October 27, 2015
Finding just the right dog sitter to care for your dog while you’re away can be a tall order. But, not to worry, we have some great suggestions to ensure the best match possible. We want you to have a great time while traveling and we want you to rest assured that your favorite pooch is in good hands, too.
The first step in hiring a good dog sitter is to look for someone who can accommodate your dog’s feeding and exercise schedule, someone who is trustworthy and reliable, and someone who charges a fair rate in exchange for caring for your pet. While each of these things must be clearly determined before hiring a dog sitter, pet owners cannot afford to only consider dependability or the services that will be performed. Instead, every dog owner should also consider whether or not an individual pet sitter is the right choice for a dog’s personality.
Why Personality Matters
Every one of our beloved companions has a unique presence and personality, right? Some furballs may be timid or shy around new people while others can be super playful and willing to make friends with anyone who walks through the door. Some dogs may even exhibit behavioral issues such as aggressiveness or unwanted behaviors stemming from an anxiety disorder. Before hiring a dog sitter, it is important to think carefully about your dog’s disposition not only when she is with you, but think about how she behaves around or reacts toward strangers both in your presence and when you are away.
Of course, human beings also have very distinct personality traits. The likes, dislikes and temperament of an individual dog sitter must be carefully considered before leaving your pet alone in a new person’s care. While most dog sitters are patient, punctual and caring individuals, not all are. Unfortunately, horror stories sometimes surface about dog sitters being abusive towards animals left in their charge. We will spare you the details of those stories here, but we stress that you carefully assess a sitter’s personality and that you check all references before hiring one to care for your pet.
Getting to Know a New Dog Sitter
Fetch! Pet Care is very careful when hiring individuals to provide dog sitting services to our clients. We do our best to select people who truly love animals and who are experienced in caring for them. Before being allowed to work with the public, our pet sitters are required to participate in a special orientation so that they are able to provide the quality of service that we are known for.
We also provide our clients with free in-home consultations in an effort to match the right dog sitter with each pet prior to an owner’s departure. Through this approach, pets, owners and sitters are able to get to know one another and determine for themselves if personalities between all parties are a good fit. During this consultation, we advise that owners observe the following:
- Watch how your furry companion interacts with a prospective dog sitter. Animals will sometimes sense nonverbal cues that humans miss. What does your dog’s body language tell you during this first meeting?
- Does the dog sitter appear to be nervous around your pet or, in any way, put off by your dog’s habits?
- During the interview, is the dog sitter calm, assertive and does she or he appear confident in their abilities to care for your pet while you are away?
- Ask the potential dog sitter what they dislike about their job and what — if any — fears they have about unfamiliar dogs or certain breeds.
- How active does this person appear to be? Does this person appear able to physically provide your animal with daily walks and exercise that is needed while you are away?
- Ask a dog sitter if she or he prefers to take care of small dogs or large ones. Even if you have a small dog, ask a potential sitter if they experience any fear around large dogs or around certain breeds. This information will be important to note as your dog may likely encounter other dogs during walks and you should know how a sitter is likely to react should another dog approach.
- Is the dog sitter comfortable with using technology (text messages, digital photos, email updates, etc.) to communicate with you about your pet?
- Is the dog sitter also a pet owner?
Last, but certainly not least, never ignore your gut feelings when considering a pet sitter. Just as animals may get a “sense” of someone’s personality, humans do too. If you feel something just isn’t right — even if you cannot identify from whence your discomfort stems — do not ignore these feelings. When leaving your pet alone with someone, it is imperative that you and your pet feel comfortable, that personalities are a good match and that you believe your pet will receive the best care possible during your absence.
How Do You Select a Dog Sitter?
We are curious to know how you go about selecting a dog sitter. Do you have any tips that you can add to this post? Questions are always welcome, too, so please leave them in the comments section below.