Maddie the Coonhound introduced me to the concept of dogs on things… and not just normal things like the couch or your bed. Maddie has been on some strange objects and made many beautiful pictures – like this, this and this.
But because I have a rather anxious dog at times, my first thought looking at Maddie’s pictures was – was she ever scared to be in this position with a camera aiming at her? Or this position, or this.
But see here, I am judging or at least questioning from the perspective of my own dog. And I really shouldn’t do that. I know absolutely nothing about her real life outside of pictures and some write ups online. Maddie appears to be very popular, having been on TV and also published a photo book. So if Maddie was truly unhappy, perhaps somebody would have pointed it out. Like in the case of Grumpy Cat over here.
Donna, as you know, has been on things as part of our urban parkour activities during walks. I try to get Donna to hop on the things herself and she is generally ok with jumping on things she perceives to be stable.
But new things can sometimes appear to threaten her mortality to her. Like these stack of canned food that was recently delivered to our flat. She was not entirely relaxed because this is something new to her, but not overly terrified either. She was of course treated for standing and staying there.
But pretty soon she grows less happy or comfortable with the whole situation. You can see the signs. The head looking away, the little frown of her eye brows and the tail has shifted inward a little.
So it’s time to let her off before she starts feeling even more negative. Happiness restores when she is allowed off the stack.
Knowing what signs to look out for makes me look at dog photographs differently nowadays. A photo that may have looked cute before would not now if I thought the dog was displaying signs of trying to cope with stress in the picture – licking, yawning, pinned ears, tucked tail, etc.
I have to say, it is easy to miss the signs when you’re looking through a tiny view finder. It is only when one looks back on the photos, magnified, and really have the time to peruse them do I find the finer details that indicate some level of stress or not.
So many pet owners are sharing their pet pictures on Instagram and Facebook nowadays. It makes sense for us to know what to look out for when taking photos of our own dogs. And at the same, know that we do not know the context the dog was in when looking at pictures of other people’s dogs online. A dog could be licking out of stress or he could be licking off peanut butter from his nose!
So relax, go forth and enjoy more photos of happy, well-loved dogs. :)