Dogs are a lifelong commitment—that means involving them in family milestones and even the occasional out-of-town holiday. When the day comes, they might even become a part of your wedding ceremony!
When brainstorming your wedding weekend, why not incorporate your four-legged family member into your photos? Below are a few tips for getting them to sit still—and enjoy the moment!
Chances are you’re hiring a wedding photographer ahead of time. If so, the best way to get your dog to become comfortable with them is to introduce the two!
Remember to take note of your dog’s body language. Their eyes, ears, and tails are obvious indicators of how they feel. You know your dog best—give your photographer tips on how to best interact with them.
If your dog is uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, consider taking them on a walk with your photographer after your consultation.
Even if your dog isn’t well-versed in more complicated commands, you don’t need to hire a trainer to get them to sit, stay, or lie down. A little bit of practice before your Big Day will suffice.
However, getting your dog to cooperate will take ample practice. If they aren’t yet familiar with basic training, you’ll want to get a head start—preferably at least one to two months before your wedding ceremony.
If your dog isn’t a fan of car rides or long trips, acclimating them into the wedding venue ahead of time can do wonders. Don’t forget to take along an appropriate dog carrier, either. A dedicated space can keep your dog safe and comfortable.
Arrive at least an hour before everyone else and take them for a short 15-minute walk. Practice your commands at every corner, allowing your dog to become used to the unfamiliar environment.
Perhaps you are getting married at a venue that restricts pets to specific locations. If so, you’ll have to consider what is best for your pet. Sometimes, that means reconsidering your options and shortlisting a location that they are already used to—especially if they are ultra-sensitive!
Some dogs even suffer from environmental allergies. If your dog is one of them, an outdoor wedding venue might not be the best idea.
Let’s face it—most, if not all, dogs are food motivated. If your canine companion is especially anxious, taking along a slew of calming treats can help put their nerves at ease.
You can further incorporate positive reinforcement by taking along their favourite toys or a security blanket. After your session, don’t forget to reward them—you might even want to consider putting up a dedicated playpen for the remainder of the reception!
There is nothing quite like an extra set of hands when taking your wedding photos. If your dog is particularly fond of a specific family member or friend, don’t shy away from asking them for their assistance!
Familiar faces are a big help in calming an anxious dog—it also gives them something else to focus on.
Who says only two-legged guests get to have all the fun? If your dog has a go-to outfit or favourite bow tie, incorporate them into your wedding photos. A good-looking dog can only incite more “oohs” and “aahs” when showing off your future wedding album!
Welcoming a dog into your newfound married life is nothing short of enriching—even more so when they get to be a part of your Big Day. With these clever tips and tricks, your dog should have no trouble sitting still for the camera—they might even have a blast!
Mike is the owner of Dog Embassy, a hub that provides new and returning pet parents with helpful resources. He is a self-proclaimed dog lover, trainer, and expert.