QC Dog Walking Services

Quality Controlled Dog Walkers in Brooklyn;
Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, Flatbush and surrounding

Dog Photo Tips

Dog walking pictures are a key element of  daily documentation of accountability and super for social media marketing as well. For some walkers the "proof of life" photos are the creative outlet of each walk and they naturally find ways to get great pics. There are however, a few essential elements to successful dog walking pics. They are emotional connection and context, in addition to the obvious photo things like lighting, focus, and framing.  Always keep in mind that dog walking documentation pics can be a double edged sword because the owners can tell if their dog was happy or if they were unhappy at the moment you took the pic. So it's important that the dog is engaged in some manner at the moment you click. You can tell if a dog is engaged by how alert they look. i.e. their ears are up, their heads are up, and for many dogs tails up as well.  Of course the dog is engaged when their noses are down but too often this is not a good pic because you can't see the dogs face fully and it looks like they are going after trash.

The number one element of a dog pic provides the emotional connection. It is seeing their face and there are three main ways to do this. My favorite way captures great motion as well as context of location. The motion element always looks cool and and captures the personality of the dog.  The context element is important beause it shows where you went, and what kind of experience the dog may have had. It also takes a bit more skill and patience than the other two ways because you are shooting blindly. For this method you reach out with the camera ahead of the dogs while you are walking or sometimes running. Sometimes it becomes running because the dog increase the pace to get ahead of your reach. Since you can't see the screen it helps immensely to have the camera click sound turned on so you know when you managed to actually take the picture, or to be able to take pics by touching anywhere on the screen. Take several, stop delete the bad ones and if necessary adjust your angle and take more until you get a good one.

The second way is to make the dogs sit for the picture. This is good if there is a special background you want of if you have dogs that are moving around to much to keep them in frame during motion shots. This often involves manipulating the dogs to sit next to each other and making them stay several times until they actually stay long enough for a few clicks. Hopefully there is something they are interested in near by. Often you have to make all sorts of noises to get them to look at you. Most dogs hate posing for pictures and will look away from the phone as you are holding it rudely in fropnt of their faces.

The third way also capture a bit of motion and context of location as well. For this method you let the dogs walk ahead of you and then abruptly stop. Be ready to be down on their level and click right at the wtf moment when they turn their heads around to look back at you questioningly.

For all of these methods  you need to be at the dogs level to best see their faces and to capture the most context of location. If you don't get the phone/camera down low enough you just get the ground around them. Also, if you get too low you risk back lighting messing up your auto exposure. However this can be pretty cool if done right. Also, of course you always want to take the pictures with the dogs in the brightest part of the photo. I.e. if you are in the shade with bright patches of sun behind you then the picture will be too dark.

Some things to avoid when taking dog walk pics. Don't take pictures with their heads down. Avoid pictures of nervous behavior like scratching or tongue flicking. Have fun with your dog walking pics, follow these rules and you will get lots of compliments and see your work popping up in social media.
 

First Contact

     The first walk with a dog is ALWAYS a joy! And often the first moments of meeting a dog is a special window of time which defines the level of bonding that can develop between the two of you during the first few days of interaction. In the two years that I have been walking I have yet to meet a dog that can't be won over with a bit of patience and the correct calming signals.
     Walking into the dogs home for the first time is often a shock to him or her. Even though perhaps they may have met you once in the presence of the owner there is still always at the very least a brief moment of surprise and fear the first time you walk in alone and unannounced. In some dogs it's a moment of complete blind panic and it's imperative to give them the correct body language right then and there. A whole new sequence of self introduction and inspection has to occur. I knew more than one walker who didn't know how to meet new dogs and those were the same walkers who got bitten. One of the the dogs I walked regularly, a big strong dog with permanent hackles in her fur, would when meeting new people, always have a moment of tension followed by a lunge, a bark, and physical contact with her teeth. She never bit and over time the physical contact mellowed out into a nose brush. But, no matter how much I warned people to just be still and wait for her to have her moment some people were just too scared to stay still and they would have problems with her from then on. In most cases the problems were not specifically because of that mistake. But, the mistake was just an indication of their ignorance and fear.
     If everything goes well during first contact of the first walk, and it usually does unless the walker does something wrong, then the sequence ends in licks or dismissal. Licks are a happy occasion but a dismissal is good as well because that means you are no longer a threat and as soon as it is understood that it is walk time then the relationship is immediately renewed and you can go out  exploring together. The fun continues on as dog and walker learn new routines.
     Most every dog already has an unwritten list of places they go to and things they like to do and it is up to the walker to watch for signals and learn when his new friend is communicating so they can be ready to accommodate or compromise just like they would with a human friend. Though someone who knows dogs well knows what to look for, good dog walkers also know that many dogs have expectations and body language unique to their routines and their relationships with their owners and they just go through it with out ever the notion that you don't have a clue what a normal walk is for them. For this reason It's not uncommon for amateur walkers to get into power struggles with new dogs. The dogs expect their normal walk and the walkers are often under pressure to get somewhere by a certain time. l remember one of my first clients, a super cute and very lovable cockapoo who would just lay down and refuse to walk. Part of the problem as I figured out later as I got to know him was that long walks were not the norm for him but the agency I was working for insisted that he be paired with another dog  which we had to rush to in order to cover the distance and to stay on schedule. I eventually learned however, that he was actually very willing to compromise. As long as he got to choose a certain number of spots then he was fine going past a few others. Over time he became one of my very best clients and he would go any where and any distance with me.  As long as I walked for that agency whenever a new walker walked him I would get a call asking how to get him to walk. lol. At that point I knew he had already probably been dragged through the lobby because they didn't let him follow his routine of sniffing around the entire perimeter of the hallway and one side of the lobby on the way out. The management of that company was a bit daft. lol.
Most recently I walked a super cool Jack Russel Terrier who is a growler. The first walk took about ten minutes of giving calming signals before he would be approached and touched, the second walk 3 or 4 minutes. The third walk I came in and sat down right next to him. He gave a small little growl and then sat up expecting to be leashed and out the door on our way. With each days advancement I felt proud of my ability to win him over a little more and already he is one of my newest coolest doggy friends who I look forward to seeing just the same as dogs which I have been walking for a few years.  
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