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How to Introduce the Camera to a Dog

For some dogs, new things are exciting and interesting, but for others, they can be scary. Even if your dog is on the confident side, get down on the ground and let the dog sniff your camera and equipment before you start — maybe even days ahead of time, if your pooch is on the extra timid side.

As he’s checking everything out, make sure to praise him and tell him what a good boy he is. You can even offer a treat if you need some extra positive reinforcement.

After your dog seems at ease around the camera, you can try raising it and pointing it in his direction. Again, take it slowly; don’t make any sudden movements. Keep praising him for doing such a good job. Then try clicking off a frame to see how he reacts to the sound.

Again, reward him when the camera goes off so the experience becomes positive. The goal is to make the camera as nonthreatening as possible in your dog’s eyes before you pick it up and start rapid firing.

Dogs read energy as one of their main sources of information and often respond to people like little mirrors. If you’re happy, your dog is happy. If you’re angry, your dog tenses up. No matter what happens during your photo shoot, you must act like it was supposed to happen.

Stay as calm and nonreactive as possible. When you stay calm, you make better decisions and you can creatively solve problems as they come up. Your dog also feels more at ease when he knows you’re calm, cool, and collected.

To get those shots where your dog is looking right at the camera, you have to draw his attention to the camera with something he likes.

For a lot of dogs, this means treats; for others, it means a squeaker or a toy. Place objects as close to the lens as possible (sitting right above or below or to the side . . . or even touching it sometimes) to get the dog to look right at you, and snap away!

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