6 Tips for Being the Best Dog Sitter

Dog sitting is a big responsibility! Whether you visit someone else’s house or you board a pup at your place of residence, you need to know how to become the best dog sitter possible if you want to get repeat business (and you want to enjoy your time with your new furry friend).

Not sure where to start? Let’s take a look at six key tips you can keep in mind the next time you dog sit for neighbors, friends and family members, or for anyone else.

Keep Notes and Do Research

To be a great dog sitter from start to finish, keep detailed notes and do lots of research on the breeds you plan to watch. For example, if someone wants you to dog sit for a Chihuahua, you need to know:

  • How the Chihuahua eats and what kind of dog bowls they use (and whether the owner will provide a dog bowl)
  • What the Chihuahua needs in terms of exercise
  • What you can expect the Chihuahua to do while the owner is gone
  • And more

If you do lots of research, you’ll be prepared for practically any pet behavior: a major advantage during your dog sitting session! 

Meet the Pet Before You’re Scheduled

Of course, you’ll also want to meet the dog you will watch before the scheduled dog sitting date arrives. This has a few major advantages:

  • It allows you and the dog to size each other up, which will make the dog more comfortable when you finally watch them
  • It ensures there won’t be any problems with the arrangement before the owners take off

This is more important with really finicky or potentially anxious dogs, but it’s a good practice to keep in mind no matter who you choose to dog sit for.

Keep Your House Pet-Proof

If you bring dogs to your home, remember to keep it pet-proof at all times! That means:

  • Keeping dishes out of reach of dogs – make sure they can only reach their dog bowls at any point!
  • Putting up baby gates to prevent dogs from investigating off-limits areas
  • Not leaving the doors open so the dogs can’t go outside without supervision

You should also make sure there aren’t any small objects, like toys or decorations, that your dog guests might accidentally chew up or ingest. A little preparation goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth dog sitting session! 

Have the Right Supplies

Naturally, you should ensure you have plenty of supplies on hand so you can be the best dog sitter possible. The right tools can help you provide a comfortable experience for your chaperoned pups, plus provide more peace of mind for their owners.

For example, having a good dog bowl is important if you dog sit for a ravenous eater. You might consider looking into dog bowls with mazes or puzzles the dog has to solve so they don’t overeat and give themselves a stomachache.

Alternatively, you can use the dog bowls that your clients provide for you. When in doubt, use the equipment that a client offers – it’s convenient for you and more comforting for the dog you are watching, as they’ll be pleased to eat out of the same dog bowl they are used to at home.

Communicate Frequently

No matter who you choose to dog sit for, you should plan to communicate with them regularly. Aim to give them daily updates at a bare minimum, although some dog owners may prefer that you update them every few hours (this is more common for older dogs whose health is a little more in question).

If you use a dog sitting app like Rover, you can easily do this via the mobile platform itself. Otherwise, you’ll need to be prepared to take regular pictures and write text message updates for the parents of the pets you choose to dog sit.

Stick to a Schedule

Lastly, figure out what your guests’ schedules are and try to stick to them. For instance, if you are dog sitting a Pomeranian and they usually go to bed at 8 PM, try to keep to that schedule and bring them to bed around that time.

Dogs do best when they have stable schedules they can anticipate. That’s doubly true when they aren’t with their normal parents! By sticking to a schedule, the entire experience will be more comfortable for you, the pups you are dog sitting, and the parents of those pups – everyone wins!

Ultimately, being the best dog sitter means taking care to plan your visit, doing plenty of research, and not jumping in without prep work. But if you do the right prep work, you’ll be able to board or visit any dog you like and have a great time no matter the circumstances.

Photo by Adam Griffith on Unsplash

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