I had a request on an order that I didn’t see until after I had ordered prints for a customer.

I was fulfilling orders this evening getting customers photos packaged up so that I can go to the post office tomorrow to mail them out.

As I looked up an order for the address, I saw a message on the order asking me if I would remove a weed from the front of the dog in one shot and to also remove the saliva from the mouth on another shot.

When I use Photoshop, I use it to brighten photos and to lower the resolution so that the copies of my original photos will upload to my website easier and quicker.  I do not and will not use Photoshop to remove or move things on my photos.  I do not manipulate my photos.

I guess my feelings on this are that these are natural photos of working retrievers.  I’m not into graphic design, I don’t want to be and I certainly do not want to be known for publishing fake photos.

I am working on learning to create photo montages which would be several photos of a dog all put together artistically into one photo.  However, I am not moving or removing and replacing anything in these montages.

I’m just wondering if anyone has any thoughts or opinions and if so, would  you please let me know your thoughts? I did tell the client that I apologized for not seeing the note first before processing the photos.  I also said that if they are not happy with the photos, I’ll gladly return the money.  I did assure her that I thought she would enjoy the photos and would want to keep them.

Thanks for any help.  I hope to see you at the line!

Wendy Porch
Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

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We have almost completed platform training with Mitch.  This is a small but rather large lesson as you will be working with your retriever on all 4 sides of the platform.  Please make sure to pay attention to detail when using pressure.  If your dog will go to the platform with no pressure, that is great!

Mitch Hainsfurther Carlinville, IL Webfoot Kennel

Please remember that we are also trying to build confidence in your retriever.  If you get frustrated or discouraged, please walk away from training and take a break.  If you take a small break, your retriever will be much  happier when you return and will preform much better.

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel-Carlinville, Illinois

When we humans get nervous, upset and/or discouraged our mouth omits chemicals that our retriever can smell and pick up on.  Therefore, if we are upset or nervous, we are telling our retriever to be upset and nervous.  We gain nothing, our retriever gains nothing.  Training should always be fun for both you and your retriever!

This lesson should be ON lead with the e-collar.

  • You will start at the same starting place as before.
  • After completing 2 trips to and from the platform using LOW collar pressure, (only if needed), then start working from a different side of the platform from 5-10 feet away.
  • Repeat what you have done in the previous lessons.  Make sure to use collar pressure when needed and at an intensity level that motivates your dog to complete all 4 sides of the platform before starting the next lesson.
Mitch Hainsfurther

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel-Carlinville, Illinois

That’s it for this week.  Keep up the great work.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment for Mitch or myself just below this article.  If you want to contact Mitch, please do so by going to Webfoot Kennel.  Once your retriever has completed his task properly and once you have completed your training session, please make sure to  praise your retriever for a job well done.

Mitch and I hope to see you at the line!

Wendy Porch
Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store Shadowhill Retrievers

Augie

Augie is the next dog I will be writing about in my Retriever Line Up.  I don’t want to give too much away now but he is a spectacular dog!

I have had the opportunity to handle this dog a few times when I was being trained to handle.  He’s awesome and is very able to teach anyone anything about handling!!!

I’m planning on seeing Augie this week.  I wonder what training tip he has up his sleeve to teach me this time?  🙂

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Wendy Porch

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Hunt Test Photos

June 28, 2010

Finally, I have all photos of the dogs competing at hunt tests up on my site now.  All of the editing is completed!  That is a huge load off my shoulders.

Maggie KC Hunting Retriever Club's Spring Hunt Test

Now I can work on fulfilling orders, my website, my blog and photographing all of my dogs.  I need to make cd’s of dogs and mail them to various magazines.  That’s been on my list of things to do for months.

Welcome fellow Retriever and Hunting Friends! I would like to introduce you to “HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH.” Grab your popcorn and enjoy reading!

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH, Owned by Kenneth Farris

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH, Owned by Kenneth Farris

I was contacted by Kenneth Farris to photograph his dogs while attending the Music City Hunting Retriever Club’s Spring Hunt Test. We met at the hunt test and booked a setting for early morning Sunday.

Ken brought out one dog at a time for me to photograph. After I photographed one dog, he then went to the truck and brought out HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH. When I took my first glance at Brody, my jaw dropped. As I write this, I am trying to think of one word to describe my first thought of Brody. I can’t describe him in one word.

As he heels next to Ken while walking towards me, he looks regal. His gait is beautiful. Powerful. Stunning. Mellow. Well behaved. Attentive. Aware. Attractive. A stellar looking Labrador Retriever.

Each time Ken gives Brody a command, Brody does what his master asks willingly and obediently with no question in his eyes. I take many photos of Brody. My lens following his every move. I asked Ken to sit him so I could get profile shots. His profile is magnificent. He has a block head that is exquisite. Brody sat for Ken and he willingly sat peacefully while I took as many photos as I liked.

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

I wanted Brody in the water. Water is my favorite place to shoot retrievers. Again, Brody obediently did what his owner commanded of him. He ran into the water. I took several shots. I had goose bumps watching this dog work in the water and on land.

As much as I didn’t want to photograph another dog, I had a job to do. Ken put Brody away and brought out another Labrador for me to photograph.

I knew Brody was running in the finished test that day so I made sure to come back to photograph him. Keep in mind that when I took his photos in the morning, he was working but we were mostly playing in and around the water and on the land. I had seen enough that I knew I wanted to watch this dog work, to hunt. To do what he was bred to do. I had to come back to watch him in his test.

I attend a lot of hunt tests. Even finished dogs in the holding blinds whimper, bark, and some try to break away to the line to pick up a duck. Not Brody. Brody does exactly what Ken commands of him. I was so amazed at his manners that I took a photo of Brody in the down position with no lead on. It was just before the test. When most dogs would be acting up and going crazy because they know what is about to come their way, here lies Brody as calm and collected as he can be.

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

As calm, cool and collected as Brody is off the line, he turns it on at the line. His line manners are second to none. You can see the switch flip in his eyes once it’s time to go to work. He drives hard and fast. He marks like a pro. His blind work is straight on. My positioning for taking photographs wasn’t the best. I thought I would have plenty of time to move around from where I was and get set up for the next shots of Brody. Once he left the line to go after the next mark, he was just gone. I didn’t have much of a chance with Brody. His test didn’t take long at all. Once a dog leaves the line, I move up by the handler so I am able to get better shots of the dog swimming straight back at me without disturbing their test. Once they are about half way back to me, I have to move and get out of their way so I do not distract the dog. Brody was out and back in no time.

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

I was amazed after watching this dog. So amazed that I wanted to write about him. I asked Ken if I could write Brody’s story. Sure, I love most Retrievers. But there are a few that are special. I see hundreds of Retrievers work at hunt tests. I have my favorites. I know the difference between a good retriever with drive and desire and one that does not have that desire or possess the marking skills that others may have. You know when you see a champion. You know when you see that one Retriever that you would want in your blind and in your kennel. Brody is one of them.

I will get to Brody’s story in a moment but there is something I would like to say before I do. Brody is a must see. I give him 10’s across the board on temperament, conformation, desire, drive, ability, skill level, intelligence and beauty.

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

Brody did not come from a pedigree full of hunt test titles. Does that mean that Brody or his offspring are not capable of being a champion? Absolutely not. Brody is beginning his own pedigree right now as if the hunt tests are just beginning now. I would use Brody in a heart beat as a stud dog. I invite you to go see Brody. Don’t hesitate to contact Kenneth and ask him where he and Brody will be running at hunt tests. You can contact Kenneth Farris by email. Click to email Kenneth

Here is Brody’s story.

Brody, a 6 year old Black Labrador Retriever was purchased by Kenneth Farris of South Wind Outfitters at 14 months of age for a mere $100.00. Brody is named after one of the Crimson Tide Quarter Backs! The lady who owned Brody and sold him to Kenneth was a University of Alabama football fan. Ken thought that was ironic because he had heard that the particular quarter back that Brody was named after bought a Chessie and named him after Joe Nameth! Kenneth kept the name Brody but added his kennel name to his registered name and started his training.

Kenneth trains a few duck dogs yearly as started dogs. He thought that maybe Brody would be a good candidate to train and sell as a started duck dog. Kenneth knew the moment he saw Brody that he had to have him. Kenneth took home his new Labrador Retriever.

Once the training started, Kenneth ran into one small problem. When Brody arrived to his new home with Kenneth, he wouldn’t retrieve a biscuit!! Soon Brody began to pick up training at a fast pace and Kenneth found out that his Labrador was trainable and Brody worked very hard to please him. The best part, Brody enjoyed his job.

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

Although at first Brody didn’t want to retrieve a biscuit, once he was introduced to ducks, it was “game on” for Brody. His whole attitude changed. He needed them. He had to have them. His drive was his motivation. He worked as hard and as smart as he could because he knew he was going to get a duck in the end.

I asked Kenneth at what point did he decide to keep Brody. His response, “Anyone that has ever spent any time around Brody would feel the same way. He has such a great attitude about his work and so much personality. Besides that, my wife Dawn is my partner. She told me that if I sold Brody then I should go right behind him.”

Brody does have the health clearances that South Wind Outfitters require to breed. He was purchased originally to train as a duck dog so at the time, Brody’s pedigree didn’t matter to Kenneth. Brody does have some HRCH and GRHRCH in his pedigree and it was a total surprise to find that out. So if you are looking for an excellent stud dog, don’t hesitate to contact Kenneth via email. Brody has sired a few of Kenneth’s litters and the pups went to duck hunting homes.

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

HRCH South Wind Brody Jo MH

I asked Kenneth about Brody’s future. He said, “Well, Brody loves his job. So, as far as I’m concerned he’s gonna get to keep doing it every time we get the chance. He retrieves hundreds of ducks every year and unless I’m letting someone else work their dog, I would not think of going to the blind without him.”

As far as Brody’s HRC and AKC career goes, he has titled HRCH and MH but Ken sees no reason to stop. Ken replied to my question by saying, “We have had many failures along the way but Brody’s attitude kept the team alive. When we failed it did not slow him down a bit. Just another day at the office for him. “Come on Boss, set ’em up and lets try again,” is his way. He wanted to keep going even when I wanted to quit. Now that the titles are behind us, the game is a lot more fun for the both of us. The pressure is off. I may run him in Master test when I have other dogs to run but, my current plans are to continue running HRC tests with him at least to the 500 point mark. He has just over 200 points now. Our main push and focus in life has been duck hunting. We spend as much time in the duck blind as is possible and still keep a job. (we push that limit) Everything we do with the dogs has always revolved around that. The Hunt Test games came later but have become a big part of our lives. Brody came to us for that purpose but made such an impression that it would have been impossible to let him go. He has changed our lives in such a positive way. I spend many hours with him in the solitude of the blind or on the road to the next hunt test or just resting up for the next days work. I probably spend more time with him than any person I know.”

Well folks, that’s Brody’s story. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this wonderful creature. Once you see this beautiful retriever run at a hunt test, please come back here and let us know just how much you enjoyed watching him!

We hope that you are able to see Ken and Brody at the line!

Sincerely,

Wendy Porch
Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store


I work during the week and some Saturdays.  I come home, air and work the dogs, help cook and clean up the dishes and feed the dogs.  Then and only then do I sit to work on photos until it’s time for bed.  Most times I don’t sit down until after 8:00 p.m.

I was home yesterday and dedicated most of the day to editing and uploading photos from hunt tests.  It was my full intention to edit and upload more today.  It just didn’t happen.  I needed a much deserved break from work and Total Retriever. I’m beginning to get burnt out on both!

I bought ingredients Friday to make homemade strawberry ice cream, lemon cookies and strawberry cookies.  So, I baked cookies and made ice cream today.  Now, I’m sitting down to write a bit and will fill orders later this evening to mail out tomorrow morning.  I may edit and upload photos later this evening.  I’m sure I will.  I can’t go a day without working on photos!  🙂

If anyone would like my recipes for ice cream and cool whip cake mix cookies, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I’ll post it here for you.

I have thought of another topic that I am going to write about once a week.  As you all know I travel to hunt tests each weekend to photograph retrievers in the spring and fall season.

Each hunt test I attend, I am amazed at the beauty, talent, brilliance, agility, athleticism and work ethic of these retrievers.

I have to admit that I run into retrievers at each test that I want to adopt and take home with me.  I beg the owners, try to get the retriever to kennel into my car when the owner isn’t looking, you name it.  However, it doesn’t work!  If I would have succeeded in taking each retriever home with me, I would have about 100 retrievers in my home with me by now.  🙂

So, I opted for plan B.  I’ve been creating my own wall of fame.  I have started printing my favorite retrievers and now have a special wall of fame room that I am going to hang my prints in.  I can see my favorite retrievers on a daily basis now.

I’ve now decided to take this one step further.  I want to write about my favorite retrievers.  Augie, Terra, Brody, Easton, Gauge, Ruger, Tick, Maggie, and so many more that it’s almost impossible to name them all here.

In fact, I have all of Brody’s story and just have to put it all together.  Within these stories, I will post photos of the dog that I have taken.  You will enjoy Brody’s story.  It’s cute, loving, and all about training and hunting!  Not only that, he is an absolute dream to photograph.  Brody is a beautiful black Labrador Retriever.

I have to work on getting photos up on my site from hunt tests.  I am behind so once I get my photos posted, I’ll begin writing stories about the amazing retrievers that I am fortunate enough to photograph at hunt tests.

Take care and I’ll be back here posting in the very near future!

Wendy Porch

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Fellow Retriever Trainers:

Last week I blogged that Mitch and I would be writing about Platform Training.  I posted the equipment list for you.  In hopes that each of you have built your very own platform to prepare for our platform training series, we are now ready for your first lesson.  It’s time to put your platform in a place that it will stay put for the duration of platform training, grab your E-Collar, your heeling stick, handler’s tab and let’s go.  By the way, don’t forget your retriever!

Before we get started, please always remember to have patience with your retriever.  If you get tense or upset, please walk away from training.  If you have not previously used a heeling stick and or E-Collar, please speak with someone who has experience and ask that they show you the proper way to use a heeling stick and E-Collar.  Most times, a light tap with the heeling stick will get the point across to your retriever.  Also remember that in this training process, we are teaching your dog in steps.  It’s easier for the retriever to learn in steps.  Once your retriever learns each step, it will tie all of the steps together to complete the process in whole.  Happy Training!

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Where to place the platform?

Place platform in a safe convenient place that you can utilize several times per day/week.  Keep the platform away from the kennel or other distractions.  If you have a sidewalk adjacent to a grassy area in your yard, place it on the sidewalk and leave it there for all of the initial lessons. (Important).

LESSON 1

Duration 4-5 Minutes.  Important, no more than 10 minutes training time.  After 10 minutes, go onto something else.  Do not make this a marathon.  Keep the lessons short and ALL BUSINESS.

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Place the E-Collar on the dog.  Attach a short (6-12 inch) handler tab on the collar.  Instruct your dog to heel as you walk to the platform.  Encourage the dog to get on the platform.  Help with the handler tab as necessary.  Give a little praise when the dog has four feet on the platform and sits.  Make sure to reinforce sit with a heeling stick as needed.  If the dog wants to come off of the platform before you have asked it to, use the heeling stick to tap its front feet until the dog learns that all four feet remain on the platform.

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Instruct the dog to heel as you heel the dog off the platform to the place where you started, approximately 5-10 feet away.  Use this same spot to start your training lesson each time.  Do NOT try from different spots yet. Use the same path to and from the platform.  Do NOT allow the dog to move from the platform until you command heel and go back from your starting point.  Use the heeling stick for violation of the sit command for correction.  Use the heeling stick if the feet come off the platform, just tap the toes.  Repeat as many times as it takes over several sessions until your dog will easily go to the platform and sit.

When the dog will easily go to the platform and sit, start using the “Kennel” command.  Standing 5-10 feet from the platform, instruct the dog to heel as you walk toward platform and command “KENNEL.”  Important:  You give 1 Command for 1 Action. Do not say to your dog, “Kennel, Kennel, Kennel,”  Tell it once, and make sure the dog does it the one time you command it, unless you want it to do nothing until you have repeated yourself 3 times.  At this point, your dog has no concept of what “Kennel” means.  So, repetition is the key.  Continue at least 3 lessons using the “kennel” command.

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

Mitch Hainsfurther, Webfoot Kennel

You have now completed 5-6 lessons in platform training.  The dog goes willingly to the platform with you and it sits.  If not, keep teaching until the dog understands to heel along by your side and will kennel up onto the platform.

Please make sure to have fun with your retrieving companion while training.  Keep it simple and your dog will love it.  Having your dog kennel, sit and stay on a platform, in a blind, a dog kennel, boat or anywhere you wish is so rewarding.  Both you and your dog will be much happier once this training series is completed successfully.  Dogs need jobs to do.  When you train them and they are able to work, they feel worthwhile.  They won’t get bored as quickly because you are keeping their brain and body active!   Always keep the following in mind when training:  Exercise, rules and boundaries then reward with love and affection!  Given that, please come back and enjoy reading Lesson 2 of Platform Training next week.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask here on the blog.  If you are looking for an excellent trainer, you can contact Mitch from his site at

Webfoot Kennel, Carlinville Illinois

If you would like photos of your hunt test, are in need of stock photos or need retriever training supplies, please contact me at  Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Take care and Mitch and I will hopefully see you at the line!

Wendy Porch

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store

Went Fishin!

June 4, 2010

I caught four fish tonight.  Sunfish.  I kept one and threw the others back.  The first time I threw, a fish jumped, grabbed the worm and snapped my line.  I had a relaxing time and it was a beautiful  evening.

I wasn’t able to feed the geese tonight.  They didn’t visit me, which was very unusual.  A few people were in their boats fishing on the lake tonight so maybe they kept the geese away.  I doubt it but it’s possible.  I shouldn’t have taken a break this evening but between working full-time, my photography, training dogs, fulfilling photo orders and the supply store…well let me just say that I needed a break this evening.  I will work on my photography most of this weekend and try to get it caught up.

It’s time to air the dogs one last time this evening.

Good night.

Wendy Porch
Total Retriever Photography & Supply Store