10 Dogs Who Will NOT Let You Take the Perfect Holiday Photo


Editor’s note: Have you seen the Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our December-January issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

You’ve been pinning ideas since last January, preparing to create an unforgettable holiday card for 2016. Unfortunately, when dogs are involved, a family photo shoot can go from nice to naughty really quickly. Our pups don’t care about your adorable theme, what grandma will think, or even the photographer’s hourly rate. Let’s take a look at 10 ways our holiday cards have gone awry thanks to our four-legged posers.

1. The doggie grinch

Grumpy dog by Shutterstock.

You imagined a card featuring a happy dog grinning ear to festive ear, but what you got was a pouting pup who is so over this photo shoot. If your dog’s expression is more grinch than glad tidings, just go with it. Changing your theme may be easier than changing your dog’s attitude.

2. The hot dog

Dog in sweater by Shutterstock.

Ugly Christmas sweaters are as hot as they are popular, so keep that in mind when positioning your pup under the lights of your local portrait studio. If your pooch would rather get coal than clothes in his stocking, maybe pass on the woolen tackiness — unless you want your dog ripping open his sweater — Incredible Hulk style — on the front of your card.

3. The flailing fail

Dog with wagging tail by Shutterstock.

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” quite like a foot in the face or a tail in the eye. It’s amazing how our dogs are happy to be held most of the time but thrash about like a puppy in a kiddie pool the moment the camera is set up.

4. Interspecies holiday drama

Dog and cat by Shutterstock.

Put a cat next to the dog on your holiday card, and things can get even hairier. Kitties are even less likely to put up with our silly photo shoot shenanigans and may even turn on the pups if they get peeved. A spat between fur siblings quickly leads to a game of chase that will leave you with nothing but pictures of furry blurs and butts.

5. The crowded card

The more dogs in the photo, the higher the potential for a Christmas card fail — especially when the humans attempt a high-stakes theme. Just when you’ve got Fido wrapped up in lights and the wreath strategically placed around Rover’s neck, that loose cannon, Buddy, runs across everyone’s paws, losing his Santa hat and ruining the shot.

6. The captive

Family with dog by iStock.

Speaking of eyes, these little windows to the doggie soul can so easily make or break any holiday card. Your dog’s body may be obediently sitting under the mistletoe wearing reindeer antlers, but if his eyes are saying, “Help me,” the card you’re sending to all your relatives may as well be a ransom note.

7. The bottoms upper

Dog butt by Shutterstock.

It doesn’t matter how many squeaky toys or treat bags the photographer shakes — some dogs turn their backs on the camera. Call it doggie logic: “My buddies sniff my butt to say hello, so I should use that same body part to wish human friends Season’s Greetings.”

8. The bashful model

Dog with bow by Diane Lewis.

Of course, for your dog to telegraph his SOS signal, he does need to look at the camera — having a dog who completely refuses to do so is an entirely different problem. No matter how many times we tell them to look at the camera, some bashful pups can’t face the lens, often derailing group shots in the process. 9/The potty breaker Walking in a winter wonderland sounds like a lovely idea for a holiday card photo, but many a shot has been ruined by a furry photo subject popping a squat. Better make that Santa suit bottomless!

10. The gravitationally challenged canine


It’s the first command most dogs learn, but this pooch instantly forgets how to sit when placed in front of a holiday background. For him, festive cheer is like a magnet pulling him straight to the ground. Sometimes you’ve got to meet your dog where he’s comfortable — and snap that picture before he closes his eyes.

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