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6 Simple Steps To Get Your Dog Posing For Photos

6 Simple Steps To Get Your Dog Posing For Photos

Snapping and sharing pictures of Ty and Buster in the gorgeous places we visited was part of the fun of traveling with them. Well, calling it “fun” might be a bit of a stretch. When we first started out “challenge” would have been a more appropriate description of our photo shoots. But we figured out a few tricks to get a dog posing for photos! And soon we were getting these types of comments:

“I’m so impressed that your boys will pose!”

“If I let go of the leash, my dog would be in the next county.”

“Look how well-behaved they are! And how photogenic!”

“Do you know how many pics I’d have to take of my pack to get one that looked this good?”

After Ty and Buster passed and Myles came along, teaching him to pose for photos was a priority. Testing my theories on our new pup as convinced me I’m on the right path. Myles already loves the camera, and you can judge how his photos are turning out!

Brindle puppy sitting at the top of the stairs in a motorhome

You Can Teach Your Dog To Pose For Photos

Teaching your dog to sit nicely for a photo isn’t rocket science. If we can do it, anyone can! All you need is a camera, a handful of treats, and a boatload of patience.

Step 1 – Start With A Solid Sit

To get your dog posing for photos, the first thing you’ll need is the “sit” command. A trainer who truly grasped my capabilities concluded it would be best to keep things simple … so around here, sit means sit. When I say “sit,” it means, drop your bum to the ground and keep it there until you’ve received another command or been released. We don’t use “wait” or “stay” commands because they would be redundant.

Working on your dog’s “sit” is something you can do 100 times a day without breaking a sweat. Just keep some treats in your pocket and every time your dog is around ask him to sit. When he does, release him and give him a treat.

We use the word “free” to communicate that our request for a behavior has ended, but any word will work. Over time you can lengthen the duration of the sit, add distractions, practice in new environments, and combine it with other commands, like “come,” which will also be handy when you start taking photos.

Brindle puppy sitting on an antique red truck parked in weeds under trees
Brindle puppy sitting on a rock in a desert landscape

Step 2 – Training “Watch Me”

It’s common knowledge that dogs do not like being stared at, and when they are, few dogs will stare back. Usually they avert their gaze, which becomes a problem when you realize that a camera lens looks a lot like a huge eye, and we want our dogs to look at it.

The effort it will take to get your dog comfortable with the lens depends on the camera you’re using and your dog’s personality. If you’re taking photos with your cell phone, you’ll likely have an easier time getting your pup to warm up. The lens on a cell phone camera is small, and our dogs see our phones all the time, so it’s not a new object that warrants caution. If you’re using a larger camera, things might take longer.

No matter your method of collecting photos, you’ll want to start teaching your dog a command that means “look at the camera.” For us, that command is “watch me.” Get out your treats, start slowly, and reward him as he improves.

In the beginning you may only get a small head turn toward you – that’s good, build on it! It can take a little work to overcome his natural inclination to look away from the camera.

We practice “watch me” every time we feed Myles. After setting his bowl down, we ask him to maintain eye contact until he’s released. He learned that one really quickly!

Brindle dog sitting near a pet friendly trolley car in Tombstone, Arizona

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