How to prep for a photo session with your dog

1. Plan

Location.  Choose a place where your dog will be comfortable. If your dog is shy or nervous, your home may be the best option. Only consider a studio setting if you are confident your dog will do well in a new environment. If you choose an outdoor location, don’t forget to bring some water along so your dog won’t become overheated.

Let your photographer know about your dog’s temperament, especially if they are aggressive toward new people. That way your photographer will be able to prepare accordingly. 

2. Prepare

Practice commands. If you don’t regularly use obedience commands, be sure to practice them a few days before the photo session to make sure your pup will do what you ask, when you ask. Make sure your dog responds to sit, stay and wait. If you want to incorporate any special tricks during the photo shoot, be sure to practice those, too.

Grooming. To make sure your dog looks his best, either give them a bath or take them to the groomer. Be sure to do that two days before the photo shoot. That will give the dog’s hair some time to settle in place so they’ll look their best.

Trim your dog’s nails. If you choose a professional studio setting, trim your dog’s nails so they won’t leave any scratches on the floor or furniture. If you can’t — or don’t trim them yourself — make this part of your dog’s grooming before the photo shoot.

3. Day of the dog photo shoot.

Walk your dog. About an hour before the dog photo shoot, it’s a good idea to take a walk to burn off some energy. This will help make your dog more relaxed and photogenic. But make sure they don’t get muddy!

Treats. If your dog is food motivated, consider bringing some along. But be cautious about using them. Some dogs become fixated on the treats and that can make the photos look unnatural and unfocused. It also can make your dog drool. Instead, consider bringing a toy your pup likes to play with.

Don’t feed your dog. If your dog is hungry, they are more likely to be alert and willing to focus. If you feed your dog first, you may end up with a sluggish dog who just wants to curl up for a nap. And, if you don’t feed your dog first, a food-motivated dog is more likely to respond to treats.

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