One of the most common mistakes we all make taking puppy pictures is problemsn with the photo background such as distracting clutter. Sure, the Christmas tree is pretty and maybe the new furniture looks great-but the puppy gets lost if he's under the tree, or just a furry blur on one end of the sofa. Focus should be on the puppy, not the clutter around him. Zoom in as tightly as possible.
Remove Background Clutter
Clear the "set" beforehand to reduce visual distractions. A great place to photograph small pets is on a blanket spread over your bed.
A backdrop like a bedspread can be any solid contrasting color (blue to match the dog's eyes)--dark for light color pups, and light for darker puppies. The bedspread offers lots of wiggle room for movement so you can follow him with the camera and still have lots of uncluttered background.It may be tempting to shoot your spotted puppy on a leopard print. Be aware that a solid color helps fur patterns show up better rather than competing with faux fur or other patterns.
Dog Show Photo Ops
Dog shows have lots of great photo ops, but it can be a challenge to find an uncluttered background in an indoor conformation show. Show dogs know to "stand" in place but you'll still often have the exhibitor's foot sneaking into the frame, or people and other dogs moving in the background. Outdoor dog sporting events offer better natural lighting.
The exhibitors usually are very accommodating, though. Just ask first to be sure they aren't in a rush to get to the next ring. Hint: Check out the doggy potty area, one of the best places to take pictures of dogs at the show because few people want to hang around. Just breathe through your mouth.