always great food, family, and I can’t forget about the pie. Even Simon and Rosee love Thanksgiving because it always means some extra special treats just for them. We all get to have a feast for the holiday.

So, in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday that is soon approaching (really, it’s only about 2 weeks away!) everyone, including both dogs and humans, here at Play Hard, Bark Often is going to share what we’re grateful for leading up to the big holiday.

To kick things off I have to say that I am grateful for Simon and Rosee. This year they both let me dress them up in multiple costumes for our 13 Days of Halloween celebration.

I mean, sure, they got a lot of treats out of it…

but overall I think I got the better end of the deal.


Happy Halloween! Day 13 of 13

We’ve finally reached Day 13 of our 13 Days of Halloween celebration!

The candy is set out and the costumes have been put on.

All that’s left to do is have a spooktacular Halloween.

And if you needed any more holiday inspiration for next year check out the pictures from a Pumpkin Nights event we attended below. I mean, really, why have I never thought of carving a synthetic pumpkin before? It would last longer and I could reuse it.

So, from all of us here at Play Hard, Bark Often,

We’re wishing you and your dogs (or pets) a Happy (and safe) Howl-oween!

Day 12 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Halloween is just about here…yikes!

It’s almost time to light up the pumpkins, hand out the candy, and dress up in costumes. With all the wonderful decorations that this time of year brings I love taking pictures of everything, and there’s no better time than to take some festive photos of Simon and Rosee. To be honest though, did I really need yet another reason to take photos of Simon and Rosee?

(Psst, the answer is no.)

So I thought I would share a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years, through much trial and error, that can be useful when trying to take your own holiday inspired photo of your dog.

  • Exercise.
    • Whether you take your dog on a walk or just play a rousing game of fetch in your own backyard, exercising your dog before you take a photo can be helpful. In order to take a photo of your dog you’re going to be asking them to sit/lay down and stay for an extended period of time. By exercising prior to the photo your dog can get all their excess energy out and be better able to focus when you give them a command. Also, I’ve found that by exercising Simon and Rosee prior to the photo, they end up panting (in order to cool down) and in the photo it ends up looking like they’re smiling.
  • Basic commands are a must.
    • Basic commands such as “sit,” “lay down,” “stay,” and “focus” (or whatever word you may use to get your dog to look at you) are important when trying to take a staged photo of your dog. It’s helpful for your dog to know a few basic commands because then it is easier to give them direction. In particular, if your dog is larger and not one that you can hold in your arms or on your lap being able to give them a command helps keep them in the right position while you take your photo.
  • Treats can be helpful.
    • Just like when you first start training with your dog treats can provide a great incentive for your dog to listen to what you’re asking them to do. Even more helpful though, is that a high value treat can also be used to gain your dog’s attention. This is especially important if you’re trying to take a photo with your dog and so no one is actually behind the camera (AKA a camera timer is used), and so your dog may not understand where to look. By placing a treat next to, or even on the camera, your dog may better be able to focus on the treat and so end up looking right at the camera for your photo.
  • Keep things simple.
    • While this may be a staged photo that you’re taking, try to make things simple. Some props are nice, but don’t make things too complicated because too many props can be distracting. If things are overly complicated, then you’re most likely bound to end up disappointed. Also, typically taking a photo outside rather than inside is easier because natural light is better and easier to work with. You won’t have the glare of the sun coming through a window or reflecting off of a nearby surface.
  • Keep calm, and don’t freak out because in the end, this is supposed to be fun.
    • It’s always great to have some idea or vision of what you want your photo to look like, but sometimes things don’t always work out the way we plan. That’s fine. Go with the flow while trying to photograph your dog. If something’s not working, then take a break and try again, or maybe even try a different set up altogether. Remember, taking a festive photo of your dog is supposed to be fun! We take photos for entertainment and to  capture memories, so make this an enjoyable one. Sometimes the best photos are the ones taken that were never even planned.

So go forth and take some pictures!

Because, really, what is life without some fun pictures with our dogs?