If you are dogsitting in London, you best explore a few tips and tricks below to bear in mind when minding dogs in a housesit.
Minding dogs in the capital
For people who have a lot of experience with dogs, it may be tempting to think you know better than the pet owner you are working for. Unless you find yourself relying upon your skill and intuition in an emergency situation, you should not.
As a pet sitter, you are entrusted with one of the most precious things a person can offer you – their beloved dog’s well-being. That dog has come to rely on their person and expect certain behaviours that help them feel safe and cared for. So follow the pet owner’s instructions and then provide all the love and care you have to offer.
Working with a new dog’s behaviours when dogsitting in London
Now, all that being said, there is one thing I find very difficult when dogsitting in London or anywhere else – when a dog pulls on the lead. Having the experience to draw on, I will do my best to offer some tips you may use to deal with your more boisterous furry friends. The dog, and your shoulder socket, will benefit. There are many YouTube videos about dog training, and I have learned quite a lot that helps me.
One crucial thing in walking a dog is knowing that the dog connects with you. You can see this when they turn to look back at you periodically. This shows the dog wants to please you and is available to follow directions. Much of dog training takes patience. Another rule is to remember that the dog is never “bad”. They just don’t yet know how to behave.
I have found London to be an easy place to care for dogs. Most neighbourhoods have a local park nearby. Find out if the dog can be let off the lead, both from the behaviour standpoint – will he or she come when called – and by the park’s rules. The pet owner will know such information about the local area.
Discover the temperament of your dog – one German Shepard I took care of loved to run with me in the park. Another, a Bearded Collie, loved to chase balls but went manic if I started running. So, after some trial and error, we would walk, and I would throw a ball for exercise. (sometimes my own – sheesh).
Be prepared for what can happen
Always have the pet owner’s phone number saved in your phone and all essential contacts for emergencies close to hand. Also, go over details with the pet owner as to what to do in an emergency. Have a contact number for a preferred vet and an emergency vet for off-hours, and make sure you know how to get to both.
I cared for two Greyhounds, and one of them jumped up to look over a fence on a walk in the park one day. This was typical behaviour, but the fence had a sharp, loose wire sticking out. One of the beautiful hounds cut his paw, and we had to rush to the vet for stitches.
Having been in such situations, I have discovered I respond to emergencies in a calm, direct manner. We often don’t know how we will respond until we are placed in an emergency. This is a good reason to be prepared with information and contacts on your phone in case you become a little flustered. Putting the contact numbers in your phone, and always having your device to hand, is a good idea. You can also take a photo with your phone of these details if the pet owner has written them out. I sometimes have the dog’s name as the contact on my phone with all the necessary information in the notes section.
Double-check information with homeowners
Little dogs may have just as much energy, or more, than large ones and may need just as much exercise. On the other hand, I have taken care of small dogs that are happy with a walk around the block for a wee and a poo. Generally, your pet owner will have poo bags to bring – either in a separate bag or attached to the lead.
The pet owner usually leaves plenty of food and snacks. Find out how often and how much each dog will need and where to get supplies if they run out. I have had to stay longer for pet sits because of unforeseen circumstances and had to replenish stocks. In the age of Covid, who knows what may happen!
One last thing I recommend when dogsitting in London is to double-check the dates of your housesits as the time grows ever nearer. In the past, I had had back-to-back sits lined up in my diary based on dates initially given by the homeowner when I signed up. Only, I would sometimes find out last minute that a homeowner’s dates had changed once plane tickets had actually been booked, and they hadn’t thought to tell me. Double-check your information, and all should go far smoother.
Handy articles and blogs about London house sitting and housesitters
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