As a Temecula family photographer, I photograph dozens of family sessions per year! One common request I hear is, "Can we bring our pet to the session?" My answer is...maybe! I'll explain a bit more below!
The biggest variable with bringing a pet along to your session is the age of your children! I don't recommend bringing a pet if you'll have kids 7 and younger during the session. The reason for this is that your pet won't be in all of the photos, and I find (particularly with mini sessions, or shortened portrait sessions), not having the dog in the photos at all times can be a source of distraction and anxiety for kids. Instead of focusing on their family members and getting smiles and giggles, they tend to get very distracted about where the family pet is if they're not in the photo.
For typical family sessions (about an hour), they can work better because I have more time to work with your family! So even if your furry family member is a bit distracting, there's more time to work with your family and still get the photos you want out of your session.
The very best thing you can do, if you really want your pet to be part of your family photos, is to bring along a friend or family member to watch your pet when they're not in the photo! Being able to say to your kids, "Jenny is going to take Baxter for a walk!" and getting your pupper out of your kids' eyesight does wonders in helping them to refocus on your family so I can get those incredible photos!