Posts By: Caroline Kellam

Will I Have the Same Pet Sitter or Dog Walker Each Time?

same pet sitter or dog walker each time

Sometimes people wonder if they will get the same pet sitter or dog walker each time they go out of town, or the same dog walker every time they need their dog walked.

At PAWSitive Strides, we strive to keep all of our sitters working as a team. This means that every sitter is trained and familiar with the policies and procedures of our company. Every sitter is able to do the job with the same level of care and attention to detail.

Why We Use More than One Sitter

Imagine if your boss said to you that, from now on, you have to work 7 days per week. Not only that, you have to work morning, noon, and night, and that sometimes you will have to spend the night at work as well. How would you feel about doing that job? Would it be something you would look forward to doing? In addition, as you went on working without much of a break, what would happen to the quality of your work?

Even though we work with pets, the same reasoning applies to pet sitters and dog walkers. They need consistent days off and they need to be able to spend time with friends and family each day. They need time to do all of the things you like to do when you are off from work.

For our pet sitters to have days off, we must use more than one pet sitter per client.

Thus, even though it is not the standard of the industry, we have our sitters enjoy consistent days off each week. We also work our sitters in two shifts so that they have part of their time each working day to eat with their families, run errands, or just unwind.

We have seen that this keeps the quality and level of service high since sitters have the appropriate time needed to rest and recharge.

Why Our Clients Love that We Work as a Team

This is something that our clients have come to love because they know they will receive the same level of care no matter which sitter or walker takes care of their pet.

In addition, our clients rest easy knowing they can count on us when they need care for their pet. They are not depending on just one person, but they have a team of highly qualified and dedicated sitters at their service. They are not left in a bind if there is an emergency with a sitter, if someone gets sick, or must take a vacation. There is always someone else to take care of the pet.

One of our clients, Marysa Sobral, in Windermere, had the following to say about our team of sitters: “All of the sitters we’ve used from Pawsitive Strides have been wonderful! Our kitties are very well taken care of and our house is in perfect order when we return home.”

Another client, Kris Dhanani, in Orlando, said, “Your service is a Godsend for us! We know that our dogs are in good hands when we are away. We would never leave them before we found you. No improvements needed! All of your sitters have been awesome!”

Interested in getting our team of sitters to work for you? Contact us today!

Best Pet Boarding Places in Windermere

This article will discuss some of the different options for pet care available to you, how you can go about choosing the right options for you, and some of the best pet boarding in Windermere.

Many times, when people are planning to go out of town, they are unsure as to what options they have for pet care. Many people rely on friends, relatives, or neighbors to help out when they have to be away, but some have found that this is not always the best option for them. Some feel that they do not want to bother their friends and put a strain on the relationship. These people may be at a loss as to what to do. Sometimes, clients tell us that, before they found out about our pet sitting services, they would never go out of town because they just could not leave their pet.

Pet Care Options in Windermere

There are many pet care options available to pet parents in the Windermere area. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Pet Sitting in Windermere

One of the options many people use when they go out of town is pet sitting.

How do you decide if pet sitting is a good option for you? Consider a few questions you can ask yourself:

Does my pet prefer to stay at home?

Pet sitting is an excellent option for pets who prefer to stay at home. Many pets are shy by nature and all pets are creatures of habit. Therefore, for a lot of pets, staying at home is a preferred choice. They enjoy the comfort and security of being in their home environment and of keeping up with their favorite daily routines. Cats, especially, typically hate to leave home and do very well with daily visits for feeding, love, and attention.

Do I have time to plan pick-up and drop-off at a boarding facility?

If your schedule is tight and you do not want to add drop-off and pick-up times to your already busy schedule, pet sitting is also a good option because all you have to do is schedule the visits (once you have registered with a company), and your pet sitting can begin. No need to pack supplies and transport your pet. If you do prefer to have your pet boarded but do not have time for pick-up and drop-off, contact us for more information on our pet taxi services.

Do I have someone to check on my house, pick up mail, newspaper, etc?

If you do not already have someone who can come over and do those things for you, pet sitting may be a good option for you. In addition to caring for your pet, a pet sitting service will pick up mail, rotate lights, open and close blinds, and give the house an appearance of being occupied while you are away. Having someone come daily or even several times per day can be a crime deterrent.

Pet Boarding in Windermere

Another option for pet care in the Windermere area is pet boarding. How do you decide if pet boarding is a good option for you and your pet? Consider some questions you can ask yourself:

Does my dog come to the boarding facility for daycare on a consistent basis?

If your dog is used to coming to the boarding facility for daycare on a consistent basis, using pet boarding is very likely a great option for your dog. He is already familiar with the environment and associates it with playtime and fun. He knows that, once he is dropped off there, he will be picked up again, so it is not traumatic for him. It gets to be his vacation while you are on vacation.

Does my pet need veterinary care while I am away?

While a lot of pet sitting companies and boarding facilities can and do administer medications with client instruction while clients are away, sometimes it is best to board your pet under the supervision of a vet, at a veterinary clinic boarding facility.

Best Pet Boarding Places in Windermere

As a pet sitting service in the Windermere area, we know that we, unfortunately, cannot be a fit for everyone. However, our ultimate goal is to help all pet parents, be it through our services, or by helping with the process of finding the perfect place to care for their pets.

With that in mind, we have done a Google search and compiled a list of pet boarding places in the Windermere area. The Google ratings are as of the writing of this article.

Pawsh Pet Resort and Spa

(I have personally taken client’s pets here as part of our pet taxi service and can testify that the staff was always very friendly and the dogs were always very happy to go there for doggie daycare)

300 Countyline Ct, Oakland, FL 34787

(407) 654-7297

They have a 4.8 Star rating on Google

Best Friends Pet Care

2510 Bonnet Creek Pkwy, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

(407) 209-3126

They have a 4.3 Star rating on Google

Paws and Play

11790 W Colonial Dr, Ocoee, FL 34761

(407) 656-7529

They have a 4.5 Star rating on Google

Fur and Feathers Pet Resort

1230 Winter Garden Vineland Rd, Winter Garden, FL 34787

(407) 905-6088

They have a 3.9 Star rating on Google

Best Vet Boarding Places in Windermere

If you have a pet that is ill and needs medical supervision by a vet, boarding at a vet clinic is probably your best option. Here is a list of vet clinic boarding places in the Windermere area:

Luv-n-Care Animal Hospital of Windermere

8940 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL 32835

(407) 217-7700

They have a 5 Star rating on Google

Windermere Vet Services

Lake Burden Shops, 7315 Winter Garden Vineland Rd #109, Windermere, FL 34786

(407) 217-7635

They have a 4.8 Star rating on Google

Windermere Animal Clinic

1909 Maguire Rd, Windermere, FL 34786

(407) 876-3676

They have a 4.7 Star rating on Google

How Can We Help You?

Do you have questions about the difference between pet sitting and pet boarding? Want to learn more about the pet sitting services we offer and get a tailor-made service for your pet? Contact us now! We would love to help!

Whom do you rely on for pet care when you go out of town?

The Orlando Cat Cafe

The Orlando area has its very own cat café, the Orlando Cat Café! It is the only cat café in all of the state of Florida as of the writing of this blog. Cats and coffee, along with a dash of caring, can you get any better than that?

I contacted the founder of the Orlando Cat Café, Sandra Cagan, to get more details on how the whole thing started. Read on to learn the story of this charming café.

What is a Cat Café?

First off, you may be wondering what a cat café is.

A cat café is the fusion of a coffee bar and a place where you can go to get your kitty fix. In addition, in the case of the Orlando Cat Café, the cats that you see there are all available for adoption. This is a wonderful way to find a perfect cat to adopt.

What is the Orlando Cat Cafe?

“The Orlando Cat Café is a collaborative project between The Animal League, Axum Coffee, and Cagan Management Group,” says Cagan. “It is a cozy coffeehouse with comfortable furniture, premium coffee, delicious sandwiches, and pastries where you can enjoy the company of cats and kittens all of which are available for adoption.  This concept comes from Japan where it is very popular.  Like all good things, it spread throughout Europe before eventually coming to the United States.  The Orlando Cat Café is the first and only Cat Café in the state of Florida!”

I just love the idea that these cats in need are getting help and a chance at adoption.

According to the ASPCA1.4 million cats are euthanized each year. Forty-one percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized. It is a staggering number and a very sad statistic. A place like the Orlando Cat Café can do a lot to help cats in need. They give cats a chance at adoption and help to save them from euthanasia.

“We are really blessed to have such good partners in this venture,” says Cagan. “Axum Coffee not only provides delicious coffee, sandwiches, and food, but they are extremely philanthropic in their own right.  They were the perfect match and we could not have done this without them.  The Animal League has also been nothing short of fantastic.  It is a pleasure dealing with such a professional organization that also wants to do good in the world.”

Cagan with two of the kittens from the Orlando Cat Café

How the Orlando Cat Café Got Its Start

Cagan tells the story or the start of the idea for the Orlando Cat Café:

“On December 31, 2014, NBC Nightly News did a story on a Cat Café that opened in New York City.  The story stayed with me for several days and a few days into the New Year I sent an email to Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks outlining my idea to start a Cat Café.  I started my email with the words “you’re going to think I am crazy…”  Commissioner Parks responded within the hour and thought it was a great idea and helped get the ball (of yarn) rolling by introducing me to Doreen Barker, Executive Director and Jessica Whitehouse, Director of Development for the Animal League (formerly the Southlake Animal League).  2015 was an important year for me as I was turning 50 (gasp!) and looking for a way to “give back” to the community.  I can’t do anything about the situation in Syria or Darfur or stop global warming, but with my lifelong love of cats and my 20+ years in property management, helping homeless cats was something that I could do.”

Cats, cats, and more cats!

About Cat Adoption

I asked Cagan what the most important things someone should consider when choosing a cat to adopt. She mentioned that it is vital to remember that, when adopting, you are making a commitment for the life of the cat.

“Kittens are very cute, but kittens eventually become cats and as cats become older there are sometimes medical issues that arise,” says Cagan. She continues, “Pets are a wonderful addition to a family but a long and sometimes costly commitment.”

Adopting a cat (or any other pet, for that matter), is not something that should be done on impulse. It is a serious decision and the proper amount of time and thought must go into making it. That is the beauty of a place like the Orlando Cat Café. You are able to interact with different cats several times, as often as you wish. This will allow you to have the time to think through the decision. In that way, you can make sure it is the right decision for you.

Another plus of the Orlando Cat Café is that all of the cats and kittens are spayed/neutered, microchipped and up to date on all vaccinations.

Since the Café opened on September 8th, 2016, 47 cats have been adopted! Two of the cats even traveled out of state – one to New York and one to Minnesota.

For those kitties, life has forever been changed for the better! “Every time I see that one of our cats has found their “forever” home, it makes me want to cry (tears of joy),” says Cagan. “I have had the pleasure of seeing many families find their perfect cat or in some cases, the cat chooses the perfect family and it is really a joy to behold.  I have had cats for 37 of my 51 years on the planet and so I know firsthand how much joy a cat brings a family.  It is a privilege to play a tiny role in that process.”

One of the cuties at the Orlando Cat Café

The adoption process at the Orlando Cat Café

The Animal League handles the adoptions at the Orlando Cat Café. I love their mantra for adopting out cats: “Our adoptions are NOT first come, but FIRST BEST MATCH.” The goal is to create the perfect match by pairing the cat’s personality and needs with the adopter’s needs and lifestyle.  Doing so goes a long way to ensuring a strong bond between the cat and its new family, thus fostering a wonderful, lifetime relationship.

The safety and well-being of the cats are of primary concern at the Orlando Cat Café. Therefore, there is an application process and reference check, among other things. You can read more about the adoption process here:

Volunteer Opportunities at the Orlando Cat Café

“We are always looking for volunteers,” says Cagan. “Simply go to  and  click on “Help” on the top of the page, and then Volunteer and then check the box for Cat Café.”

What is your favorite thing about the Orlando Cat Café?

Crate Training Your Puppy

What is crate training and why can it be useful to have your dog crate trained? This article will discuss what it is, when it is appropriate, and how to go about crate training your dog in such a way that he enjoys being in his crate for small periods of time.

Why It Is Important to Crate Train Your Puppy

Crate training is very helpful especially in the initial stages when potty training your puppy. However, crate training is not something to be done in order to have your dog spend long periods of time in his crate without breaks and without human interaction. The crate is not his permanent home, just a tool that can be used to further other portions of your dog’s training.

The most important reason to crate train your dog is that it will help with potty training. Dogs do not enjoy soiling in their dens. So, while in their crates, dogs will be less likely to have an accident. This can speed up the potty training process.

In addition, your dog should be comfortable being in a crate so that you can easily transport him in a crate, if needed.

Tools and Materials Needed to Crate Train Your Dog

A crate – it should be just large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in

Food or treats

How to Crate Train Your Dog

A lot of the process of crate training involves how you make the crate seem to your pup. You should never use the crate as a place for punishment. This will make your puppy have negative associations with his crate and you do not want that.

First, allow your dog to get to know the crate without any pressure. Leave the crate in an area where you and your pup can be together. Keep the crate door open and pup your dog’s bed of favorite blanket in the crate. Allow your dog to explore the crate, going in and out of it freely. Do not rush to shut the door. Your goal in this step is to have your dog feel safe and comfortable in and around the crate.

You can add some treats or food to the crate to entice him to go in and explore if he is a little fearful. If your dog is not interested in food or treats, try tossing his favorite toy in the crate.

It is very important that you do not rush this step! The crate must be a place where your dog feels comfortable, so take your time and allow him to explore it on his own terms. Never force your dog into the crate.

Once your dog is comfortable with the crate and shows no signs of fear, you can begin feeding him in the crate. This will allow him to experience something pleasant in the crate, thus making it a safe space for him.

While your dog is eating in his crate, close the door. Leave him in there for a short period of time after he has eaten (10-20 minutes) and then let him out again.

When your dog gets to the point where he loves going into his crate for his meals, you can start to leave him for longer periods of time. Before leaving the house and leaving your dog in the crate for the first time, try it out while you are home but out of sight. That way you can assess your dog’s reaction to being left in the crate while no one is around.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Do not make a big deal out of leaving. No long goodbyes to your dog as this can generate anxiety and create separation issues. Crate your dog normally and always remember to have a positive association. Tossing a treat in the crate is usually a good way to get your dog to go in happily.

When you get back home, do not greet your dog enthusiastically or reward hyper behavior. Wait until your dog has calmed down in his crate before letting him out. This will teach him that calm behavior will be rewarded, rather than hyper behavior. This will also decrease the chances of him undergoing separation anxiety.

Do not leave toys in the crate that he may choke on. Most times it is best to supervise your dog while he plays with his toys.

Consider taking off his collar while he is in the crate so there is no change of it getting caught in anything.

And, do not forget this crucial point – the crate must be a positive place. Never punish your dog by sending him to his crate!

Hiring a Dog Walking Service Can Help

You do not want the crate to be a place of confinement for your dog for hours on end each day. If you have to work long hours, it is a good idea to hire a dog walking service that can come and let your puppy out one or more times during your work day.

Want to set up dog walking visits tailor-made to your puppy’s needs? Contact us today!

What Do the Experts Say?

Cesar Milan

Puppy Crate Training Made Easy

Victoria Stilwell

How to Get Your Puppy to Enjoy the Crate

Read More Dog Training Articles

Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles in our series:

Train Your Dog to Leave It

Teach Your Dog to Drop It

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Potty Training Your Puppy

Teaching Your Dog to Sit

Does your puppy love his crate?

Top Dog and Cat Names in 2016

Wondering what were the top dog and cat names in 2016? Scroll down to find out; but first, a little about how to find the perfect name for YOUR pet.

Finding the Perfect Name for Your Pet

It can sometimes be difficult to find the perfect name for your pet. I remember when we rescued a dog that was being called Saturn. My husband works with different car dealerships in Orlando and Saturn was found wandering around a – you guessed it! – Saturn dealership. They were not able to keep him so my husband brought him home as a gift to me. He was the first of many rescues in the past 13 years of our marriage.

However, when we brought “Saturn” home, we tried calling him by his then given name and he would not answer to it. So, I searched for a list of dog names on the Internet and started trying the ones I liked, one by one. He did not respond to any of them until I tried the name Bogart. His ears perked right up and he looked at me as if to say, “Finally, you figured it out!”

Bogart answered to his name for the next 9 years, tail wagging, eyes bright and alert. He loved his name. With his help, we had found the perfect name for him.

Factors You Can Take into Consideration When Picking a Name for Your Pet

In our case, Bogart let us know what name he wanted us to use, so we knew that, for him, that was the perfect name. However, the search may not always be so clear-cut.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding what to call your pet:

  • Keep it simple

You want a name that is easy to say, especially if you have children.

  • Don’t rush into it

Don’t rush into naming your dog as soon as you get him. These things can take time and you want to select a name that suits your pet. You will want to study his personality to find the perfect name for him. Once you have named your pet, it will be difficult to change his name after too much time has passed. Our pets get attached to their names.

  • Proceed carefully if using a human name

If you decide to use a human name for your pet, make sure none of your relatives or good friends have the same name. They may be offended if you use their name for your pet.

  • Avoid confusion

If choosing a name for a dog, you will want to avoid confusion with a command that your dog will be learning. Also, if you already have another pet, avoid names that sound similar so that you do not confuse them because they cannot tell the difference. For instance, don’t have a Mike and a Spike in the same household as it may lead to both coming to you when you call either one.

  • Keep in mind that you may be shouting this name while running down the street

Be aware of what name you choose for your pet because, on occasion, you may have to shout this name as you run down the street in your pajamas.

What Were the Top Dog and Cat Names in 2016?

Here are the top dog and cat names in 2016, separated by gender.

















Is your pet’s name on the list?

How to Train Your Dog to Leave It

When training your dog, many basic commands are crucial for your dog’s safety and well-being. One of the things that you should learn right away is how to train your dog to leave it. This command is critical, and this article will discuss why. Also, the article will help you to learn how to train your dog to leave it and what the experts say about training your dog to leave it.

Why It Is Important to Learn How to Train Your Dog to Leave It

Like the command “drop it,” the command “leave it” is important because it can keep your dog safe. When on a walk, you can tell your dog to “leave it” to keep him from picking up something that would be damaging to his health or potentially hurt him. Even in your home, if you drop something (such as medication) on the floor and your dog scrambles to get it, if you have taught him the command “leave it,” you can ensure that he does not ingest something he should not.

Therefore, when picking which things you want to teach your dog, make sure that training your dog to leave it is on your list.

The command “leave it” is different from “drop it.” When teaching “leave it,” you are instructing your dog not to pick something up in his mouth. The command “drop it” is used instead if the dog has already picked something up.

Also, if you have trained your dog properly, you can use the “leave it” command not only to keep him from picking something up from the floor, but also to keep him from chasing a squirrel, lunging at another dog, and so on.

Tools and Materials Needed to Teach Your Dog to Leave It

Two stacks of treats



Lot of patience and many sessions

How to Train Your Dog to Leave It

As with all training, start off with less challenging sessions and gradually increase the difficulty of the training.

Place a treat in your closed fist and present it to your dog. More than likely, if he is food-motivated, he will try to get to the treat. Do not allow your dog to get the treat. As soon as he stops trying to get the treat, use the command “leave it!” and give him one of the tasty treats. Do not give him the treat that is in your closed fist. Otherwise, you are defeating the purpose of the training.

Repeat this time and time again until your dog is no longer interested in the closed fist that offers him a treat.

Once your dog is no longer interested in the closed fist, increase the difficulty by opening your hand while giving the “leave it” command. Remember, do not allow your dog to take the treat! If your dog attempts to take the treat from your open hand, close it quickly. Once your dog ignores the open hand as you are giving him the command “leave it,” reward him with a treat from the “fun” stash of treats. Under no circumstances should you give him the treat in your hand. You do not want to confuse things for your dog.

Repeat this many times over until your dog knows that he cannot take the treat from your open hand when you use the command “leave it.”

Gradually increase the difficulty by placing the treat on the floor while cupping your hand over it. When your dog learns to leave that treat alone and ignore it, move to the next step. Take your hand off of the treat while telling your dog to “leave it.” Keep your hand close by in case you have to retrieve the treat quickly so that your dog cannot steal it. Once he leaves the treat on the floor when you tell him to “leave it,” reward him with a treat from the good stash.

Again, you will need to repeat this portion of the exercise many times. Your dog must get to the point where he does not attempt to take a treat that you have placed on the floor. Do not move too quickly on to the next step so that you do not set your dog up for failure.

When your dog is comfortable and has accomplished leaving the treats in the above circumstances, you can once again increase the level of difficulty by placing your dog on a leash and tossing a treat (or toy) on the floor, while telling your dog to leave it.

Have your dog on leash so that he does not manage to reach the toy (or treat). Once your dog stops trying to get to the treat, reward him by giving him a treat from the good stash.

Repeat this exercise often and remember to keep reinforcing the “leave it” training at different times. You can purposely drop something on the ground and tell your dog to leave it to enhance the training.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Do not allow your dog to get a toy or treat that you have told him to leave. It will be confusing to the dog if he receives as a reward the treat he was supposed to “leave.” The command will thus be rendered invalid, or, at best, very confusing to him.

What Do the Experts Say?

Victoria Stilwell

Victoria teaches “leave it” command in 6 steps

Cesar Millan

Cesar discusses 5 essential commands to teach your dog. Among these is “Leave It”

More Dog Training Articles

Have you enjoyed reading this article? Read more dog training articles in the series:

Teaching Your Dog to Drop It

Train Your Dog to Heel

How to Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Potty Training Your Puppy

Teach Your Dog to Sit

Have you successfully trained your dog to leave it? What is your favorite tip on how to do so?


Teaching Your Dog to Drop It

Teaching your dog to drop it may not seem like a priority in the list of things that you need to teach your dog, but, as we will see in this article, it is important that you take the time to do so.

Why It Is Important to Learn How to Train Your Dog to Drop It

Teaching your dog to drop an item when it is in his mouth is critical because it can save your dog’s life. For instance, let’s say you are walking your dog, and he gets ahold of a chicken bone (unfortunately people seem to think it is OK to eat chicken and toss the bones in the grass, not realizing that a dog can easily get ahold of it).  You must be able to act quickly to get your dog to drop it without eating it first.

Another important reason to be able to get your dog to drop an object that he is interested in quickly is that it can save your furniture or other precious objects in your home. Your dog may not know the difference between his chew toy and your expensive leather shoes, so it is a good idea to have him trained to drop an object on command.

Tools and Materials Needed to Teach Your Dog to Drop It

  • Patience
  • Some of your dogs favorite toys
  • Treats

How to Train Your Dog to Drop It


As with anything else you are training your dog to do, the number one tool you need in your tool belt is patience. Patience will help you not to give up if your dog does not seem to understand what you are trying to get him to do right away.

Just like humans, dogs can take a few tried before they learn. And that is OK. With patience, you will not expect too much of your dog too soon, and this will allow the exercise to be fun for both of you, rather than something to dread.

The Process

Allow your dog to hold one of his favorite toys in his mouth.

Now, it is imperative that you do not make this a game of chase or tug-of-war. Your goal here is to get your dog to release the toy in his mouth upon your command. If you pull at the toy, you will be teaching your dog that this is a tug-of-war session. If you go after your dog to try and get the toy away from him, you will be teaching him that this is a game of chase or keep-away.

Claim the toy for yourself. Get your dog to come to you. Once your dog has the toy in his mouth, you can place your hand on a portion of the toy (it will be easier if this is a larger toy) and hold the toy. Just hold, do not pull. At the same time, give your command, “Drop it!”

To get your dog to release the toy quickly, you can use one of the treats and, once again, use the command and show your dog the treat. Once your dog has dropped the toy, reward him with the treat.

Repeat this over many times until your dog drops the toy without you giving him a treat and without you having to claim the toy for yourself. The goal here is to get your dog to learn to drop anything that is in his mouth as soon as he hears the command, “Drop it!”

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Again, remember that, as tempting as it may be to chase your dog when he does not come to you, or to pull on the toy to get him to let it go, you will not be teaching your dog properly if you do so. Your dog should complete the action of dropping the toy on his own. This way he will learn to make the connection with the command.

It is important to wait it out as well and have patience. If you have called your dog to you, wait until he comes to you. If you have asked him to drop it and he is trying to play tug of war, hold the toy and do not allow him to pull on it. Patiently wait until he releases it.

Use the treats as necessary. Do not forget, however, that the goal is to get your dog to the point where he releases the toy without receiving a treat. This is important because, in a life-threatening situation, you may not have a treat handy to get him to release.

What Do the Experts Say?

Victoria Stilwell

In this article, Victoria helps you to teach your dog to learn to take a toy while dropping another one.

More Dog Training Articles

Have you enjoyed reading this article? Read more articles in our dog training series:

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Potty Train Your Puppy

Teach Your Dog to Sit

Train Your Dog to Leave It

How did you teach your dog to drop a toy?

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Among the many things that you need to teach your new dog, learning how to train your dog to heel is a vital skill for both your dog’s safety and your peace of mind.

Why It Is Important to Learn How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Training your dog to heel is important because it makes the walk more enjoyable for both of you. It is no fun to walk your dog feeling like your arm is about to be yanked out of its socket for most of the walk.

Also, your dog’s safety is at risk if your dog does not know how to heel on the walk properly. You want to be able to have your dog under control to be able to navigate busy streets or crowded places safely.

Tools and Materials Needed to Teach Your Dog to Heel

Treats (if your dog is food-motivated) or a toy

A leash

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

Start training your dog to heel inside, rather than outside, with as little distraction as possible.

If your dog is food-motivated, use a treat to help him focus on you. Show the treat to your dog and then hold it again the side of your body while you walk. Your dog should follow you (or actually, the treat). Walk for a bit then stop and reward your dog with the treat.

When you stop, be sure to use a command, such as “stop!” or “sit!” so that your dog knows to stop and sit at this point. Having the dog sit whenever your stop is another way to keep your dog safe. You can have your dog sit at each crosswalk so that he is not tempted to pull out into the street while you are walking.

Repeat the exercise several times inside before moving outside. Always remember that the key to properly training your dog is to have much patience and to move slowly. Do not rush to train your dog outside if she has not yet mastered the training inside. If you move too quickly, you may be setting your dog up to fail, and this can be frustrating for both you and your dog.

When moving outside, be sure to pick a quiet spot to start off; somewhere without too many distractions. Being in a quiet area will help your dog to focus on you rather than what is going on around you. Again, your goal is to give your dog plenty of opportunities to succeed before moving too quickly into more challenging training scenarios with distractions.

Do the same exercises you did inside, but this time, since you are outside, have your dog on the leash.

Repeat the exercise several times and remember to practice this often.

Be sure to give your dog some breaks where she does not have to heel, but can sniff around at leisure. Just make sure that you, and not your dog, are the one deciding when your dog should heel and when it is OK just to sniff.

Once your dog has mastered heeling while walking in quiet areas without distraction, move on to areas where there are more distractions. Remember to be patient and to practice often. Do not expect your dog to learn everything in one session.

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Bear in mind that, when working with your dog on leash, you should not have tension on the leash. Maintain the leash loose and do not jerk your dog around. If you keep tension on the leash, your are, in fact, training your dog to fight against that tension.

It can help to keep your dog’s collar toward the top of his neck, which is his most sensitive area and therefore, he will be less likely to resist and to pull.

What Do the Experts Say?

Victoria Stilwell

Victoria stresses the important of teaching your dog to heel by starting inside rather than outside where there are more distractions in this artcile:

Cesar Millan

Cesar discusses the importance of your body language and energy when teaching your dog to heel on the walk.

Read More Training Articles

Did you enjoy reading this dog training article? Check out more in the series:

Potty Train Your Puppy

Teach Your Dog to Sit

Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Teaching your Dog to Drop It

Train Your Dog to Leave It

Have you trained your dog to heel? How long did it take you to do so?

Need Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Orlando and Windermere

Why Choose PAWSitive Strides When You Need Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Orlando and Windermere

Need Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Orlando and WindermereThere are many choices out there when it comes to providing care for your pet. So, why should you choose PAWSitive Strides when you need dog walking and pet sitting in Orlando and Windermere?

Factors to Take Into Account When Choosing Your Pet Sitter or Dog Walker


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a person or company to take care of your precious pet is reliability. You need to know that the people who are going to be responsible for your pet while you are away are actually going to do their job.

At PAWSitive Strides, we often get calls from people who are desperately looking for service at the last minute. Their friend, the teenager next door, or even their pet sitting company, bailed on them at the last minute. We got such a call just this week. We were able to accommodate the client and are currently taking care of her sweet dog while she is visiting family in another state.

When you schedule visits and need to be away, you have to be confident that those you have left in charge of your precious pet will follow through. What happens if you have already left for your vacation and the person who was supposed to look after your pet suddenly cannot?

Three Components of Our Service That Make Us Reliable

At PAWSitive Strides, our goal is to provide our clients with reliable, dependable, and stress-free service. We are able to this in many ways:

  • Online System

Our customers use our online system to schedule visits. We do not accept reservations by email, phone call, or text message so that nothing is missed. All of the visits are scheduled by our clients directly in our online system.

Also, clients receive an email confirmation of the visits they have scheduled so that the can look everything over and make sure it is correct.

The online system also serves the purpose of ensuring that no visit gets missed. If a sitter has not checked into the visit during the requested time window, our office manager receives an alert from our online system. The office manager will then immediately contact the sitter. If unable to contact the sitter, the office manager will send out another sitter to the visit, so the pet is not left without a visit.

  • A Team of Sitters

Having a team of sitters allows us to provide our clients with consistent and reliable service, even when there are emergencies. Our clients do not depend on just one person, but rather, they have a team of people at their service. This means that, if a sitter has an emergency, our clients are not left without someone to watch their pet. Instead, someone else from the team will cover the visits. Thus, our clients do not have to make panicked, last-minute phone calls to friends, family, neighbors, and others to try to find coverage because the sitter they were counting on got sick, had a change of plans, or something else.

  • An Office Team

We have sitters working out in the field to take care of our clients’ pets. In addition, we have an office team monitoring all visits for completion, processing client’s schedule request, monitoring the phones after-hours for any emergencies, and answering client’s questions. This allows our clients to be able to leave town with a sense of security. Our clients are confident that they have a team of people invested in the well-being of their precious pet while they are away from home.


Another crucial factor when deciding on pet care options is trust. Trust is important not only for those coming into your home but even if using a pet boarding facility. You need to be confident that the people looking out for your pet really will do the best job possible. In addition, you need to feel that they have the best interests of your pet at heart.

If your pet care provider is coming into your home, you have to trust this person will treat your home and your pet with care and respect.

At PAWSitive Strides, our sitters a selected after a very careful and rigorous interview process. We have our candidates go through quite a few “hoops” before their first screening interview. Also, we do a total of three interviews before deciding whether or not to hire a candidate.

Once we have decided on a candidate, they must submit to a background check, and we likewise check their references. After that, the candidates go through orientation and a training process to ensure that they will do the best job possible in caring for our clients’ precious pets.

Also, anyone working for PAWSitive Strides is an employee rather than an independent contractor. This means that our sitters follow our standard of pet care, not their own. They are trained and coached as needed. Also, should one of our pet sitters get hurt in your home, we provide worker’s compensation insurance, giving you an added level of protection.

Often, pet parents trust that the person or company they are using to care for their pets is insured and bonded. Unfortunately, most pet parents do not have the time to do all of the necessary research. Many fail to realize that, if someone gets hurt in their home, the cost to them can end up being astronomical. Read more about this here.


Life is hectic, and people do not have time to wait for regular office hours.

At PAWSitive Strides we have an online system that is available to our clients 24 hours per day. This means that they can schedule their visits when it is most convenient to them.


Depending on someone else’s calendar of availability in order to be able to travel or work long hours is difficult. It is much easier if you choose a pet care provider that is available to you 365 days per year. One person alone cannot do this. It is not feasible or even realistic to expect one person to be available to care for pets 365 days per year. People get sick, have emergencies, need time off.

At PAWSitive Strides, as mentioned before, our clients have a team of sitters working for them. This means that they can schedule as needed, even at the last minute, and we typically have a sitter available to them.

Having a team of sitters at their service allows our clients to cope with the emergencies that happen in their daily life without having to stress about the care of their pet.

Wondering if PAWSitive Strides is the right company for your pet sitting or dog walking needs in Dr. Phillips, Metrowest, Windermere, or Winter Garden? Contact us today, and one of our office managers will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Who Are Our Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers in Orlando and Windermere?

pet sitters and dog walkers in orlando and windermere

Who are the PAWSitive Strides pet sitters and dog walkers in Orlando and Windermere?

At PAWSitive Strides, we use a team of pet sitters to better serve our clients. It is only natural to wonder who are our pet sitters and dog walkers in Orlando and Windermere areas and how we go about selecting the perfect sitters for our clients.

Why a Team of Sitters Is Important

First, let us take a look at a few of the reasons that hiring a company with a team of sitters to work for you is important.

  • Emergencies happen

As much as we would like to control everything that could possibly go wrong in our lives, emergencies sometimes happen. This goes both ways: emergencies can happen to the client, and emergencies can happen to the sitters taking care of their pets. Either way, having a team of sitters can make dealing with emergencies a much easier and smoother process.

For instance, when emergencies happen to our clients, we are typically better equipped to take on last-minute visits since we have a team of sitters available to each of our clients.

When emergencies happen to the sitters, we can continue service for our clients without any interruption. This would not happen if our clients were depending on just one person.

  • Burnout

While pet sitting is a wonderful and fulfilling job, it is hard work and everyone needs a break. Our sitters are refreshed for their visits with client’s pets each week because they have time off during the week and because they work in shifts. This allows them to devote close attention to each pet they care for since they have been able to recharge their batteries during their time off.

How We Choose Our Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers in the Orlando and Windermere Areas

For the safety of our clients, we at PAWSitive Strides, hire very, very carefully.

We do a rigorous and thorough interview process and do not hire someone just because they like animals. We look for things such as, are they dependable, punctual, and personable? Have they shown themselves prompt and thorough during the interview process? Are they positive and engaging?

In addition, we do a thorough background check and also a reference check. Many people think that you can trust your instinct and skip the background check process when hiring someone but this is just not the case. The background check is a crucial part of the hiring process.

The PAWSitive Strides Screening Process:

  1. Initial screening interview and survey
  2. 2nd face-to-face interview
  3. Final face-to-face interview with both partners
  4. Full criminal background check
  5. Contacting of all professional references
  6. Sitter orientation and testing
  7. 90-day trial period coupled with ongoing evaluations to ensure that our clients are 100% satisfied and that the sitter is living up to the PAWSitive Strides standards of care and code of ethics
  8. Unannounced quality control visits
  9. Some time after completion of trial period, sitters are trained in Pet CPR and First aid

Curious about our sitters?

Want to see the faces behind the PAWSitive Strides name? Meet our sitters here: