You are currently viewing For a Dog Photographer- Happiness is photographing shelter dogs at play
3 rescue dogs at play

For a Dog Photographer- Happiness is photographing shelter dogs at play

Dogs- Elvis and Blue
Dogs- Elvis and Blue play time

Rescue and Play

When working with a rescue you quickly find that some of the dogs are very stressed from the kennel, or from the situation from which they came to us (abused, abandoned) When they are stressed and anxious and in a small kennel surrounded by other barking dogs, they might not know how to handle interacting with these dogs. They may not have had any other interactions with dogs, or worse may have had bad interactions which have shaped their behaviors. This may hinder their interaction with any potential fur-siblings that may come to meet them as well. Therefore playtime is very important for these dogs. It gives them a chance to learn how to socialize with other dogs as well as their human handlers.

rescue dog
rescue dog Blue
introductions dogs
introductions dogs

Start out slow

When initializing playtime, the dogs are taken out separately on leashes and the handlers work with them at a distance, gradually bringing them closer to interact with the other dog. This may take several minutes or weeks until the staff is confident that the dogs are getting along well enough to go to the play yard. once in the play yard the dogs are again on leashes held by the handler until it is determined that the interaction is going well. With the trainer and several volunteers available when appropriate one leash is dropped. Then if that goes well, then if that goes well, the other leash. The dogs are given a chance to run and play with the leashes dragging behind them to available for staff to grab if needed. Once it is clear the dogs are getting along well, then the leashes can be removed. This process may again go very quickly, or may take several months of training/working with the dogs to achieve. When it works though, it is magical.

3 dogs at play
3 rescue dogs at play
puppy tumble
puppy tumble
caught wrestling
caught wrestling

Happiness is playtime photos

One of the joys I have as a rescue photographer is seeing the transformation in the dogs as they go from reactive dog to a dog learning to love to play and socialize with other dogs. It builds their confidence and their chances of being adopted. Not only are they learning to interact with other dogs, but they are learning learning to interact with the humans as well as learning important training tools.

treat time for good dogs
treat time for good dogs

This post is part of circular blog with other Professional Pet Photographers. Our goal is to focus on a particular topic/assignment each week and put our own spin on it. There are photographers from all over the world participating.  Follow the next link to view how the next amazing photographer tackles this weeks challenge.  Then follow each link at the end of each blog until you return to me. Then you have successfully completed our blog circle. Enjoy!

+++++ NOW head over to:

Marika Moffitt of Dirtie Dog Photography in Seattle, Washington, capturing the story of animals for the people who love them.

Come and find your Best Friend!
Second Chance has a unique program near Syracuse N.Y. where inmates train the rescued dogs and it gives both the dogs and the inmates a second chance in life.  Appointments currently required related to Covid-19 protocols.
Elvis the dog

Elvis is looking for his forever home.

He is happy when he is running and playing with other dogs.

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, whether it’s a vacation adventure or curled up on the couch. Travel assignments welcomed.

To book a session, Email: or call 315-469-8807.   Nancy also offers instruction in photography and Lightroom.