So you have done your homework and taught you pet to stay in one place while you back away and get ready to push the button on the camera. Now make sure you are prepared to capture the best pic possible.
Kids and pets move fast. Adjust you're shutter speed. 1/125 If using regular film make sure it's at least ISO 400. ISO 800 will make up for less light without the flash.
Avoid using the flash. Flash will condition the dog to avoid the camera by turning its head or shutting its eyes. Use natural light coming from behind the camera. If the light is behind the subject you will have shadow.
Posing the dog with people can work and building a good stay command helps. However natural action shots or luring the pet to do something cute and capturing that moment makes unique pics. Put some treats in a present or under the tree to get a mischievous dog snooping.
We all know how a dog looks when viewed from above, this is the way we always see them. Show us the way they see world! Sit on the floor or lie on your belly and remember to shoot from HIS eye level or below.
Have fun! Don't get frustrated. Kids and pets like to make you sweat!