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  • Writer's pictureAmy Elizabeth Fine Art

How to Get Your Dog to Pose for Photographs

All the tips and tricks you need to get your dog to pose in the right way for the camera, so you get a great photo of your pet.

Have you ever seen photographs other people have taken of their dogs and wondered how they got them to stand so beautifully? Wanting better photographs of your dog, either for Instagram or to commission a pet portrait from me? It is really important to have lovely photographs of your pet to remember them by, so one of the things you can do to improve your pet portrait photography is get your dog to pose for the camera. Here are the things you need to learn to get your dog to sit nicely.

Make sure your dog knows how to sit and stay

There a few things that your dog needs to know in order for your to have the best chance of getting a good photo. The first one is sit. On the slight off chance your dog doesn't know how to sit on command, here's how to do it. The good news is teaching your dog to sit is pretty easy. Take a treat and put it in front of his nose, bring it up by bending your elbow. As your dogs' eyes and nose follows the movement of the treat, he should sit down. Repeat this until your dog has done this a few times reliably, add in the command "sit", timed to when he is in the action of sitting down.

Next is the stay command. This is much easier once your dog knows how to reliably sit. Begin with telling your dog to sit, then hold out your hand up in a stop kind of motion and say "stay". Holding out your hand is a good visual clue for your dog as to what he has to do. Wait for a few second and then release your dog by saying something like okay and reward them for their hard work. The key to teaching your dog anything is repetition, so repeat those few steps and slowly increase the length of time your dog will stay for. You also should introduce walking back a few steps making sure your dog doesn't follow you

Working on this over time will mean you can eventually tell your dog to sit and stay and then walk away to take a photo as your dog is still in position, to have his photo taken. These are the essential basics for if you want to get your dog to pose for photos, especially if you don't have someone on hand to stay near your dog to get them in position.

Now your dog is sitting and staying nicely for the camera, your next task is to get your dog to look in the right direction, whether this is him looking at the camera or off to one side. My dog knows the "watch me" command, which is very useful not only when taking photos of your dog, but also when you want to distract him from something or get him to calm down.

Teaching the "watch me" command, is also pretty easy. Simply use a piece of food and hold it in front of your eyes and say "watch me". Keep repeating this and give him the piece of food when he looks at you. Eventually, you can do this without the food, and just hold your fingers up as if you had food in them.

If you don't have the time for teaching them command just holding food where you want them to look is

also a pretty good bet. However, you want to make sure your dog knows not to break his stay position. You may need to repeat your stay command as you are holding the treat.

If your dog is not motivated by food, you can do the same process but instead of holding a treat, hold a toy.

The process is simple, if you want them looking directly at the camera hold you treat just above it. If you want them looking off to one side, hold your treat out with your arm extended in the direction you want them to look.

The key to doing these actions right is to only do them when you are ready to take your photo, they need to look over at just the right moment.

Make Use of Their Normal Behaviour-

You can also make use of their natural behaviour to get great photos that are a true representation of your pet. Maybe getting your dog to pose isn't going so well, or you just want a photo that is a bit different, then

taking the opportunity to get photos of your dog doing things that they naturally do, can be a great way to get some photos that really to represent your pet. Here is a photo of Monty at the gate waiting for someone to bark at. Anyone who has ever owned a Miniature Schnauzer will know that they are very good guard dogs. I do feel that this is one of the photographs that shows an example of what he is like in character and shows a little of his personality... and it didn't require one command, or bribing with treats.

Hopefully, this will have helped you in learning what you need to know to get your dog to pose for photographs. Whether you are taking photographs for your family album, Instagram or so you can commission a pet portrait of your dog from me, once you have learnt how to get them to pose the rest is a little easier.

Want to send me the photographs you took, I would love to see them! Email me at


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