"My dog won't sit still, it's impossible to get a photo of him"
As the saying goes, if I had a pound for every time I'd heard this, I'd be rich, retired and living somewhere very luxurious!
We all know that dogs can be bouncy, joyful and full of fun, and while you love that quirky character in your fur-best friend, it can be really tough when you're trying to get a photo to share on your Instagram or with your friends. In fact, it's one of the reasons I most often hear for why someone is worried about booking a photo shoot - because they're worried their dog won't sit still and they'll waste the photographer's time.
For me, it's never a problem if your dog is super bouncy or excited! I love dogs, but I also understand them, so I know that your dog might need a bit longer to settle, or to figure things out so you know what you want them to do.
Here are my top tips for getting your own dog to sit still while you take those Instagram worthy shots:
TRAIN A SIT/STAY
This is literally the most valuable skill to have in your dog's repertoire, and not just for taking photos! Just recently my sister accidentally smashed a photo frame in her lounge & the glass went everywhere - asking the dogs to sit and wait meant she could clear up the glass without worrying about them being hurt.
If your dog is used to sitting and waiting - and, even better, you walking away from them while they wait - it is so much easier when it comes to getting them to pose for photos. Too often we just train our dogs to sit at our feet, which makes things tricky when you want to get a little further away. Check out this video explaining how to teach a sit/stay for your photo shoot.
TOYS, TREATS AND REWARDS - OH MY!
Know what motivates your dog. If your dog will do anything for a ball, use this as a motivator to lure them into position and keep them focussed on looking the right way. It's best to start with low value treats so they don't get too excited - particularly if you are just asking them to do a basic pose. Save the super special high value treats for something a bit more tricky or if they need extra motivation!
AN EXTRA PAIR OF HANDS
When you're trying to juggle managing the dog, keeping their focus with a reward AND taking the photo, it can just be too much and it all goes horribly wrong. Ask your friend, partner or even the kids to give you a hand by keeping your dog's attention, so that you can focus on getting that great shot. Believe me, even I find it really hard to get an awesome photo without a second pair of hands to help out with the dog!
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
This advice is twofold really - firstly there is no point in trying to get your dog to pose midway through a crazy game - they're just going to be too excited to listen. Get your photos taken while your dog is calm - then reward them with a fun 5 minutes afterwards.
Secondly - don't worry if it doesn't work out first time. Sometimes it takes a few tries for your dog to get the idea of what you're asking them to do, but it's amazing how quickly they work out that doing what you ask means they get a yummy reward!
CONSIDER A PROFESSIONAL
If you're struggling to get those images that really capture the adorable character of your dog, think about booking a professional photo shoot with a specialist dog photographer. They'll understand how to get the best photos of your dog, and know all the tips and tricks of the trade to capture those moments that will make your heart melt.
In my experience the best dog photographers are dog people themselves, so they'll understand how to help your dog relax, know that it's important to work at your dog's pace and make sure your dog's welfare is paramount at all times. They won't mind if your dog needs a bit more time to get used to things - and they'll love those slobbery kisses when your dog says hi!
They also don't need your dog to sit still for very long - just a fraction of a second is enough to get those gorgeous shot's you'll love. So don't be afraid to book a professional photo shoot as well as capturing your own Instagram-worthy moments - I promise you'll enjoy the experience and get your own Pawfect Moments to treasure forever.