Owning a dog is such a wonderful and rewarding experience. I can’t imagine my life without my two amazing dogs (Pilsner and Blaze). Both of which are rescue dogs that were found on the streets of San Antonio, Texas. I adopted them through Wagging Tails Adoption. When they first arrived at their new home it wasn’t so wonderful and rewarding. I adopted Pilsner, and then a year later, I adopted Blaze. Each of them were about one year old at the time, and neither of them had formal training. Both had a variety of behavioral problems that needed to be modified. Blaze was especially challenging to train because he was in the shelter system since he was only 6 weeks old. During that time he had built up a lot of anxiety which snowballed into a mountain of unwanted habits. Luckily I had the knowledge and skills to heal them of their pain. Through a combination of advanced obedience training, behavioral modification, socialization, and exercise they have become the wonderful dogs they are today.

In addition to dog training and pet sitting, I also worked outside with large packs of dogs (12 to 23 dogs per day, 80 dogs per week, 3,000 dogs per year) for three years. This provided the most educational experience of my life. Being able to work with dog packs, exclusively outside is one of the most unique skills in the pet sitting industry. This gives you the amazing knowledge of many breeds of dogs, and their different personalities. Becoming a strong “leader of the pack” required me to form a bond of trust and respect with each dog. My mentor was the greatest and most meticulous with my training and I am ever so grateful to her.

Marta Hildbrand has been working with dogs for fifteen years, and is the owner of Auntie Marta’s Pet Sitting Services, LLC. It is one of the most well-respected and successful pet sitting services in Saratoga County. Her passion, dedication, professionalism and high standards of customer service toward both the client and their furry friends, is what every pet sitter should strive to achieve. Marta taught me the art of reading canine body language in groups, which gave me the ability to correct dogs whose energy was off. Bringing them to a calmer state of mind to always keep the pack balanced. When working with dogs, the most important concept is safety and taking immediate action. This can range from recognizing the warning signs when a dog is beginning to overheat, helping to group the dogs in the yard with their friends, making sure gates are kept closed and escape proof, having an action plan if mother nature decided to release a surprise thunder storm, keeping the yard clean and removing any objects that a dog could possibly resource guard, and much more. Marta saw my passion for working with dogs and intensified my training. After she taught me all she knew, she began slowly allowing me to watch small groups of dogs over a short amount of time. Finally I became fully insured and bonded for doggy daycare at her residence. Over time, after repeatedly proving that I had fully absorbed the skills and had the mentality it takes to work with beloved furry friends, I began watching large groups of dogs by myself and became a strong pack leader.

I can remember when I first became a dog owner, and the stress that came with it. At first, I dreaded taking Blaze for a walk. He would constantly pull on his leash and barked at everything that had a heartbeat. It was so embarrassing. I was nervous taking him anywhere, and his behavior created anxiety in my life. Since I knew how to work with dogs, I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It was just going to take patience and training. I know many of you have stressful relationships with your dog(s) because of their behavior, and I know exactly what you’re going through and how it feels. You are both having a negative impact on each other’s lives, and it’s not fair to either of you. It doesn’t have to be this way, and my passion in life is going to help you restore balance within you and your dog’s lives.

Pet Tech ASPCA Pet Sitters Associates

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* Video and Photo Courtesy of Auntie Marta’s Pet Sitting Services, LLC