Let’s face it, dogs won’t always do what you want them to. In fact, when you need them to do something specific, at the right time, they usually do the opposite. It doesn’t matter that your dog is calm, obedient, and reliable around the house when no one else is around. Introduce other people or dogs into the mix and the rules can go right out the window.
But that’s precisely what makes dogs fun to photograph. Well, as long as you haven’t put yourself in a situation that requires a dog to be costumed and sitting still in front of the family Christmas tree. Don’t ever say yes to that. Ever. The spontaneity of a dog can be a wonderful thing to capture. They may not always do what you want, but they sure will do things you could never get a human to do: run laps around the yard, play endlessly with a companion, bite and scratch for fun. And during all of that, be completely unselfconscious. Actually, I do know a few humans who do that, but this is not the place to name names.
Not having control over the environment or the subjects is a great way to push yourself as a photographer. When you can’t control any of the elements of a shoot, thinking on your feet and taking chances is all you have to capture the moment. Those uncontained moments are usually the ones with the most energy and emotion.