The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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Entries from June 2008

Cartier Bresson

June 23rd, 2008 · No Comments · On Photography

Henri Cartier-Bresson is without a doubt an enormously important photographer. He is considered the father of photojournalism. He is responsible for coining the term ‘decisive moment’.
Recently I have been trying to capture interesting, well-composed, action shots of fast moving dogs. Doing this involves making a great many choices and hoping that you can make them quickly enough in order not to miss that decisive moment. To quote Cartier-Bresson, “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative.”
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The Intelligence of Dogs — Canine Consciousness and Capabilities by Stanley Coren

June 5th, 2008 · No Comments · Book Reviews

Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, has become one of the most widely read authors of nonfiction dog-related books. He is a wonderful researcher and although his writing is very erudite his tone is conversational and a pleasure to read.

“The Intelligence of Dogs” is an important book for a number of reasons. First of all the author describes and categorizes canine intelligence. He refers to canine intelligence as a “a collection of primary mental abilities”. This paradigm has its origin in a similar conception of human intelligence and goes a long towards explaining why there are such inconsistencies in the intelligence of individual dogs.
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News From the Doggie Daycare 5

June 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · News From the Doggie Daycare

It is very interesting to observe and identify the styles of play favoured by individual dogs. There are really only four basic styles of dog play. There are the rough and tumble dogs who who enjoy body slamming and rearing up on their hind legs and wrestling.

Chase is another popular dog game and it is one in which the chaser and the chased frequently switch roles.

Mouth wrestlers enjoy lying on the ground and engaging each others mouths. These dogs tend to vocalise while playing.

Creep is a mock- scary game which involves two dogs approaching each other stiff-legged and on tip- toe, very slowly advancing towards each other and then suddenly they erupt in play.

I find it remarkable how versatile most dogs are in their play styles. It also appears to be the case that dogs play differently with different individuals and at different times. Well-socialized dogs seem to be  capable of playing in a mutually satisfying way with most others next.
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Puppies by William Wegman

June 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Book Reviews


“Puppies” is one of William Wegman’s books of photos. His elegant weimeraners Man Ray, Fay, Battina and the rest are so remarkably composed before the camera. As models they appear to be real pros. Wegman must be telling the truth when he writes, “Dogs like everything about photography except the photograph.” This seems to be true of his dogs if not yours and mine. Wearing clothes, posing in unlikely postures and appearing at times as strange hybrid creatures, half human, half dog. Always retaining their dignity, they provoke smiles.

These photographs, as always, reveal Wegman’s witty imagination and wonderful eye viagraindian.com. The dogs are delightfully sober straight men to his various manipulations of them.

He describes the birth of Fay’s puppies in detail and includes some black and white photos of the new borns. The pups begin their career before the camera immediately; posed asleep in unlikely places and arrangements. The images document their growth as well as their owner’s whimsical sense of humour.

The text for “Puppies” is a fascinating account of the artist’s love affair with his models. He speaks of their personalities in great detail. It is obvious that the remarkable affinity he has with these dogs is combined with his photographer’s eye to create work that is original and genuine.

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