Modelling with pets

Pets continue to be a major part of our modelling ensemble. Ever since we started Models Direct in 1990 we’ve had more and more pet owners submit applications to us to enhance their pet’s presence and increase their chances of being seen by our clients. It remains the most effective way to thrust pets into the limelight, as the hundreds of animal reviews testify.   

Sometimes our clients require models to pose with pets – and not necessarily their own animals. This is quite common, although of course we also cater for owners modelling with their trusty pets. Anything goes in the wonderful world of pet modelling.

Each pet modelling assignment is different. However, there are common themes with the ever-popular dog and cat assignments. In no particular order they are:


  • Sit, stay, heel! Obedience is a massive plus for dogs. The ability to take commands is probably the biggest asset for dogs. Models are often expected to control their dogs, and it makes the shoot so much easier – and less stressful for the animal.
  • Attention grabbers. A lot of dogs crave the spotlight, so modelling is the perfect choice. Our clients are always wary that flashing lights or loud noises could cause distress, so please mention on your ePortfolio whether your pet is susceptible to these distractions.
  • Perfecting the pose. Owners can pose with any animals, although dogs are probably the most common posing companions and certainly the most natural. Try various poses to reflect your dog’s best features – e.g. inquisitive eyes, healthy tongue, glossy coat and striking ears. Four important poses to perfect include:
  • On a walk, with your dog well behaved on a lead.
  • Show off your dog’s talent by photographing / filming them performing tricks. Whether your pooch loves playing the “paw game” or responds quickly to rolling over, your dog’s tricks could be exactly what our clients could be looking for.
  • Kiss ‘n’ cuddle. If you’re the proud owner of smaller breed like a cockapoo or a Jack Russell, scoop them up to eye-level and have a few pictures taken of you getting intimate.
  • Companionship. Clients love to see owners and their dogs side-by-side, so the classic owner-and-dog-sitting-next-to-each-other pose is timeless.


  • Easy (and lazy) does it. Cats are notoriously more active at night, preferring to take it easy during the daytime. Posing with them asleep on their favourite sofa or chair is sure to appeal to clients.
  • Coaxing. Cats respond well to treats and toys, so coax them into playful poses. Whether it’s toying with balls of wool, playing hide-and-seek in cardboard boxes, or getting dressed up like Rudi the cat, experiment with your feline friend to capture their cuteness in all its glory.
  • Cat’s eyes. Make sure your cat’s eyes are the focus of shoots and that they are free from fur, dust and any other irritants (sleeping cats exempt, of course). Pose with them parallel with your own eyes for the ideal pet/owner shot; and remember that the background shouldn’t depict anything that will detract from the main event – your cat.

Occasionally we receive requests for models posing with birds and reptiles. In these cases it’ll help if models are familiar with such animals, although it’s not compulsory. These kinds of animals will be domesticated, so they shouldn’t pose any problems if models have the confidence to handle them. Some people shudder at the thought of handling (or even being near) reptiles; this is fair enough. Reptiles (e.g. snakes and lizards) have dry skin so they’re definitely not “slimy”, and they will be tame. When posing with these types of animals, models must be extra relaxed or it will definitely show. 

As with people, a pet’s health and welfare is paramount. Our clients appreciate that several takes might be needed to get the desired final results. They also give pets regular breaks, and pets on set are often rewarded with treats – as our numerous pet reviews reveal.