I just had a lovely coffee date with a pet sitter/walker here in town. My dates are far and few between, so it’s always a welcome hour, or more!
It’s fun to talk shop with someone who is on the ‘other side’ of what I do. While I coach people, and work with dogs, in hopes of building a solid Team, a pet sitter/walker is taking care of a dogs needs and safety sans owner. Totally different dynamic.
I found that in our conversation there was some rather good information to pass along. So straight from a pet sitter/walkers mouth, via pen and paper at the table, here it is in no particular order.
- CRATE – Your dog must be crate trained. Legitimately crate trained, not kinda sorta maybe.
- HARNESS – Please have a harness for your dog. Walking and exercise are part of a dog sitter/walkers service. Your dog should be comfortable, feel safe, and enjoy the walk. More comfort, more miles.
- FLEXIBLE – Your dog does not need to be trained or know any formal positions like sit, down, or stay. But they should be flexible enough to be able to work with me, go for a car ride, allow gear to be put on, chill on the couch, and allow me into the house.
- MANAGEMENT – Your dog should not be free roaming when I enter your home. Baby gates are super cheap! Your dog should be in their crate, or behind a baby gate when I enter, for my safety, and to eliminate possible door dashing.
- HONESTY – Give me the 411. When I ask you if your dog has certain likes or dislikes, please be honest. I can only do my work if I know who I am working with. If you tell me that your dog loves people, and then freaks out over a child down the street, and then I find out that “oh ya, little boys scare my dog”, it puts everyone at risk. Please be honest, than I can create a safe environment.
- OWNERSHIP – While I’m filling in for you when you are away, keep in mind that your dog is your dog. I’m not you, just an assist. Work with your dog, teach your dog, play with your dog, walk your dog when you are home, take that responsibility. You are the owner. When you are away that is when my job starts.
- FOUNDATION – Pet sitting/walking for a dog that is worked consistently, is being actively played with, and in training classes, is a total and complete joy. The more you do with your dog, the more I can do with them when you are not home.
- TRAVEL – If you know you have a busy travel year, please do not get a new puppy, and then ask me 1 day before you leave if I can watch your 10 week old fur ball for the next two months. While I will do a great job, and the puppy will get a great start, for all purposes, the puppy will bond with me, and it will be difficult on everyone involved. Wait until the time is right for you so you can use me to fill in, not raise your puppy.
- ADVANCED NOTICE – Yes, please! As soon as you know your work schedule and travel plans, that is the time to call and book services, not the night before at midnight, or 2am because you forgot.
- MAGIC – I’m not magical, just good at what I do. If you have done nothing with your dog in the way of training, self control, polite door behavior, or barking, please do not expect a miracle from me. I will love your dog, keep them safe, make them feel comfortable, and give quality care. But no magic up my sleeves to change what has never been worked on to begin with. Just be realistic.
I am so grateful that we have good responsible pet sitters/walkers to rely on when we are not home. They fill a very important role in a family pet home, especially one with a busy schedule.
I promise that I will forever more, call before midnight the next time I know I will need some assistance! ~ Nancy