I Tried That Tennis Ball Phone Attachment to Improve My Dog Selfies, And It Kinda Worked
I’m a dog mom. I firmly believe—no, I know—that my dogs are the most beautiful, smart, and loyal creatures on the entire planet. I’m like a cross between Amy Poehler in “Mean Girls” and Beverly Goldberg in “The Golbergs,” but instead of worshiping and smothering my kids, I’m obsessed with my pups. I don’t push them around in a dog stroller, but honestly, I’m open to the idea. I want the absolute best for them and I’m always buying and trying new dog products and toys I think they’d like. So, when I saw that Amazon is selling a smartphone attachment that promises to help you take better dog pictures, I had to try it.
Follow Topics for more like this
Follow for more stories like this
Pooch Selfie is a gadget that clips onto your phone and holds a removable squeaking tennis ball. The idea is that you can squeak the tennis ball to get your dog’s attention, then quickly snap a pic while they’re sitting still, either as a regular portrait or as a selfie. I take dozens of pictures of my dogs every day, often with treats in hand, and I wondered if Pooch Selfie could really help me take better ones.
Before I get into my experience using Pooch Selfie, I should introduce you to the actual pooches themselves. There’s Pearl, our 11-year-old black lab who has two settings: extremely majestic and extremely derpy. She’s photogenic, but she’s not great at posing; if she knows you’re taking her picture, she’ll come over for pets, so you have to catch her in the act. For every good picture I have of Pearl, I have 15 others that are blurry, so she’s a good candidate for Pooch Selfie.
And there’s River, our a three-year-old red heeler who is very shy and anxious but also extremely intelligent. River will sit and pose for hours, so he almost doesn’t need Pooch Selfie, but I was curious to see if he liked it (or, more likely, if he was afraid of it).
My first impression of Pooch Selfie was that it was a lot easier to get the tennis ball in and out than I thought it would be. I don’t know what I was picturing, but I was pleasantly surprised that it slid in and out with ease. I clipped it to my phone, and with that, I was ready to test.
Pearl was more interested than I thought she would be, and we actually got a few cute pictures, even though she didn’t know where to look most of the time.
But she quickly grew bored of sitting and just wanted to nom on the tennis ball. If you look closely, you’ll see that in a lot of the pictures, I’m holding her back from escaping and willing her to sit still.
River, as I suspected, was skeptical of the device. He refused to participate in any selfies outside, so I tried my luck inside.
For a dog who is normally very good at sitting still, he had no interest in posing for a selfie, licking my face and hiding behind me instead.
Much like Pearl, he also quickly grew tired of playing along and just wanted the ball, so I gave up and let them have it.
Succ…ess? Hey, it’s not not a selfie.
My dogs were definitely interested in why there was something strange attached to my phone. But they weren’t interested in an I’m-going-to-sit-still-and-calmly-stare-at-it way. It was more of a hey-what’s-that-thing-I-must-have-it-gimme kind of way. We got some good pics, but we also got some not-great pics.
Again: It’s not not a selfie.
My biggest complaint about Pooch Selfie isn’t that my dogs were only mildly cooperative. It’s that it falls off your phone if you move it too much. It’s fairly dependable if you take a vertical picture, but if you turn your phone to take a horizontal picture, forget it. Once horizontal, you have to re-clip the attachment to the side of your phone so gravity doesn’t get the best of you. Not the end of the world, but hey—dogs are unpredictable. You have to move quickly to get the best possible shot, and sometimes, you need to switch to horizontal. Be warned that if you do, Pooch Selfie will probably fall. You might get one or two good pics before it does, so act fast.
Also, this is vain, but I’ll say it: If you’re using Pooch Selfie for actual selfies, you don’t have much time to make sure that you yourself look good. It’s hard enough as it is to take a picture where both you and your dog are looking at the camera. Adding in the element of the tennis ball can actually create more hurdles. You have to reach up, squeak the tennis ball, keep your phone still, keep your eyes on the camera, maintain your pose, and take the picture—all within a span of .2 seconds. It helps to use the volume button as a shutter or the self-timer feature, but the latter is still not a perfect solution, because you have less control over when the picture snaps. I found that nailing my pose came second to getting good pictures of my dogs. Which is fine with me, because true friendship is choosing the pic where your dog looks the best. But if it’s important to you that you look your best, too, there are no guarantees that this product will make it easier.
Pooch Selfie does get your dog to sit still so you can take their picture. But beyond that, I think the results depend on your dog. If you see Pooch Selfie and immediately think, Oh, my dog would never fall for that in a million years, then you’re probably not wrong. If your pup has never sat still for a photo in their life, this accessory isn’t magically going to get them to do it. Then again, I was confident that River would cooperate, but all he did was lick my face. So, you’ll just have to try it yourself and see what happens.
In the end, I had about the same ratio of good pics to blurry pics that I normally have after a dog photoshoot. Pooch Selfie won’t train your dog to sit still, but it’s a cute novelty item that’s fun for every dog owner to try at least once. I’ll definitely hold onto it and try it again in the future. And, if nothing else, it’s another squeaky tennis ball to add to their collection.