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March 25, 2015

What do pets think about cameras?

If I’m out with the pups it usually means I’m out with my camera too. But the dogs don’t get an explanation as to why I play peekaboo with this little black box. They just see me sneaking around, pointing the camera and clicking away
If I’m out with the pups it usually means I’m out with my camera too. But the dogs don’t get an explanation as to why I play peekaboo with this little black box. 25.1

They just see me sneaking around, pointing the camera and clicking away


“Any idea what that weirdo is doing down there?”

“Nope. But keep your voice down, he knows how to open the food container.”

As puppies, both Eko and Penny were very interested in the camera. They’d sniff, poke and occasionally try to taste it. As they grew they generally learned to give the sight and sound of the camera little accord.


With thousands of hours of modeling under his belt, Eko hardly notices the camera most of the time


Penny’s followed Eko’s lead and rarely gives the camera more than a glance

But there is a large exception to the rule. The exception is that the pups do know how to model. Their contract is simple: I stay, I look at you, camera clicks, I get treats.


If I ask Eko to “stay,” this modeling veteran stays like a rock and looks right as me. The camera click is positive reinforcement which he associates with the tastiest of treats 

When we’re at the park or the beach, all bets are off. The pups don’t recognize the camera (or the rule of law). It’s just straight nature photography at that point. 25.6

Wild and wonderful

But my favorite thing is that no matter what the dogs think about the camera, they don’t think a thing about the photos. So there’s no worrying about posting things like this: 25.7

I would be in big trouble if I posted a photo of Emily making that face

In sum, I think these two have neutral to positive associations with my camera. When I’m clicking away around the apartment, they pay me no mind. When I set up a photo they have positive food-associations, and when I sling the strap over my back they have positive adventure-associations.

As to why I carry the camera around? Well, I haven’t quite figured out how to explain the internet and blogs to them.

What about your pets? What kind of associations do they have with your camera?

Comments for What do pets think about cameras?

  1. Easy loves the camera (for the treats what are always included)… we worked 5 years for “give paw” without success, but he immediately sits on his butt when he sees the cam, without a command…probably the canine version of Naomi Campbell :o)

  2. Jack is a natural – he loves to model and is usually pretty good about it. Maggie on the other hand hates it. She always puts her ears back and looks away. Once in awhile I can catch her off guard and get a natural shot, but her shyness overcome whenever she sees that camera.

  3. Kismet says:

    Kaci and Kali will not sit still for anything.

  4. Elyse says:

    Duncan immediately turns away when I point the camera at him. I have so few photos of this handsome guy it is terrible. I often envy you those pictures!

  5. Obviously I’ve been a fool, I just expect Sam to act like super models Gisele Bündchen or Elle MacPherson and then wonder why he ALWAYS turns his head/or back just at the most inopportune moment. I’ll be packing the goodies with me from now on! Course, then again it could be that I’m just a crummy photographer. 😉

  6. Emmadog says:

    We don’t understand Mom’s fascination with the camera, but it makes her happy, so we oblige. I do get real pissed if I hear it snapping and I am not in the photo. I make my anger known by storming into the room and standing right in front of the lens. She finds it funny, but I take it seriously.

  7. My mom says I’m a complete ham but Khia loathes it, which is why she hardly get any good pics of her.

  8. Having read the comments I now feel MUCH better! Dakota isn’t the kind of a dog that I can put hats and things on (I wish I had had him since puppyhood because maybe that would be different)..he usually will walk away if he sees me coming with it (I should say my iphone because I take the majority of my photos on that, hence my crappy photos lol)….if he sees a treat or a bone he is somewhat more receptive……..after grooming he is ALWAYS receptive because he is conceited lol. Cody is somewhat easier….at least he doesn’t always take off when he sees me coming!

  9. coastingnz says:

    Eko may stay and look straight at you but I swear you really don’t what to know what he is thinking when you make him where those costumes! lol. Nico our dali use to be great with the camera but now if you want to take a photo he puts on his grumpy face even though has been happy as larry beforehand and afterwards. Ziggy well Ziggy is always happy to get his photo taken.

  10. Ruby is a natural, and her sister Boca learned quickly that clicks equal treats! Boca even starred in some YouTube videos for a local dog gear company recently!

  11. Joan says:

    My lab Sadie stops in her tracks for a chance at a photo shoot. My golden Buddy, on the other hand, knows the minute I pick it up and runs for cover!

  12. Camera = Treats …This is simple math that even I can understand.

    Love and licks,

  13. Fozziemum says:

    Hahaah gorgeous shots as always…my boys see mine come out (hardly discreet when it’s usually my massive lens) and they know something is outside…they look out the doors an windows 🙂 if I have my regular lens they just ignore me..hugs Fozziemum x

  14. Our last dog, Abe, always saw the camera as an invitation to a close-up. Really close. Our new pup is hit or miss. Sometimes she poses, sometimes she zooms in for that nostril shot.

  15. raisingdaisy says:

    Daisy has two modes, depending on her mood: love of camera and hate of camera. Sometimes the flash annoys her, other times she poses like a supermodel. But one thing is consistent – even when she’s giving me the photography cold shoulder, she gets jealous if she sees me taking pictures of other animals, whether it’s birds, squirrels – whatever. Then she poses up a storm!

  16. harrispen says:

    In our house Walter is my supermodel if he hears the camera clicking he comes in and assumes I want to take pictures of him. Whenever I want to have a dog model something I always have Walter do it. He will sit as long as I ask to get all the shots I need. Millie on the other hand always looks like she is being punished. She is not as food motivated so all the treats in the world won’t make her look happy.

  17. Jura says:

    Tala is a total poser when the camera is out. Back when we were on the Isle of Man she would even pose from a distance for the long lens as if I was on Safari capturing wildlife. She would usually run to a good spot and just stand there staring off looking alert till I got the shot. The irony was I took lots of beautiful photos of her for the dog photographer of year kennel club competition and then amazingly out of 13,000 entries she got a special mention yet it was the photo I entered as a joke for the dogs at work category not my portrait shot! We’re off to Central London this Friday to see it blown up in the kennel club art gallery! It’s the last photo here: http://juraphotos.com/2014/11/09/help-a-nubian-hound-win/

  18. cdog5 says:

    Whatever your dogs think of the camera, Will, is hard to tell. But by their looks I’d say they know they’re in good hands, in the viewfinder of an expert photographer and dog lover! Love the post!

  19. Boomer doesn’t mind the camera but Dottie hates it because of the noise it makes, she hides!

  20. Great shots. My dogs think nothing of the camera anymore. They have become immune to it.

  21. Gambler sees the camera and he sits proud and doesn’t move either because he is a camera whore! Nellie sees it and she puts her ears down as she hates pictures and Glory hides because usually gman attacks her when they sit near each other because he is the camera whore.

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