Guild of Shepherds & Collies

5 Ways to Get Your Dog to Look at the Camera

5 Ways to Get Your Dog to Look at the Camera

Click. Click. Click. Blurry. Too dark. Too flashy. Washed out. Not even looking. Wait - where's my dog?!

Photographing your dog can sometimes seem like a task akin to scaling Mount Everest. How can you ever get a decent picture of your precious pooch?

Whether you have a nervous nellie pup or fleet-footed Fido, here are five tips from a professional Pet photographer to make taking a photo of your pet easier:

1. Treats are the best
2. Patience and Practice
3. Noises can help garner your pet's attention and make for some adorable pictures
4. Toys are also great attention-getters
5. If all else fails, capture your pet behaving naturally

1. Treats are the Best


5 ways to look - treats

Most dogs love food, and food is a great reward and resource to use when you want to get your dog to sit still long enough for a picture. Practice asking for a sit and waiting a half second or two to give the treat. Or, lure the dog into a sit and only give the treat when the dog is sitting squarely on its hind end. If the dog pops up, that's ok. Lure into a sit again and immediately give the treat. This will eventually build up to a longer sit and stay because they will quickly catch on that jumping around or at you won't get them the treat, but sitting politely and waiting will!

If your pup is a picky Fido, it's time to break out the really high-value treats that he or she goes crazy for. A few suggestions may be: turkey, cheese, jerky, salmon, chicken, cream cheese, peanut butter, or apples. Whatever is your pup's most coveted food, use that!

If your dog won't take food in a new environment, then he or she is distracted by the exciting environment which is okay! Just take some time to let your dog relax and get accustomed to the new surroundings and then ask them to focus. If they are still too distracted to focus, you can still use that to your advantage to get a good photo - see the fifth tip below for more details.


2. Patience and Practice


5 ways to look - patience

What many people may not know is that the camera can be a very threatening entity to many animals. It is essentially a giant eye that is staring at them, which is incredibly confrontational and unfriendly in the general animal world. Paired with treats and repetition, the camera can lose its scary feeling.

One client's dog was a naturally shy dog and her mom couldn't get a decent picture, though she asked the professional photographer to try because she wanted a nice portrait of her pup. She wasn't counting on the dog to cooperate or on the photographer getting any good shots. However, just by taking a little time to let the dog get used to the person, the treats, the camera and the click, the dog eventually relaxed enough and soon was even posing for the camera! Her mom was incredulous and ecstatic!

If the eye of the camera is scary, take some time to let the dog get used to being around the camera without pointing it directly at them. Take a few test shots with the sound of the shutter and give treats after each click to get the dog thinking the click is a fun sound. It's important to remember here that right now it does not matter if the photos are blurry or if the pet is even in the frame - the purpose here is to get the dog comfortable around the scary camera.


3. Noises


5 ways to look - noises

Have you ever seen a photographer or assistant who is sitting there squeaking a toy relentlessly, desperately trying to get the dog's attention? Truthfully, that has a very low rate of success for getting your dog's attention. If anything, they'll quickly ignore the repetitive and white noise sound, plus it's annoying to the humans around, too!

Squeaky toys are great, but should be used sparingly and purposefully. One trick that's been used with good success is to place the squeaker from a dog's toy in your mouth and make it squeak once or twice. The dogs generally are curious. and somewhat confused. about the noise coming from you and will look in your direction - you may even get an adorable head tilt.

If you don't have a squeaker, experiment with noises that get your dog's attention. Wait a few seconds between noises so you don't wear out the novelty of the noise. If the dog doesn't respond, try something else. Here are a few noise suggestions to try: meowing like a cat, clicking your tongue, making a kissy noise, a high-pitched trill, and low-pitched “vrrrrww” like a car engine.


4. Toys Are Great


5 ways to look - toys

Does your dog have a favorite ball, stuffy, Frisbee, or other toy? Use that to your advantage to get a great photo of your pup. Take the toy and direct your dog's eye-line and attention toward the camera with it and then have fun experimenting with different photos.


5. If All Else Fails, Capture Your Dog Behaving Naturally!


5 ways to look - natural

Your dog won't look at you? Try taking a photo of his beautiful facial profile. Your dog won't sit still? Capture some of that energy in a fun, action shot! Sometimes natural photos of your pet can make for the best photos and they might even end up being one of your favorites.


Is your dog a pose-perfect pooch or an adorable, all-natural action bolt of energy?


Article By:
Tiffany Hughes
Tiffany Diamond Dogs


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