Dog’s attention – How to get a dog’s attention for awesome photographs

In this weeks blog I share some top secret tips to help you get your dog’s attention when taking photographs.

Like people all dogs are completely different and are interested by different things. This means when photographing them we need to work out what interests them in order to stand a chance at getting a dog’s attention. If you are photographing your own dogs you will know this, but if you are photographing a client or friend’s dogs don’t be afraid to ask as it will massively help you.

Red – over here!

1 – My go to method to get a dog’s attention

Every photographer has their preferred method of getting a dogs attention and mine is slightly different and one I pre-warn clients about. Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, but if I don’t want people I get some odd looks. If I need to get a dog’s attention I make animal noises, the more bizarre the better. Turkey and goat noises are my personal favourites, and usually a hit with the dogs.

How to get my dogs attention
The handsome Eddie

2 – It’s all about the squeak

Sometimes the animal noises are just too much for the dog’s and I end up with them on my head. My back up is a squeaker out of a squeaky toy that I pop in my mouth and bite it to squeak. This keeps my hands free and usually makes the most stubborn of model to look at you and prick their ears.

You can either steal one of these from the inside of one of your dog’s toys or if you don’t want to upset your pal.

You can buy them separately from somewhere like Amazon – click here

Puppy portrait
The beautiful Cosmo

3 – Sometimes the way to a loving stare is through the stomach.

Of course their are dogs that are completely un-phased by noises no matter how exciting. However there may be another way to their hearts. Ask the owner to bring some treats they are happy for them to have and let the dog see the owner give them to you and pop them in your pocket. In the same pocket I also place an empty bag that makes alot of noise when rustled. When the dog is in position but you just need them to look the right direction a quick hand in the pocket and a rustle of the bag usually does the trick. Once you’ve got the shot don’t forget to go and reward them with a treat, nobody likes a tease.

Dog photography
Red and Nuka do serious faces for treats

4 – Only have eyes for their pawrents no matter how hard to try to get a dog’s attention

Then there are the dogs who are so utter and truly devoted to their owners that their eyes are constantly on them. These are probably some of the easier dogs to work with as long as you can get the dog to stay in a position away from their favourite person. When you are ready to take the shot just simply get the owner to walk behind you and they can always use a squeaky toy if you require a more pricked ears look.

Nuka look a bunny!

5 – What is their favourite word

My last tip is another easy one, no making yourself look silly with animal noises or having to put a squeaker in your mouth. All dogs have that one word that makes them look at you with sheer excitement, whether that’s “walkies” “where’s daddy/mummy” “rabbits” “cats”

They will all have one, just ask the owner, although I do refrain from using “hungry” or “dinner time” as feel a bit mean.

My biggest tip in relation to getting a dog’s attention is to do your research and find out what motivates each dog. Do this and you will have a better chance of getting the attention of any dog.

Around the circle

I am part of an amazing group of pet photographers that do a weekly blog circle. All you need to do is follow the link below to the next photographer in the circle and do the same on their page and so on until you find yourself back here. The circle will take you on a trip around the world where you can read top tips from other fabulous photographers.

Courtney at CM Bryson shares a few tricks to get dogs looking at the camera during a pet photo shoot.

If you would rather that I was the one on the floor making animals noises then get in touch to BOOK YOUR SHOOT TODAY

7 Replies to “Dog’s attention – How to get a dog’s attention for awesome photographs”

  1. Loved this! adorable video and fun to read! I have to agree with number 3, the stomach is totally the way to get my loving stare. Oh, and I completely forgot about the favorite word!

  2. Isn’t it fun saying “where’s your ball” over and over again in baby talk? I swear, even newborn photographers have it easier than us sometimes. I love your videos on getting attention during your dog portrait sessions in Suffolk.

  3. So many dogs are extremely attached to their owners I find myself using the “walk behind me” method quite a bit haha! Love the little videos 🙂 Great post!

  4. I too always ask “does your dog have any magic words?” and people will look at me quizzically and I’ll suggest “you know like cookie, treat, biscuit, etc.” and then I sit back and laugh at the responses I get; “Mommy’s home”, “Wanna go for a ride?”, “Where’s your toy?”.

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