When I meet a new dog which I do everyday whether for training, a photo shoot or just a chance meeting I love to see the dog inside; the heart of the dog. Everyone thinks their dog is the best, or the cutest and to me they are all gorgeous. I love all the different shapes, sizes and colors that they come in. But to get to know whats inside you must look far beyond the exterior; you must even look past the initial meeting.
When I meet a dog for training or photography I like to watch; I watch very closely. If it is a training appt. I talk to the guardian while keeping one eye on the dog. If I interact with the dog; things change and I don't get to see the real dog. If I just watch and try my best to become invisible; I get a small glimpse of the heart of the dog.
When I am on a photo shoot it is much more difficult; all attention is on the dog which can be very difficult. Not only do they have a strange person following them around; but the stranger is staring at them with a huge black eye. Some dogs can become very uncomfortable, guarding, nervous or very fearful about this whole camera thing. This definitely interferes with me seeing the real dog. This is why I choose not to have a studio; a dog is not themselves in a strange environment and defintely not if being in strange buildings and posing is something they don't normally do.
I love to shoot at a park, or the dogs own home but wherever we shoot the dog should be comfortable. Comfortable enough to be themselves. Although I would love to meet face to face and get to know all these dogs; sometimes sitting back; turning sideways and being as "not there" as I can be is the best way to meet them. Watching the interaction between canine and their human is very enlightening. To see the bond between them and the special relationship that they share is humbling. I am honored by each positive encounter and even more so to be allowed to capture it forever.