How to Pose Your Dogs for Photos

Key Items

The most helpful things your dog should know how to do are 1) look at you with attention and 2) sit.

Use Treats

The easiest way to get your dog’s attention, if they do not look at you by name alone, is to hold a treat. Using a treat as a lure will also help you guide the direction your dog is looking for your photo, such as straight at your camera. I hold my phone in one hand and a treat in the other a few inches above my phone. Play around with the distance and angle needed to get the right photo. There are also clips and attachments for your phone that you can use to hold the treat for you.

My favorite treats for any training are Zuke’s Mini Naturals. These treats and dog food are the only items I have on Amazon subscription. They are unfortunately in short supply right now since the brand voluntarily pulled all stock from sale due to a quality control concern. I prefer the peanut butter flavor – my dogs like all of them, but the meat and particularly salmon flavors can come back to haunt you in doggy breath later. In the interim I have been using these Buckley Trainers treats recently and they are very similar but a little larger than Zuke’s, so I’ll sometimes break them in half. For budget-friendly treats, consider making your own, using your dog’s regular food, or small pieces of pet-friendly food like carrots.

Photographer + Erin for these post-wedding pics with Wrigley. Photo by Keira Davis

If you need your dog looking another direction, are going to be more than a couple feet away, or using a professional (two hands) camera, recruit a second person to help you. They can hold treats or toys up leaving you or the photographer to focus on just taking photos. My friend Erin can capture the dogs’ attention without even necessarily holding out treats!

The Pose

A good sit is also important for photos. I find it to be the easiest pose to keep your dog still and be able to move their gaze around. If they have any costumes or clothing on, this also provides a good front view of the outfit or keeping anything like a hat steady (generally, you will need a hat with straps or ear holes to secure it). If your dog can hold a down stay, that is also a good pose for photos.

With two dogs, my biggest challenge is usually getting them close enough together and then looking the same direction. At close range, I nudge them dogs together or lure them into position with treats. Again, a second person maybe helpful to get them both looking the right way. I also find indoors or full shade to provide the best lighting. You can take photos in sun, but will need to be mindful of where any shadows fall, especially if you have your arms extended to hold your camera or treats.

If I am outside in an open area, I’ll usually keep the dogs on leash if I am taking pictures by myself. Tucker is prone to distractions and might startle and bolt if say, a scary plastic bag blows past in the wind. Outdoors, I will lay their leashes down out of the way and step on one or both. You can also tie the leashes to something like a tree if convenient. For photos specifically, a regular clip-on leash on a flat collar is easiest to hide and maneuver for photos versus a harness. I also have extra long training leashes that are great for more space taking photos.

If your dogs make too serious a face for a treat (above left), try walking them around or have them trot to you with the come command so they drop their mouths back open or pant. This will look like a smile in a photo. The caveat is if you try this after a long walk or when they are too distracted, their tongues and faces might go too far the other way to hold a nice pose.

Most importantly, be patient and practice! Even if your pet is doing everything perfectly, they might just blink in a picture. For every good dog photo I have, there are 5-10 not so good versions. Keep it fun for yourself and your pet so you can continue to take more photos!

Keeping Pet Fur Under Control: Your Bed

This is part three of a series. Read part one on clothing here, and part two on floors here.

Disclaimers: These may yield different results for short haired pets. I am not yet famous enough for affiliate links, so any linked items are a truly honest representation of my recommendations.

YOUR BED

If your pet is allowed on the bed and leaves fur all over your bed, GET YOURSELF A CHOM CHOM ROLLER. After many years of using a white duvet cover to camouflage Wrigley’s white fur, I was shamelessly about to switch to a patterned one since Tucker has added brown fur into the mix. My initial impression of the Chom Chom was not great and I almost returned it because it seemed overpriced ($24 at time of posting) but ended up keeping it solely for running over my bed. It works on duvet covers, sheets, pillowcases, and even my headboard.

I used to waste a lot of sticky lint roller sheets trying to make my bed look marginally better. The Chom Chom roller is much faster and more sustainable. The rolling motion with the double sided velvet piece is the most effective tool I have ever used to remove fur from sheets in just a few quick swipes.

Others rave that the Chom Chom also works well on any flat fabric surfaces, like microfiber couch cushions. I have more textured fabric on my couches so I can’t speak to this, but I prefer a sticky lint roller for clothing. You need a large, flat surface to lay out any clothing and need it to stay held pretty tautly or the fabric tends to bunch and wrinkle before you can get much fur or lint off.

On my guest bed, I keep an extra fitted sheet over the entire made bed. I use a spare king-sized sheet on a queen bed and am able to cover all the pillows and comforter as well. This is a protective cover against my dogs randomly romping or napping on the bed. I periodically run the Chom Chom over the protective sheet, then do one final pass and take the cover off when I have visitors so they have a clean and ready bed.

Keeping Pet Fur Under Control: Floors

This is part two of a series. Read part one on clothing here.

Disclaimers: These may yield different results for short haired pets. I am not yet famous enough for affiliate links, so any linked items are a truly honest representation of my recommendations.

YOUR FLOOR

There are several tools to keep in your arsenal here, and the right combo for you will vary on the size of your spaces, materials, and your pets. Sadly, for mega shedders like my pups, robot vacuums and Swiffer cloths are no match without running or refilling them multiple times.

My top recommendation is a compact vacuum that works on both carpet and hard floors. I have had a Shark Navigator (picture above) for 5+ years and it is great for all the floors and a deep cleaning of the stairs or my couch. The brush hose extension can be also used on lamp shades, headboards, throw pillows, and more. This is the current available version. It swivels and turns very well, and is modular so you can remove the wheeled bottom and the handle becomes the actual hose/extension piece. For pets, you will want a vacuum with brush rollers or even a “pet” attachment to really grab on to fur. Periodically clean the hair off the bottom where the brush roller is or it will get entangled and be less effective.

Next up is a dust buster, or a mini, cordless hanheld vacuum. Despite my love for my Shark vacuum, I live in a four-story townhouse and lugging even a small vaccum around is challenging. The dust buster is my favorite for quick cleaning stairs and great for nabbing fur tumbleweeds. Since it’s small, you don’t necessarily have to move furniture around either (like around dining chair legs). It’s also great for other small spills like food crumbs or dirt near your doors. This has always been a family favorite for me, and I just recently got a replacement dust buster for the one I had for about 10 years. In my eyes, the only downfall of the dust buster is, by nature of being cordless, it eventually runs out of battery and you have to stop and recharge it (I’ve gone about 25-30 min).

Then we have the rubber squeegee broom. This newcomer is good for a full hardwood room when I don’t want to get out the vacuum or I’ve already vacuumed and then my dogs have a wrestling match. It accomplishes what I wish the Swiffer would do for my floors (and did do, before pets). The main issue is that I would need 5+ dry sweep cloths to do just my living room. Fur and dirt get pushed around easily with the rubber broom, it fits under furniture, and you can also use it on multiple surfaces – hard floors, carpet, couches, rugs, etc. You will need to scrape it with more pressure on soft surfaces versus the sweeping motion on hard floors. You can also use it on the stairs, but I find it kicks the dirt around too much versus a dust buster, and I sweep a little too aggressively and scuff the white paint on my stair risers.

Click here for a demo of the squeegee broom if the video doesn’t load on mobile.

Robot Vacuums. There are some hardore fans of the robot vacuum, and I am not one. First, the container on my robot vacuum is smaller than the dust buster receptacle, and needs to be emptied at least 3 times in our main living area alone. Second, ours needs to be semi-monitored because it will get stuck on something like the corner of a floor mat or under a cabinet. If you have a smaller space, it can be a great time saver.

Dyson Vacuums. I was lucky enough to receive a cordless Dyson vacuum as a wedding gift. It is lightweight, but I think would work better in smaller spaces. The Dyson has a very small storage footprint and you can mount it to a wall or behind a door. I used it more in our last apartment than now. (I did give it a solid test run pre-wedding and cleaned a friend’s entire living area with theirs). The biggest flaw on the Dyson is it requires you to continuously hold a trigger down to run instead of a fixed “on” switch, which is fatiguing if you need to clean the whole house. I also find it less effective on stairs and carpet versus my Shark vacuum. On stairs, when the Dyson whooshes (powers) off, it blows some of the dirt around and leaves it behind. On carpet, I have to empty the fur out frequently and that diminshes some of the convenience of it being cordless.

Keeping Pet Fur Under Control: Clothing

I’ve got two active dogs with long and medium coats, which means there is dog fur everywhere, all day, every day. I’ve tried a lot of products and tactics to keep the fur at bay to keep my home and clothing in presentable condition. Here are my top recommendations, beginning with your clothes.

Disclaimers: These may yield different results for short haired pets, and represent my experience with medium to long haired dogs.

YOUR CLOTHING

Wrigley loves to nap in the dark confines of my closet, which means nuzzling against some of my wardrobe. The best rule of thumb to keep your clothes fur free is to keep your pets away from your clothes as best you can:

  • Keep your clothing enclosed or out of reach. This isn’t possible for everything, but I keep my t-shirts in a dresser drawer, and some shoes in enclosed under-bed storage. There’s tons of storage options at The Container Store, Amazon, Target, etc. Once you know what you’re looking for, keep an eye out at places like Home Goods for budget-friendly options.
  • Once you’re dressed to leave, don’t nuzzle your pets or sit on any fur.
  • Change into “home” clothing that is fur-repellent or you are okay covering in fur.
  • Run a lint roller over your clothing before it goes in your hamper.
  • Keep clean clothing away from your pets. Fold it on a clean surface and don’t leave it out where fur will collect.

Your best tool to remove fur from clothing is a lint roller. I prefer the sticky, disposable sheets to the velvety reusable ones, as these can pass over the most types of fabric and types of clothing, including lace or textured items. Keep them everywhere – where you dress, your living room, your car, at work. There are miniature ones for travel. You can also roll them on other surfaces like tables or floors to pick up fur quickly.

Note: These pet-specific dryer sheets come in a nice double size, but after a few months I haven’t noticed them being particularly effective at repelling pet fur versus the regular ones.

Coming this week: tips for your floor and bed!