If the thought of leaving your pooch home during your engagement photos makes your heart break, but you're apprehensive about bringing them along to your session, here are a few tips for you and your pup to have a successful photo shoot together.

#1: Bring toys & treats

If your dog is anything like mine, the best way to get their attention is by tricking them into behaving using the things they love most: treats and toys.

Bring their favorite toy AND a toy they like that makes noise—and if they're one in the same, even better! High-value treats work wonders. These are treats they don't get very often, so they'll be especially excited to get them. In our house, that's things like chicken, cheese, and hot dogs, but anything solid, non-frozen treat will work. Or head to a local shop like Bone-a-Patreat to pick up a special snack!

#2: Make sure they're comfortable

Some dogs do well in new environments while other dogs can become overstimulated or nervous. If your dog fits the later description, try to arrive to your photo session location at least 15-20 minutes early to walk around and get your pet acclimated to the space.

That said, if your dog has difficulties in areas with lots of people/noise/distraction, please let me know in advance so I can accommodate your pooch properly! I can either recommend a location that is friendlier to more nervous pups, or we can look into me coming to your home to ensure maximum comfort.

#3: Bring a friend

Let's be honest: dogs are great, but they can be a pain the butt sometimes. In order to make sure you have the best experience during your session, consider bringing someone along as your short-term "dog handler." This will allow us to take photos of the two of you together without making your dog feel left out, as well as give you a chance to just relax without having to worry about playing mom and dad during your session. Be sure it's someone your dog likes/trusts so they aren't like, "Who the heck is this?!", and bonus points if you and your friend are local and can take your pup home once they're done with their portion of the photo shoot.

#4: Go with the flow

I always say that working with dogs is like working with toddlers: we are at their mercy.

While we'll do our best to get at least a few posing where you and your pup are sitting pretty and looking at the camera, it's important to understand that your dog is, well, a dog. If they want to walk around and sniff, get ready to walk around. If they're feeling snuggly, get ready to curl up. We'll work with your dog instead of against them during your session—because, let's be honest, we all know who the REAL boss is at the end of the day.

#5: Be safe & always do what's best for them

As much as we love our dogs, sometimes we let our own desires get in the way of what's best for them. If you dog doesn't do well with strangers, has medical/anxiety issues that could be problematic during your session, or is aggressive, please refrain from bringing them to your session. This is for their safety as much as anyone else's.

Also, please refrain from taking your dog off leash if they do not respond to recall! This is the perfect time to upgrade them to that cute leash/collar they keep putting in your Amazon cart.

Any more questions?

Don't hesitate to reach out! As a dog mom of three, I understand how important having your pups in your photos. I'm happy to work with you to ensure that you and your dog have the most positive (*cough*PAWSitive*cough*) experience possible while also getting some dang good pictures at the same time.

Now go give that good boi/gorl some lovin'.