Diesel, Rugby and I put our Obedience skills to good use today at the park. We took a walk, took some photos and practiced with the basket some too. Rugby is a picture taking professional at this point but Diesel is still learning the ropes. He gets stressed and overwhelmed easily.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way in helping to get Diesel to like our little photo shoots. Since our photo shoots can contain up to 20+ dogs, these tips have been applied to all sorts of dogs and work on more than just your average GSD.
The first, is make sure the dog has a foundation in Obedience. Sit, Stand and Down give you plenty of options for posing your dog. If they are just learning, don’t hesitate to set the camera down for a mini-training session before continuing on with the shoot. A couple of practice stays or retrieves can help reinforce the training needed for the photo.
Take frequent breaks. Holding position and attention for any length of time is surprisingly hard for the dogs. Release and re-set every few minutes so they remain fresh and interested in the work.
Feel free to use bribery. Pictures are better when the dogs ears are up (usually). Bring a squeaky toy and/or food and let them indulge during your breaks so that everyone keeps looking in the right direction, and the ears stay perky and alert!
If they aren’t feeling it, move on. It could be that the dog’s training isn’t quite up to par or they are uncomfortable with the new situation. If you are lucky enough to have multiple dogs, some time out on the side can create jealousy that will speed the process up. Otherwise, get your creative juices flowing and work within the dog’s comfort zone.
Have any other tips that help you with your own photo shoots?