Preparing your Dog for their Session
- For the weeks coming up to your session, work with your dog on sit/stay commands. Use positive reinforcement and practice daily in short intervals (10-15 minutes).
- Plan to exercise your dog BEFORE the session. Just enough exercise to alleviate any over-excitement, but not so much that they are worn out for the session.
- Don’t feed your dog a full meal before a shoot; otherwise they will be less alert and most likely in the mood for a nap.
- I provide a variety of homemade healthy treats, so there is no need to bring any. We try not to use treats until after the session, as dogs can become fixated on them and may also salivate more than usual; not so nice in photos ;-) Please let me know if your dog has any allergies.
- Your dog should be bathed two days before and brushed out the day before. You know how your dog will look his or her best, but if you do choose to have your dog trimmed, we recommend you have that done a week before the sitting rather than on the same day in case the cut is too short, or not exactly what you expected. This allows a little time to grow out. A grooming and portrait session on the same day can also be a lot of stress for many dogs.
- If you are doing an in-studio session, please be sure to trim your dog's nails to avoid any scratches or damage to furniture, props, or flooring.
- Bring a toy or two that your dog loves! Bring any other items you want your dog photographed with; special collar, toy, blanket, etc.
- If your dog is wearing clothing for the session, make sure to try it on prior to the session to be sure it fits and is comfortable. I do not recommend dressing dogs up unless they are used to wearing clothes regularly and enjoy it!
- If you opt for a location that requires leashes, try to bring a very thin 4-6 foot simple leash (not retractable), since it is thin enough that removing the leash in post-processing is much easier. I always carry a few show leads with me, so don't worry if you don't have a thin leash. Avoid bright colors, or thick collars unless the collar has special significance and you want it to stand out.
- Your tone of voice and body language translate very effectively to your dog and their mood. Use compassionate authority. Never discipline or yell at your dog during a session, this will only increase their anxiety. With soothing talk, positive reinforcement and patient repetition, your dog will eventually figure out what you want him to do.
- Please make us aware of any aggression issues your dog may have so that we can be sensitive to those concerns. We understand that some dogs have special needs; aggression, anxiety, fear of new things, nervousness/timidity, etc., but we will discuss all of these issues in the pre-shoot consultation.
- PLEASE NOTE: If doing a studio session, some dogs can be sensitive to the studio lights. Most dogs get used to it after a couple flashes, but some just won't tolerate it. In the event this happens, we will reschedule and do an outdoor session.
We want you and your dog to enjoy the experience and get wonderful pieces of art for your home! Please contact me with any other questions you may have.