I love when my couples and families bring their dogs to their sessions. Let me repeat this once more to make sure you hear me. This I LOVE when my couples and families bring their dogs to their sessions (hint: always bring man’s best friend).They are important members of your family and should definitely be included in a significant moment like your engagement session, wedding day, or family session. Heck! Bring em to all of them. I get more puppy kisses then!!! However, bringing your dog along can mean a couple of challenges and extra steps that you need to consider. So check out my 5 tips for preparing your dog and you and for your session!
1) Choose your location based on your dog
Not many people think about this, but choosing your location based on your dog will make or break your session. For example, if you have a dog that hasn’t been socialized or maybe is very reactive to noises, a park or crowded place wouldn’t be a great location for them. Another example would be if your dog is very shy or doesn’t like loud noises, downtown locations might be hard or stressful for them. Consider somewhere that compliments their personality and yours. Another idea might be to do a crowded area at a non-busy time. Sometimes parks and really busy areas are less crowded and noisy at non-peak times, but that might mean getting up super early to beat the crowds. Lastly, if we go somewhere new, expect that your pup will want to explore. You might want to get there early so they can sniff out all the new smells.
2) Prepping your dog
This includes a bunch of different things to make sure they are happy and willing to behave for the session.
- Get your dog groomed. If they don’t like the groomers, you might want to do it a couple of days before so the stress doesn’t affect them for the session.
- Have some pre-session exercise or play time. I don’t recommend getting muddy or anything, but getting out any pent up energy will definitely help out your dog in the long run!
- Bring their favorite toys and treats! Want to know how photographers are able to get such cute photos of the dogs looking right at the camera? I guarantee that there was probably a squeaker toy or a treat behind the camera.
- Let your photographer know good words and bad triggers. Examples of good words that trigger happy reactions are “treat” or “want to go for a walk?”. I can’t think of examples of bad words. But every dog has one. It’s the words that make them cry or run away. We don’t want that, so make sure I know of those ahead of time so I don’t say it!
3) Bring a Buddy
While your puppy is super cute, you want to make sure you get photos with them as well. I know. I know. It will be super hard, but I promise you. It will be worth it. However, I never want to leave your puppy all alone. The best thing to do is to bring a person they know. This should be a grandparent of the pup, close friend, or a sibling. Then your furry best friend will feel comfortable being left out of some photos but won’t be completely neglected!
4) Set realistic expectations and prepare for the unexpected
Unfortunately, working with furry friends means that everything isn’t going to go smooth all of the time. For example, our sweet little pooches don’t like to sit still all of the time. We will have to pet them, play with them, and interact with them. Be prepared to redo a shot if we need to make sure we got it just right.
In addition, be prepared for the Uh Oh moments. These are the moments where your sweet puppy starts jumping on you or gets into some mud. This is going to happen and you need to make sure you are okay with it. Because, in all honesty, they always happen.
5) Have fun and enjoy the candid
With puppies, there will be lots of candid moments. I can guarantee that. The best thing to do is to have fun with it. I can’t stress enough how dogs are incredibly unpredictable. Even the well trained ones. You never know what they are going to do.
Bonus tip: ACCESSORIZE!
I love when you dress your puppy up! Bow ties, matching sweaters, and cute collars are always encouraged! I highly recommend to try not to bring choke collars or anything like that to the session. We want to make sure they look adorable and unfortunately, those aren’t that great looking.
Well there you have it! If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to me! Oh and what is a post about dogs without actually seeing some puppies! Check out Heather Etheridge‘s sweet family session with their new girl, Lady!