I love myself, and I’m pretty good looking. So, naturally, I’ve taken some selfies in my time. I guess that makes me pretty hip, since the term selfie was just named the word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary. But I’m not nearly as obsessed or cool, it seems, as my dog.
Teaching a dog to touch something with his or her nose is something that we dog trainers have been doing for a long time. Nose touches can be used to teach “come,” among other things. Dogs usually learn to touch our palms first. Then we move up to an object, like teaching them to touch the end of a baton. But then we thought, there must be some more fun application of this skill. The Dog Selfie was born.
At the dog school I run, School for the Dogs, we use an app called Big Button that turns the entire screen of a device into a shutter button. It also has a mode that will take several pictures quickly at a time, which is helpful in upping the chances of getting a good shot.
Turn the camera so it faces your dog, put it near their face, and let them do their best Kim Kardashian impersonation.
We actually train dogs to touch screens when we ask them to—so they can use iPads to, say, answer questions or make artwork (I helped create App For Dog, which lets a dog paint with his nose). But you can also take the quick route and just smear some peanut butter on your device.
The resulting selfie of your pet might be a little abstract. But selfies are more about fantasy than reality anyway, right? At least you’ll be spared the stereotypical duck face. Unless of course your pet is a duck.
If you want to learn more about using touchscreen devices with your dog, I’ll be doing a demo at Tekserve in New York this Saturday, called “iPad for Dogs!” (Dogs and iPads not included.)
Since he first learned to use an iPhone last summer in our classes, Latka, a young mixed breed, can’t stop. His owner said that most of the pictures on her device are ones he’s taken of himself.
Cato, a Shiba Inu puppy, took this of himself on his first try.
Sasha, an East Village border terrier, took this when his owner, a pilot, wanted to see if we could teach him to call up the weather on the cockpit iPad.
My dog Amos took this of himself at Le Select cafe in Paris. Everyone was all, like, “Ooh la la! Le chien utilise l’Instagram!”
Bane the bulldog took this with his tongue.
Delilah is a Lab who lives in Marine Park. She thinks she’s beautiful, and her owner agrees.
A triptych by Amos
Desi took this at our studio. We thought the leash clip and Dixie cup in the background was an interesting decision. Whether there was some meaning to it (is he worried he has a drinking problem?), or it was just a matter of composition choice is unclear.
Franklin, a miniature pig who spends his days at Crest Hardware in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, took this on my iPhone.
Bandit, a dog belonging to an Agence France PressE reporter, took this of himself at School For The Dogs