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Travel and Finding the Right Caregiver For Your Pet

Travel and Finding the Right Caregiver For Your Pet

Rover, Rover…send your best pet sitter over!

You have travel plans and you’re wondering who will take care of my pet? Owning a dog should not limit your travel opportunities. And we know that many pet owners hate to leave their beloved family members behind. Entrusting your dog to the care of a stranger is always a challenge–you want what’s best for your dog, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

That’s where comes in. The site is filled with wonderful, pet-loving sitters and dog-walkers who are thoroughly vetted by the site. There’s no shortage of affordable, high-quality care in your area! Here’s how to ensure a perfect fit, and create the best possible experience for your pet.

 Define Your Needs

What helps your pets thrive? Think back to past experiences with strangers, or times that you’ve been away. Is your dog happiest in her own home? Nervous with new people? Does she get along with other pups? What unique care requirements does your pet have? If you have any concerns that you hope a sitter would address, write them down.

This “dream list” could include experience caring for senior dogs, or a sitter who’s highly active in order to keep up with your energetic puppy. What are your non-negotiables? Know where you might be willing to compromise, and what areas are paramount to your pet’s happiness.

Let’s get practical…how do you know who’s right for your pet?

Search Rover’s Site

If you’re looking for a sitter for specific dates, you can narrow your search with those parameters. Otherwise, browse as many local sitters or dog-walkers as you can to cast a wide net. Which sitters already have reviews from other owners? Start reading through profiles to get to know your options.

Now, compare what you find with your list. Contact sitters who look promising, and ask questions if you need more detail. The important thing is finding someone who’s adaptable, motivated, reliable, attentive to your pets, and conscientious about instructions.

Let’s get acquainted.

Do a Meet & Greet

Found a sitter who’s interested? Great! Set up an initial meeting. You’ll get a sense of who they are, and you can watch them interact with your pet. It’s a bit like a first date: You’ll discover whether there’s chemistry! Does their personality match up with your pet’s needs? Ask any questions that will help you make the final decision. You can also go for a walk together, or watch the sitter play with your pets. Look for a connection that helps put your pet at ease, as well as confidence and great communication skills.

Not sure about this one? Meet another candidate. Whoever you choose to hire, you want to trust them completely and feel comfortable leaving your pet in their care. You might even tweak your list based on a meeting that didn’t go as you hoped. There are plenty of caregivers available, and you want to feel great about your choice. Once you find the right person, you’ll be able to hire them often–and get a better sense of what makes a great sitter, should you ever embark on the search again. Your perfect sitter is out there!

Written by Nat Smith, community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.


Traveling With Your Pet: What You Need for Day Trips and Extended Vacations

Traveling With Your Pet: What You Need for Day Trips and Extended Vacations

Many pet parents love to travel and oftentimes want to take their pets with them wherever they go. Whether this is a trip to the beach or a week-long tour of a far away city, there are specific things you will want to bring with you to ensure your trip with your pet goes well.

Alexandra Seagal shares important considerations when traveling with your pet; what you need for day trips and extended vacations.

Before You Leave

Pets can make holiday travel more memorable!

When you travel with a pet, there are many things you have to keep in mind, so before you leave your home, prepare your pooch with this checklist;

  • Reservations – if you will need a hotel room, be sure to make reservations in advance and also that the hotel is pet-friendly. You may also want to inquire if there is a mini-fridge in case you are bringing wet or raw food.
  • Veterinarian visit – many countries will require your pet to have a current health and vaccination record. Ask for a copy of these from your veterinarian. If your dog or cat is need of vaccinations, these should be done, as well.
  • Medications – if your pet is on medications, be sure you have enough to last you past the duration of your vacation. Having extra meds will ensure your animal is protected in case you can’t get back on time, or you lose some.
  • Flying with pet’s policy – before you hit the airport, be sure you know the airline’s policy on pets and follow their guidelines. Printing these out will ensure you have written copy for reference.


Packing a Carry-on Bag

Our pets “know” when we are starting to pack for a trip.

If you are traveling by airplane with your dog in the cabin, you will want to pack a carry-on bag just for Fido. These items should include;

  • Food – depending on the duration of the flight (and how well your dog’s stomach is handling the flight) you may want to have a couple of meals worth of food with you.
  • Water & Bowl – fill a water bottle (after you pass airport security) to rehydrate your dog when the flight is over. Use a collapsible bowl to save space.
  • Leash & Harness – for relief areas.
  • Poop bags
  • Extra treats – may need these to get your dog back into his carrier.
  • Prescription meds – these are safer in your carry-on then in your luggage
  • Doggy documents – vaccination records and health certificate
  • Picture of your dog – just in case the unimaginable happens, and your dog escapes or goes missing.
  • Handheld fan – a practical way to keep your pet from overheating.


Packing For Your Pooch

Having everything you need for your dog on a day trip or vacation will prepare you for most circumstances. When you’re packing for your pooch, be sure to include the following items;

  • Extra leash, harness or collar
  • Make sure ID tags are secure
  • Pet First Aid Kit
  • Food and bottled water
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Dog carrier (with extra pads) or harness and seat belt clip for the car
  • Towel or seat cover for protection of both a hot seat and doggy emissions
  • Window shade
  • Pet wipes
  • Windex wipes – more so if you are renting a car and need to tidy up the nose prints.
  • Doggy wearables – sweaters, life jacket, raincoat, booties, etc.
  • Treats, chews, and food
  • Loose bedding such as pet blankets and extra towels
  • Pet’s favorite toys
  • Grooming supplies – brush, comb, nail clippers, shampoo, etc.
  • Paper towels
  • Lint brush – more for you
  • Poop bags
  • Extra zipper-closure baggies


Packing for a Cat

Purrfect Preparation makes all the difference.

Although most of the items above do apply to our feline friends, there are still a few extras that you will want to include when packing for a cat;

  • Cat bed
  • Litter box, cat litter, and litter scoop
  • Calm down spray such as Feliway to help de-stress your cat
  • Portable cat scratcher – the ones that use corrugated cardboard work well
  • Hairball remedy

Be Pet-Ready When Traveling

One of the worst things in life is being unprepared. When it comes to traveling with your dog or cat, it’s better to over-pack rather than to leave out an item that may be necessary down the road (literally).

Follow these checklists to be pet-ready when traveling. Fido and Fluffy will be happy you did.

5 Tips For Finding the Right Dog Fit For Your Family

5 Tips For Finding the Right Dog Fit For Your Family

Choosing the right dog is important for both owner and canine. We all know that dogs are loyal, offer unconditional love and are awesome for families. A canine companion can teach children responsibility, trust, respect, and compassion.

However, that doesn’t mean every dog is right for everyone. Guest blogger, Alexandra Seagal of writes about the top considerations for finding Fido. Dogs have personalities and quirks just like we do, so before you adopt a puppy or adult dog based on how cute he looks on the other side of the kennel door, we’ve dug up 5 tips on finding the right dog fit for your family.

Begging the question: Which dog breed is right for you?

Tip #1 – Ask Yourself “Why?”

Owning a dog is a responsibility that should not be entered into lightly. This animal will be a part of your family unit for the duration of its lifetime, so ask yourself the question of why you want a dog. Is he for;
-Playmate for the children
-Special activity, ie. hunting or therapy work
-Home security

Knowing the reasons, you want a pooch in the first place can help narrow down your decision process. For example, you most likely wouldn’t get a Shih Tzu for hunting, but he will make a good companion or even therapy dog.

Tip #2 – How Much Time Do You Have For the Dog?

Most of us live busy lives. Between careers, family and hobbies/leisure activities, our days can be pretty full. Before you bring home a puppy or adult canine, you will want to ask yourself (realistically) how much time can you invest into the dog?

Exercise, grooming, and training (if a puppy) is going to take up the most of your time. Some breeds like a Beagle or Jack Russell Terrier are going to need around 2 to 3 hours of exercise each day, while the Great Dane is happy with a daily stroll around the block.

When it comes to grooming, a Husky is going to need a lot more care than the wash-and-wear Schipperke. Know your limits, so both you and your dog won’t suffer from your time constraints.

Dog allergies can be mild or severe…take note before you decide!

Tip #3 – Allergies?

Allergies are an important area to keep in mind when finding the right dog fit. Although no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds are better for those that suffer from this itchy condition.

Poodles and the Havanese breeds are two that have been known to be suitable for those folks that suffer from certain types of dog allergies. This may be because they do not shed, while other breeds like the Dalmatian shed all year around.

Tip #4 – How Much Money Can Be Dedicated to the Dog?

Owning a dog is a lifetime investment.

Most of us are on a budget, so fitting Fido into that budget plan is a must-do. The first year of your puppy’s life is going to be the most expensive. With vaccinations, worming, health checks, spaying/neutering, crate, toys and food you can expect the bill to be around $1,000.

After the first year, these costs will go down some from the initial, but you still have to feed the dog and have yearly vet visits.

Logically, you are going to spend less on a Chihuahua than you would on Mastiff (size does make a difference). Knowing your budget for the dog will keep you in the black and your furry companion happy and healthy.

Tip #5 – What Breed is Right for the Family?

Don’t claim “the dog ate it”. Do your own research and be thorough.

This last question may be the one that takes the longest to answer, especially if you are looking for a purebred canine. Some breeds are just more family-orientated than others.

Take the Golden or Labrador Retrievers, these dogs are known for being great family pooches. They are kind, gentle and love being around kids. However, the Chow Chow can be a bit quick to bite and headstrong, so a person with experience with dogs would be more suitable for this breed.

Do Your Homework

Asking yourself the above questions is a great start to finding the right dog for your family; however, it doesn’t stop there. Do your research and homework into each breed you are interested in, paying particularly close attention to its personality traits.


Once you have narrowed down your list, search for a reputable breeder or rescue group to visit. Avoid any “breeder” that won’t let you see the parents or has many litters each year. These can be signs of a puppy mill where the female dogs are continuously caged and used as breeders. Getting your perfect match may take some time and effort on your part, but having a canine companion that fits into your family? That’s priceless!

Need help training your dog? Make sure you give Pro-Train a call at 760-749-0897. Under the leadership of legendary dog trainer, Mark “Dogman” Castillero, you and your pet can start off on the right path!







Top 7 Therapy Dog Breeds

Top 7 Therapy Dog Breeds

Dogs can be much more than just loving companions; they can also be very helpful to many individuals by becoming therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, retirement or nursing homes, hospices, schools, disaster areas, and to those suffering from mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. They can also be used with people with learning difficulties or autism.

While any breed of dog can become a therapy dog providing they have an even and affectionate temperament, certain breeds are used more than others. It’s too bad that the media looks bad upon some breeds. For example, the staff Pitbull and the Rottweiler will have issues being allowed into facilities to do the therapy dog work.  This is not fair, but is an unfortunate reality, according to Dogman Mark Castillero.

Guest blogger, Alexandra Seagal of shares her insights about the best therapy dog breeds.

Here are the top 7 breeds used as therapy dogs:

1. Labrador Retriever

Not only are Labrador Retrievers the most popular breed in the US, but also one of breeds most commonly used as therapy dogs.

Golden Retrievers are very loving.

This is in large part due to their friendly nature towards one and all, meaning they can be used to work with people of any age as well as around other animals. What’s more, they are very obedient and eager to please, making them a highly trainable breed.

Labs tend to be great for people with mood disorders such as depression, and they are also very good with children.

2. German Shepherd

Dogman Mark has trained hundreds of German Shepherds as assistance dogs.

As well as guard dogs, police dogs and search and rescue dogs, German Shepherds are often used for therapeutic purposes.

They are a versatile and highly intelligent breed, meaning they can be trained to do a number of things and adapt well to a range of situations and people.

The only obstacle with this breed is that they have a tendency to be protective, so they must be trained rigorously in order to overcome this. If well trained, they are one of the most gentle dogs out there.

3. Greyhound

The greyhound is a very fast learner.

Greyhounds? I hear you cry. Well, while greyhounds may not be the first that breed that comes to mind for use as a therapy dog, they are one of the calmest and most affectionate breeds that exist.

What’s more they rarely bark, which makes them great for use with children as well as in busy places such as hospitals or schools.

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

A bull terrier is one of the most loving dogs.

These dogs get a bad press, so this is another breed you might be surprised to see on this list. Actually, are being used more and more as therapy dogs. When properly trained, Staffies are incredibly gentle creatures.

Staffies are quite the “clowns” of the dog world and can really warm your heart with their playfulness, so they work especially well with people with mood disorders like depression as well as with children.

Their high energy levels mean they do not always suit physically disabled people, however.

5. Rottweiler

Rotts are actually very loving and gentle when trained properly.

Yes, Rottweilers may look tough, but this is a very loving and gentle breed when trained properly. During training, they need lots of interaction with people to ensure a healthy level of sociability.

A well-trained Rottweiler’s confident, affectionate personality can light up anyone’s day, whether it’s someone recovering in hospital or a group of elderly people at a retirement home.

6. Saint Bernard

The purebred St. Bernard is an evenly tempered dog.

St Bernards are one of the most docile breeds around. This giant breed’s size and calm temperament can bring a smile to anyone’s face.

These dogs adore contact with people, and they really aim to please, so you can be sure they will always do their best to help.

Their low-key personality means they are often used to work with children – and their fluffy fur makes them great for hugging!

7. Pug

Pugs can be quite entertaining.

These little bundles are incredibly sociable, playful, and they love to please. Like Staffies, they are quite entertaining, but their smaller size makes them a good match for kids, the elderly, and disabled people, as they are easier to handle.

Due to their sunny personalities and affectionate and active natures, Pugs often work with people with mood disorders.


Remember, any breed can become a therapy dog – it’s all about temperament and thorough training. But, if you’re an organization or a family looking for a therapy dog to help others, this list is a good place to start.

Dogman Mark and his team at Pro-Train are big supporters of Pet Partners. This nonprofit helps match owners with the right service dog breed.


Another Service Dog Success Story

Another Service Dog Success Story

Patty with her new service dog, Oreo.

Dogman Mark Delivers Hope to Pennsylvania Woman

Patty Kruthers deals with MS with grace and courage. After losing her husband several years ago, Patty had to rely on herself for more daily activities. She had heard about Dogman Mark Castillero and Pro-Train Innovative from her cousin in California. She decided to at least give Mark a call to find out more.

And that’s where hope came into the picture.

Mark found a German Shepherd named Oreo who he trained as a service dog specifically for Patty’s needs. Mark delivered the 3-year old service dog to Patty a few weeks ago and stayed to make sure both owner and canine passed their service dog final exam. This included being able to go down stairs, go in an elevator, bracing assistance from chair and bed, and much more.

A Service Dog Can be a Game Changer

“Oreo has been a Game Changer for me, said Patty who has had increased trouble walking in recent years. “ Oreo gives me confidence to approach each day.” Patty went from using two crutches to just one with Oreo’s assistance. Patty works 15 hours a week and Oreo goes to work with her. “When he puts on that vest and harness, he knows he has a job to do.” Oreo also can retrieve items for her and when she goes outside she doesn’t have be afraid of not being able to get up if she falls since Oreo can brace to help her get up. Patty had such a great experience with Mark. She trusted Mark with his choice of dog and was delighted when she learned she would be getting a German Shepherd. She was a bit concerned about introducing Oreo to her Terrier mix. But they have gotten along very well since meeting last month.

Patty would recommend Mark to anyone needing a service dog. Don’t wait too long, she adds. “After dealing with MS for many years, it was very easy to let myself stay home and hibernate if I don’t have some specific reason for going out. But now that I have my Oreo, if I am not working and have no special appointments, I really can’t just stay home all day. I have to get Oreo out and working every day. Both he and I get exercise in my fenced in back yard and I know to be useful every day to keep his skills sharp.”

To learn more about getting a service dog trained for you or a loved one, email Dogman Mark Castillero at Mark has trained over 10,000 dogs in his 40-year career. Mark is the owner of Pro-Train Innovative Dog Training in Vista, California. Mark is also a trusted partner with

Red Basket helps create an online fundraising page and awareness for people in need of a service dog and many other projects.

For a limited time, you can grab a copy of Dogman Mark’s best-selling book, More than a Dog Whisperer. It’s packed with great insights into dog behavior and how a well-trained dog can make a huge difference in your life.

Available on Amazon for just $15. Use Code: Dogman40

Dogman Mark can deliver a trained service dog anywhere in the world.

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Dog Trainer in San Diego: The Dog Man Can.