What’s the one awesome thing we all need to do to stay alive?! Eat! Dogs too! And it’s one of the most expressive and funny ways to capture your dog in the studio:
catching a treat mid-air!
The idea of a dog’s teeth out, eyes rolled back and cheeks a flappin’ is nothing new. It’s been trendy in the pet photography world since Christian Vieler made it popular.
So what does it take to create this kind of drool-drops-flying magic?
Is it for you? Well …
Can your dog catch treats?!!
If no, then it’s going to be difficult to get these shots. If you’ve seen that viral dog where the owner would lob all sorts of food at it, only for the food to slap it in the face? Yeah. Probably wouldn’t make for the best photos.
So you have a dog that won’t win a catch contest anytime soon. Don’t worry, there’s hope for you yet.
Lucky for me, the daycare we took Mucca to when he was but a wee boy, worked on his treat catching skills on our behalf. So you can always take that route.
And now it’s one of his favorite pastimes!
Nola was another story, of course. Luckily, I realized pretty quickly that she would try to catch toys in her mouth!
Here’s how I did it:
- I’d take the biggest stuffed animal I could find and start by standing over her. Then I’d drop it into her mouth until she got the idea.
- Slowly, I’d back up a hair and toss/drop.
- Then I’d back up another hair. Toss.
- Then I’d back up a handful of hairs. Toss. Toss. Toss, until she was catching toys from a few feet away.
- Then I started the whole process again but with a big slice of mortadella. It didn’t hurt when it landed over her face, plus it’s pretty tasty so she didn’t mind.
- Back up, but with a slice of scamorza affumicata (smoked cheese!) Toss and toss again.
- Then, with a chunk of carrot (all the mortadella and scamorza was getting to be a bit too much for my waistline…I mean HERS!! I definitely wasn’t working on my form too….nope. No.)
- Back up but this time with the grand finale: a tiny floaty bit of popcorn.
Once the skill is learned, then all you need is a talented photographer, with fantastic red hair and the know how to use a flash to freeze those cheeks flapping. I just so happen to know one (eh hemmm…I’m talking about me).
How to prepare for a treat-catching session:
Now, there’s only one thing left to do before arriving at your session.
Don’t feed them!!
It probably goes without saying, there will be lots of treats inhaled at a session like this. It takes a lot of coordination and treats missed to capture good photos for all those fun expressions. They should arrive hungry.
That really applies to almost all sessions, especially if your pet is very treat-driven. But I also don’t want any upset tummies either. No one wants to see a puke frozen in time. Or maybe you do. Depends on what you’re into.
If you have any other methods for training treat catching, drop them in the comments! I’d love to know what worked for you and your pup!
I’ll provide the snacks
You provide the dog!
KEEP IT GOING!
This post is part of a blog circle of some of the most uber-talented pet photographers all over the world. Keep reading to see what dog action moves other dogs are doing in front of the other photographers’ lenses.
Follow the circle until you land back on this page. Enjoy!