Never work with "Dogs and Children".
This is a saying that is often quoted at me mid session when a customers beloved dog is behaving like a "terrible two year old" and I laugh and say I wouldn't have it any other way.
We all wake up some days and think "do I have to ?".
Do I have to go to work ? Do I have to speak to X ? Do I have to SMILE - seriously you want me to smile ?, well I am fairly sure that dogs feel the same way to.
Do we have to go training (just because you want to doesn't mean I want to) ? Do we have to go on the same walk as we did for the last 3 years ? Do I have to sit on this box whilst that strange looking lady points a strange long thing at me ?
So inevitably there will be times when a customer arrives for a session, and it doesn't matter whether it is inside or outside, our model for the day just says "NO - I Shan't".
If this is you and your dog, don't panic. Yours is most definitely not the first and won't be the last to just drop the ears, roll on it's back and throw a wobbly !!.
The important thing to remember is that you are bringing your dog into a strange environment, with lots of new and different smells, with people they, on some occassions, have never met before, and to top it off, you, their handler and owner is just as stressed about it all as they are.
Relax, if you relax you help your dog to relax. We take the time to sit with you both before we start, talk through the process and let everyone get acclimatised to their surroundings (but this is all covered before you arrive).
Charlie and Gus the Springer Spaniels came for a session last year, they have met me on several occassions. Gus is normally full of beans and bouncing around, Charlie is a little more fearful of the world around him.
We took the time, in fact 40 minutes, for them both to feel relaxed enough to get out of the truck and come into the barn. Strangely it was Gus that really didn't like the camera and Charlie who was happy to pose, as long as I kept my distance.
We allowed the boys as much time as they needed and by the end of the session Gus had relaxed, maybe just a little too much !!
And once we had finished we took them out on the moor for their action session and a blast.
Dylan and Reggie the Cocker Spaniels also visited the Hayloft.
I had a lovely chat with their owner Andy ahead of the session who was happy the boys would sit and stay and behave themselves and we also talked through some specific shots that Andy felt he would like.
Well Dylan had other ideas and decided that he would sing through the entire session and explain to me in a very happy vocal way what I was doing wrong.
Reggie, being the younger of the two was a little unsure to begin with but once he felt comfortable he sat up and posed beautifully for Dads longed for shot.
So don't worry, if you think your four legged friend is having a bad hair day, is being "mardy" or just plain doesn't want to play. We take our time, we make it fun and if they still don't relax or feel happy, then there is always tomorrow.
Now who is in the Studio today ????.......