Dog Walk Training Ideas


Do you want to make the most of your dog walks? Bring some life to your normal dog walks by adding in some Dog Walk Training Sessions!

Why Add Dog Walk Training Sessions?

You are happy going on a normal walk. Why should you add in dog walk training sessions? Because there are so many benefits!

  • Be engaged. When I am out walking I see so many people on their phones, not paying attention to their dogs. Granted, the dogs may be sniffing around, but they would be having so much more fun if you were paying attention to them! It is great bonding time, so make the most of it.
  • Be aware. There are a lot of yummy things out there that your dog should not be eating. If you are working on dog walk training then you will quickly notice something out of the ordinary.
  • New tricks. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your dog new tricks, while you are already out and focused on your dog. The distractions will make sure your dog gets the trick down pat.
  • Have a better behaved dog. You see so many dogs out pulling on the leash and not listening to their people. Dog walk training sessions will lead your dog to listen and pay more attention to you, as well as just have greater skills.
  • Impress other people. You know it feels good when other people admire your amazing, beautiful, well-behaved dog. Dog walk training does that!

How to Prepare for Dog Walk Training

  1. Select some amazing treats you know your dog will love. You want them to be tiny so you can give out lots of them to your amazing dog. You want to take them with you whenever you go out on a walk.
  2. Select a dog treat bag. This can be a ziplock you put in your pocket or a sophisticated dog treat pouch, whichever works best for you.
  3. Think about what behaviors to you want to teach. You do not want to introduce too many at one time, and you may start with tricks and behaviors your dog already knows, until you get comfortable.
  4. Plan your path. Some areas are easier to train on than others and for some dog walk training, you will need a specific area to practice.
  5. Remind yourself that this is all for fun. You want to be upbeat and happy the entire time, not grumpy that your dog is learning.

Small dog looking up

Dog Walk Training Ideas

So you want to do some dog walk training sessions but you are not sure what to teach? There are so many options! Here are the behaviors and tricks I like to practice on every walk.

  1. Wait. This is one of my favorite behaviors and I use it at home all the time. It simply means, “pause where you are until I say it is ok to go.” You can use this at doors in your home and out on walks. In open space when my dog is off-leash, I use it to stop my dog from getting too far away from me. You should start this one at home because it is easiest to teach at an open door. Stand inside the door with your dog and say “Wait.” Then start to open the door. When you dog moves to dash through, close the door (without hitting your dog with it) and repeat. Eventually your dog will look to you to figure out what is going on. When you are ready, say “ok” and release your dog with lots of praise and walk through the door.
  2. Auto sit at street curbs. This can be a life saver if your dog ever gets off-leash. It is easy to teach – just whenever you get to a curb have your dog sit. Do not move on until she does. You can choose to add a release word, like “ok”, or just let her walk with you when you move forward.
  3. Quick sits. I love this for attention and focus from my dog, plus it is fun! As you are moving along randomly tell your dog to “Sit” in a super happy voice. Reward her for sitting quickly. Usually the more excited you are, the faster your dog will sit and the more she will pay attention to you. You can also do this with “Down” but I try not to make my dog lie down in areas where she will feel vulnerable, so be aware of the environment.
  4. Quick front. A front is when your dog sits in front of you, facing you. If you make this into a really fun game, your dog can be called back from a distance. It is great for safety. Having a different word from Come is good, because most people use Come when they are angry (which you should not, but that is another blog). “Front” is always fun! It is great to practice on walks. As you are walking along, suddenly say “Front!” and shuffle backwards. Hold your treat up in the middle of your chest. Your dog will naturally follow you and sit as she gets closer. If you later practice in bigger spaces, try this while running away for a bigger effect. When she gets close, turn towards her and give her the chance to sit in front.

Really, almost any tricks you want to teach can be practiced on a dog walk for fun and focus. They help you have fun and encourage your dog to pay attention. Remember to use treats as your dog is learning and to continue to reinforce behavior. As your dog learns, you do not need to give a treat every time, but if you do it randomly then your dog will stay interested.

What NOT To Teach

You notice no where in that list did I mention “Heal.” Heal is a tough command and is often misused. No dog can heal for an entire walk, nor should they. A walk is a time for dogs to get out and explore the world! They cannot do that if they are glued to your hip. Dogs require both physical and mental stimulation to be healthy, which means seeing new environments and experiencing the world around them. Give them the chance to do that, while still having a good time. You should practice how to walk on a loose leash, but you will find that if you are interacting with your dog with Dog Walk Training, she will be paying a lot more attention and will be checking in regularly to see what you are doing. It is hard to check in and pull on the leash at the same time.

Animal Idioms to Brighten Up Your Day!


We’ve all heard and probably used, animal idioms – or proverbs – in conversation. For instance, “crying over spilt milk” refers to complaining about a loss from the past; focusing precious time on something that cannot be changed. Have you ever stopped to ponder animal idioms and their meaning? No? Well, let’s have a little bit of fun!

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

It’s a commonly used idiom, but do you know where its meaning derived? This popular version of the phrase is condensed from its previous content, which states “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” The latter part changes its meaning – for the better – because now the cat gets to live! Maybe that’s how the expression “A cat has nine lives” came to be (we’ll dive into that one next!). However, the first chronicled use of the phrase was a bit different. In 1598 a British p

Animal Idioms

laywright wrote “…Helter Skelter, hang sorrow, care will kill a cat, up-tails and all…” The word “care” was used to express worry or sorrow. Today’s more modern version of the idiom is used as a warning, announcing excessive curiosity may lead to harm or even death.

“A cat has nine lives.”

In fact, if you’ve ever had a feline companion, you’ve probably noted several demonstrations from your fur buddy where you’ve thought to yourself, “Wow. I’m surprised Buddy isn’t dead!” And there you have it – the simple meaning of the proverb – cats can survive accidents that are severe enough to result in death. Want proof? Google “cat raises from the dead Florida” and you’ll see what I mean!

“Dog days of summer”

Comparatively,  our canine companions have their own animal idioms as well.  And sure, you’ve heard references to this, but do you know what it means and how the saying came to be? The term dates back to ancient Romans, who, when studying the “Big Dog’ constellation, noticed the star Sirius – known as the “dog star,” and the brightest star in the nighttime sky – rose with the sun from April 3rd to August 11th. The Romans believed the sun and the dog star were teaming together to produce great days of heat. Hence, the current “dog days of summer” was born!

“Let sleeping dogs lie?”

So, is this something that you have you ever said?  Well if you have, you’ve probably recognized a situation that should be left alone, as interfering may result in greater problems; particularly if it is something from the past that should not be resurrected. Geoffrey Chaucer, a great English poet from the Middle Ages, used a similar phrase in a story he published way back in 1374 – “It is nought good a sleeping hound to wake.” Boy, was he right!

There you have it – a few interesting examples of animal idioms. How many can you think of?

Best Dog and Cat Quotes


“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” – Roger Caras



“Everything I know I learned from dogs.” – Nora Roberts


“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”– Orhan Pamuk


“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” – Agnes Sligh Turnbull


“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras


“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.” – Elizabeth Taylor


“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” – Charles De Gaulle


“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” – Marilyn Monroe

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill


“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” – Roger A. Caras


“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” – Mark Twain


“Reason No. 106 why dogs are smarter than humans: Once you leave the litter, you sever contact with your mothers.” – Jodi Picoult


“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Dwight D Eisenhower


“My father… was a man who understood all dogs thoroughly and treated them like human beings.” – Flann O’Brien


“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” – Josh Billings


“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”


“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” – Edgar Allen Poe


“One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home.” – Pam Brown


“The love of a dog is a pure thing. He gives you a trust which is total. You must not betray it.” – Michel Houellebecq


“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings


“Who ever said that Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, never owned a dog.”


“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.” – Kinky Friedman


“As wonderful as dogs can be, they are famous for missing the point.” – Jean Ferris


“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Shultz


“Did you know that there are over 300 words for love in canine?” – Gabriel Zevin


“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers


“You can usually tell that a man is good if he has a dog who loves him.” – W. Bruce Cameron


“I don’t understand people who don’t touch their pets. Their cat or dog is called a pet for a reason.” – Jarod Kintz


“When an 85-pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.” – Kristan Higgins


“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” – Gilda Radner


“The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his.” – James Thurber


“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.” – Stanley Coren



“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.” – Agatha Cristie


“My dog is half pit-bull, half poodle. Not much of a watchdog, but a vicious gossip.” – Craig Shoemaker


“Every dog must have his day.” – Jonathan Swift


“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” – Franklin P. Jones


“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man’s.” – Mark Twain


“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” ~ Andy Rooney


“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” – Sigmund Freud


“Kisses are a better fate than wisdom.” – EE Cummings


“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings


“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” – Aldous Huxley


“Cats are inquisitive, but hate to admit it.” ~ Mason Cooley


“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” ~ Hippolyte Taine


“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer


“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” – Jules Verne


“It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” – Deng Xiaoping



Cute Pet Pictures


We have the cutest clients! Every day our sitters send tons of pictures and video of their furry friends to their parents while they are away. We like to share these on social media and here on our website (with client permission of course). We love showing off our friends!















See WAY MORE Cute Pet Pictures (we had too many for this page)

5 Steps to Start Growing Catnip Inside from Seeds!


Do you want to start growing catnip in your garden this year? Or maybe start catnip for your indoor cats from seed. Learn about when to start growing, how to grow catnip and how to dry the catnip!

  1. Plant seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last freeze.
  2. Catnip requires a lot of sun and water. Take that into consideration when picking a garden bed or a place in your home for your pot.
  3. Plant your catnip sprouts outside after the last freeze. If you are planting inside, make sure your plants have plenty of room to grow.
  4. Water your sprouts and watch them grow!
  5. When your plants have grown, cut trimmings to dry for your kitties. As the summer season comes to a close, take come clippings and transfer to an indoor pot to keep your plants going year-round!

*** Expert tip ***

If you are growing full catnip plants indoors and have excited cats, use a large pot. Then plant the plants at least 6 inches below the rim. Put chicken mesh or other wire over the top of the pot so your cats can reach the growth without destroying the base of the plant!



Looking to start growing catnip indoors instead? Check out this great video blog about how to make this plant thrive inside as well!

5 Easter Presents for Your Cat


Why should dogs and kids have all the fun?!  Your loving feline companion should enjoy a nice Easter basket too. Check out some more “pawesome” presents that your cat is sure to love.




A raised treat bowl is perfect to use as a base for a basket.  Once you have a bowl you like, start filling it up with treats and toys.





I don’t think any cat can resist the Bergan Whirly Pop Cat Toy.  It pops and rolls which stimulates your cat’s natural pouncing instincts.  The best part it is, no batteries or pieces to lose.






These cute little Mylar crinkle cat balls are a great addition to any kitty basket. Cats love to knock things around and the plastic bag sounds these make is even better.






Straight from the Easter Bunny himself, a cat nip carrot just for your kitty!






And of course, no basket is complete without some eggs! The Pet Safe Egg-Cerciser treat dispensing toy keeps them active by rewarding their play with yummy treats. Plus, you can adjust the holes to make it easier or harder for the treats for fall out.








Once you have the main fillings for your cat’s Easter basket make sure to pad it up with some of their favorite treats. A new bed, bowl, or even just a traditional basket works great for your pet to feel included in the holiday.  Just make sure to never use plastic grass as a filler because it can be harmful to your pets. Cats are especially drawn to it because, like tinsel at Christmas, it moves with the slightest breeze.  Also, if there are treats in there they could easily mistake for their food.  Use paper grass or even real grass which they can digest if they get curious and eat it.



5 Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Pet


Is your pet the lucky Valentine in your life this year?  After all, they are our special friends and constant companions. So, celebrate the day with these delicious Valentine’s Day pet treats!  It’s a great way to show your precious little fur baby some extra love.

Remember to always keep your dogs away from candy, but making them there own special dog-friendly treats is a great way to include them.  Check out these easy to make recipes for your dog this year!


Heart Shaped Pup-cakes


  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (xylitol free)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots or chopped broccoli
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • Cream cheese as frosting
  • Strawberry (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  and grease your cupcake pan with butter or vegetable oil
  2. Mix the flour and baking powder in a small bowl
  3. Add the oil, peanut butter, and honey to the flour mixture
  4. Then add the buttermilk in a small amount at a time and mix
  5. Add in the carrots or broccoli
  6. Place the mixture into the cupcake pan and bake until a toothpick can be cleanly removed from the cupcake
  7. Let the cupcakes cool for 20 minutes and remove them from the pan
  8. After the cupcakes are cooled mix up your frosting

For frosting:

  1. Apply softened cream cheese to ice the cupcake
  2. Optional: cut up strawberries and mix them into the cream cheese
  3. Spread the strawberry cream cheese on the cupcakes

No- Bake Peanut Butter Balls


  • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt (make sure there are no dog toxic ingredients like artificial sweeteners)
  • 1 cup of peanut butter (dog safe)
  • 3 cups of rolled oats


  1. Mix the yogurt and peanut butter to make a paste
  2. Add oats 1/4 a cup at a time and fully mix all the oats with the wet ingredients
  3. Scoop out tablespoon sized portions of the mixture and roll it into balls
  4. Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cool in the fridge for one hour

These treats can be stored for 7-9 days if kept in the refrigerator.


Baked Tuna Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

These treats add a little oomph to plain canned tuna.


  • Canned tuna
  • Cat-friendly garnish (like catnip or wheat grass)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Mix one can of tuna and one tablespoon of garnish in a medium bowl
  3. Use a teaspoon to scoop the tuna mix onto the baking sheet
  4. Form tuna mix piles into a heart shape on the baking sheet
  5. Bake these treats for about 5 minutes or until they are warm

Feed this Valentine’s day cat treat in moderation, too many treats can give your cat a stomach ache.

Spinach and Chicken Valentine’s Day Cat Treats

Many cats crave some roughage (like spinach) in their diets, it’s the reason many cats try to eat house plants. These treats are a great way to add some variety to your cat’s diet, all in the form of a tasty treat.


  • 1/2 pound of steamed boneless, skinless chicken thigh
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of quick cooking oats
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on a baking sheet
  2. Place the cooled chicken, spinach, oats and egg in a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is smooth with some chunks
  3. Pour the chicken mixture into a bowl and add the flour, mixing with your hands
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut with a small heart cookie cutter OR make thumbnail sized balls and flatten them
  5. Place the shaped dough on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be cleanly removed

Be sure to completely cook the chicken before adding it to the treat mixture. Feed these treats in moderation and break larger treats into cat-sized pieces.

Cooked Salmon

Cooked salmon is great as a special Valentine’s day cat treat. Many cats love this tasty fish. Be sure to cook all salmon thoroughly (by steaming or grilling) to make it safe for your cat. For this special treat, dice a small amount of cooked salmon and feed it to your kitty in a dish.


Valentine’s Day can be filled with dangerous food for your pet. However, these Valentine’s day treats are sure to safely woo that special four-legged friend in your life.


5 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Your Dog


Is your dog your Valentine this year? How can you show your dog some love, other than belly rubs? Here are some Valentine’s Day gifts for your dog!

Spa Package 

Every dog loves getting pampered (and us humans love a less smelly dog). Check out Animal House Rescue and Grooming for dog grooming and nail trims. Want to pamper your dog at home? Try giving him a doggie massage. Start with a flat palm and run your hand over all parts of your dog’s body. Move in one swift motion over your dog’s sides and back with light pressure. The first few massages will help you figure out what normal feels like for your dog. After this you can feel spots on your dog that are swollen or need some extra loving.

Toys and Bones 

Most dogs love new toys and bones. Check out your local pet store for cool Valentine’s Day toys for the dog. For the more destructive dogs, try Kong indestructible toys. For the dog who loves to chew, check out antler chews, which are dropped deer antlers. Be sure to pick bones or toys that are not a choking hazard to your dog.





Every dog loves treats! Check out our previous article on Valentine’s Day dog treats or check your local pet store for dog treats. Also,most local pet boutiques have a bakery and sell special Valentine’s Day cookies.

Winter Clothing 

In February it can be a little chilly for outside fun with your dog, but with some winter weather gear your dog can play outside. Check out a winter coat or some winter boots as Valentine’s Day gifts for your dog. The coat will help keep your dog warm on winter walks and boots will help keep his paws ice ball free.

Quality Time

Most dogs love spending time with their people and it can be the best gift you can give them. Try taking your dog to the dog park or on a long car ride.

With these gifts, you can make give a special gift to that special dog in your life. These Valentine’s Day gifts for your dog are sure to please.

Reduce, Reuse and Ruff-cycle


Today we welcome guest writer Sidehill Pet Sitter Jessica! 

As the owner of two Australian Shepherds- who are way smarter than any toy I can buy them– I have had to come up with some creative, low-cost ways to keep them entertained. I decided to ruff-cycle. All of the toy ideas in this article are things that you likely have in your home or in your recycling bin!

As with any toy, make sure to supervise your dog the whole time he has it to make sure that he does not swallow anything he should not!

If your dog is on a diet or is sensitive to treats you can use his dry kibble as treats!

  1. Towel treat hide-it

This toy involves taking a towel, laying it on the ground and placing treats under it. It helps to let your dog watch you the first few times so that he can figure it out, or use smelly treats so he can find them quickly. After your dog catches on, you can put the treats under the towel with your dog out of the room! Most dogs will start by digging or licking the top of the towel, but will soon figure out to push their nose under the towel. * Please watch your dog to make sure that he does not swallow any part of the towel.

  1. Egg carton toy

This toy involves an empty egg carton. Take the egg carton and place treats in a few of the cups, then close your egg carton all the way, or leave the carton unlatched ( slightly open). Be prepared for your dog to rip the carton apart or flip the top open with his nose. In this picture, I am using apples to make this toy for my rabbit ( who thinks he is a dog)!

  1. Paper-tube toy

This toy involves taking a paper towel or toilet paper roll and applying peanut butter or another sticky yummy food onto the inside of the roll with a knife. Your dog will try and lick the peanut butter out of the roll!

  1. Orange Juice Container puzzle-toy

This toy involves taking a cardboard drink container ( like the kind orange juice comes in) and turning it into a puzzle toy. First be sure to rinse and clean the container very well! After the container is clean, remove the plastic spout with a knife or scissors. Then cut small (1 to 2 inches) holes into the sides and bottom of the container. Stuff small and medium-sized treats (such as your dog’s kibble, cheese or hard treats) into the container. Then, cover the holes with peanut butter. The treats should be able to fit through the holes with a little bit of shaking and knocking around. You can adjust the size of your holes to make it harder or easier for your dog. Your dog will shake and lick your toy, and eventually get the treats!

Hopefully, these reused toys will bring enrichment to your dog and a lessening on your carbon footprint!

How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash


January is National Walk to Your Pet Month. Usually, that brings to mind images of walking your dog on a sunny day. But, what if you were walking with your cat instead? You may baulk at the suggestion, but it’s true! Cats can be trained to walk on a leash and they can also end up loving it.

First off, you’ll want to break them into the idea of a leash and harness easily. Cats are very independent by nature, so it’s best not to force them into too much too quickly. And always make sure to give them lots of praise and pets during all interactions while training. After all, we know how much cats love being praised!


Equipment needed


  • Harness and Leash

Make sure you’re using a harness and not just a collar. If they try to run up the collar could choke them or break off. The harness will protect their neck and give you more control for their safety.

  • Treats

Get a few healthy treats (a great time for a dental chew treat) to reward them in training. After a while start to eliminate the treats as a reward, but it is a great starting incentive.

Easy Steps To Train Your Cat to Walk on Leash:


Step 1: Introduction

Introduce your cat to the harness and leash. Show it to them and let them sniff it. Then leave it laying around their space before you try it on them. This will help them get familiar with it before they have to put it on. Once you’re ready to try it out, put it on them while giving them praises. If they’re okay with it from the start then let them wear it around for a while. If they are not having any of it then take it off and try again tomorrow. Don’t push them. After a successful wear, give them a little treat.

Step 2: Indoor Practice

After they are used to the harness, it’s time to try the leash. Put it on and gently lead them around the house. You will know when they are fed up when they refuse to stand or move or when their tail switches or they flatten their ears. Put down treats in a line (think Hansel & Gretel) to get them to move forward. Walk around to their favorite spots for a little while so they can get acclimated to being tethered.

Step 3: Outside Adventure

Once they are used to the leash and harness indoors it is time to venture outside a little bit. Start in the quietest part of the yard and slowly let them explore the area around the door. Each time try to get them into going a little farther on each walk. Hopefully, within a few days or weeks, they’ll be loving their leash and the great outdoors.


Tips to Keep in Mind


  • Always consider your cat’s temperament. Some cats may take to walking much faster than others. Some can be comfortable within a week or two, some can take close to a month.
  • Expect a few setbacks. It’s possible that your cat will love a walk one day and the next something is different or scares them and they may freak out.
  • Never leave them alone or tethered on the leash.
  • Don’t let them climb trees while walking.


It may seem like an impossible task, but it isn’t! Your cat gets all the same benefits of walking as do dogs and ourselves. It’s a great way for them to be stimulated, get exercise and enjoy the sunshine.

Do you ever walk with your cat? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below!