Your furry friend might have star quality, but making it big as a pet influencer is tougher than it may seem! While the leading pet influencers have massive followings –– 2 million Instagram followers for a husky mix named Loki and 1.9 million for Marnie the 17-year-old Shih Tau, according to Influencive –– it takes more than good looks and a cute groom to get to that point. Indeed, just as human influencers work hard to build brands, create content, and attract followers, it’s hard work to establish a star pet on social.
But if you want your pet to break out on social media, here’s how you can prepare them:
Train your pet to do basic poses and tricks
Just like the pets mentioned above, your furry loved one needs to be entertaining and engaging to shine on social media. Apart from being able to show off a few good poses (which is often as much about staging as anything else), they should ideally be able to pull off some tricks for their social followers.
While there are many ways to go about teaching tricks, The Spruce Pets recommends dog obedience programs to set the foundation for your furry friend. This teaches them how to follow basic commands, while also setting them up for more advanced training –– like learning on-command poses and tricks. You can also integrate games and treats into your training program, so that your pet can have fun while learning some moves. And remember, most pets thrive on the intellectual and social stimulation of training, anyway!
Keep your furry friend in the best shape
It’s not easy to live the influencer life! You may find that you need to uphold a regular schedule to keep the updates coming for followers, and it’s even conceivable that your pet will secure some more formal work for brand partners. Amidst everything that may be going on with a pet influencer though, it’s still your duty to protect their health and wellbeing.
This mostly means helping them maintain a proper diet and having regular check-ups. However, there are also unexpected issues that can arise with any pet, which is why advance protection (in the form of insurance) is a good idea as well. Sound Dollar notes that pet insurance can cover things like accidents or illnesses, as well as surgery costs and certain medications. Of course, the hope is that you never have to rely on any of this, but having insurance in place will ensure that your pet gets the best possible care if something ever comes up. Most importantly, this will keep them healthy and safe! But it will also help them meet influencer demands as regularly as possible (and uphold any agreements with those brand partners!).
Help your pet get used to the camera
Yes, pets can also become camera shy! Our previous article “Lights, Cameowra!” shared the story of petfluencer Kyubi, whose attention lasted for only two to three minutes during their first few photoshoots. But since Kyubi’s owner, Jane, is a skilled photographer, she knew that it was essential to be patient with Kyubi, and let her get used to the camera in time.
On top of that, Jane conveyed that you have to reward your pets with a good treat for behaving during photoshoots. With a bit of patience and positive reinforcement, you can help your pet become a natural in front of the camera –– and they’ll be a better influencer for it!
Recognize and respect their limitations
Although your pet may be willing to do a few poses and tricks, it’s still important for you to recognize and respect any limitations they might have.
Aurélie Four, the owner of pet influencer Marcel, warned in a piece at Medium that pet owners shouldn’t try too hard to get their furry friends famous. She says that Marcel and all pets tell the truth in their eyes, which is why it’s important to know what’s okay for your pet and when to stop. While plenty of pets enjoy things like training, new activities, and being the center of attention, others may have less patience for (or interest in) the process.
It takes a lot of work for you to train a pet influencer, so to speak. More than teaching your pet how to pose in front of a camera, you have to build a healthy and happy relationship with them so you can make the most of your time together. If it all works out though, you’ll have a blast watching your furry best friend becoming a minor celebrity online!
Cover image by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
* This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Pawjourr. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.