The Secret Behind Great Dog Photos

Does your dog like having its picture taken? How can you tell?

Doglando’s dogs are busy getting their holiday snapshots taken. It’s in a low-stress, low-pressure environment, and happy smiles are gotten with treats, but still, we get some interesting expressions.

Behold, Polly’s amazing changing face!

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How to get better photos of your dog

To a dog, a direct stare is associated with threat behavior. Staring is not a calm, happy behavior. When a dog gets stared at, either by another dog, a human, or a camera (which can look like a great big staring eye!), they often exhibit a lot of behaviors that Roger Abrantes calls “pacifying behaviors” and Turid Rugaas calls “calming signals”. These are signals which tell the staring thing that the dog does not want to escalate the situation, and is not offering any threat.

In the first photo, Polly isn’t sure what’s going on, and is intimidated by something — probably the camera, but it could be the handler, or something else in the environment.

She is showing ears-back behavior (which can indicate uncertainty, stress, nonaggression), squinty, partly-closed eyes (the exact opposite of staring, if you think about it), and a tightly closed mouth. Her body is also lowered. This is a dog who would prefer not to have her photo taken!

Fortunately, there is no reason for any dog to be scared of photography. We just have to be patient with them, and remind them that treats are involved! In the second photo, our model has had a little time to think about the camera (and eat some treats), and no longer feels threatened by its presence. Look at that smile!

We’ll share more adorable holiday-themed dog photos in the coming weeks, but in the meantime… do you have any holiday pics to share? Show us your pup’s most festive photos – other readers would love to see them, too!