Snack time: How to get a dog’s attention for a great pet portrait

maremma sheepdog looking away

We are on a routine in the Schneider household, including snack time.

If I stay in bed any later than 5:30 a.m., I hear about it.

I get up, I drag my ass downstairs and fill Bella’s bowl full of kibble.

Eat my own breakfast.

Make my coffee … a 16 oz. triple shot non-fat macchiato with caramel drizzle, thank you.

Then turn to head to the livingroom and there she sits, her eyes darting to the top of the fridge.

Where we keep the snacks.

She looks at me, looks at the fridge, looks at me, looks at the fridge, looks at me …

Every morning, I sigh, place my coffee mug on the counter and reach in the direction of the snacks.

I know my role.

Snack time is usually great for bribery

Most dogs will do damn near anything for a snack.

A good sit, come when they’re called, play dead, roll over, run around a circle … you name it.

Not Bella.

Not a Maremma sheepdog, whose breed traits define the words “stubborn” and “independent.”

They’re free thinkers, you see, bred to make their own decisions with the ultimate goal of protecting their flock. Shep wasn’t much different.

You can call a Maremma’s name, then watch her hear you, think about acknowledging you and ultimately ignore you. There’s something better to do, like sit right over here.

Sigh …

She loves her snacks. There’s no doubt.

But when we’re out in public or hiking or whatever, treats are not effective. Getting her to pose for a really awesome pet portrait of her? Good luck.

She will not respond in the same way some dogs do.

Like Ginger:

Jack Russell terrier watches snack time Tubbs Hill

Or Jake.

spokane bull mastiff in full run

The backyard is a little different.

Bella doesn’t have to be on high alert all the time; thus, she’s a little more responsive.

She will sit like a pretty girl.

maremma sheepdog sits for snack time

And she will jump for a treat.

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She will even sit and stay while I sprint across the backyard and crouch to get set.

So long as I have a great treat in my hand, she will come when called.

Boredom sets in for both of us quickly, though. (We have a lack of patience in common, along with our stubbornness and desire for independence.)

And she’d rather get her treats the easy way.

Better places for a pet portrait

We’d much rather be out in the wild.

Trying to get a portrait out of doing tricks for snacks just isn’t our kind of thing. One of my favorite things to do with Bella is to go hunting for great locations for your pet portrait session.

On Wednesday, we went for a hike to the Rocks of Sharon in the Dishman Conservancy Area of Spokane Valley.

(Mind you, I don’t expect you to hike straight up hill for two miles for your session … unless you want to!)

I tried and tried and tried to get a great shot of Bella on the rocks.

No snacks.

Or keywords.

No mouth noises.

Nothing was working.

maremma sheepdog looking away

Then I realized why.

I dropped the camera from in front of my face and turned to where Bella was looking.

Lo and behold:

golden doodle at rocks of sharon in spokaneand

brittany spaniel dog at dishman conservancyWe were being watched.

The puppers came over to say hello before their humans called them off.

I persevered. I summoned every ounce of patience I have and got Bella back on track.

And while she isn’t looking at the camera—watching out for me, I suppose—I’m pretty happy with this image of my little hiker.

maremma sheepdog at big rock spokane

No snacks required.

All around the circle

Snack time is the topic for this week’s worldwide blog circle.

Now let’s see how other dog photographers came up with.

Start with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography, presented by Shae Pepper Photography. Read her Snack Time post then click the link at the bottom to get to the next one.

Travel through the circle and when you land back here, you’re home.

Right where you belong.

And if you’re ready to book a session, click this button and let’s get started!

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