Have you ever looked at photos of dogs posing beautifully, and wondered how on earth their owners managed to get them to sit so still?
Well, the steps to teach a dog to pose for photos are actually quite simple...
Here is everything you need to know to get started:
MAKE SURE THAT YOUR DOG KNOWS HOW TO “SIT” AND “STAY”
There are a few essential commands that a dog needs to know in order to teach a dog to pose for photos.
The first is the “sit” command...
How Do You Teach Your Dog to Sit?
This is one of the most basic commands, and is so easy to teach.
Simply hold a treat just in front of your dog's nose. Then, bend your elbow so that your hand, and the treat, moves upwards and towards you.
As your dog's eyes and nose follow this action, he should automatically sit down.
Make sure that you reinforce this command by saying the word “sit” while he is in the process of sitting down.
Then, give your dog lots of praise and a treat, before repeating those steps multiple times over several days.
How Do You Teach Your Dog to Stay?
Once you have the “sit” command mastered, teaching a dog to stay becomes much easier.
Begin with the “sit”, and then say the word “stay”, holding your hand out in front of you as a visual cue.
Wait for a couple of seconds, and then say your release command. This could be anything from “good boy” to “okay” to “free”.
Keep repeating those steps, but slowly increase the amount of time you ask your dog to stay for. You should also start taking a few steps backwards, ensuring that your dog stays rather than following you.
Keep working on this over a few days, increasing the distance between you and your dog, as well as the “stay” duration.
Make sure that you are patient. Even if your dog is taking a while to get the hang of these commands, they are essential basics for those who want to teach a dog to pose for photos.
Once your dog has a solid understanding of these two commands, you will find it much easier to get your dog into position. It also makes it easier to actually step back and take the photo.
HOW TO TEACH A DOG TO LOOK AT THE CAMERA
Now that you have your dog sitting and staying nicely, how do you get him to actually look at the camera when you want to take the photograph?
There are a few ways of doing this...
The easiest is by using whatever it is that motivates your dog the most.
For example, some dogs are highly food-motivated, while others tend to prefer toys.
If your dog is food-motivated, simply ask your dog to sit and stay. Then, hold a treat above your camera, repeating the stay command. Your dog will most likely have his eyes fixed on the treat. This will make it easy for you to get a good photo.
If your dog is toy-motivated, repeat those steps but hold a toy above the camera instead.
The “Look at Me” Command
Another way to teach your dog to look at the camera when you need him to is by teaching him the “look at me” command.
Every time your dog looks into your eyes, say “look at me” and then give him a treat. After doing this multiple times, your dog will soon automatically start looking at you each time you say the command.
Use this command only when you are ready with the camera. This will ensure that your pooch looks over at just the right moment.
GO SLOW WITH THE FLASH
The flash on some cameras can sometimes be a blinding shock to humans, let alone dogs.
Allowing your camera flash to scare your dog will make it much harder to convince your dog to sit still for the camera in the future.
When you first begin to teach a dog to pose for photos, make sure that you keep your flash turned off.
You can then start to train your dog to get used to the flash by incorporating it into other activities.
For example, let the flash go off while you and your dog are playing. Or, try doing this before feeding your dog a treat. Take your time with this, especially if your pooch seems jumpy at the flash.
Ideally, try to keep your overall use of the flash to a minimum anyway. The flash can often be damaging to a dog's eyes, making other forms of lighting more appropriate.
REINFORCING CAMERA CONFIDENCE
Is your dog still a little wary of the camera, even after following all of these steps?
One way to reinforce that the camera is nothing to be afraid of is by tossing a treat to your pooch while you are standing behind the camera.
Soon, your dog will associate the camera with tasty treats. It won't be long before he looks up expectantly with a cute look on his face each time you bring the camera out! It is so important to ensure that your pooch is camera confident if you want to properly teach a dog to pose for photos.
TO LEASH OR NOT TO LEASH
It can be tempting to unclip your dog's leash to get a good snap while out and about.
However, make sure that you do not do this unless your dog has a solid understanding of the “sit” and “stay” commands, as well as good recall.
You should also never unclip your dog's leash in areas where dogs are required to be kept on a leash, such as national parks.
Plus, there is nothing wrong with including a leash in your photos. This just shows the world what a responsible dog owner you are! It can also make it easier to teach a dog to pose for photos with the use of a leash.
Just make sure that you have untangled any knots in the leash and have straightened it out before snapping away. This will prevent it from looking too untidy in your photos.
Some dogs love to be photographed, while others will run and hide. Of course, if you have a dog that does the latter, this does make it much harder to teach a dog to pose for photos, but don't give up! Take your time with your training, making sure that you and your pooch have plenty of fun along the way!