How To Take Great Photos of Your Pet

As I mentioned on an earlier post, my mother did not allow me to have dogs inside the house when I was growing up. We had plenty of animals at the farm but sadly none were welcomed in the house. She just did not care to have animals inside. Every once in a while my siblings and I would try to sneak a baby chick or puppy, but mother had eyes on the back of her head and she would instantly find out. I always loved animals so when I grew up I had my revenge. I sure did let my very first own dog live in the house as a member of the family. Who knew that years later I would end up with so many animals.  If I could, I probably would let my horses live with me as well.

Aside from my three dogs, Sugar, the yellow Labrador, and the two puppies, Scooter and Rosebud, from one of the lab mix litters I fostered and I ended up adopting, I also have living in my house my daughter’s Schipperke, Lola. I even had to pay for a kennel permit to keep this fourth doggie since city code only allows for three dogs per household.

I have made it a hobby to take group photos of all four dogs for each holiday with the appropriate foods representing each special occasion. I really enjoy sending them out as greeting cards to our friends and family. I get so many compliments on how well the dogs are posing and I get asked all the time how I managed to make them all sit so nicely and not touch the food in front of them!

We should all remember that training never stops so every day we practice our basic commands and I use a lot of positive reinforcement.  We play games with the “leave it” and “wait” commands all the time and they are now so good at these commands that I am able to pose them in front of food without them trying to eat it.

One of my favorite pictures is this one I took for the Fourth of July. I set up a picnic in front of them with the patriotic fruit tart, the hot dogs, corn, and watermelon. I had even bought beer cans with the red, white and blue labels but with all the excitement, I forgot to set them out. With the flags all around them and their patriotic bandanas, they sure make a lovely bunch.

So start practicing the “leave it” and “wait” commands with your pups, and soon you will be able to get great photos of them to send as greeting cards or just for fun to give yourself and others something to smile about. Always get down to their eye level. Sound calm and praise a lot. And remember to reward them profusely when the photo shoot session is over. Have specially yummy treats for rewards. And don’t forget, have fun!

Elena Flyer is a Californian owner and lover of animals: horses, dogs, birds – you name it! She is actively involved in the community whether through therapeutic dog visits to healthcare facilities, or volunteering at Labrador Rescuers.

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