Over the years I have met alot of dogs. When I meet a dog I quickly assess personality; afterall temperament testing is something I do regularly on litters of puppies. I watch body language very closely and get a quick read as to what is going on. Now as a photographer; this dog behavior experience works very well for me as many dogs are not comfortable being photographed.
It is my job to make sure I get the shot; their guardians deserve a great shot of their dog and if their pooch is uncomfortable or stressed it's going to show. I take alot of shots when I'm on a photo shoot and probably a third of them end up getting deleted. Closed eyes, turned heads and bad expression shots make their way to my recycle bin to be tossed.
I love getting to know dogs and when I meet one with a great personality it truly makes my day. I met several yesterday; really cool dogs with great temperaments; all of them. I shot alot of dogs yesterday and I was again crawling around trying to get the shot. I can regularly be seen on my elbows and knees trying to capture the perfect image. Sometimes it's quick and easy and other times it's a ton of work to get the shot. Distraction is probably the hardest thing to work with; if a dog is distracted then their personality is not going to show up in a photo.
Even still a dog is much more likely to show their true colors in a familiar surrounding; this is one of the reasons I don't have a studio. I know how my own dogs act in a strange building versus a park that they are familiar to going to. All dogs are different and training one dog is very different than training another. So is photographing different dogs very different. The technique I use to get a great shot of one dog might produce a very uncomfortable and stressed looking shot in another dog. It's all about body language, facial expression, ears and tails.