Let us know your tips for Pet Happiness!

Whether you are a sitter or an owner, new to the site or an experienced member we all have one thing in common - a love of pets!

Part of caring for pets is keeping them happy. What do you think makes the happiest pet?

Please share your tips, experiences and happiest encounters!

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Personally, and I know I’m not alone, I like to give my canine charges a holiday too. This generally means I’ll introduce them to different walks, do a different walk every day if possible & walk them for longer than they’re used to if appropriate. Nice to meet up with some of their doggy pals & give them lots of love & attention.


Pets I care for are mostly dogs, so I will base my response on dogs. I love caring for dogs that are playful because I am a big kid at heart. :heart:

One of my favorite sits was caring for a very athletic German Shorthaired Pointer and her favorite playtime was chuck it. It did not matter how many times I tossed the ball, she would retrieve the ball and consistently bring it back for more tosses.

What makes a pet happy is finding their happy place(s). And for this pup, it was chuck it.


For me (as a dog walker when at home or on a sit) I’m consciously not on my phone at all and I give my full mindful attention to our shared dog walk. Nothing interrupts our shared experience and (I believe) the dogs appreciate this.


It’s great just getting to know them, and as @BonnyinBrighton mentions, they really thrive on the attention. I’m having a relaxing afternoon after a very early start taking one of my charges to see the summer solstice sunrise. Not sure he fully appreciated the views, but he was delighted to have some of his breakfast up there, a good few hours earlier than usual! :rofl:


Looks like Wastwater in the Lake District?

For me, it’s a lot like being a grandparent. I follow the instructions of the owners carefully because they know them best, and I don’t want their pets to develop any bad habits while they are in my care. Since they are also the reason I get to be there, I give them all of the extra attention they may like, lots of walks if a pup, lot of brushings and grooming if the animals like it. I enjoy seeing their pet parents happy reactions when they come home and see how well cared for their home and pets are.
Some experienced THS hosts tell me that one of the best parts of having someone from THS care for their pets is the extra attention they get when we are there. I think some of the pets know this too.


• Actually be a pet lover. Animals can tell when someone wants to be with them.

• Pay attention to each pet’s individual personality and preferences, which their humans can help describe. Patient observation helps as well. Like say one cat likes belly rubs or face brushing vs. others who don’t, and so on.

• Keep their routines, because they tend to thrive on stability and they’re tuned into times for feeding, walking, etc. They also often have rhythms, like humans. Like some are more active at X hours, some are more playful at X times, etc.

• Be patient. Like let them sniff all the things. Chuck the ball endlessly because they love it. Wait for the timid ones to emerge and engage at their own speed and on their own terms. Don’t force them.

• Take their fears and histories into account. Like some pets are afraid of certain types of people, certain actions, noisy people and other noises, etc. Something as small as letting a door slam and dropping your suitcase can make a fearful pet more so when they’re already maybe on edge, because their humans scrambled to pack and then left. Many animals can tell when disruptions are about to happen, and they read energy as well. Evolution made sure of that for their survival.


Thanks to everyone that’s contributed so far, really hope to see some more tips as these are all brilliant!


I think the most important aspects have already been mentioned. As a sitter, I follow this order of priorities:
1- the first thing to start with is read the guide carefully, ask all relevant questions and follow the pets routine as closely as possible, making sure they have the right type and amount of food, treats, water, exercise, stimulation and attention. I never give them human treats even if they ask, unless the owners have specified that they can have something. It may be tempting to “make them happy” when they are begging with those big eyes but it’s not good for them.
2 - Give them time and space (specially with cats but also some dogs and other pets) and let them set the level and rhythm of interaction (play, activity, cuddles…)
3- Once I am more familiar with them, I may introduce some variations in the play, grooming, cuddling sessions… Sometimes I discover something that they like and the owners didn’t know but most of the time it is something they knew and didn’t mention; they love it when I mention something that I’ve discovered about their likes and personality because that means I’m spending quality time with their pets and that we are both enjoying each other’s company.

In my experience, quite a few pets know straight away that you like them and they come to you. Some owners have been surprised when their pets greet me enthusiastically at first sight because they can be shy with strangers. Other pets are much more afraid of strangers and take their time to check that you are not a menace and even more time to know that you’re a friend.
So I would say respect of their routine and personality, observation and mutual bonding at their own rhythm is basically the key to a good relationship and that makes them happy. It feels great to see how they are to make you happy!


Wow, so many great tips and examples of happy pets! Did you see the THS Pet Happiness Index? Hop on over to this thread to check it out. We also look forward to more shared Pet Happiness experiences here as well :smiling_face: