Okay, so clearly we aren't saying everyone should go out an buy a dog (or are we?) - but we do have a very useful suggestion.
If you are learning studio lighting and plan to photograph dogs and pets, we strongly recommend learning with a stuffed animal and NOT a live pet.
It is best to learn the nuances of lighting with a consistent subject. One that will allow you to experiment and carefully consider your lighting. A subject that will sit still. For HOURS. We recommend a large stuffed toy.
We would recommend you find a toy that has a shiny coat - not dull, so you can see the effect lights will have on fur and the specular highlights it can create. Also, we recommend both white and black fur so you can learn to really nail that exposure. The white fur give you the risk of over exposure, and the black fur gives you a chance to see how your darks will reproduce.
We have a Border Collie stuffed animal from Melissa and Doug. ...