"My dog is too nervous or anxious to have a photo session"

Author: Lil Monster Photography |

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As a dog photographer, I've worked with dogs of all temperaments and personalities, including those who are nervous or anxious. While these dogs may require a little extra patience and attention during a photo session, with the right approach, it's still possible to capture beautiful and memorable images of your furry family member. Here are a few tips for dog owners with nervous or anxious dogs to help ensure a successful photo session:

  1. Take things slow: As a photographer, I always take things slow and get to know the dog before taking any photos.  This is not only true for anxious/nervous dogs, but every dog, even if the dog is described as a super happy go lucky, “wigglebutt” of a dog. I'll sit down on the ground with them, let them sniff my camera bag and camera, and give them time to become comfortable with me and the environment.
  1. Bring familiar items: Bringing along familiar items like their favorite toy or blanket can help your dog feel more at ease during the photo session. Having something that smells like home can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity for your pet.
  1. Choose a comfortable location: Choosing a location that your dog is familiar with, such as a favorite park or backyard, can help them feel more comfortable and relaxed during the photo session.  I provide all prospective clients with a Location Guide that describes each of my favorite locations to shoot at, including the best times of the week and day.   
  1. Use positive reinforcement: When working with nervous or anxious dogs, it's important to use positive reinforcement techniques. I'll click the camera shutter and give them a treat so that they begin to pair the shutter click with the food, which makes it a positive thing. This can help your dog feel more comfortable around the camera and make the photo session a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.  This can also help with getting the dog’s attention later when he/she is posing because the pup thinks I still have food.  
  1. Stay relaxed: Dogs are very intuitive and can pick up on our emotions. If you're feeling anxious or stressed during the photo session, your dog may become more nervous as well. Staying calm and relaxed can help your dog feel more at ease and make the photo session a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.  Clients have time and time again said to me that all they saw was a chaotic crazy mess, but are mesmerized by the images we were able to pull out of the session, so take a breath and enjoy the moment.  

At Lil Monster Photography, I understand that every dog is unique and may require a different approach during a photo session. That's why I take the time to get to know each dog and work with their individual needs and personalities. With patience, positive reinforcement, and a little bit of preparation, together we can capture timeless and high-quality portraits of your furry family member.

If you have any questions or concerns about working with a nervous or anxious dog, please don't hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to help and provide guidance to ensure a successful photo session for both you and your pet.