"My dog isn't trained so I can never get good photos."
That statement is said to me almost daily. I always pull up a photo of several puppies all sitting looking at my camera and I say "Take a look at this". "WOW, how did you get them to all sit like that?"
People will often look at my photography of dogs and tell me how their dog won't sit, or doesn't follow commands. I always explain that the majority of the dogs I photograph are not trained. While I have photographed several dogs that all know several commands and always listen, I actually enjoy the challenge of a dog who doesn't listen.
When a dog is trained they often have a different focus depending on the type of dog training that was used. Trained dogs will often have a very serious look and they usually have their attention towards the owner. Trained dogs are fun to photograph as I can usually hit several locations outdoors quickly with the dog and I know that the dog will listen.
Untrained dogs often have to be on leash or in an area that is fenced. Do you trust your dog off leash? If the answer is no, the dog remains on the leash the entire Bark Gallery session, unless in a fenced safe area. While the leash is a distracting element I include professional leash removal in all final products. This is a great benefit as you can be just outside of the frame and the dog is safe and will not run away. Bear is usually allowed to roam off leash when we are at the lake, or out playing ball. However occasionally he has his leash on and I remove it in the final images.
A dog who is untrained and doesn't respond to commands from the owner will often "listen" to me. I routinely photograph rescue dogs and very young puppies. I know a few of the tricks to get a dog quickly into a pose. This can take a bit of patience and some dog treats but the owners are shocked that their dog listened to me. If they are presented with a treat in a certain manner the dog will naturally "sit". I shape this behavior rather quickly during the portrait session and the dog repeats the behavior. I also prefer that the dog isn't always sitting sometimes I like the standing pose.
While having a dog that follows commands and listens to his family is something that should be practiced. This is not always the case. Dogs in new environments and distracting areas will often want to investigate. Once they are distracted they often will not follow commands.
Dogs are curious creatures if they hear a weird noise they want to check it out. This is something that I use to my advantage. Often untrained dogs will come to check out the noise and I get cute photos of the dog coming to me.
Dog training is something that can improve the relationship with your dog. Teaching a dog how to sit on command is fairly simple. It's something that is fun to do and a rewarding experience for both parties. It's good to have some basic commands with your dog so that they can come in handy. Bear knows a few commands and he knows to always sit for a treat rather than jumping up and down.
If you have an untrained dog please feel free to schedule a Bark Gallery session. I will make sure to capture great photos of your dog. While maintaining the safety of your pets. If you have concerns prior to your Bark Gallery session please let me know prior to the appointment.
Bark Gallery - Rick Vierkandt