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The Singapore Dog Lifestyle Blog

How to take a dog selfie

Norm the Pug is pretty well-known for his iconic pet self shots. But how does he do it?Here’s we got Donna to pull a Norm Pug (faux) selfie. Right now the human has this to say to you, Norm Pug – you make it look so easy.

1) Teach your dog to high-five

The true pet selfie usually involves having one of the pet’s front limbs held up and cut off by the side of the frame, just like a human’s would when holding up a camera/phone to take a self shot!

Teach your dog to high-five against your hand, and you’ll be able to keep your pet’s front paw up-raised longer to take a sharp picture.

This is how we we managed to teach Donna to high-five, quite by a fluke, believe it or not!Donna can now high-five with her left or right paw. And when she is super excited, she would offer both… but no, she doesn’t know to do both paws on command. The human reckons another lucky fluke is much needed!! :P

If your dog has not managed to learn to high-five, you may also want to try using shake-a-paw instead. In this case, your hand will need to raise up your pets paw to the height you want for your pet selfie.
dog doing the high five

2) Get your dog to love looking at the camera/mobile photo-taking communication device

Norm Pug must really love the camera. Unfortunately, Donna disdains it, so much so she doesn’t want to look at it! Here’s the evidence/out-takes :dog doesn't want to look at camera for selfie

It probably will be possible to train the dog to look at the camera, but I would avoid that. I like to have a variety of pictures with the dog looking at a variety of angles with a variety of expressions. A dog that is too well trained may end up delivering photos all with the same expression looking straight on at you or the camera and waiting to be rewarded. At least, I thought that can be a possibility.

But what if I really need the dog to look at the camera?

I did wonder though if playing a dog barking audio from the phone will get Donna to look at it when needed. I remembered reading something like that on Kristen‘s post about a dog database app that plays dog barking noises (I think) to get the dog to look at  the phone for picture taking. Perhaps that’s worth a shot, who knows? In any case, sometimes I try to get Donna to look towards me by making any weird sound that I don’t usually make. That can elicit a quizzical look from my dog.

But mainly I just waited to snap the moment Donna looks to the front.

3) Take the picture with the dog looking straight into the frame, with her right front leg lifted and paw cut off on the left side of frame, just like a selfie.

Norm pug, are you right-handed paw-ed? You seem to favour your right paw for your selfies. Donna doesn’t care either way but I’m a stickler for details so right paw it is.

4) Crop the self shot to the square format and upload to Instagram

Norm Pug usually has his picture taken in front of a flat background that is one vibrant colour. I don’t have that so I applied filters to the picture instead.


Classic vs Candy Selfie

Many different expressions OK for selfie!

A selfie is dictated by the pet’s posture and placement of its fore paw, rather than by his expression on the face. So don’t worry if your dog or cat or hamster is not smiling!

Can you see Donna’s grumpy face in the photos? For this photo, Donna really was not in the mood. And yet the dog still stays there waiting for a treat! The conflict of being the apartment dog in our family! :P

That said, please don’t force your pet to take a selfie if he really is unwilling to do so. One of the reasons why I do prefer Donna to look natural, even naturally grumpy (!), is so that it is easier to tell when Donna feels distressed and that the session should be stopped for her sake.

How do I know when Donna feels too stressed up over a long photo shoot?

Donna usually will give me the I-don’t-want-to-look-at-you nose point to the side or up in the air when Donna starts to get frustrated. Sometimes, she wipes her paw over her face like she is crying. Observe your pet and soon you will grow to learn his body language too, if you don’t know already.

So yup, those are the steps that we used for taking a dog selfie like Norm the Pug. I quite like pugs, specifically many years back after I saw this Japanese Horror flick Gakko no Kaidan (I think) which had, among many ghosties, a talking pug in it. But that was many years ago, and hardly a compelling reason to get a pug. (No offence there!) Our mongrel is pretty special too! :)

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37 Comments

  1. We only learnt the high-five on the inside rainy day last week so will have to put the Selfie into practice.

    • As I was washing dishes (which I hate), I escape into my thoughts and I thought, hey, perhaps Norm pug was not doing the high-five but was doing shake-a-paw! That would explain his outstretched leg, versus Donna’s compressed one. :P So you could try either ;P High-five Bodhi!!

      • Oh I’m much better at shakes.
        Glad to see you were thinking through the big issues. Mum is usually trying to get me (and my tennis ball) out from under her feet while she is washing up (or my nose from out of the dishwasher if she is putting stuff in there… Hmmm food scraps).

        • oh yes as miss anglo swiss says, small minds simple pleasures. :D Those tennis balls do sound like a fall waiting to happen. Take care of your mom, Bodhi ;) Mr P is not taking the hint about the dishwasher. Our galley kitchen is too small for one *sad*

  2. Those came out great! Doubt brown dawgs would cooperate!

    • But the brown dawgs look so well trained! They even pick up dead birds without gobbling them :P (which I think a certain black labrador would heehee :P)… but yes, perhaps it is a frivolous pursuit for serious brown dogs that have a career going :P Thanks for popping by and having a chat! :)

  3. I love Donna-selfies! Great shots Mrs. P and Donna, you are a superstar! :D *big hugs*

  4. Ha Ha … wanna try those steps on my dog too but I think it might be very difficult because she’s too old to be taught anything and she hates camera.

    By the way, Donna’s photos looked like real selfie. I love the Candy version because of its color.

    • Cool, I was undecided between the classic and the candy :P Could give it a try… at worse she gets fun having a lot of treats and you get some interaction time. Hack, seems like people even like those photos where Donna is not looking at the camera! Haha! :P

  5. Great stuff……….

  6. They look good Donna! Woooowooooo, KU

  7. How fun. :) I’m going to try this tonight with my brother’s dog – she loves to high five for treats!

  8. Don’t forget another movie where a pug played a role (Frank the Pug, I believe the character was called): “Men in Black”. He was adorable, as all pugs inevitable are.

    Anyway, congratulations to Donna for being a clever girl! If I were in Singapore, I’d celebrate with her by giving her a – what else? – high five!

    • High-five!! Oh yes, how can I forget the MIB pug… interesting isn’t it how the pugs get the strange character roles and not the smooshy, fluffy, lovable dog roles :P Muahahaha… who doesn’t like a quirky dog?

  9. Too adorable. I can’t get any of my animals (7) to cooperate with even the simplest of photos! But I’m probably just not patient enough.

  10. Cute!!! Those ‘I hate getting my picture taken’ looks are priceless. :D

    I can see Maya high-fiving the camera so quickly and powerfully that the camera goes flying.

  11. Hehe! Whee love the selfies Donna! Whee would like to have a go at making some pigtures like that too, but whee don’t trust Mummy with our paws – it reminds us of claw clipping.
    Piggy kisses,
    Poppy and Clover
    xxxxxxxxxxx

    • Haha! Donna hates paw clipping too! Donna can understand why you don’t trust mummy with your paws. Donna barely tolerates it, but sometimes… the treats are ALL calling Donna to eat them… D: maybe Donna is just greedier than you Poppy and Clover :P

  12. Such a cute and fun post! We are going to have to try this out with Bear & Scooter. Wanted to thank you for your crate training comment on our blog and make sure you got our response:

    The key to remember is that each dog is different in the time it will take them to adapt to the crate but the fact that she’s happy to go in there to rest is a GREAT sign that things are progressing in the right direction :)

    I would suggest putting a command to kenneling if you haven’t already. I tell my dogs ‘kennel up’ some people say ‘crate’ whatever works. Then it can become a game. You can give her the command, and then reward her with her meal, a small treat, or a bone for going in her kennel. She can come right back out after her treat, which reinforces the positive experience in her mind.

    Make sure she has a bed or blanket in there, it needs to be comfortable, and give her special treats in there occasionally (stuffed kongs, awesome bones) etc.

    Then as long as you’re leaving the door open so she can access it at any time, she’ll get there. Some dogs like a very private kennel, like a den, so if you have an open wire one, you may try placing a towel over the back half so it’s a bit dark and that might entice her more.

    Also-Bear says Donna is very cute ;)

    • Thanks Kaitlin for taking the time to pop by! Great that we are going in the right direction. I guess I was just being impatient and should continue to get her to practise going in and getting rewarded as you suggest more frequently and more consistently. I can’t wait to see Bear and Scooter selfies!! :) Have a great day!

  13. Oh my goodness gracious. This is hilarious. I’ve Got to master this. Thank you dear Donna for sharing. :)

  14. Donna is so photogenic!!!

  15. Totally digging the doggy selfies. Will have to give it a try. thanks for sharing your secrets. Great shots

    • Glad you like you it. I had fun doing the post, Donna less so :P especially when she decided she had enough of treats :P

  16. A very clever idea!! And cute photos too, we’re definitely going to give this a go! :)

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