In this article, certified Dog Trainer John Woods shares Pet Sitting tips from a Dog Trainer’s perspective. For more of John’s insights, visit All Things Dogs!
Are you considering becoming a professional Pet Sitter? If so, there’s more to caring for animals than just opening your doors to a trail of four-legged companions. Here are a few things to consider which will make your Pet Sitting duties a little easier.
1) Get a handle on body language
The most important thing you can understand as a Pet Sitter is how dogs communicate.
This is largely through their body language. You need to be competent in identifying stress signs in dogs and how these can progress.
You’ll also need to easily assess situations; identifying triggers of stress, anxiety, fear or aggression.
Of course, not all behavioural signs are obvious. If you can understand the more subtle signs telling you that a dog really isn’t coping without their Owner, you’ll be able to take action.
Equally, you should quickly identify if interactions between dogs are about to go horribly wrong. That way, if you’re caring for more than one pooch, you can separate them before it’s too late!
2) Consider the logistics
As boring as it sounds, you need to consider the logistics of where you will be Pet Sitting. Will you be Pet Sitting in the dog’s own home, or will you be offering it from your own home?
The logistics will also impact walks, feeding times, food, toys, and safe places for the dog.
If you are going to use their home, consider how financially viable this will be for you. Consider costs and also time spent away from your own home.
How much time will you allocate to Pet Sitting so you can still have your own family life? If you start resenting the Pet Sitting, you won’t be providing the premium service you are capable of.
If you decide to use your own home for Pet Sitting or Doggy Daycare, how is your home laid out? How many rooms are you happy to allocate for visiting dogs? Are there local council regulations you need to consider?
Think about which dogs you will take on: are you happy with all breeds, or would you rather limit yourself to small breeds? Play to your strengths. If this is where your experience is, you will ultimately provide a better service.
3) Know how to fix things like a Dog Trainer would
Once you know a dog is struggling, any Sitter worth their salt needs to know how to deal with it.
Whilst you may not have a magic wand to fix the situation, you should have an arsenal of ideas. To achieve this, a solid understanding of dog behaviour and how they learn will put you in good stead.
Separation anxiety is one of the biggest issues faced by Pet Sitters; it can be managed through desensitisation and counter-conditioning, but Sitters need to be willing to work towards this with the Owner. This is something you can broach in the Meet & Greet.
During this conversation, ask the Owner if their dog is used to being away from them. Ask for a trial night. This gives you a baseline for you to decide if you’re best placed to work with this dog. From there, you can start working to create a bond with your new furry friend.
Final thoughts from a Dog Trainer
Pet Sitting can be a hugely rewarding job, but there are a number of things to consider – from logistics, to finances, and most importantly dog behaviour and learning. Be realistic about your current capabilities and consider areas you could work on in the future. Not only is it crucial for your role as Pet Sitter, but also for the safety of the dogs in your care.
Would your pooch benefit from the expertise of a local Dog Trainer? Book a session with a Mad Paws Trainer today!