What makes a great dog sitter?
A dog sitter is different from a kennel in that you can expect personalised, one-on-one care for your dog while you are away. Your dog might stay in your home, or in the sitter's home, depending on what suits you both best. Regardless, it's important that you choose the right sitter for your dog in terms of experience and personality. Here are some tips on knowing you've got a great match.
How do I know I've chosen the right dog sitter?
It can be daunting choosing the right dog sitter, but there are some simple tricks to make sure you get the right match the first time. For example, having a meet and greet is an essential part of the matching process. Likewise, it's important that this meet and greet covers all the key information that needs to be covered before the booking is agreed to. Lastly, the dog sitter themselves must have the skills and knowledge to give the pet a safe and happy experience.
Dog sitting tips for success
Take the time to meet and greet
Always arrange a meet and greet BEFORE a booking is finalised. It’s important for all parties to get to know each other. Furthermore, if the dog is staying in the dog sitter’s home, be sure to meet on location. This way, the dog can get to know their new environment, the sitter, their family and pets. Doing so while the owner is there is a more reassuring experience.
Go for a walk together
The best way to get to know a dog is by going for a walk with them. In doing so, the dog can get to know their temporary neighbourhood. Furthermore, the dog sitter can learn about the dog, such as how do they react to strangers, other dogs and new noises.
During the walk, discuss your pet's usual habits. A good dog sitter asks lots of questions, such as:
- What is your pet's routine'?
- How much exercise do they get?
- What games do they enjoy?
- What are they afraid of?
- How do they react to other dogs?
An experienced dog sitter will leave you dizzy with many questions! There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to discussing your pet.
A warm and calm welcome
A good sitter will create a calm atmosphere when your dog comes to stay. Ideally, dog owners should avoid an emotional goodbye for the dog. In fact, both humans should go about it as if it were no big deal to be left at someone else’s house, though, of course, it might be a big deal.
Make sure the dog isn't overstimulated on top of the separation stress. For example, a dog sitter shouldn't have loud music playing or the kids running around hyping the dog up. Instead, the sitter should let the dog do its thing, and choose how and when to approach. Dogs thrive on calm and relaxed relationships with others and want to avoid stress. For this reason, dog sitters should be super familiar with dog body language, such as yawning, panting and showing the whites of their eyes. The signals are often subtle, but they are clues to the dog's mood. The dog is saying: 'I want to avoid this stressful situation, I mean no harm!'
The dog is dependent on the dog sitter
The sitter is completely responsible for the dog from the start to the end of the booking. This means that the sitter shouldn’t plan too many activities or be out of the house for too long during the stay. It can be stressful for a dog to be away from its owner, so it's best to keep them calmly in the home rather than carting them around to unfamiliar places or leaving them alone all day.
Furthermore, it's important to remember that a dog may behave differently when its owner is not there. For example, the dog might exhibit separation anxiety, whine at night and become very stressed. As such, it can be a good idea to have a trial booking before the real booking to flag any issues like this. The dog sitter should never punish or fuss excessively over a dog. Instead, they should just be there for them. The dog will feel right at home sooner if they have a calm and friendly human at their side. Patience and time are key.
Only book if you feel completely comfortable with them. Having checked their profile, reviews and met them in person, you can feel confident in your choice. During the stay, the sitter can share photos of your furry friend via the Pawshake app. This way you can see that they're having a good time with the pet sitter and you can relax!
Need to find a dog sitter? Click on the link below to start searching.