Expert Sydney Pet Minder Odette McCarthy is back, and she has more pearls of wisdom to share with you! This month, Odette shares her tips on how to befriend a dog you’re Pet Sitting. Don’t live in Sydney, but need a Sitter of Odette’s calibre? Never fear – Mad Paws maintains quality Pet Minders across Australia!
So you’re pining to befriend a dog you are Pet Sitting. For the best chance of success, put your best paw forward for the potential position of BFFF (Best Furry Friend Forever!) and realise a relationship is rooted in the following practices:
1. To befriend a dog, allow them to initially accept you
Your first meet with the woofer should be in the presence of the Owner. After all, dogs have extraordinary senses, and appear to recognise and respect people pre-approved by their parents. When first alone together, respect their personal space and consider their cautions. Pup needs to see they can trust you, so let them figure your trustworthiness for themselves. Next, lower your stance to their level and only make calm, slow, and predictable movements. Allow the floofer to make the first move, approaching or sniffing you. You wouldn’t go up to a person in the street and start patting them without permission, so why is this different? Once the doggo shows acceptance, give gentle, affectionate strokes over their back.
2. Establish Top Dog
Recently, I’ve concluded that dogs in the human world are much like children. Namely, dogs discover the world through the guidance and perceptions of their people parents. As they mature, they form personalities that are partly constructed as a result of these primary rapports. I’ve consistently found that dogs who spend a great amount of time with their Owners show anxiety when their Owner is absent. They may appear intensely uncomfortable, clingy, or afraid, and lack confidence in their individual capabilities.
As a Sitter, exuding confidence and commanding obedience will form the important sense of security in this pooch-person friendship. To befriend a dog you’re Pet Sitting, establish your position as Top Dog. Be a benignant boss by using firm, composed body language with a serene tone of voice. Model yourself as a mentor-type parent-figure; you are soft and soothing but still sanction the deep-seeded standards set by their civilised superior.
3. Curtail canine concerns
Having partaken in plenty of pet pooch parenting, I’ve come to perceive a difference between pups I Pet HOST (look after at MY house) to pups I Pet SIT (pup and I reside in his home environment). Pampered pooches tend to be more tense when away from their familiar surroundings. In most cases, such uncertainty suggests insecurity. If you’re to secure yourself a temporary sole-mutt, you need to deflate foxy’s fears. Create a safe space that arouses that comforting, homely feeling. A recognisable blanket, toy, item of clothing or their own bed will summon a sense, plus the scents, that remind them of home. Alternatively, you could create your own mock hound home; a personal, somewhat secluded privy pad for the apprehensive pooch. A familiar fortress for Fido will abate their anxiety.
4. Appreciate your (soon-to-be) animal amigo
To ensure you are putting your best paw forward as a bestie for a bow-wow, show the pilose prince or princess pooch:
ATTENTION – Spend quality time together every day, both relaxing and doing activities doggo will enjoy. Pet simply, friends hang together without having to do anything. So just hang out! Let the little licker put their chin on your thigh as you are busy on your laptop or watching Netflix. Don’t forget, thoguh: Dog also wants you to do their ‘pet’ things! Take them to their favourite dog park to sniff out their friends, or on a new adventurous walk to let him know their exploratory needs in life are appreciated.
AFFECTION – Give them some loving pats or a massage for dogs, and offer them treats. Remember, though, that not all treats are food! Another option is to engage them with a toy or take them to a dog café.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – I often find myself utterly alienated from all beings who find my dialect interpretable. In other words, I am often occupied with a newfound tail-wagging wolfy. I continue to talk and sing and make as much noise and chatter as I would on my own (a LOT!) And don’t leave Mister Mutt alone in the quiet for long periods or he will think you have forgotten him. . . That’s not something friends do!
5. Stick to the regular routine to befriend a dog
Being consistent with a canine’s circadian customs will accommodate a sense of certainty and comfort. From walking your dog at the right time, to feeding them on the same schedule, a regular routine will radiate safety and security. Sticking to the day-to-day drill will allow pup to adjust to you more efficiently. They will realise not everything that is familiar has left their life. A reminder of their regular routine creates an inevitable essence of their everyday exchange with their Owner. The constant pattern of pupper practice means you are predictable, and pup will liken you to their parent. An imitation of the established norm will make the transition from guardian to governess more welcomed, coherent and less pupper-perturbing. You will be akin to mum: a reliable, loyal person readily worthy of Fido’s friendship.
The main thing to remember is these animals already have a best human friend. As such, they may not warm up to you straight away. They already have a rapport with their Owner, so don’t expect to form a BFF kinship in short time. Establish acceptance and Top Dog position; curtail canine’s concerns; show affection and adhere to dog routine! Fortune permitting, you will woo the whiskered woofer into befriending you.