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Canine Body Language to Monitor During A Pet Portrait Session

Every dog has his own personality and confidence when introduced to strangers. Even if I met your pet during our consultation visit, Having a person you are not real familiar with point a big “eye” at you can make even the most well adjusted dog nervous. These days most everyone has cell phones, therefore a big camera can be very intimidating.

When we first meet for our session, I will let your dog approach me in his own time so that he can determine that I am not a threat. If I have my camera in hand, I try to keep it at my side so that he he doesn’t feel threatened. Once comfortable, I will give him a chance to sniff the camera. I will then click the shutter button (with the camera at my side)a couple time to see how he reacts. During this time, and then during the session I will be monitoring for any signs of stress. If I see this happening we may take a break, or determine that the current pose/location is one that the dog is not comfortable with and change to another pose/location.


While yawning can be a sign of being sleepy or bored. yawning when in a new situation, meeting new people or animals can signal a sign of stress.

Licking Lips

Licking lips dog
licking lips

Licking lips can also be a sign of stress. Licking their lips may be a dogs way of attempting to soothe the person or animal that they feel is a threat.

Tail hanging low/ears back

dog tail hangs low
dog tail lays low
scared dog
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This can be related to the dog feeling stressed or fearful. This may be the dogs way of making himself small and attempting to be invisible.

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Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole asks what is your dog trying to tell you?

Come and find your Best Friend!

Second Chance has a unique program near Syracuse N.Y. where inmates train the rescued dogs. This program gives both the dogs and the inmates a second chance in life.  Appointments currently required related to Covid-19 protocols.

Meet Draco. He is a beautiful brown/white dog that would love to have a forever home.

Please contact Friends of Second Chance.

Friends of Second Chance Canine Adoption Shelter
6660 E. Seneca Turnpike
Jamesville, NY 13078

Capture your journey with your pet. Nancy Kieffer is a pet and nature photographer serving  Central New York, the Adirondacks and Beyond.  Capture how you share your life with your pet! It may be a vacation adventure or curled up on the couch. Travel assignments welcomed.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Elaine

    Good info and accompanying examples! The dog with the low tail is a classic in our house, when one of our dogs has had enough with the rest of the dog pack.

  2. Nicole

    Those eyes are gorgeous!

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