Dog + Human Model Teams: The Human Side of Dog Modeling

Posted on Oct 2, 2023
Dog + Human Model Teams: The Human Side of Dog Modeling

Okay, The Makings of a Great Dog Model blog we recently released was crazy informative, but we have even more info for aspiring dog model PARENTS! You can have the absolute best dog model in disposition and basics, and he can know all the tricks and land all the cues, but the bottom line is this: You, the human, are being hired for a job and you must have the know-how to get it done.

Luckily, we know what it takes and we want to share it with you! Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Human in “Dog + Human Model Teams”

When Labs & Co cast our dog models, we are not only hiring them, we are hiring and depending on you, the human, too. Commercial photography projects require plenty of work, dedication, time and in particular, a flexible schedule. Most commercial shoots take place on weekdays, and it never seems to be just down the street. There’s often a bit of a drive. 

Being an amazing Dog Model TEAM isn’t just about the dogs and what they’re great at. Below are the top qualities we look for in our Humans, who are the other very important half of this team:

  • First and foremost, be kind and respectful in all your interactions and communications with every member of the team. 
  • Be clear and timely in your communication, not just at the shoot itself, but especially during model casting and planning for shoot day.
  • We love folks who are easy to work with, who ask questions, are receptive to feedback and direction and have a good sense of humor. We are photographing dogs! It’s the best job ever!
  • Be your dog’s advocate and don’t put them in a position where they (or you) will feel uncomfortable for the sake of wanting to please the client. At all Labs & Co photo shoots we use the “hands off and ask first” rule around our dog models. If there is a styling adjustment needed, like we really need to turn Sammy’s bandana or flip the toy over, our team will always ask if it’s okay to reach in and adjust a prop near you or your dog.

*Please note: it is ABSOLUTELY OK to say “No” to something you know your dog doesn’t enjoy or will make him uncomfortable. If you need to advocate for your dog, just start with “My dog would be more comfortable if I did that for you, can you tell me what you need to adjust?” Voila – teamwork and a happy, comfy pup! 😉

  • Always ask prior to bringing a friend to the photo shoot, unless they are there to help be a part of it. While we know documenting your dog’s activity “for the ‘gram” is important, oftentimes, we shoot projects for brands doing a big launch, and images with products in them need to be top secret until they launch.
  • Be a cool human. Taking a photo of the photo we are creating and sharing it as your own is not cool. Neither is cozying up to our client for future influencer jobs or offering your own agenda during our shoot. If the brand chooses to get in touch with you directly for other work, that’s awesome! But chances are, if you’re cool, we’ve already recommended they do that… because you are so cool.
  • Most commercial shoots are made up of several time slots with different human + dog teams coming in back-to-back. If you are late and you have not given your dog proper time to decompress and settle before working, you are putting the rest of the production behind. Please be respectful of everyone’s time. 
  • We want you to have a great time with your dog. We know big productions can be intimidating if you have never worked them before, but if you have come to any of our sets, we take care to fill them with amazing humans who adore dogs and take so much joy in their presence. Don’t hold back ANY of your praise or funny voices for your dog model during our shoot, PLEASE, celebrate them and every trick and move they nail, because you know what? The ENTIRE crew will celebrate them with you. It fills the room with joy and it’s one of my favorite things about our commercial shoots.
  • We want everyone to feel seen and represented. So we especially love humans that are willing to model alongside their dogs if the project needs it. We care very deeply about representation and diversity and believe that there is really nothing like photographing a real bonded team. Depending on the needs of each project, we may have professional models working with us that day to fill in where necessary. So, come as you are, we are so happy to have you. 

If you’ve made it this far, then you’re obviously interested in pursuing some dog modeling, so go ahead and click this link, fill out the form, and get notified directly from Bill and I of any upcoming casting calls!

1 Comment

  1. Kathleen Murphy
    October 17, 2023

    I have a female blue merle Australian Shepherd with one brown eye and one eye that is 3/4 blue and 1/4 brown. She is full of life, energy, and personality. She excels at dock diving, disc (frisbee), agility, and has four AKC trick titles. Oh, and you might be interested to know that she’s absolutely adorable…at least everyone says so! 🙂 I’d be happy to provide pictures and/or videos. Thanks, Kathy