There are 4 basic categories of animals at the Roanoke Valley SPCA. Dogs, Puppies, Cats and Other – for me the big dogs are the easiest to photograph. They usually understand the sit command, even if I have to use a treat for bribery. Today I had 4 pit bulls and they were all good dogs. I got the quintessential sit, “I am a good dog”, “give me the treat because I am such a good dog” look from each one. I really like this position. Sitting, head slightly back, ears up, looking directly into the camera and body blurred out of focus.
I deliberately do two things to help get the dog in this pose. First, get their attention with a treat or toy in my shutter hand. Give them a clear SIT command and position my camera while they sit (and hopefully hold), still allowing them to see the treat or toy. And then depending on the dog take a small step toward them. Not hardly a step, but more like a rock or just shift your weight toward them. Some dogs don’t do well with this others just hang out and wait. I very much want to be eye level with the dogs but in so many cases they are still learning or remembering their manners and the dominance comes out when I get too low. I use to sit on the ground but now choose to be upright a bit more and just get as close as I can to their eye level. I have been humped and jumped it is all part of the deal.
The eyes in this picture are great, you can just see the good dog in them.