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8 things to think about before engaging a dog sitter

8 things to think about before engaging a dog sitter

The idea of someone who adores dogs looking after yours and providing companionship when you can’t – say because you are at work or have gone away for a holiday – sounds so lovely in theory. But before you jump into our dog directory to find the right local sitter for your needs, it’s a good idea to think about a few important things. Doing so will not only ensure the dog-minding arrangement suits you both, but also that wet-nosed friend of yours!

Here are some things to think about and questions to ask the potential sitter.

1) Know your dog’s quirks

Every dog is different and while some traits are loveable and endearing, others need a little understanding (and a sense of humour). Let’s just call them ‘quirks’. If you know your dog is a barker, is anxious around strangers, eats another dog’s food from their bowl, nips when cross or, (ahem) would rather poo on the indoor rug than get his paws wet when it’s raining outside, then you need to be up front and honest with the sitter about this.

Most dog sitters understand quirks and will work with you and your dog but if you don’t tell them, you don’t want any nasty surprises which could result in the sitter opting to end the arrangement.

2) Can we meet?

Once you’ve read the listings of sitters near you, then you absolutely should meet in person. Just shoot them a direct message through their listing and ask if they would like to meet you and your dog.

This is your chance (and your dog’s) to meet the sitter, see where your dog will be hanging out (if it’s at their home) and also meet any other furry and human family members, such as kids. This is important as not all dogs will get along and not all kids know how to interreact with dogs or vice versa.

3) Check the space

If the sitter is minding your dog at their place, then you’ll want to check it out. Things like good fencing if your dog is a jumper and prone to escaping will be important, as is other pets. Are there cats which your dog may not like? Or free range chickens in the backyard which you know will be a red flag to a bull to your dog with hunting instincts? Check the yard and assess if it’s ‘your dog’ friendly.

4) Will my dog like the other dogs?

Most sitters have dogs of their own and some also look after multiple dogs at a time. While this is lovely because the dog minding can double as a playdate (the rumbles!), you’ll need to suss out if your dog is going to like the other dogs and be comfortable with them.

If you know your small dog gravitates to other small dogs when at the dog park for instance, then a sitter who owns bigger dogs is probably not going to be ideal. Likewise a hyperactive, young, barky dog may be upsetting for an anxious elderly one who needs peace and quiet.

Ask the sitter to tell you about their dogs and if you feel like this could be good, then have the dogs meet (butt sniff) in person.

5) Ask for references

Engaging a sitter is a bit like hiring an employee. You wouldn’t hire someone without checking their references first. The same goes for a paid dog sitter. Even if this is just a text to another person who has used their services, it will reassure you this person is recommended and also that you have checked them out as much as possible.

Two references are a good idea.

6) Where will your dog sleep?

If your dog is having a sleep over, or if the sitter will be staying in your home while you are away, then you’ll need to be very clear about where your dog sleeps. Not all sitters will be OK with your dog sleeping with them if she’s used to sharing a bed at home, for instance. If this is a deal breaker for them and you, then you’ll need to accept this and keep looking for someone who is willing to co-sleep with your dog.

If your dog sleeps in a create or her own bed, then you’ll need to deliver this to the sitter with your dog.

7) Have a list

Make sure your sitter has all the emergency contact details needed for your dog. These should include your and another ‘in case of emergency’ phone numbers, your vet’s contact details and if you have it, pet insurance details. Also include any medical notes, such allergies and medications.

8) Suss out walking 

While some sitters feel dog walking is part of the deal, others are more dog minders. As in the dog is at home with them or them at your home but that’s all. Find out if your sitter will be walking your dog and if you want them too. If you do then you guys can agree on a walking routine together. Also, if your dog doesn’t like the dog park or isn’t allowed off leash, make sure the sitter is aware of this.

While there can be some initial set up efforts involved with dog siting, once you’ve found a sitter who ticks all your boxes and who your dog loves, it is a pawfect match. Happy and also, stress-free days where you have an established relationship with a good and reliable dog sitter are ahead!

Browse the awesome dog sitters near you with our local dog directory.

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