Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Less Stress and Great Pictures

The holidays are fun but they tend to throw off our regular schedules and run us ragged.  Pets behavior is a reflection of what is going on in the household and if they are being destructive that usually means they are not getting the attention and exercise they need.  A fun way to mentally exercise your dog and blow off some steam is to teach your dog a trick.  If you are a multi-tasker like me pick a trick that would look great in holiday photos!  I taught Truffle how to "sit pretty" on her haunches with her front paws in the air.

To teach this trick you can start the dog in a sit and help them balance by supporting their paw as you raise a cookie over their head to they raise up to reach up.  Part of getting good at sitting pretty is developing the back muscles to support themselves in the pose so be patient and practice frequently.  Gradually increase the time so they are balancing longer and longer.  Ease the support away so they are balancing without help.

To make this trick look great for photos you need to fade back your cue so you are standing up straight and out of the camera shot.  Use your hand in the same position you had it in when you were holding the cookie as an easy transition to a hand signal.  Gradually do the hand signal farther away from the dogs face until you are standing up tall and your dog is sitting pretty all on their own!

Of coarse you don't have to be complicated.  You can simply build up duration with a sit or a down so you can position your dog in front of the decorations for great photo ops.  To practice this have the dog in the position you want and gradually increase the time between your stay command and when you say "yes" and deliver the cookie.  When you can stand up tall while the dog is in position begin adding movement.  Back away from them, get on your hands and knees, or move around the room while they are staying in position.  To get even better shots use a toy or your hand to get the dog to look in the direction that will make the picture perfect.

Most of all have fun!  Your dog should look happy in those holiday photos.  We don't want them looking like you are pointing a gun at them instead of a camera!

1 comment:

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