Why Do Dogs Avoid Cameras?

cattledog avoiding a camera at the lake

NotABully.org is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

You look at your dog and you notice that they’re looking extra cute right now. Of course, our first instinct as dog owners is to capture those adorable moments, but as soon as you pull up the camera app on your phone, your dog seems to avoid looking at it. Even though you might have done it before, your dog still looks like they’re camera shy.

Whether it’s with a professional photographer or with your own phone, you might think to yourself, “Why do dogs seem to avoid cameras?” or even, “Why do dogs hate taking pictures?”

The most likely explanation is that dogs do not like being stared at and taking a photo can feel very much like a stare-down for some dogs. In other cases, the camera may just be too close for comfort or your dog may not familiar with cameras or the noises they make. 

Let’s take a closer look into the reasons why your dog might be turning away when you take a picture of them.

Reason 1: Dogs Do Not Like Being Stared At Or Making Eye Contact

When looking into the lenses of cameras, they may look similar to the eyes of a strange creature. This can make your dog feel like the thing you tell them to look at is actually looking at them.

Dogs may avoid cameras because they do not like being stared at. Dogs also do not like making eye contact in general.

Dog owners may realize that when dogs greet each other, they generally try not to look each other in the eyes. While making eye contact is a normal part of communication for us humans, it can mean a whole different thing for our dogs. Although they love us as much as we love them, they might even find it difficult to hold eye contact with us.

Dogs tend to avoid eye contact because they may view it as a way to challenge them or show dominance. They might even see it as a threat if they are not used to making eye contact.

While taking their picture might not seem like a threatening action, dogs might see the camera lens as an eye that’s waiting to challenge them!

Reason 2: The Photographer Is Too Close To Your Dog

While some dogs seem to have no understanding of personal space and might lay on your stomach or even your face, others may want to keep to their own safe bubble.

Your dog might avoid the camera because the photographer is too close. They may be turning away from the lens because, like how people do, they might feel as if their space is being invaded.

Just as if you turn away from someone who stood too close to you, your dog may try to turn away from the photographer and not so much the camera itself. It may seem like your dog is avoiding the camera when in reality, your pup is avoiding the photographer.

If your dog does not normally avoid looking at your phone or camera but is suddenly acting like it, it is most likely the photographer’s closeness that may be bothering them. If you think this to be the case, try to have the photographer back up a little or give your dog a few seconds or minutes to get to know the photographer before getting their close-up.

Reason 3: Cameras Can Make Strange Noises

If you think about how cameras work, they can be really strange! The flashing lights, the moving lens, and the strange clicking and beeping can make cameras seem like their own living creature!

Your dog might avoid cameras because they are strange and make strange noises.

This may be the case if your dog is not used to having their picture taken. If you think this is the reason why your dog is avoiding cameras, there are a few ways that you can try to help them be more comfortable with them!

Desensitization and counterconditioning are two things to consider when getting your pup used to objects that are strange to them. Counterconditioning, in simpler terms, is changing a dog’s negative emotions towards something to positive ones. Desensitization is gradually exposing them to the strange thing until they don’t even notice it much.

By combining these two concepts, you might be able to help your fur baby be more comfortable being in the spotlight!

Reason 4: Your Dog Is Being Disturbed

Our dogs can make the simplest actions look adorable! However, they might not always appreciate us trying to capture these moments when they’re just trying to do their normal routine!

You might find your dog turning away when you take their picture because they are being disturbed and bothered.

Your pup might have just finished making the couch comfy and was ready for a nap when suddenly they open their eyes to your phone in front of them. Their perfect nap was interrupted and now they don’t even like cameras anymore!

It can be hard not to capture the adorable moments of our pups no matter what they’re doing! But sometimes we have to let them just be dogs and do things without having a camera facing them.

Imagine if you had someone taking your picture when doing normal things like watering plants! It can make you feel a little annoyed as well. It’s perfectly normal for us to take photos of our pets, but we also have to be considerate of them.

Reason 5: Your Dog Is Unfamiliar With Cameras

Your dog might be avoiding the camera because they are unfamiliar with it and have possibly never seen a camera before.

Some dogs live the beginning of their lives in unfortunate conditions and are unfamiliar with common objects and sometimes even people and other dogs. When these puppies or dogs are adopted, they are suddenly exposed to new things, sometimes it’s a camera.

If you have recently adopted or gotten a rescue pup, they may be more cautious of unfamiliar objects and this situation might be the case with your pup and a camera. As mentioned above, desensitizing your pup to new objects can help them become less anxious about the world around them.

Puppies are like human babies in which everything is new to them. If you have a puppy and they seem to not like cameras, it may be because they have never seen one before. Sometimes giving them a few seconds to explore the camera with its sounds and scents might help them while some puppies might need a little more convincing.

What Can You Do?

While avoiding the camera isn’t something to worry about, it can make capturing the moment a little difficult for dog owners. So, what can you do to end your dog’s camera shyness? Here are a few things you can try out.

Redirect Their Attention

When your dog doesn’t look at the camera, it may be that they don’t know they need to look at it! They may need a treat or a toy to hold near the lens to grab their attention! Holding it near the lens will make it seem as if your pup is looking at the camera like a perfect model!

Use Positive Reinforcement

If your pup is holding their pose, reinforce it with a treat or something they like! Like with other models, they don’t want to work for free!

Positive reinforcement is the method of giving a reward for a certain action. Many dog trainers use this method to teach dogs different commands. They may use a piece of food or treats to give to the dog as a reward for doing the command, such as sit.

Giving them a treat for doing the pose you want them to do lets your dog know that they’re doing a great job and that you support their behavior, allowing you a little more time to get that perfect photo.

Contact A Canine Behaviorist Or Trainer

If you notice that your dog is showing signs of being afraid of cameras or that they might even be aggressive towards them without a reason, it may be best to contact a trainer or behaviorist to understand why your dog is acting this way.

Dogs always have a reason as to why they behave the way they do and sometimes we need help understanding that reason. If the camera is stressing your dog, it is best to find out why and how to prevent it in the future.

Ask Your Vet

While asking about avoiding cameras may seem strange, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Veterinarians dedicate their lives to improving the lives of animals and strengthening their bonds with their owners. They are always open to answering any questions that will allow you to understand your pet more. If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s behavior when getting their picture taken, asking your veterinarian is always an option. Just remember that no question is a bad question!

If they do not know the exact answer you are looking for, they will most likely be able to help you find someone who will.

Final Thoughts

Understanding our dogs’ behaviors can help the communication between us and them. By knowing why they do certain things like avoiding cameras, we are able to them be more comfortable in different situations and have them trust us more.

The more we get to know our dogs, the stronger the bond and relationship with each other will be to lead happy and healthy lives.