The best tricks to teach your dog for the most adorable photos

Whether you are booked in for a photoshoot or just want your pup to pose a little better and enjoy having their photos taken for fun - these tips for training will make the process a little easier and they can be ready to show off their 'too-cute-to handle' poses.

Before you try these with your pup - head to my page where I interviewed the amazing Biker Girl Dog Trainer and picked her brains on some training FAQ.

portugese water dog in spring


Ok so this one is pretty standard, but don't underestimate the power of a sit.

  • With your dog standing, hold a treat to their nose, then slowly move the treat over their head towards their back end. As your dog lifts their head to follow the treat with their nose, their bottom should touch the floor
  • As soon as your dog is in a sitting position, click and/or praise them and offer a reward.
  • Repeat this step a few times, then add in he command 'sit' and eventually begin taking a step back from your dog and asking the same command without the treat in front of their nose (but do reward them afterward!)

anatolian shepard bramhall park cheshire


Not only a brilliant command for photographs but useful for many occasions, including keeping your pet safe.

It is easier if you have mastered the 'sit' command first as you can ask them to do this first. As your dog becomes more competent you can add a stay from laying down.

  • With your dog in position, hold your hand up in a stop sign and say 'stay'. Wait a second or two and reward with click and/or treat if they keep still.
  • Repeat this step and gradually lengthen the time they have to wait
  • Once they have mastered this, you can begin to take one step backwards, then 2, and so on. It is important that you return to your dog to give them a reward and do not call them to you or they will associate the reward with recall and not 'stay'.

husky puppy dog, cheshire, vernon park

Down / Flat

In my opinion this creates some of the ultimate 'puppy dog eyes'. It produces a look of innocence in even the most cheeky of pups and shows a sense of calmness.

You will want to master 'down' first, in order to do so, start off on a soft surface such as a carpet as it will be more appealing.

  • Have your dog in a sitting position, hold a treat in your hand and move it directly down in front of them to the floor.
  • Your dog may scratch your hand or nose bump you at first, but be patient.
  • The moment they lay on the floor reward them with click and/or treat. After a few wins, introduce the word 'down'
  • Continue this until confident- once this is easy for them, introduce 'flat' - where their chin touches the ground as pictured.
  • Start in a 'down' position and use the command 'flat' whilst moving a treat from the tip of their nose to the floor.
  • Start off with a reward for a short flat pose, then gradually ask them to hold it for longer intervals.

staffy cross, Macclesfield forest

Paw/ Wave

A paw in an owners hand can create a beautiful connection and sense of bonding in an image. And a paw from afar is just undeniably cute!

  • From a sitting position, grasp a treat in your fist and hold it out in front of your dog. He may nose bump or try to poke his tongue in to retrieve it, but eventually you will get a paw on your hand.
  • As soon as the paw is up, reward with click/treat and repeat.
  • Add in the word 'paw' and continue until confident.
  • Gradually move your hand/body further away from your dog as you request paw, ensure you are using the same hand signal and return to your dog to reward.

spenial, macclesfield forest photographer

Paws up

This sweet pose can really accentuate a dogs posture and build, and also create fun and cheeky portraits incorporating their surroundings with purpose. Be aware of your dogs safety here as they are shifting their body weight, so ensure the surface is not slippery and they don't suffer from any back problems or injury. Start with something low and gradually practise on larger/higher surfaces.

  • With a treat in your hand, hold it against the surface your want your dog to put it's paws on. The moment their paws touch the surface, reward with a treat/click.
  • Repeat a few times and introduce the words 'paws up'
  • Gradually turn your treat hand into point at the object with the command 'paws up'
  • Once confident, start to request the trick from a step or two away with a pointing hand signal and 'paws up'
cockerpoo running fletcher moss, didsbury pet photographer


A puppy holding a teddy, your pooch showing off his new lead proudly, family pet holding babies blanket … could it get more adorable than this?

  • The knack to this one is never to place the object in your dogs mouth, but to encourage all interest in the item. this one will take a little extra patience.
  • Start with something easy to hold, perhaps a rope toy or teddy. Allow your dog to explore the item as you put it in front of them, and reward them for any sort of nose touch.
  • Once they associate giving the item attention with praise, wait until they open their mouth around the object, even if it's just for a split second.
  • Next, only reward them for lifting the item off the floor (they may have already done this in between mouthing)
  • Eventually add the words 'hold' once they understand, and begin to gradually add longer time intervals between picking up the item and getting the reward