Big Fun for Little Dogs

Is your lap dog spending too much time lounging on your lap? Or maybe there’s little lap time and too much yapping from your petite -- yet vocal and bored -- pet. In either case, small-dog expert Deborah Wood can come to the rescue for you and your dog.

“I think the big thing for owners of little dogs to remember is that these dogs have the same needs as their larger cousins,” says Wood, who is the author of The Little Dogs’ Activity Book: Fun and Frolic for a Fit Four-legged Friend. “They need exercise and mental stimulation. The great news is that they don’t need a lot of space to meet those needs.”

Make sure your small friend gets the mental and physical exercise he needs. Wood, who is also the animal services manager for Washington County, Ore., shares her top tips to help you provide big fun for your little dog.

Loose and Easy
Take your dogs for walks -- and stay in charge. Your small dog should have no problem following basic commands such as “Watch me,” “Sit,” “Come,” and “Down-stay.” For small dogs, learning how to walk on a loose leash is essential, according to Wood. Before outings, your dog should be on a comfortable buckle or snap collar, she advises. “Have him on a lightweight 4-foot or 6-foot leash -- not a flexi leash.”

Small dogs tend to have big opinions about where they’d like to go, darting left when you want them to go right or zipping to the right just as you’re ready to go left. The instant your dog pulls in the other direction, say “Let’s go!” as you gently guide your dog. This verbal command should always accompany the correction. When your dog is walking on a loose leash, “provide an easily chewed treat and tell him he’s a very, very good dog,” says Wood. Combine this with the “Watch me” command later, and soon your dog will be merrily walking wherever you go, paying attention to you for guidance.

Matching Activity to Breed
The adventures you and your dog will enjoy are partly determined by your pet’s breed. Woods suggests the following guidelines by breed:

  • High-energy-level activities -- including chase and fetch games, agility, flyball and hiking -- are often enjoyed by dogs of these breeds:

    Affenpinscher, Australian Terrier, Bichon Frise, Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Jack Russell Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, Miniature Poodle, Papillon, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Rat Terrier, Schipperke, Scottish Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Silky Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier and Toy Manchester Terrier.
  • Moderate-energy-level activities -- including long walks, dancing and tricks -- are frequently enjoyed by furry friends of these breeds:

    Beagle, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Dachshund, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Maltese, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Pomeranian, Pug, Skye Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier.
  • Low-energy-level activities -- including shorter walks and work as a therapy dog -- are often enjoyed by the following breeds:

    Brussels Griffon, English Toy Spaniel, French Bulldog, Japanese Chin, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Tibetan Spaniel.

Your Little Dog Is Unique
Your dog’s breed is only half the story. Each and every dog has its own unique personality, likes and dislikes. Over the years, Wood has taught her own small dogs “a ton of fun tricks, from playing the piano to the dog sticking out her tongue on command.”

It doesn’t matter so much what you do, however. “It’s all about fun, bonding and joy, and having a positive relationship with your dog,” says Wood. “What could be better?”

Check back on ExceptionalCanine.com for more small-dog activities and training tips from small-dog expert Deborah Wood.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/ParkerDeen

Play That Trains Your Puppy

Playing with your puppy is a no-brainer, right? Your irresistible bundle of furry energy is willing to frolic with you at a moment’s notice.

Puppy play is instinctive. It harkens back to the time when wild canines learned valuable survival and social skills through playtime with other pups and adults in the pack. So it’s easy to use this ingrained behavior to your advantage to help train your puppy and teach him commands -- and to nip nipping (and other bad habits) in the bud.

Life’s a Game
Shows such as “Sesame Street” make learning fun for kids. You can provide the same learning experience for your puppy with the games and activities you do at home. To start, hide-and-seek is a good game for teaching the command “Come.”

Start by hiding just feet away from your puppy in a very easy place to be found, advises Yaiza Magdalena, owner and director of California K9 Academy in Los Angeles. Call your puppy’s name, say “Come,” and make a lot of happy, fun noises. Then reward him with lots of affection and a delicious treat. “He’ll soon make the connection between ‘Come’ and being rewarded,” she says.

As he gets better at the game, make it harder by hiding in a different room so he learns to come even when you’re well out of sight, suggests Magdalena. You can eventually decrease the treats and just shower him with affection for obeying you.

Like kids, puppies also need to learn boundaries. Structured play is a great way to encourage desired behaviors. “Fetch is a good game for teaching your puppy listening skills and obedience,” says Dr. Tiffany Margolin, a veterinarian and pet-health author/speaker in the Santa Barbara, Calif., area. “First teach your puppy the ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ commands. Then toss a toy and ask him to ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ before you verbally release him to run and ‘Fetch’ it.”

Your puppy’s play/learn sessions should begin as soon as you adopt him. Keep the sessions short when he’s 7 or 8 weeks old -- five minutes at a time, and not more than a few time times daily. As your puppy grows older, you can increase the session length and train as frequently as your patience -- and his concentration -- allows.

Here, a few other essential playtime training do’s and don’ts:

  • DO be creative. Use different rewards to keep your puppy interested and engaged. Save special treats or belly rubs for new and/or difficult commands.
  • DO offer rewards. When your puppy obeys commands, reward him with kind words, loving touches and treats. Positive reinforcement is an excellent teacher and builds a stronger bond between you and your puppy.
  • DO pay attention. Keep your puppy interested in learning by choosing the right times to engage in play. Observe your puppy to see when he usually has the most energy and is most attentive.
  • DON’T engage in rough play. Don’t play-fight, wrestle or play tug-of-war with a puppy, because it encourages him to be aggressive with you and others.
  • DON’T be the toy! Don’t use your hand or other body part as a toy, because it encourages mouthiness and teaches disrespect for you. As your puppy gets older and stronger (and gets bigger teeth!), he could accidentally hurt you.
  • DON’T lose your cool. Don’t be frustrated if your puppy makes mistakes or disobeys your commands. At his young age, he tires easily and gets confused. Taking some “chill out” time will help both of you.

Incorporating training into playtime is the most natural way to teach your impressionable puppy good life-lessons. He’ll have so much fun that he won’t even know he’s learning. And best of all, canines never lose their love for play -- so you can continue to combine training with play as your puppy becomes an adult dog.


Go on a Desert Retreat With Your Dog

November weather may conjure up thoughts of cold, rainy days, with you and your dog huddled indoors dreaming of summer fun. But picture this: If you and your furry pal visit the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, you can replace that dreary November scenario with scenic vistas, fresh air and T-shirt-worthy temperatures.

November through April is the perfect time for you and your dog to hike through this beautiful national monument, which is located in Southern California. Resorts, celebrity getaways and world-class golf courses surround the area. Few activities, however, beat the exhilaration and freedom of getting out into nature with your best canine friend.

Dog Hiking Heaven
Dogs usually crave adventure and socialization, but they sometimes wind up squabbling with other canines or running out of steam early on in the confined space of the local park. Not so on these outings. “I have a large dog and a small dog, and the hikes are perfect for them,” says Arielle Maccio, director of volunteer services for Friends of the Desert Mountains, the organization that supports the hikes as well as conservation, research, education and other activities associated with the protected area. “On the desert hikes, your dog can socialize with other dogs in a controlled, safe situation.”

Maccio explains that all dogs are on leashes, with hikers led through the trails by certified interpretive guides. The duration of trips is just right for most dogs. The weekly Saturday hike, for example, starts at 9 a.m. and lasts for 2 1/2 hours. If you are a dog lover without a dog, you can still join the group. But most hikers show up with their canines.

Two Choices
Visitors with dogs can choose between two trails: the Cove Oasis Trailhead in the city of La Quinta, Calif., or the Homme-Adams Park and Cahuilla Hills Park trail in the city of Palm Desert, Calif. The latter is “a 3-mile hike that includes some hills,” according to Maccio. She recommends it for more seasoned hikers. The one in La Quinta “does not feature as much elevation,” she says.

The substrate for both trails consists of sandy washes and hard-packed ground, says Maccio, so tender dog paws tend to fare well. Some owners put protective booties on their pets, but Maccio says those aren’t necessary for the leisurely paced hikes, which stop every 15 to 20 minutes to allow for education and engaging discussion.

Dogs Allowed -- Or Not
Guided desert hikes with dogs are extremely rare across the country, and for good reason. “Dogs, like their cousins -- the wolf, coyote and fox -- exert pressure on prey animals by acting aggressively and marking their territory with scent,” explains Ginny Short of the Center for Natural Lands Management in Thousand Palms, Calif. “This type of behavior causes additional stress in the prey animals that must now expend precious energy preparing a defensive action.”

Although your dog might be the perfect picture of good health, he could also still be a carrier of certain viruses that could spread to wild animals that may be more vulnerable, according to Short. Trails allowing dogs are very limited as a result of these risks, but that’s one reason why the Southern California desert hiking opportunities are so unique and special.

Tips for Desert Hiking With Your Dog
Maccio and guide Emily Horner ask that you bring the following:

  • Water for both you and your dog
  • A collapsible water bowl
  • Doggy bags
  • A leash (required)
  • Sunscreen, since temperatures are often between 70 F and 80 F

Because up to 15 or so dogs can be on any given hike, your pet must be well-socialized. Maccio also recommends that dog participants be used to outdoor activities and warm weather.

Learn About Sheep While Bonding With Your Dog
In addition to seeing other happy dogs, you might spot beautiful bighorn sheep -- or at least learn more about them. Peninsular bighorn sheep are endangered, so conservationists work hard to help protect them, which includes keeping dogs on the trails. That’s one reason these special hikes were established.

Once you and your dog go on a desert hike, it probably won’t be your last. “The information you’ll learn about introducing your dog to natural environments can be taken elsewhere, on other adventures,” explains Maccio.

If you have cabin fever and would like to visit the national monument, the area offers many other dog-friendly spots, including at least three dog parks nearby: Fritz Burns Park in the City of La Quinta, Calif.; the City of Palm Desert University Dog Park; and the City of Palm Springs Dog Park.

Show Us Your Cute Pup, WIN Free Dog Food!

Welcome to round 3 of Exceptional Canine’s Puppy Photo Contest! Think you have the most exceptional puppy on the Web? Enter your best canine friend in Exceptional Canine’s Exceptional Puppy Photo Contest for a chance to win four 33-pound bags of any Eukanuba canine food, a gift valued at around $200.

It’s easy to enter: Just fill out the form below!

Winners' photogenic pups will also be featured on Exceptional Canine and its Facebook page! So enter your puppy now, and check out the rest of Exceptional Canine for more extraordinary advice for active dogs from the experts!

EXCEPTIONAL CANINE’S EXCEPTIONAL PUPPY PHOTO CONTEST

OFFICIAL RULES

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

 

THE EXCEPTIONAL PUPPY PHOTO CONTEST (THE “CONTEST”) IS INTENDED TO BE CONDUCTED IN THE UNITED STATES ONLY AND SHALL BE CONSTRUED AND EVALUATED ACCORDING TO APPLICABLE U.S. LAW. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. ENTRY IN THIS CONTEST CONSTITUTES ACCEPTANCE OF THESE CONTEST RULES (THE “CONTEST RULES”).

1.      ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible for this Contest, an individual must be a legal resident of the United States and be eighteen (18) of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Studio One Networks, Inc., 625 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 (the “Sponsor”), their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies, judges of the Contest and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in the Contest.  The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and/or eligibility to participate in the Contest. Failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification. All personal and other information requested by and supplied to the Sponsor for the purpose of the Contest must be truthful, complete, accurate and in no way misleading. The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion to disqualify any entrant should such an entrant at any stage supply untruthful, incomplete, inaccurate or misleading personal details and/or information.

2.      CONTEST PERIOD

The Contest begins at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”) on October 15, 2012 and ends at 4p.m. EST on October 31, 2012 (the “Contest Period”), after which time the Contest will be closed and no further entries shall be accepted. Sponsor’s computer is the official time keeping device for this Contest.

3.      HOW TO ENTER

To enter online, complete and submit the entry form, giving us a link to a photograph of your puppy (hereinafter the “Work”) meeting the following criteria and specifications:

  • The photo must be in color and of sufficient quality and resolution to be posted on the internet
  • Only the owner of a dog may enter a photo of their dog
  • Only one dog of the pet owner submitting the photograph can be featured in the photograph
  • The dog featured in the photograph must be no older than 2 years of age at the time of entry
  • You the entrant must be the sole owner of all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Work submitted in connection with the Contest
  • Objectionable Content: The photograph and submission must not contain any of the following:
    • Any commercial solicitation or advertising
    • Any use of profanity, sexually graphic, offensive language, off color material or similarly unacceptable language or material
    • False, misleading, deceptive or exaggerated comments regarding Exceptional Canine, any of its affiliates or any of their products, or regarding competitors or any of their products
    • Any harassing, threatening, derogatory, demeaning, defamatory, racist, abusive, hateful, violent or obscene language or material, or discriminatory language or material
    • Any reference to the personal identity of the subject or dog within the photograph (including last name, e-mail address, phone number, or geographical location) with the exception of the first name and age (unless permitted by consent)
    • Any reference to personal information about others, including name or information that may be used to identify or locate another individual or that could otherwise be deemed to constitute invasion of another’s privacy
    • Any material that condones or incites violence, bullying or unlawful behavior
    • Libel, slander or defamation of character of participant or non-participant
    • Any illegal statements, material or content
    • Any political content or propaganda
    • Any language that promotes drugs or alcohol, illegal or inappropriate activities or dangerous behavior that may result in harm to anyone viewing the photo
    • Crude, vulgar or offensive pictures, depictions, images, language gang signs and/or symbols
    • Gratuitous violence, gun or other imagery or gestures of weapons
    • Nudity
    • Hard liquor use or product images
    • Illegal drug or alcohol use or abuse
    • Website or Web page links
    • Trespass or violation of other people’s rights or property
    • Flooding, spam, chain letters, pyramid schemes, junk mail, etc.
    • Content attempting to impersonate client staff or other community members
    • Any content in an entrant’s submission or photograph, that is considered by the Sponsor and Agency within their discretion to be inappropriate based any of the criteria listed above will disqualify an entrant and that entrant will be excluded from the contest and not eligible to win any of the prizes.

By participating in this Contest, entrant represents and warrants that: (i) the Work meets the criteria set out herein and does not contain any material that is libelous, defamatory, pornographic, profane or obscene; (ii) the Work is original and all right, title, and interest (including copyright) therein and thereto is owned and/or controlled by the entrant to the full extent necessary to enable the Sponsor to use the Work as contemplated by these Contest Rules; and (iii) the Work does not infringe upon the intellectual property, privacy or other statutory or common law rights of any third party.

Limit of one (1) entry per person during the Contest Period. In the case of multiple entries, only the first eligible entry will be considered.

All entries, including the Work, become the sole property of the Sponsor and none will be returned for any reason. Entries must be received no later than the end of the Contest Period. Entries will be declared invalid if they are late, illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, mutilated, forged, garbled or mechanically or electronically reproduced. No communication or correspondence will be exchanged with entrants except with those selected for a Finalist Prize.

Entries received online shall be deemed to be submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address associated with the entry. For the purpose of the Contest Rules, authorized account holder of an e-mail address is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Each selected entrant may be required to provide the Sponsor with proof that the selected entrant is the authorized account holder of the e-mail address associated with the winning entry.

Withdrawal of Photograph: If an entrant submits a photograph and later wishes to have it removed from, or not posted to the intended website(s), they should contact Studio One Networks at lauren.fischer@studioone.com.

4.      HOW TO VOTE

All entries will be eligible to receive votes throughout the Contest Period. To vote for an entry online, simply go to the Contest Website and click to register a vote for your favorite entry by clicking “VOTE FOR THIS ENTRY” beneath the photo. Limit of one vote per photo, per person, per day. Entrants may vote for their own entry.

5.      WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION

One (1) Winner shall be selected as follows:

1.      On or about November 5, 2012 one (1) entrant will be selected based on the criteria set forth below, from all eligible entries received during the Contest Period. Each entrant shall be eligible to win only one (1) Prize. The odds of being selected as a potential winner are dependent upon the number of eligible entries received by the Sponsor. Before being declared a Winner, the selected entrant shall be required to sign and return the Release (described below).

2.      An impartial panel of judges selected by the Sponsor will review all eligible entries. The criteria that will be used by the Judges to determine the potential Prize Winner, includes and will be weighted as follows: (i) overall appearance of the puppy as shown in the photo (20%), (ii) quality of photo (20%), (iii) number of votes the photo receives (50%); (iv) alignment of photo with Exceptional Canine brand (10%). The judges, in their absolute discretion, shall select the Winner based upon the above criteria. The decisions of the judges shall be final and binding and may not be challenged in any way.

3.      THE SELECTED ENTRANT WILL BE NOTIFIED BY E-MAIL or TELEPHONE NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 5, 2012 AT 8PM EST AND MUST RESPOND WITHIN TWO (2) BUSINESS DAYS OF NOTIFICATION. Upon notification, the selected entrant must respond by telephone to the contact number provided in the notification, and the selected entrant’s response must be received by the Sponsor within two (2) business days of such notification. If the selected entrant does not respond in accordance with the Contest Rules, he/she will be disqualified and will not receive a Prize and another entrant may be selected in the Sponsor’s sole discretion until such time as an entrant satisfies the terms set out herein. The Sponsor is not responsible for the failure for any reason whatsoever of a selected entrant to receive notification or for the Sponsor to receive a selected entrant’s response.

6.      PRIZE

One (1) prize will be awarded. The prize consists of: Four 33-lb bags of Eukanuba® Puppy product selection (approximately one year’s supply) and the chance to have the Work featured on the Exceptional Canine website. The prize has an approximate value of $200.

Winner is not entitled to monetary difference between actual Prize value and stated approximate Prize value, if any. Prize will be distributed within fourteen (14) days after each Winner has been successfully contacted and notified of his/her Prize and fulfilled the requirements set out herein. Prizes must be accepted as awarded and cannot be transferred, assigned, substituted or redeemed for cash, except at the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Any unused portion of a Prize will be forfeited and have no cash value. The Sponsor reserves the right, in its and their sole discretion, to substitute a prize of equal or greater value if a Prize (or any portion thereof) cannot be awarded for any reason. The Sponsor shall not assume any liability for lost, damaged or misdirected Prizes.

7.      RELEASE

Winner will be required to execute a legal agreement and release (“Release”) that confirms Winner’s: (i) eligibility for the Contest and compliance with these Contest Rules; (ii) acceptance of the Prize as offered; (iii) release of each of the Sponsor and its respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates and/or related companies and each of their employees, directors, officers, suppliers, agents, Sponsor, Facebook, Inc., administrators, licensees, representatives, advertising, media buying and promotional agencies (collectively, the “Releasees”) from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, cost or expense arising out of participation in the Contest, participation in any Contest-related activity or the acceptance, use, or misuse of any Prize, including but not limited to costs, injuries, losses related to personal injuries, death, damage to, loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation, or portrayal in a false light, or from any and all claims of third parties arising therefrom; and (iv) grant to the Sponsor of the unrestricted right, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion, to produce, reproduce, publish, reproduce, convert, broadcast, communicate by telecommunication, exhibit, distribute, translate, adapt and otherwise use and re-use the Work and Winner’s name, photograph, likeness, voice and biography in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, in connection with the Contest and the promotion and exploitation thereof. The executed Release must be returned within two (2) business days of the date indicated on the accompanying email letter of notification or the verification as a Winner, or the selected entrant will be disqualified and the Prize forfeited.

8.      INDEMNIFICATION

By entering the Contest, entrant releases and hold Releasees harmless from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind to the entrant or any other person, including personal injury, death, or property damage, resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any Prize, participation in the Contest, any breach of the Contest Rules, or in any Prize-related activity. The entrant agrees to fully indemnify Releasees from any and all claims by third parties relating to the Contest, without limitation.

9.      RIGHTS CLEARANCE

By providing the Work to the Sponsor in connection with the Contest, each entrant shall retain all right, title and interest (including copyright) in and to the Work, and shall grant to the Sponsor and Procter & Gamble Company  a worldwide, gratuitous, irrevocable, and exclusive license to copy, use, modify, reproduce, display, adapt and transmit the Work for use in all media now known or hereafter devised in perpetuity beginning on the date of entry, including, but not limited to, in connection with the administration, promotion and exploitation of the Contest, posting of the Work on the Sponsor’s websites including but not limited to www.facebook.com/pages/ExceptionalCanine and www.exceptionalcanine.com and www.eukanuba.com available for the general public to see, comment on and vote on, to the extent that the Work contains the image of a dog under the age of majority the pet owner, provides such consent on their behalf. The entrant hereby confirms that the Work is an original work, solely created by the entrant, and that no third party participated as an author, co-author, photographer or otherwise in the creation of the Work or any part thereof. The Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any claims of infringement of rights to copyright, privacy and/or personality, and all such liability shall remain with the entrant. In addition, each entrant represents to the Sponsor that the Work does not infringe any copyright interest of any third party and that the Work is not defamatory or obscene and does not violate any laws relating to hate speech or otherwise. The Sponsor reserves the right to exclude any Work on the basis of concerns relating to eligibility, the rights of third parties, including but not limited to privacy, copyright, defamation, rights of personality, obscenity or hate speech, as determined by Sponsor in their sole discretion.

10.  LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

The Sponsor assumes no responsibility or liability for lost, late, unintelligible/illegible, falsified, damaged, misdirected or incomplete entries, notifications, responses, replies or any Release, or for any computer, online, software, telephone, hardware or technical malfunctions that may occur, including but not limited to malfunctions that may affect the transmission or non-transmission of an entry. The Sponsor is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by website users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest or by any technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest. The Sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries. The Sponsor is not responsible for any problems, failures or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, e-mail, players, or browsers, on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet, at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing or otherwise. The Sponsor is not responsible for any injury or damage to entrant or to any computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading materials in this Contest. Entrant assumes liability for injuries caused or claimed to be caused by participating in the Contest, or by the acceptance, possession, use of, or failure to receive any Prize. The Sponsor assumes no responsibility or liability in the event that the Contest cannot be conducted as planned for any reason, including those reasons beyond the control of the Sponsor, such as infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or corruption of the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest or the Contest Website.

11.  CONDUCT

By participating in the Contest, each entrant agrees to be bound by the Contest Rules, which will be posted at the Contest Website throughout the Contest Period. Entrant further agrees to be bound by the decisions of the judges and Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant found to be: (a) violating the Contest Rules; (b) tampering or attempting to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or the Contest Website; (c) violating the terms of service, conditions of use and/or general rules or guidelines of any Studio One Networks website; and/or (d) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE CONTEST WEBSITE OR ANY RELATED WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDIES AND DAMAGES TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

12.  RIGHT OF PUBLICITY / USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

By submitting my entry to this website I confirm that: (i) I grant to the Sponsor the right to use my name, telephone number, image, province, age, gender, language, email address and photograph (“Personal Information”) for the purpose of administering the Contest, including but not limited to contacting and announcing the Winner and contacting me to confirm any of the information, consents, and grants that I have provided; (ii) I grant to the Sponsor the right to use my contact information to contact me regarding any issues, notifications, or corrections arising from or in connection with the Contest, including without limitation relating to any prizes awarded; (iii) I grant to the Sponsor the right to use my Personal Information and my dog’s first name and age (“Dog’s Personal Information”) together with the Photograph for publicity and promotional purposes including but not limited to those relating to the Contest, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, developed using the Rights granted in connection with the Contest without further compensation unless prohibited by law; (iv) I acknowledge that the Sponsor may disclose my Personal Information and Dog’s Personal Information to third-party agents and service providers of the Sponsors (including those outside of the United States); and (v) I consent to the Sponsor copying, using, modifying, reproducing, displaying, adapting and transmitting the photograph I have submitted for use in all media, at any time, and developed using the Rights granted in connection with the Contest, including without limitation the photograph and the Dog’s Personal Information for the promotion and exploitation of the Contest, the Exceptional Canine website, and the Eukanuba® brand, including posting of the photograph together with the Dog’s Personal Information, at the Sponsor’s sole discretion, on the Sponsor’s websites, including www.facebook.com/pages/ExceptionalCanine and www.exceptionalcanine.com, and www.eukanuba.com, available for the general public to see, comment on and vote on, and to the extent that the photograph contains the image and personal information of my dog under the age of majority, of whom I am the owner, I consent to the foregoing. The Sponsor will use the Personal Information only for identified purposes, and shall protect the Entrant’s and Dog’s Personal Information in a manner that is consistent with the Exceptional Canine & Studio One Network’s Privacy Policy.

13.  TERMINATION

Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to terminate the Contest, in whole or in part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Contest, and/or the Contest Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice.

14.  CHOICE OF LAW

The Contest is subject to applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations. The Contest Rules are subject to change without notice in order to comply with any applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws or the policy of any other entity having jurisdiction over the Sponsor. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of the Contest Rules or the rights and obligations as between the entrant and the Sponsor in connection with the Contest shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of New York, including procedural provisions without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of any other jurisdiction’s laws.

15.  LANGUAGE DISCREPANCY

In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the Contest Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Contest-related materials, including but not limited to the Contest entry form, or point of sale, television, print or online advertising, the Contest Rules shall prevail, govern and control.

16.  CONTEST RULES

For Contest results send a hand-printed, self-addressed, stamped envelope to Winner List - Exceptional Canine Puppy Photo Contest c/o Studio One Networks, Inc., 625 Broadway, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10012. Requests for the winner list must be received by January 1, 2013. DO NOT SEND ANY OTHER CORRESPONDENCE OR ENTRIES TO THIS ADDRESS.

This Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Participants are providing information to Studio One Networks, Inc. and not to Facebook.

Capture Every Cute Puppy Moment

Richie Schwartz of Pets Photography Studio on Long Island, N.Y., has photographed more than 70,000 pets all over the country during his 30-year career. Whenever a call comes in from a puppy owner who desires pictures, he has certain expectations. “I know it’s going to be fun but also a lot of work,” says Schwartz.

Puppies might be among the cutest animals on the planet, but capturing them at their best can pose challenges. First, they bounce with energy. They also go to the bathroom a lot. No matter how adorable your pup is, a bathroom shot isn’t what you want to pull out at your next dinner party.

Schwartz, a former veterinary technician who turned his love of pet photography into a career, shares some tips on how to take perfect pics of your pup.

Puppy Portrait Preparation
You probably have a lot of shots from your cell phone or camera of your puppy doing cute things. To take a portrait, however, your pet needs to settle down. “The puppy should get exercise and go to the bathroom before the photo sessions,” says Schwartz. That’s especially true if you plan to take your dog to a professional studio. New environments can cause happy-go-lucky puppies to “either become really shy or overly playful,” says Schwartz, who last year was named one of the 25 Pet People of 2010 by NBC, sharing that honor with Betty White and other celebrities.

Schwartz often photographs celebrity pets, but no matter the owner, puppies like to be comforted by familiar objects. “Have a favorite toy or blanket nearby,” advises Schwartz. Los Angeles–based photographer Nick Saglimbeni notes that squeaky toys can serve double duty. The surprise of a squeak, says Saglimbeni, can cause the puppy “to prick his ears, cock his head and give an alert look.” Don’t overdo it, though, or else the element of surprise will disappear.

Next, consider what visual information you want to convey and accentuate in the photo. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is your puppy a male or female? You may want to photograph your dog with items that are associated with its sex. The goal is not to stereotype your dog but to inform your viewers.
  • What color is your dog? Both the lighting and backdrop will depend upon the color of your dog’s fur. Outdoor shots that use just ambient light are often easiest for home photographers.
  • How big is your puppy? Schwartz has a fantasyland full of props in his studio. Chihuahuas, for example, might be placed in an oversize teacup, creating the perfect contrast. The effect would be lost on a larger pup, though.
  • What’s your dog’s breed? Similar to the “male or female” question, you can convey information with your props. A Scottish Terrier puppy, for example, might be placed on a tartan blanket.

When to Bring in a Professional Photographer
Digital technology permits even novices to take decent shots, create YouTube-ready slideshows and more. “We professionals are not in competition with the home photographer,” says Schwartz. “Our images can complement those other pictures.” A pro probably would not be around to capture the little impromptu moments, like your puppy suddenly jumping on your lap or dragging in the laundry.” But when people start taking such images, it makes them more appreciative of what I do, in terms of capturing certain expressions, using the best equipment and lighting.”

Working With Your Photos
Whether you take your own photographs or hire a professional, you’ll want to share those images with others. Social media makes that possible, with many owners even creating Facebook pages for their pets and posting the photos online. If you input the images into slideshow templates, you can add music and post them to YouTube, then share your slideshows via Twitter and other services.

You can also transform the images into more tangible and long-lasting gift items or keepsakes. At Schwartz’s studio, you can buy books, calendars, key chains and magnets that feature your puppy. But you can also make the paper items at home with some basic software and a desktop printer. Just like a wedding or baby album, a puppy photo album is an easy and fun project that involves putting a fabric cover over an otherwise plain photo album and adding fabric appliques and scrapbooking endpapers.

Puppyhood is such an ethereal stage in your dog’s life, and it lasts for just a short period of time. When your pet is only 18 months old, he or she will already be well on the way to becoming a fully grown adult dog. Now is the time to capture those cherished puppy moments in timeless images. Photographing puppies takes work, as Schwartz says, but you won’t regret it.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/Ejla