Couch Wolf Selfies!
Admit it - your Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of dog pictures and videos… And you love it! If you are anything like me, your phone also contains hundreds, if not thousands of the same. So how do you take the best pics? I’ll let you in on some secrets in this article.
While candids can make some of the best photos, they are by nature not predictable. So I turn to tricks to help. My first go-to is to teach my dogs to follow my finger and phone/camera. My teaching this visual targeting, I can set them up to look in any direction without them moving, recalling, or otherwise ruining the photo. In addition, they will start to recognize that their paying attention to a phone/camera is met with cookies and good things, so looking at those items means a reward is coming. When layered with other tricks and solid cued behaviors (some of my faves are described here), you can get some amazing photos and videos!
And of course, some of the outtakes can be just as adorable as the staged photos themselves!
Action shots often require some set up as well, so things like stays/recalls are super helpful! Of course, you will need to be sure that you have the photography know-how and equipment to capture clear moving shots.
When I hear the word selfie, I also think of getting in the pic with my dog. But I’ll let you in on a little secret - many dogs do not like this. While some have grown accustomed to our human ways of expressing affection, such as hugging and kissing, they by nature do not usually enjoy being in such close proximity to our faces. This can be seen by their wanting to move away, or by displaying lowered ears and lip licking, amongst other stress signals when we try to make them “get in close” for selfies with us.
Once again, tricks can be the answer!
Depending on your dog’s height, you may need to sit down on the ground, and/or use a pedestal so that they can be higher up. I like to first teach a “paws up” cue, wherein your dog puts their front two paws up on something. Again, if your dog is the right height, you might not need any more!
If they are not, then you also would want to add in a “sit pretty” to the mix, so that they are the correct height to put their front paws on your shoulders.
I then use a “chin” cue to get their head down on my shoulder.
And there you have it! An adorable selfie that is comfortable for you and your Couch Wolf!
For more in depth info on how to teach some of my favorite, and most useful tricks, check out my online class, Gettin’ Tricksy With It! We have just started open enrollment, so you don’t have to wait until a specific date to get in on the fun!