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Canine Behavior/dogs and cameras


Hi me Jill - I am a dog lover. I just wanna ask if dogs know when they are in front of a camera? In my experience, it is uncanny, ad they all seem to sit and pose when they see camera coming out. Is it my imagination? What u think? Am I correct? Have u noticed the same type of behaviour?  Can u explain dog posing for cameras? At one enlarged family gathering out Lab consistently pushed herself into the front row. Thank you, Michael

I think the answer lies in the situation:  person points camera (strange object); if dog has seen camera before, dog is not frightened (some dogs will run if you point an unknown object at them).  If dog is stable temperament, dog will be CURIOUS.  It takes one second for a picture to be taken (maybe 1-1/2 seconds if flash is involved, in which case dog may run from flash).  ALSO: person taking picture is HAPPY, smiling, laughing, body language totally relaxed, giving dog every signal that 'THIS IS GOOD'.  So dog spends 1 to 3 seconds inquisitively looking at camera (which is why so many dogs heads are turned to the side, that is the communication of "HUH"?)  Now: entire family gathers.  Person holding camera is happy, anticipating this photo, everyone is happy, laughing (let's hope), dog must take its appropriate position with its social hierarchy and, for other reasons too elaborate and unnecessary to explain, will want to push ahead of the "rest of them" to get between "them" and the beloved person taking the picture.

NOW:  It is a well known fact that animals (not just dogs) whose pictures have been taken repeatedly appear to recognize the moment as "unique".  For instance, Secretariat was well known to have POSED for photographers (as have many other famous race horses).  There are always exceptions but we rarely hear about those!

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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