science of us

Do Dogs Hate Having Their Picture Taken?

Cute sweater. Photo: Carol Yepes/Getty Images

In an interview last month, a British veterinarian made internet waves by claiming that our smartphone usage is making our dogs depressed.

“A dog is a social creature, a pack animal,” Iain Booth of VetUK told Metro. “And to the dog you are the bona fide leader of the pack … But if you’re perpetually attached to your phone, that vital bond breaks down and the dog is hit for six.”

(If, like me, you were unfamiliar with the Britishism “hit for six,” it’s a cricket term that means “to affect in a devastating way.”)

Many anecdotal stories subsequently backed this assertion up (I enjoyed this video), but I’d like to take it one step farther and pin a particular kind of canine disappointment onto the act of trying to take their picture.

There’s a unique look of deflation that can come across a dog’s face in the seconds after you’ve taken out your phone — to photograph her, not even to scroll — when she realizes that it’s not going to be one of those times when you immediately put it back away, as you sometimes do, but that it’s going to stay out, hovering, sort of following her but not quite, while you say her name over and over. And so she’ll turn away, or lay her head back down, with a look in her eye that’s hard to put into words but makes you wonder what you’re doing.

Does My Dog Hate My Phone Even When I’m Photographing Her?