Does your pug seem to hate having photos taken? Or perhaps they are so energetic they turn into a blur? I am going to share with you some tips on how to get your pug to look at the camera. Hopefully these tips will turn your camera shy pug into a poser.
Tip 1: Patience is key
When taking photos of any dog whether you are a pro photographer, an amateur photographer, hobbyist or just a pug parent with a camera phone, the key to getting any quality photo of your pug is patience. Keep calm the entire time even if they are not cooperating as your frustration will be felt and make your pug more likely to play up. If it gets too much for either you or your pug, take a break. It could be just thing you both need. Relax and having a play will calm things back down and then you both may end up be ready to capture the perfect photo.
Tip 2: Exercise them before a shoot
When you have such an energetic pug, it can be extremely hard to get them to calm down and sit still for a few minutes to capture that snap. The best way to get them camera focused and calm before a shoot is to have them well exercised so they use up most of that energy. We don’t want them falling asleep as soon as the camera comes out so take note of how much exercise wears them out and cut it back 10 minutes. This can be a play at the dog park, a walk or just some playtime at home. Either way, use up that energy so they are less likely to run away from the camera.
Tip 3: Praise, Praise, Praise
Hands up who loves to be praised or rewarded for doing a job well done? Well it’s no different for dogs. And taking photos of your pug is just another training task that needs to be taught, practiced and rewarded. So every time your pug looks at the camera, reward them with a treat, a pat and a big well done, even if the photo doesn’t work out. The more you reward the things you want them to do, the more likely they are to continue to do it. A great technique to get your pug looking at the camera is to first work on getting them to look at you without the camera. Use the command “look at me” and direct their gaze to your eyes with a treat and then reward them immediately. Once you have consistently got them looking at you just using the command without direction of the treat, you can introduce the camera and go through the process again of getting them to look at you but with the camera in front of you. If you need to, use the treat to draw their attention and then reward immediately after doing this. The more you practice this, the easier it will become to take photos. 10-15 minutes of this everyday will have them turning into a pro model in no time.
Tip 4: Grab their attention
If your pug by some chance is just not food orientated or gets overly excited about food that they can’t stay still, try using a squeaky toy or unusual noise to grab their attention. A squeaky toy usually gets a dog to prick their ears up and look in the direction of the sound. You can hold the toy above the camera or even just behind your back. If a squeaky toy isn’t enough, try making different sounds to get their attention. High pitched sounds like making a kissing sound work well as do animal noises. If you are using a camera other than the one on your phone and you aren’t very good at making funny or animal noises, there are various apps that will be able to do this for you. I would avoid using animal noises if typically your pug reacts negatively to them.
Tip 5: Keep it short and sweet
Any dog will become bored and even agitated doing the same thing for too long. When taking photos, it is definitely best to keep it short and sweet. Limit your photo shoot to no more than 20 minutes before taking a well deserved break for both of you. You will be surprised at just how many photos you can take in 20 minutes and you’ll be bound to get one good shot in there. Always end the session with rewards whether it be a play with their favourite toy, a treat, walk or some one-on-on time for cuddles. When you are both refreshed and ready to focus on taking awesome photos again, you can try another round.
When it comes to taking photos of your pug, it really is just another training exercise. The more you do it, the better it gets. When I first really got into taking photos of Ref, I was going through a lot of treats and getting only a handful of good images in a longer period. The more we did it, the less treats I needed and the quicker the sessions became. We are now at the point that 98% of the time, one treat is given at the end of the session only. We are getting our ideas pumped out in 10-15 minutes. And best of all, Ref associates having photos as something fun. I now just pick up my camera, show it to him and say, “let’s take some photos” and he is up and trotting into our photo taking spot and ready to pose in just a couple of minutes. This hasn’t happened over night either. I have been taking this style of photos with Ref for probably about 12 months now. And it has only been in the last month or so that I’ve been able to take things to the next level with him and we are tackling photos I never thought we would be able to do. So with some time, patience and a lot of love and treats, the sky is the limit. Don’t give up on getting that perfect photo of your pug. It will come.