I have to admit that I’m a bit of a proud mama. One of our dogs, Jackson, graduated from beginner agility last night at the Dog School. The weather was beautiful for our class last night and I decided to practice photographing dogs that were decidedly not posed. Working like this helps me avoid getting stuck in a creative rut. I absolutely love it.
The main challenge for me was the light. Although it was beautiful low angle light I had to be careful of the dappling effect caused by the trees. I had to be precise with my exposures and compositions to avoid having a burned out area of the photograph where I didn’t want it.
Photographing animals, even when they’re still, requires excellent timing skills to capture the right expression. With the fast moving action of agility I had to wait for the precise moment a dog leaped over a jump or burst through a tunnel. Fortunately I have repeatability on my side in these situations.
Jeanine, our agility class trainer, does a wonderful job of helping each dog build confidence over all of the obstacles. I noticed the dogs went through 3 phases as they learned each obstacle. I’ve outlined them below.
Jackson, Bailey, and Lucy certainly learned a lot during their first six weeks of agility. Jackson and Lucy will be continuing on with more dog friends next week at advanced beginner agility. Bailey will continue on at the end of the summer, but hopefully we’ll see her bouncy self around!
One of our end-of-class treats was to watch Jeanine’s dog, Flick, show us how seasoned agility dogs handle the obstacles. He’s certainly a funny little ball of energy!
I’ve always loved to work with my dogs in all types of situations. Ian and I highly recommend enrolling your dogs in different classes, especially if you have highly motivated and energetic dogs. It does wonders for their social skills, confidence, and overall health. Not to mention that well trained dogs have many more photographic opportunities since there’s less wrasslin’ to keep them in front of the camera! We’ve enjoyed our classes at the Dog School immensely so far and will definitely be back for more. They have a wonderfully laid back, reward based way of training and always allow plenty of time for play.
Peace and Furballs,