Growing your business

Small businesses

Many small businesses start with an idea, others start out of necessity, and still others are chasing a dream.  Where do you stand in  your small business?  Mine started out of necessity, those of  you following my blog have already read how this small business of dog sitting started.  I was working @orlandocaninecc and  had two beautiful Rottweilers that i absolutely adored that used our service.  It was a busy  holiday season, and they had waited too long to book a room, and we were completely booked.  My boss volunteered me to watch them in their home, the parents agreed, and that is how I came to be Double S Dog Sitting.  I went home drew up a quick contract, met the parents at their home, got to see my favorite dogs in their home setting, and I was hooked.   Their names were Loma and Tahoe, and they were the best trained dogs I had ever met, I was deeply in love and watched them many times before they moved to Colorado.  Their parents and I both cried when they moved.  They have both since passed due to cancer, but will remain forever in my heart and on my wall.


Growing your business

I have always believed that word of mouth is a great form of advertising, therefore have never really done much in the way of advertising.  Once upon a time a couple of years ago, there was not enough of me to go around.  I had people scheduling their vacations around when i was available, and even going as far as watching 2 sets of dogs at a time, or bringing in my family to sit one or the other while I was sitting for someone else, oh how times have changed.  And all this was accomplished via word of mouth.  Now I find that I am ready to grow my business and am not able to locate any new clients.  So what is the key to finding new clients for a dog sitting business.


Establish relationships

Establishing relationships with your current clients, of course they already love  you (if you are good at your dog sitting), and they can’t wait to share you with their friends!  Right?  However, sometimes they can be a bit stingy and not want to share you, fearing that maybe you will become too busy to watch their dog(s).  You have to be able to assure them that you will always make their dog(s) a priority.  Most of my clients have started having babies, and are not traveling as much, some have passed away, and some have moved to other states.  This has put a damper on my ability to make this business work and I am constantly on the look out for potential new clients.  I am working on establishing new relationships with dog boarding facilities in the area, who may have breed restrictions, or size limitations, or people who are nervous about boarding their dogs.  Building these relationships with some dog boarding facilities in the area could potentially get me some referrals.   Also developing relationships with veterinarians could provide me with some potential new clients.  I always ask my clients to write reviews on my Facebook page.  I do not edit or remove any reviews that I get, I have not had a bad review in all the time that I have been doing this.


A few pointers…

  • Treat your clients home better than yours
  • Send lots of photos of things you are doing with their pet
  • Ask permission to post public photos of their pet (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Leave the clients home cleaner than when  you arrived
  • Allow yourself to love their dogs just as much as your own if not more
  • Become emotionally involved ( I have gone with a client who had to put their dog down)
  • Bring presents for the dogs on holidays or birthdays if they are known ( I usually make a treat bag for my clients)
  • Send holiday cards to all your clients, remind them that you are still there for them

Dog of the Week-Border Collie

border collie

Border Collies

I have had the pleasure in my life of taking care of many Border Collies.  They are active, fun, smart, and affectionate.  They were originally bred to of course, to herd sheep, which they are still used for, on the border of Scotland and England.  These dogs have an unlimited amount of energy, stamina, and working drive, which to me makes them a ton of fun to play with.  From playing frisbee and tennis balls, they Border Collie is just always such a joy to watch and play with.



The Border Collie is a highly adaptable dog, suited more for outdoor space and a large yard, they can accommodate apartment living just fine as well.  However, they do not like to be alone, therefore if you own a Border Collie, in my opinion, if you work, they should have at least 3 days of Doggie Daycare a week.  This will keep them socialized with other dogs and well rounded with plenty of play time and exercise.  Be sure that the doggie daycare that you choose provides a ton of outdoor time for your pooch to keep them healthy and happy.


Border Collies have long beautiful fur and do require a fair amount of grooming.  Almost daily brushing in order to keep the coat soft and smooth and free of mats.  The also shed a decent amount, so be prepared to be vacuuming dog hair a few times a week as well.  Other than that they have fur  that is easily brushed and if you start early on your Border Collie and teach them while they are young that it something that they have to do, they will grow accustomed to it.  This can be a great bonding time with any dog.  Brushing calms the dog, removes unwanted hair, and is a fairly constant touching of the dog, which he/she will love! 



Oh my are Border Collies easy to train!  One of the worlds smartest dogs, the training almost does itself.  Of course, as with training any dog, it takes time and patience, but the results are quick.  The border collie was bred to serve, and that is all that they want is to serve their master in the best way they can!  And by learning your commands quickly they will be one of your brightest pupils!  Obstacle course?  No problem for a Border Collie!

bordercolliesf4  jump

Catch the frisbee you say!  GOWWWWT IIIITTT!

border collie 15     Border_collie_jumping_up_to_catch_frisbee

Lay here and keep you company?  I can do that too!



Border Collies make great family dogs!  They are affectionate with family, incredibly kid and dog friendly.  They also do not make good guard dogs, as they are friendly towards strangers as well.  Your Border Collie will want the burglar to come and play frisbee in the back yard with him/her.  This about sums it up!


Key Takeaways

  • All around great dogs
  • Great for families and children
  • Easily trained
  • Great with other dogs
  • medium grooming needs
  • fun loving
  • lots of stamina for active lifestyle
  • Adapts well to almost any situation



Dog of the Week- Dachshund


Recently I have come to own a Miniature Dachshund.  Now this is a first for me in a very long time, and I told her upon adoption that I did not really know how to be a little dog mom, but that we would learn together.  And what a learning experience it has been.  I have learned a lot along the way, and it has only been a couple of months of having her.


One thing that I learned about Dachshunds that I found interesting is that they have an unusually high prey drive.  Dachshunds in particular LOVE to hunt.  Originally bred to hunt and fight badgers, they will track and hunt anything in your yard, lizards, frogs, birds, gophers, they just love to track and hunt.  Godiva, my Dachshund, will hunt lizards in the heat of the day, in the rain, and even at night.

Given their small stature, people are prone to trying to protect them, but make no mistake, the Dachshund is tough enough to fight badgers, so do not worry about a small mole.  However, they do not do well with cold weather, and would rather burrow into a blanket than be outside in the cold weather.


Dachshunds are wonderful dogs to have in your family, they are friendly and fun loving, they are adventurous and curious.  They make a great addition to any family.  If walking or running with your Dachshund, please keep in mind they have tiny legs and that they will get tired much faster than you.  They have a good amount of stamina for exercise and have an average exercise need.  They are active players, and if anything like mine, they are vocal players as well.  Lots of growling and showing of teeth, but all in good fun.  They are great with people of all sizes and make great playmates for children.  They are quick on their feet and are able to avoid falling toddlers very well.


Apartment life?

Dachshunds are great at adapting to apartment living.  Unlike larger dogs in my previous Dog of the Week Blogs, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers  a dachshund does not mind living in an apartment.  Like all dogs though, they do like social interaction with other dogs.  They do not even mind the size of the dogs that they play with, my dachshund plays with our pit/bulldog mix all the time, and bosses around the mastiff.

my dogs

Key Takeaways

I have learned a lot from being the owner of a very small dog!  They love to cuddle!  They love attention and are prone to weight gain.  You do not want your dachshund to look like Vincent the overweight Dachshund that got national recognition after losing 1/2 his body weight.

Always keep your Dachshund warm in the winter, they do not generally hate clothing, that you can buy to keep them warm, and always keep a blanket where they can burrow into it if they get cold.

What is your favorite breed of dog?  Do you like big or small dogs?  How do you keep your dogs in shape?  Leave a comment or picture below…

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies

What can be said about Puppies?

Puppies, while we love them, they can be a ton of work.  Before you run out and adopt a new puppy, take the time to realize how much work they really can be.


Potty Training

While we all know that potty training can be difficult for some puppies, some are easy to train.  What options do you have for training your pup?

Crate Training

One option is crate training.  Crate training can be stressful for both you and your dog.  If not done properly, crate training can cause fear of the crate, stress, and anxiety in your dog.  Some very helpful tips can be found on Cesar’s Way .

One of the most essential tips for crate training your dog is to make sure to get your dog accustomed to spending short periods of time in the crate before leaving them for long periods of time.  Dogs who have been abandoned or spent time in shelters may be more afraid and stressed than other dogs, mainly because they already know what it is like to be locked in a cage.  Make the cage a happy place to be with treats and toys.  Something to chew on is a plus as it will keep the puppy occupied for a short time.  15 minutes of stimulation for a dog is plenty and will mentally exhaust them so that they will nap.  Show the puppy that even though you are leaving, you will return.  Leave them for a few minutes to start with and return.  Then for longer periods of time, and return.  Showing the puppy that you will eventually return, and not because they are barking or whining.  Even though some puppies can be quite shrill, be sure not to run back if they start to cry!  They need to accept that you cannot come running every time they cry, just like children.

Pee Pad Training

I am personally not a fan of pee pad training for a puppy.  This still teaches them that it is okay for them to go potty in the house.  To me this is not acceptable.  Teaching a dog bad habits that you will just have to break later, is not ideal.  Unless you are okay with buying pee pads for the duration of the dogs life, and are happy to keep cleaning the mess up every day, this in not something that I recommend.  However, it is something that people do and it is an acceptable way to train your dog to potty in one spot and not all over the house.  More information on Pee pad training can be found here

Image result for dogs on pee pads

Helpful Tips for Potty Training

  • Keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away his/her food between meals.
  • Take puppy out to eliminate first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, always take him/her outside after meals or when he wakes from a nap. Make sure he/she goes out last thing at night and before he’s/she’s left alone.
  • Take puppy to the same spot each time to do his/her business. His/her scent will prompt him/her to go.
  • Keep him/her on a leash so you know when the puppy has done his/her business
  • Stay with him/her outside, at least until he’s/she’s house trained.
  • When your puppy eliminates outside, praise him/her or give him/her a treat. A walk around the neighborhood is a nice reward.

Behavior Training

Behavior training is another thing to consider before jumping in to get a puppy.  Some puppies are easily motivated to do what you want them to do on command, and others are a bit more difficult.  Behavior training can be done at home with little money, just invest some time spent with the dog each day training, usually in increments of about 15 minutes a day(puppies have a short attention span).  Other dogs may be a bit more difficult, or have issues that you are unable to address on your own.  When this happens, you may need to invest some serious dollars in order to hire a dog trainer.  The best dog trainer in the world of course is Cesar Milan, and I refer to him frequently in my blogs.  He has many helpful tips on training dogs on his pages.  If you ever have a question about dog related anything and you cannot find it on my blog, see his page Cesar’s Way

Image result for training treats

Treats seem to be a favorite of most pets, in my experience, I have found this the best way to train a puppy.  Most dogs, with a bit of time and a few treats, can be taught basic commands.  Sit, roll over, stay,  beg, all can be taught using treats.  To keep your dog from becoming food aggressive, while they are eating, just toss in a couple of treats.  Each time you do this move your hand closer and closer to the bowl until you can reach your hand into the bowl with no response from your dog!  This is one of the best tricks I have learned yet.  Of course, all training has to be the same for everyone in the family.  One person cannot use sit and another use down for the same command.  If you want your dog to sit use simple one syllable words like sit.  If  you want your dog to lay down use commands like down or lay.  Dogs can understand simple one-two word phrases.


Key Takeaways for Today

  • Training requires time
  • Training is not for the faint hearted
  • Training needs to be the same with every person in the home
  • Everyone should participate, so the the puppy listens to everyone
  • Potty training can be a long process
  • Stay away from pee pads unless you want to spend your life cleaning up after your dog

Losing money is the Pits

Times they are a-changin!

This week I was reminded as to why i have all my clients sign a contract.  And why each time the contract is modified it is a good idea to keep records of said changes.  I recently was trying to be nice and help a family out, and it ended up biting me in the rear.  So I am going to tell you about my experience, that way hopefully someone can learn from my mistake besides me.

The Back Story

On May 8 2017 I was contacted by a man, lets call him Frank.  Frank was in desperate need to find someone to keep his dog for him for 2 weeks while he and his family found a place to live that would accept dogs.   Something had gone wrong during the purchase of their new home and they were staying with his parents.  The parents would not allow the dog in their home.  A friend of mine had kept the dog for 2 weeks, before letting Frank know about me and my dog sitting service.  I spoke with Frank on the phone and since it was such a long stay, and because I was trying to be nice, I agreed to a discounted price (much lower than my standard rate).  I met  with the wife and daughters to pick up the puppy, had the wife sign the contract, and we went on our way.   I took the dog home and we began our adventures together.  They sent with her about half a bag of food (Ol Roy) and a couple of bowls.  Upon arrival at home, I decided that the poor dog was not going to eat the food that they brought for her, as they were having trouble getting her to eat it in the first place, and because I feed my dogs a higher quality food and she seemed undernourished, so she could just eat from our food. 

Introducing Sparkle


Some Issues we encountered

Sparkle was a very cute German Shepard mix and was a bundle of energy and extremely fun to play with!  However, she did have some behavior issues that we had to work on.  She was really bad at jumping on people, especially my grandson (4) when he had food.  We were able to break that habit, but the one that we never did break was the fact that she would piddle on the floor when she was excited!  New people, doorbell rang, anything that got her excited, she would just squat and pee.  She could spend an hour in the back yard with our other puppy and come in and would still pee on the floor.  Also she dug many holes in the back yard, which is not a huge deal and easily fixed with some dirt, so not one of the major concerns. 

Two weeks is up

So the two weeks passed without much incident, things that are fairly easy to deal with and can be expected with any puppy.  I have not heard from Frank in about a week or so, I send him a text asking when I can expect the puppy to be picked up.  His response (he is a truck driver) he is stuck out of state and could I keep her for another 2 weeks.  After a bit of discussion in regards to the amount of the bill if I kept her an additional 2 weeks, I agreed to keep her until he was able to get back in to town and find a home for his family (still trying to be nice and still not having ANY payment).

Fast Forward to June

So after nearly a month of having this puppy, again super cute and fun, but still with a few behavior issues, I message dad and tell him that the puppy needs to be picked up by Friday afternoon as I have a concert in Tampa to attend, and need the puppy to be gone.  He had arrived home and we agreed to meet at an undisclosed location for him to pick up the puppy.  I got to the location, and waited and waited and waited…finally messaged him (as I still needed to drive to Tampa for the concert) to see if he was getting close, said he was close, so I waited.  Thirty minutes late, he arrived with his family, and no cash with which to pay me.  Said he needed to run in to the place and get some money from the ATM.  And so I waited with the wife while he ran into the store. During this time frame the wife tells me that they need someone to just keep the dog for 4 more days.   Frank comes out and could only get part of the money that he owed me from the ATM at one time and being the sucker that I am, I agreed to keep the dog for another 4 days, but told them she had to be picked up Tuesday(by now June 6) morning because my mother in law was coming in to town and staying at my house, and didn’t really care for puppies much.


Still nothing has been changed as far as the contract is concerned.  We had not changed the dates, and we had not changed any pricing.  So Tuesday June 6, 2017 rolls around, and I had told him he would have to call my son as I would  be at work and unable to deliver the dog to him.  (We are now 30 days of dog sitting)  He tells my son that he is coming to pick up the dog and my son tells him that is fine as we are home.  I had taken the day off work as 2 of our 4 cars had temperament issues that day, and decided not to run correctly that day.  I was in one car to go and pick up the mother in law from the airport when Frank showed up to pick up the dog.  Suffice it to say that I did not have much time to talk to him.  I asked him to wait outside while I brought out the dog (so she would not pee all over my home before the mother in law came in) and ran into the backyard, where she was playing with one of my dogs, got her attention, put her harness on her and took her through the garage.  I told him I can wait until Friday (per his request) for payment because I really have to get to the airport to pick up my mother in law.

  sad dog

Friday rolls around, I have heard nothing from Frank since he picked up his dog, even though I sent him a message apologizing for being quick at pick up but was due at the airport.  I sent him a message (Now June 9) asking him about payment.  He sends me a message that he is not happy with my services and that he is not going to pay me.  Stated that i brought the dog out of the garage she was panting like i had not given her any water( there is ALWAYS a fresh clean large bowl of water in my back yard,,, and he said that she had a scratch on her eye.  The scratch could have happened during play, that happens sometime with puppy teeth, they are sharp and puppies like to chew on each other for some reason. And had to have happened that morning, as the scratch was not there the night before.  These are the water bowls at my house today and every day they look like this.  I have 125lb dog, I have to have XL water bowls around and plenty of fresh clean water.



At this point I am livid and decided that at that point, all new clients would be required to pay me in full at the time of booking.  This may not happen, I am pretty lenient where dogs are concerned.  I did not charge this guy for the baths the puppy got while she was with us, or the nail trim she received, or the holes she left in my yard, or the quality food that she ate while she was there, and for him to act like I neglected this poor helpless puppy left me with a very sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.  This has been the story of my life, try to be nice to someone and end up being on the bottom of the barrel for it.  There are several mistakes that I will not make again.

Key Takeaways

  • Always alter your contract when there is a change
  • Always get signatures to said changes if possible
  • Always require some type of down payment (typically I charge 1/2 at time of booking for new clients)
  • Remember that you are running a business and not a charity
  • Make sure the contract is legible
  • Make sure you have good contact numbers for all parties involved
  • Ensure that you receive payment before turning pet over to owner or have them sign a promissory note on when they intend to pay you
  • Make sure your contract stays up to date, if the customer moves, be sure you have their new address
  • If there are any new dogs, be sure they have a contract as well

I have learned many things from this latest venture, and I am a little disappointed since I gave him such a large discount on the sitting to begin with.  Frank ended up with almost $1600 in services for a mere $400.  I am depressed and angry at this point I am considering small claims court.  If anyone has any information on the small claims process, in Florida, please let me know, either in comments below, or via message if you have my number.  Feel free to comment below, there are so many things wrong with this situation, I am just at a loss for words, but needed to vent, and that is what this blog is for, so fire away!



The Facts on Food

FonzieSome things to know…

Often times in my blog you will see me reference you to Cesar Milan’s website, I think the man is a genius and if I can find the answers that I seek on his page, I will refer you to him, as he is the master of all things “dog” as far as I am concerned.   From training to feeding, he knows so many things about dogs, I am in awe!  In the article below, one of his colleagues,  Dr. Sherry Weaver, discusses some of the ins and outs of dog food and some choices that you as a pet parent need to make.  I found the article informative and clearly written so decided to share with you, my readers!

Dog Food Choices

Options, options, options…how do you choose?

Every “expert” out there will have their opinion on what your dog should eat, how much he/she should eat, and how many times a day your dog should eat.  In this bloggers opinion, what you feed your dog, depends on you, your dog, their eating habits, whether or not they have any food allergies, whether or not they will eat the food you put down, and SO many other things.  There is no tried and true way of feeding your dog the RIGHT food, only the food that is right for your dog!  I know dog owners who have fed their dog Kibbles and Bits for his entire life, and the dog is 13 or 14 now and healthy.  As with so many other things with dogs, they have their own ways of doing things.  While they are not as difficult as cats to understand, they do have their moments. 

Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet for your Pooch

Raw food

Raw Diet can have some pros and cons, you would have to weigh the difference in the two and see whether or not you are willing to chance the cons, or whether you think the pros outweigh them.  Each dog is different, and each human owner is different and you will just have to work your way through different dog foods until you find the right fit for you and your dog.

rawvsdryPros of Raw

  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved digestion
  • Smaller, firmer stools
  • Better weight management

Cons of Raw

  • Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria – including E. coli and salmonella
  • May be deficient nutritionally
  • Airway obstruction and choking on bones 
  • Bowel obstruction and intestinal perforations 
  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Time consuming
  • More expensive

I found nothing on statistics of how often the cons occur or whether these are common occurrences or rare occurrences.

I found this article to be very informative as well and wanted to share it with you.

Top 10 Myths about pet food

I have finally located a dog food that my dogs seem to like to eat that does not effect my dogs skin issues!  It is called Loyall and it is made by Nutrena! 

Again sometimes, you just have to figure it out!

What brand of food do you feed your dog?  Raw or dry?  Have you experienced any side effects from a raw food diet?  Leave a comment below, or as usual a pic of your pooch!


Before you JUMP in and get a dog consider this…

diving dogs

First things first, getting a dog is a lifetime

and lifestyle commitment.

With so many breeds of dogs, how can you possibly know what type of dog is a good fit for you, your family, your lifestyle?  One thing to keep in mind is, a dog adopted is yours for life, it is very traumatic for a dog to be taken home and then returned to a shelter, if you adopt, please be in it for the long haul.  There may be issues and you have to be willing to teach your dog to trust again.  Someone he/she loved dropped them at the shelter, so their ability to trust you may take months to accomplish, but trust me it is totally worth the effort in the end! 

There are many valuable resources available for dog lovers to help them choose the right breed of dog to fit each of these categories and more.

Direct Links

Last week in Bathing…Or Grooming? I linked you to this page Various Dog Breeds for a different reason, and that was to share a group of dogs that need more grooming than others.  However, this site also provides a few details on what the breed is like if you click on one of the pictures.  If you have an idea of what breed of dog you would like, click on it and see if the dog has characteristics that you are looking for in a companion.

The American Kennel Club (#AKC) has a page with a quiz you can take to see if they can match you with a breed.  When I filled out the quiz , it gave me a list of a bunch of dogs, and then provides you a link to search for puppies.  Take the quiz for yourself and see what you get and share your results in the comments below.

Find a dog for you Quiz!

My Results

blog dog

My Results


Helpful Tips from the Humane Society on Choosing a dog

Dogtime dog Quiz

My Results



Pedigree Dog selector quiz

My Results


In a previous post, Paws-a-itively Drooling over Apps I introduced you all to my pack, in that pack are a Mastiff, a Ridgeback, a bulldog mix, and a bull terrier, if you remember correctly.  As  you can see, I chose dogs that these quizzes seem to think are right for me on at least 3 occasions!

Selection is Key

The type of dog that most people choose, should fit well into your lifestyle as well as your family.  While some dogs may be great with small children, they also may be higher in the energy department and require more adult attention.  They may knock a baby over in their eagerness to be close to the child or forget that they child is smaller than them and accidentally knock them down.  Children should be supervised closely when in the presence of any dog. 

If your family is on the go, choose a dog that will like to go with you, hiking, swimming, running, sporting events, dogs need an active social life as well in order to be well mannered.  Start with them at a young age, to avoid any fears associated with strangers.  Some dogs are naturally energetic and will jump on you or your family, some will just want to give puppy kisses ALL the time.


Photo Credit:

Whatever type of dog you choose, be sure that the dog is loved, sheltered, safe, loved, happy, loved, exercised, and most of all loved, and they will do their best to be your very best friend.  All dogs do their best to please their owners, so be sure that you are sending very clear signals to your dog as to what you want them to do, then everyone is on the same page and nobody goes away dissatisfied.  🙂

Key Takeaways…

Clicking on the above link to be directed to the AKC webstie which will show you the types of dogs in that category as well as the characteristics of each breed!  Good luck in your search and let me know what you decide!