When attempting to take photographs of your pet try to remember the three P"s Position, Personality and Patience.
The first two are achievable with practice - providing you have lots of the third!

POSITIONING:
Take photographs from as many angles as possible ensuring that the animal fills the viewfinder. 
I normally paint the head only, so zoom in close so as to capture as much detail as possible - I don't need to see the plants in your garden.
If you have somebody helping you by holding the animal while you take the photographs, don't worry, I can paint them out in the final portrait - that's the advantage of a portrait over a photograph.
I think that a "three quarter" profile shows more of the animal's character than a side profile or full face (see below) but the final choice s always yours.
The use of a flash distorts the colour so please try to avoid flash photography if possible.
Direct sunlight also has the same effect as flash photography, so try to to take your photographs outside, ideally on a bright but overcast day.

PERSONALITY:
Make the photographic session as relaxed as possible, maybe by having a helper with you so that they can distract the animal while you take your photographs.
Try to capture the most characteristic expression and pose of your pet, possibly by offering treats, being silly or making unusual noises.
Don't worry -nobody knows you're doing this - except me!

PATIENCE
Patience is a virtue when it comes to photographing pets but the time spent taking the photographs will be well worth it in the final portrait.
Take as many shots as you can and then select the ones you want when you are relaxing after your hectic day.

The quality of the photographs supplied reflects in the quality of the finished portrait.
If the photograph is fuzzy and out of focus, then I cannot see the individual detail and consequently the finished portrait will lose it's individuality and could be any dog, cat or horse of the same breed

Below are a few examples of photographs supplied and my initial thoughts.

Position:
Pic taken from
above

Focus:
Pic blurred and
out of focus

Detail:
Pic too dark,
detail l.ost

Personality:
Subject looks
bored

Patience:
Good position
and detail

Flash:
Detail lost
orange shadow

Profile:
Side view, not
my favourite

Detail:
Pic too dark,
detail lost
Personality:
Subject looks
bored
Patience:
Good position
and detail
On receipt of photographs I will contact you and discuss details before commencing the portrait.