I will be conducting a survey to be completed by various pet owners, in order to decipher how to manipulate the behavior of my canine and feline subjects. This research will offer me an enhanced level of control whilst photographing, resulting in a higher likelihood of a successful shoot.
My responses to my survey have suggested that cats are predominantly friendly and relaxed, yet quiet. An individual responded to my survey, “its a cat.. They don’t listen”. However, another owner suggested that they have a highly personal connection with their feline companion that allows them some influence into the cat’s behavior, which implies that in contrast to dogs, an owner present may be helpful during the shoot.
Motives for specific behavior include specific petting that the individual pet enjoys, such as face rubs and playful headbutting – specific petting locations included the face, ears and chin. Five out of fourteen responses suggested their cat responded best to petting, while the other nine were food motivated. Survey responses recommended ‘Dreamies’ and ‘Pounce’ treats were favored by their felines.
The best ways to provide a specific reaction from cats were said to be audible and physical commands. It is important to remain calm and inviting, and consider using their name and treat and/or petting reinforcements, as suited to the animal.
On the other hand, dogs have been described as friendly, excitable and energetic. Although this suggests lack of idealism for photographing, the responses in regard to training were more positive than those regarding cats. An increased level of training is expected to be beneficial during photographing periods, and all respondents claimed their dogs were at least ‘somewhat’ obedient.
Canine subjects are more susceptible to treat motivation than cats have been suggested to be, and an individual states that their pet is trained to perform commands efficiently without expecting a reward. Specifically, this person says they point to the floor and tell the dog ‘down’, to which the animal responds. However, a large number of those responding to the survey suggested their pet required ‘bribery’ to perform commands, including treats and occasionally toys.