It’s that time of year when people want to get that family portrait with Santa. This once usually meant that the kids gathered around the Jolly fellow and posed, but in recent times, people have decided to include their pets in their Santa portraits.
Getting that great dog Christmas photo isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your dog might not like the whole idea, or worse, Santa might not like dogs. What can you do to make sure you get that photo?
First, check ahead with Santa to see if he is comfortable working with dogs. Make sure the photographer is also experienced in taking good dog Christmas photos. Dog portrait photography takes special skills. See if he or she has any samples to show you. Be on the lookout for red-eye. This is common in dog photos because their eyes open up very wide during the shot. That’s because they are generally nervous. This allows the flash to bounce off the inside of the eye which causes the red glow.
To avoid this, the flash must be held to one side instead of directly in front of the dog.
Then, there are the dog-related issues when trying to capture that Christmas photo. Excited dogs can have “accidents” on Santa’s lap, or they might snap or bite out of fear. This is why it’s so important to find a Santa who works well with dogs. Dogs can tell when someone is nervous and they will take this as their opportunity to “take command”.
You can help Santa along by taking your dog for a walk prior to his or her photo shoot. This will do several things. It will allow her to empty her bladder and help prevent an accident. It will also get rid of some of the energy and excitement that is built up in the dog. This will help relax her beforehand. Dog Portraits
Take along her favourite toy, but keep it hidden until the actual photo shoot. Squeaky toys are best for getting her attention at the right moment. You can get a great perky expression to make your dog Christmas photo special.
Take some of her favourite nutritious treats to entice and reward her.
Both of these tactics will help calm your dog and distract her from being nervous or trying to aggravate Santa.
There’s even more you can do to help make the experience as painless as possible.
Pet and talk to your dog until the last possible moment to help calm the dog and also to prevent her from getting bored.
If a squeaky toy doesn’t work, try a high-pitched whistle that can be blown just before the photo is taken. This will alert the dog so she looks attentive.
Most of all, don’t force your dog too much as this will just agitate her. Watch her body language to avoid getting bitten. If she raises the fur on her neck and shoulders or tucks her tail between her legs, this is a warning sign to be heeded. If she raises her upper lip, this usually indicates that the dog is very likely to bite.
If the entire dog Christmas photo experience proves uncomfortable for your pet, hold her yourself. She will be much more at ease and cooperative than she would sitting on Santa’s knee.
It takes a lot of patience and a good sense of humor to get that all-important dog Christmas photo, but it can be done. With a capable photographer and an understanding Santa, you can get a terrific dog photo for your family album or the family Christmas card.
One last thing you can do to make the experience a pleasant one for everyone is to bring some sticky tape to remove your dog’s hair from Santa’s suit. And don’t forget to reward your dog for good behaviour with one of those nutritious treats.