Meet Liana, software engineer by day and adventure loving momager to superstar aussie Kiba by night. Kiba is a 2 year old red tri mini Australian Shepherd who gets to be both cute and smart for a living (seriously, check their IG highlights, Kiba knows every trick in the book).
Where do you live?
We currently live in Seattle, WA.
Why did you start your @aussie.kiba Instagram account?
I'm into photography as a side hobby, and knew early on that I would be taking a ton of photos and videos of him. Since I didn't want to bombard my own personal Instagram, I decided to make another one for Kiba the day we brought him home. We began teaching him basic tricks and taking videos on IG stories everyday to share with our friends. Over time, it just grew into what it is today.
Does Kiba know he's famous?
I'm sure he has no idea haha. It feels so weird to call him "famous" but he has gotten recognized a bit locally. If anyone shows interest in him, he's super excited to say hi! It's actually quite embarrassing because he seems so perfect on Insta but as soon as someone gets excited to meet him, he jumps all over them.
You frequently go backpacking with Kiba - what are some tips for backpacking with your dog?
Have a plan for packing out pet waste, have a good hiking leash, and bring first aid and extra water for your pup. Also have treats handy to reward for good behavior. When you choose a trail, consider the weather, too. Will it have shade for the pups? Will it be super hot and rocky? Will it be super dusty? This will inform the gear you need to bring for your pet.
What is your favorite trip or adventure you’ve taken with Kiba so far?
I will forever cherish our first trip to the Oregon Coast with Kiba. It was his first road trip outside of Seattle with Miko (his best friend). We experienced sun, rain, hail, and snow that weekend and got to see him have fun running around in all weathers. We hope to take him back again soon :)
What is your favorite gear for camping with your dog?
Of course our Ranger dog backpack, and a good hands-free leash ;)
We all know Kiba is the trick master, how did he get so good at all these tricks?
Consistency is key! We train at least 5 min to 15 min every day, and are constantly practicing tricks he's already "mastered" in order to hone it a bit more. They've become second nature to him. We are also big fans of clicker training, which we've blogged about here.
What is Kiba’s best dog trick?
Our favorite trick we've taught him is what we call "Kiburrito" - where he rolls himself into a blanket. (see below)
For the Kiburrito dog trick, we spent a lot of time teaching him to hold an object for a long duration. Once he mastered this, we then trained for him to roll over while holding onto the object. After some time, we transitioned it to a blanket, and had him hold the blanket while rolling over. The hardest part is getting him to roll over while holding an object because he tended to drop the object before rolling over. We just had to practice a LOT!
Any advice to people who want to get better at training their dog? How can they get started?
Find out what motivates your dog, whether it be treats or toys or a game of fetch, and use that as a reward when your pup does something correctly. Reward incrementally and generously, and make training fun! You should always end a training session before your pup shows signs of being bored because you want them to enjoy it, not see it as a chore.
Is there anything Kiba can’t do?
He isn't a fan of super physical tricks like jumping off walls, skateboarding, etc because he gets spooked quite easily with those.
Whats your secret to taking such photos of Kiba?
Most of our photos are taken with a Nikon D750 in a 50mm f/1.8 lens (hoping to upgrade to the Sigma Art sometime in the near future though!) We always shoot in RAW, use back button focus, and edit using Adobe Lightroom. We think editing in Lightroom definitely ups the "wow" factor for a photo! As for getting the shot, it's all luck. Kiba never looks directly in the camera on his own, so it takes a lot of coercion and trickery. Before, we would say his best friend's name to get his attention but that's stopped working. Now, we do a "ready... set.. catch!" and toss him a treat to get the shot.
What advice would you give to people who want to start posting photos of their dog?
Lighting and editing is key. We always shoot in RAW and edit using a software like Lightroom to tweak colors. As for building a following, find what your niche is and use it to your advantage. Some people take amazing photos, some have a lot of tips and heartfelt captions, and some offer training videos and tutorials. We've actually blogged a bit about it here.
What does Kiba eat?
We feed The Farmer's Dog, along with a variety of treats. He tends to prefer the jerky type treats over the cookie types.
You recently got married! Congrats! Did Kiba play a role in the engagement or wedding?
We had a small ceremony at the Seattle courthouse in the company of our closest friends. I've never been a huge fan of big weddings, and we decided it was best to just get married on our own and let it be just that. Kiba didn't really have a part, but we hope to do another exchanging of vows and wedding rings in the near future in one of our favorite places in the Pacific Northwest. We definitely plan to have Kiba with us for that.
Whats next for you?
We just purchased a new home in Seattle so we'll be in the process of moving and settling in the next few months. We're super excited for Kiba to have a bit more space than our one bedroom apartment. My previous career was as an interior designer, so it's finally good to have a space I can go all-in on and personalize as well.
Where can people find out more about you?
We have a blog, chasingkiba.com which is a culmination of our experiences with Kiba that we wanted to share. We hope to be more active on it in 2020! My personal insta is @supliana :)
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