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Dog sitting is a lot like babysitting, both require attention to detail and responsibility. The best approach to dog sitting is to think of the dog like a child. Whether you are new to dog sitting or have a couple of dog sitting gigs under your belt, we have come up with a few tips to help you be the best dog sitter you can be.
Dog sitting is a great way to help your friends or family out when they head out of town. In fact, some people have even turned dog sitting into their full-time career. It’s safe to say that dog sitting is not just great for the owners you are helping out, it’s great for your wallet too.
Dog sitting can be a fun way to earn some extra income but it’s not for the faint of heart. It can be a great experience for you and the dog when done correctly, but there are a number of challenges that a new dog sitter can face when taking care of a dog for the first time.
Interested in becoming a dog sitter? Or want to know how to be an even better dog sitter? Read on to know the best tips and tricks for dog sitting.
Know The Dog
It is crucial to meet the dog before you dog sit, this helps build some familiarity and trust between you and the dog. If you only meet the dog when you start dog sitting, then the dog will feel uncomfortable.
Put yourself in the dog’s paws for a second, would you like it if a stranger came to stay and take care of you for a couple days? Probably not. If you are just meeting the dog when you step into the house, odds are you will be met with a defensive little Fido. That’s why building a relationship with the dog first makes it a much less stressful experience for the dog.
Familiarity will make the dog trust and obey you, making your job that much easier. Each dog has its own personality and knowing the dog will help you figure out how to best care for it. If the dog is more low-energy and loves to cuddle, then it is better to plan to stick around the house with a good book to best care for the dog.
Each dog has their own personality and preferences. When you are dog sitting, there are a number of the dog’s needs that you need to be aware of. And who better to ask than the dog’s owner? They know their pet better than anyone else.
First thing first is that you should always ask the dog’s owner for as much information as possible. This will ensure that you have a happy dog owner and that your dog sitting experience is a walk in the park. Here are a few things you need to ask any owner before you dog sit.
Fido’s Medical History
Just like when you are taking care of a child, you will want to know a brief overview of the dog’s medical history. Knowing if the dog has allergies, injuries, or ailments will ensure that you give the dog the best care you possibly can.
The dog may need to take medication, which you will be in control of administering while dog sitting. Knowing what the medication is and when the dog needs it is vital to the dog’s health and your success as a dog sitter. Be sure to ask the owner about any questions you have regarding the dog’s medication.
Knowing the dog’s medical history can also help you plan out what you will do with the dog. For example, if the dog you are dog sitting has arthritis in its hips, maybe that long run you were planning to go on with the dog is not the best plan.
Asking the owner how often their dog needs to go to the washroom can help you structure your day. Keeping the doggy bathroom breaks in mind means fewer possibilities for accidents while you are dog sitting.
If the dog is younger, they might not be able to “hold it in” as long as a mature dog would. Normally, dogs need to go at least four times a day–morning, noon, evening, and just before bed.
Guaranteeing that the dog has at least those four bathroom breaks will reduce the number of accidents. Ensuring that the dog has enough bathroom breaks throughout the day will also aid them in feeling comfortable around you.
Some owners have their dogs on special diets because their dog has allergies or needs to lose some weight. As a dog sitter, you will want to make sure that you not only please the owner, but that Skipper is happy and healthy too. There are three diet-related questions every dog sitter needs to ask: what, how much, and when?
Knowing what the dog eats will ensure that you will not have to deal with any upset doggy tummies. Often the owner provides the dog food making how much and when the most important things to know about feeding the dog.
How much a dog eats depends on the size, breed, and weight of each dog. You would not want to feed a Great Dane the same amount of food as a Chihuahua. Be sure to ask the owner how much the dog eats, or if you are dog sitting multiple dogs, how much each dog eats.
When the dog eats is important for keeping the dog’s routine and health in check. Some dogs are fed one large serving once a day, others are fed two to three times in a day. Essentially, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to feeding a dog. Be sure to ask the owner for the dog’s feeding schedule.
Walk The Walk
So, you can talk the talk by asking all the right questions, but can you walk the walk? Walking a dog is a large part of dog sitting. Without walks, a dog can have a lot of pent-up energy, which can turn into more than a few accidents. To make your life easier as a dog sitter, try and take the dog out for a walk every day.
Taking the dog out for a walk is not as easy as it sounds. Just like feeding a dog, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for walking. Larger breeds typically require a much longer walk than small breeds. When deciding on your walking route, think about the breed of dog you are walking and what a suitable distance would be for that dog.
Once you have figured out what route to take for your walk, you need to be mindful of the dog’s preferences. Some dogs prefer to have a leash hooked up to their collar, whereas others need to wear a harness. Always check with the owner about which their dog prefers before you take them out for a walk.
Additionally, on the walk you need to make sure you remain in control of the dog at all times. Since this dog is not your pet, you do not know all of the typical reactions the dog has to things like loud noises or children. It is always better to err on the side of caution and keep the dog close to you and away from foreign experiences at all points during your walk.
Even if you do everything else perfect dog sitting, accidents can still happen. A lot of this comes down to the dog feeling like their owner left them. Dogs are pack animals, they look for a leader like their owner to guide them through life. Without their owner, they can often feel lost.
Even if you know the dog you are dog sitting well, you can’t replace their leader. This can sometimes make the dog act out a bit. Take for example, chewing on shoes, or a little piddle on the living room floor.
But do not worry, this is not your fault–it is a natural emotional response. Accept that accidents can and do happen, but extra supervision of the dog decreases the chances of any bad behavior.
Houdini Or Spot? Dog Escape Artists
Dogs are natural escape artists, slipping through holes in the fence or nudging a door open to go out for a run. This is why you always need to be sure that you have secured the door or gate behind you when leaving the dog alone. The last thing you want is for the dog to go missing on your watch.
If the owner crates their dog, make sure to do that before you leave the house at any time. This can keep Spot’s inner Houdini under control. If the owner is not a crater, be sure to look at the door as you close it to leave. Dogs like to slip out the door from behind you but keeping your eyes on them means you stay in control.
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