Photographing animals is a challenging task. Unlike landscapes, you can’t wait for the light to be just right to make your image. Instead, you have to be mindful of the animal and try to anticipate what its next move will be. And if the light isn’t right, well then you have to figure out how to fix it, be it with a flash, a reflector, or whatever.
The best way to photograph animals is not to photograph them. Instead of fiddling with composition and camera controls, watch the animal and learn its habits. What does it do? What does it like? How does it move? When does it move?
Once you learn an animal’s behavior you’ll be able to calmly capture it’s better side instead of frantically scrambling just to capture it all.