How to play Hide and Seek with your Dog

As we start winding down to Christmas, I try to take less session bookings and I had a rare Sunday off from shooting yesterday. Johnny wasn't working either, so I decided to take advantage and swapped my usual Monday off for Sunday. We wandered up to Yarraville Gardens with Lyra bear to grab some brunch from the food trucks. My friend Wendy (who runs Daisy and Friends, the dog walking/pet minding service) and I have just started to try out living a vegan lifestyle (a long time coming for me, so I'm really excited). Unfortunately most of the veggie options at the food trucks contained mayo or cheese, but Gridiron Grills had a vegan falafel wrap that was delicious (once I picked the pickled radish out!)


We played hide and seek in the sunny gardens, one of Lyra's all-time favourite games. We've been playing this since she was tiny and I really believe it's one of the key reasons that she has such a rocking recall. The lady has been trained that finding us is FUN and she comes running from wherever, whenever. Plus, it's pretty handy to be able to send her off to find her Daddy when we're at home (especially if she's bugging me to play or for dinner, haha!)

How to train Hide & Seek:

1. You need two people to start training - once you've been playing the game for a while and they have a solid sit/stay, then you can play with just one person 2. Both people need a lot of yummy treats 3. Have one person hold back your dog, while the other goes and hides. Start by hiding in the same room (e.g. behind a couch). Later you can move onto hiding in different rooms and more difficult locations (e.g. inside the cupboard downstairs). 4. Start calling your dog. When they come to you, make a HUGE deal and reward with lots of treats, cuddles and happiness. Hold them still, while your partner hides. 5. Your partner calls your dog and again makes a huge deal when your dog comes. 6. Once your furry is consistently and excitedly finding you both in varied locations, it's time to introduce the command "Go find *****" (we use Mummy and Daddy, because anthropomorphism.) 7. Your partner holds your furry in one room, ideally with a sit & stay. Say your command "Go find *****" and release them from their sit/stay with your free command hand signal, if applicable. This time, you don't call your dog. They'll will still be in the mindset that looking for you = rewards and will almost definitely start searching. 8. Repeat vice versa, allowing your partner to hide silently and using the command "Go find *****". 9. This is such a rewarding game that it really only took Lyra a day or so to have it down pat. It satisfies her hunting instincts and I find it genuinely fun to play (so much more so than fetch!) The key to continuing the success is to always make a big deal when your pup finds you. Have fun!!!

(p.s. once they've been playing for a while, it's worth making them sit/stay facing away from the hider. Lyra really does try to sneak a peek!)



Ragamuffin Tips

DOGGY GROOMING TIPS (do you use a professional groomer? Let me know in the comments!) If your pup has a continuously growing coat like gorgeous Milo, many groomers recommend using a “slicker” brush (rectangle with little pin tines) for regular brushing. Your can trim any knots or tangles in the bath, although you shouldn’t be bathing him more than once a week.

He may need to have his coat trimmed as often as every two to four weeks. This depends on the breed and the style of cut, but a professional groomer should be able to give you specific advice for your pup.

Dog Dental Tips

Pippa modelling for our dog dental tips


To keep teeth pearly white like Pippa's, start by rubbing her teeth with your finger. Concentrate on the outside of the teeth. Praise and reward once you’ve finished. When she’s learnt to accept her teeth being rubbed, you can introduce a soft doggy toothbrush. Start with only warm water, then slowly introduce canine toothpaste (never use human toothpaste). Gently stroke her teeth up and down. Ideally repeat at least three to four times a week.

Gourmet Pawprints ~ Doggy Day Trips

The afternoon sun shone lazily through the bus window. Lyra was curled up into a tight ball by our feet, thoroughly exhausted from her adventures. I wanted to stay awake to keep taking in the lush Mornington landscape as we drove through the hills. My eyelids were heavier than a great dane, my belly full of good food and even better wine. With a sigh of content, I rested my head on Johnny's shoulder. "Happy Birthday," I whispered. He kissed me on my forehead and I nodded off, dreaming about our wonderful day . . .

It had begun 8 hours earlier, when we had met bright and early at Sandridge Beach, an off-leash beach in Port Melbourne. It was Johnny's birthday and I had organised a Gourmet Pawprints Tour to celebrate.

I originally met the business owner Kerry and her furry boy Diesel through Dogs for Kids with Disabilities, an organisation that we both support. Kerry created her business to combine everything that she loved ~ food + wine + travel + dogs. It sounded like a winning formula to me, and I couldn't wait to try out one of her day trips!

I booked the Mornington Peninsula daytrip, an all-inclusive bus tour stopping by three gorgeous wineries with two different dog walks. I have to admit that I'd had my own reservations about piling 10 dogs into one minibus, but it all worked out perfectly. There was enough space for each dog to settle in and find a comfortable spot (some even snagged their own seats!)


Our first stop was Yabby Lake Vineyard. Warm raspberry and white choc muffins and a steaming cuppa for morning tea, then onto the wine tasting (is 10AM too early for wine? Naaaaaahhhh!)

Next stop was Flinders off leash dog beach, our favourite part of the day! The grey clouds parted to reveal a bright blue Spring sky and the dogs had an absolute blast racing through sand and surf as their people strolled along seaside.

By the time we got back to the bus our puppies were tired and our stomachs were hungry. Perfect timing for lunch!

A lovely dog carer named Marie looked after the babies while we all spoilt ourselves with a delicious tapas lunch at Green Olive in Red Hill. I was a bit nervous about leaving my girl, but a status update halfway through our meal revealed that all the furries were totally zonked out! Clearly the long beach walk had done just the trick!

Lunch was a great opportunity to chat with all the other doggy people who were on the tour - obviously we were all crazy dog lovers, so everyone had plenty in common. I even met a lady who had been the foster carer for a dog that I had photographed just a few weeks ago - small world huh?! After lunch and more wine, we headed off for a beautiful 1.5km walk through the gum-tree lined roads of Red Hill. At the end, Denny the bus driver met us to take us to our final stop - the Willow Creek Estate.

After more wine tasting, we sat on the sunny lawn outside the cellar doors whilst the dogs had another happy romp. Kerry had even kindly organised a birthday dessert!


I can honestly say that I was thoroughly impressed by the whole day. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first booked, but Kerry's enthusiasm and 110% dedication to the experience (right down to the fact that she baked her own cookies for each of the dogs - personalised with their names!) guaranteed a wonderful day.

Thank you so much Kerry and Diesel - we had so much fun and I will definitely be recommending Gourmet Pawprints to all my dog loving friends!



p.s. if anyone is interested in booking a Gourmet Pawprints tour, Kerry's website is here: and her facebook page is here: These aren't affiliate links, I just genuinely enjoyed the whole experience :)

Dog Party ~ Lyra's Project

The theme for this photograph is Groups, so Lyra and I gathered all her best friends and invited them to her furry pawty! We've got Ava, Misty Moo, Sabaka and Otis (Pan was invited, but it was all a bit exciting for my smallest fluffball). Props were supplied by a new online company, Party Pup - more pics and info about them coming soon! Don't forget Lyra's Project is part of a blog ring - the next in line is Denver Pet Photographer, StinkDog Photos. Keep clicking through the links until you arrive back at Ragamuffin and enjoy the furry group fun!


Dog Party


About Lyra's Project:

Lyra's Project is an ongoing personal series, and part of Project 52 from the Beautiful Beasties Network (an international group of professional pet photographers). Project 52 exists so that we may collectively challenge ourselves and our creativity with a weekly assignment. Every week a different pet photographer chooses a theme, which each person interprets in their own way. The photograph must be taken during that week, and on Friday evening (8pm Aussie time) everyone's blog posts go live. Click the link above to see the next photographer's image and continue around the blog circle until you end up back here - enjoy!

Unplugged ~ Dog Friendly Holiday ~ The Otways, Victoria

"Put it away!" He glanced at me, half-joking and half-annoyed, as we drove down the eucalypt-lined road towards Countrywide Cottages. "I know, I know," I muttered. "It's just one last email . . . CRAP!" My little, lonely signal bar disappeared with not even a courtesy farewell, just as we turned into the driveway for Ferny Reach cottage. But I had promised him a work-free long weekend, so I exhaled deeply and switched off the iphone.

It turns out that shoddy reception was just what the doctor ordered - three days of bliss, unplugged and carefree, just myself, my man and my dog. Thank you so much Johnny, for spoiling me and for knowing exactly what I needed (even when I didn't realise it myself.)

This is our weekend at Ferny Reach, told through images (the way I remember all my favourite stories). I hope that you enjoy the photos half as much as I enjoyed taking them.


p.s. my challenge to you. unplug - for an hour, for a day, for a weekend. unplug and remember that there is more to life than work and that you will never, ever regret spending too much time with the ones that you adore.

Countrywide Cottages in Victoria

Dog Friendly Countrywide Cottages in the Otways, Victoria

Dog Tricks

Dog Friendly Countrywide Cottages in the Otways, Victoria

Dog Friendly Holiday in the Otways, Victoria

Camping with dog

Camping with dog by campfire

Countrywide Cottages - dog friendly holidays

Bushwalking with dog in Otways

Dog in Australian Bush

Dog running towards camera

Dog jumping midair

Australian Dog in Victoria - dog photography

Australian Dog Photographer

Melbourne Pet Photography in Bush

Dog in water in Australia

Wet funny dog

Wet dog in Australian bush

Wet dog in lake in Australia

Dog swimming in Great Ocean Road

Dog swimming in australian waterholeAussie Dog Photography

Throwing stick for dog

Funny Wet Dog

Bushwalking with dog along great ocean road

Australia dog photography

Cuddling dog photo

Great Ocean Road Dog Walking Aussie Dog Photo

Girl and dog sleeping


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Want to see more of Lyra? Click here to browse Lyra's Project.

Two Easy Crafts For Your Pets

A guest post from Paisley Hansen . . . Sometimes pets can be our best friends. They are somebody to talk to when no one else wants to listen. If you enjoy going giving back and going above and beyond for your pets, you may be interested in pet crafts. There are a lot of home made items you can make for your pets, ranging from protective gear, to costumes, to play toys. If you have some extra time on your hands and want to give a special gift to your favorite pet, take a look at the following.

Sweater Dog Toys

Do you have any old sweaters lying around? Does your grandma? Instead of keeping them for an ugly sweater party, turn them into useful toys for your dog or cat. Material wise, all you will need for this project is an old sweater (preferably acrylic so they are washable), a pack of squeaks, a sewing machine, thread, stuffing, and a hand needle. You most likely already have this stuff lying around the house. Squeaks can be purchased at a local pet store.

  • Cut out the shape you want the toy to be in on paper and pin it to the part of the sweater you want to cut. Probably the most common and the most fun for dogs is a bone. You can make the toy out of any part of the sweater so choose an area you like.
  • Cut out the pieces of the sweater. You will need two exact pieces for each toy. Then sew them together, making sure you leave a small hole.
  • Stuff the toy with the squeakers and the stuffing. Do a really good job with the stuffing because it is likely your dog will try to tear it to shreds.

And you’re done! You have just converted a useless piece of clothing into your pet’s favorite toy.

The TV Fish Tank

Have you come across an old TV in your attic or storage unit and not known what to do with it? You could throw it in a land fill and let it decompose for hundreds of years, or you could turn it into a new home for your fish. Not all TV’s will work for this. Look for the ones with the wooden consoles and knobs instead of buttons.

  • Open the console and remove the old television tube. This will just leave the shell of the console. You may have to remove any additional items that would prevent a fish tank from fitting inside.
  • Measure the inside of the console and purchase an aquarium that will fit inside. You want it to be slightly taller than the screen would be. Make sure to leave room for an overhead light. If you want you can put the filter and air pump outside.
  • Test out the aquarium to see if it and all the additional elements fit properly. You are going to want to cut a hole somewhere in the console to allow for ventilation.
  • Replace the back of the console, create a lid and reinforce the bottom if necessary.
  • Weatherproof the console several times to prevent water damage and molding. Make so you run the tank for a cycle before you add any fish.

That’s it! Now just put the tank somewhere you can show it off to visitors.

About the Author: Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer who is an expert in sewing and crafting in general. She is one of the foremost experts in the use of animal fleece fabric. When she isn't writing or crafting, she can usually be found reading a good book.


Cat Napping Suburban Retreat ~ Pet's Haven Day

I thought I should write a belated blog post since I never shared any photos from the Cat Napping Suburban Retreat 1st Birthday Fundraiser for Pets Haven Foundation. The cupcakes were delicious, from Sam at Cupcake Bliss and Ebony, who runs the Cattery in Hoppers Crossing did a superb job organising everything! Most importantly though, two cats found their new forever homes and together everyone raised $325! It was so cute watching the Pets Haven kitties have fun in the huge Cat Napping kitty playground! Thanks for a fun afternoon everyone!

Melbourne Cat Photography

Melbourne Cat Photography

Melbourne Cat Photography    Melbourne Cat PhotographyMelbourne Cat PhotographyMelbourne Cat Photography    Melbourne Cat Photography

Click here to read more posts about Ragamuffin and our mission to give back to animal in need



Honey Apple Muffins ~ Recipes for Ragamuffins

These giant honey apple muffins go down a treat for special occasions. I baked them for my favourite pug's 10th birthday yesterday. He's been staying with Johnny, Lyra and I while my parents are overseas - and his little butt has been spoilt right off! I can't believe he's 10 already (actually I can - he is the most old-man-dog I've ever met. But still, the years do fly by!) I adapted this recipe from Elaine Everest's "Canine Cuisine" cookbook. 

Makes 6 large muffins, or 12 regular size. You could even make cute little ones with a 24-cup cupcake tray, if you've got puppies or little dogs.


Happy birthday little man - I love you so much, tongue and all!

Real Animals Fairtrade - cool eco-friendly collars & leads

I had the pleasure of working with Lynn from Real Animals Fairtrade, an absolutely delightful local company that makes awesome, sustainable dog collars and leashes.

They are really high quality, very quirky and all made out of recycled materials (think juice boxes, chip packets etc.) I fell in love as soon as I saw their products (if you don't know, I'm just crazy for anything recycled, so they were right up my alley!) PLUS Lynn was lovely and gave Lyra a freebie <3. That was quite a few months ago now, and the colour hasn't faded one bit AND the leash has survived rainy jogs, the beach, Lyra's disgusting car slobber and my general clumsiness. Impressive ;)

SO it's always cool when you get to work with a company whose products you genuinely adore, and this was one such occasion. Feast your eyes on the COLOURS (or is it just me who goes ga-ga for bright colours. surely not?) We did a MUCH MUCH fun photoshoot with Lynn and all her gorgeous (rescued, naturally) dogs in the local park.

I shall have to take a proper photo of Lyra with hers - I recently bought her a new purple harness just so it would match her purple lead. Dodgy iPhone snap will have to suffice in the mean time, cos I reckon she looks proud at her spunkiness.

(p.s. purple is my very favourite colour. My girlfriends hang a little sh*t on me for it, since I have an obsession with purple that is a little along the lines of 5 year girls and the colour pink. I type this as I sit in my purple dressing gown :p )




If you love these as much as I do, you can snap one up online or I believe they are sold at Melbourne's K9 Kudos.

They are $15 - not kidding! Cute, colourful and unique - yes. Business With the generous gifts and the super-low prices, it's obvious Lynn isn't in this for the moneys. She's got bucket loads of passion though (and a mountain of get doggy advice, if you get her talking). In case you can't tell, I'm a fan :)