Getting one dog to sit still for a picture is tough. Getting five to sit for a picture in the spots you want to them is damn near impossible. Like every dog mom on the planet, I like taking tons of pictures of my pack. Here’s how I get the Dog Soup dogs to pose like they’re on the cover of vogue.
Practice. It sounds obvious, but practice makes all the difference. Does your dog have a reliable wait command? If not, then you can hardly expect him to wait for you to take a picture (especially if you have to back up to take it!). Install a really good wait command. Then practice a wait while you’re looking at him/her through a phone. Believe it or not, it makes a difference. My dogs know when the phone comes out and I step back they’re getting paid big time but only if they stay right where I ask them to. How do they know this? Practice.
Don’t be cheap. Have you ever eaten one cookie? Me neither. Keep that in mind when you’re “paying” (or rewarding) your dog for a high value behavior (like posing for a picture). Giving three of four cookies one at a time tells your dog “hey, I really like when you do that and I’m willing to pay you handsomely for it!”. It’s just like in business, you have to pay good, reliable help. Same thing with dogs if you want good reliable responses.
Use the good stuff. If I’m asking my dogs to pose in a place that might be a little odd or unusual, I always use a high value treat. It’s my way of saying to them “I know this is a little weird, but that’s for humoring me.”
Be quick. Dogs think pictures are boring, so keep your sessions short. If your dog is just learning, keep it to 2 minutes or under. Even though my dogs are picture taking pros, I never ask them to play model for more than 5 minutes. Why? Because they get bored, lose interest, and you don’t want your dog to dread the camera. Their lack of enthusiasm will be evident in the pictures, so by keeping it short, you’re ensuring your pictures are good, too!
Be candid. Sometimes candids are better than over structured photos. I’m a HUGE fan of candids – the organic feel is appealing to me and I like to preserve memories of how my dogs actually are, not how I forced them to be. There’s lots of setting on cameras and cell phones that can help you get come great candid shots, so take your pup to their favorite spot and start shooting.
The photo on the left of Ben and Sioux is staged, the photo on the right of Roo Frank is a candid.
However you decide to start, don’t let getting the ‘gram get in the way of having fun with your dog. Your dog has never wanted to be IG famous, doesn’t care how many friends he has on Facebook, and has no idea what going viral on YouTube means. What he does understand are cookies and quality time spent with you, so make sure you’re making the time you have together meaningful for both of you. 🙂
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