Top dog sitting tips for beginners

23 Sep, 2021

Top dog sitting tips for beginners

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If you are starting out on your pet sitting journey either as a housesitter and petsitter take a look at these dog sitting tips. Dog sitters are much in demand especially to care for dogs in their own homes. They are offered to help you prepare yourself for dog minding in the absence of the pet owner. Take these tips into consideration as you prepare for your dog sit assignment.

Top 7 dog sitting tips for beginners

top dog sitting tips
Start dog sitting with a dog you feel comfortable caring for

If you have just started dog sitting as a way to spend time with pets and dogs especially, read this blog to learn our top dog sitting tips. We will share our top 10 dog sitting tips for those who are just starting that journey. With any luck if you follow these steps we will also help you find the ideal dog sit to suit you and your skills.

Dog sitting tips

  • Live in dog and house sitter – If you are planning on becoming dog sitter you might well find that you are invited into a home to become a live in dog and housesitter.
  • Dog sitting at home – Looking after the beloved pets in their own home is a great way to help them relax with new people.  It is a great alternative to kennels for pet lovers. As a dog sitter you offer a great alternative service to kennels and dog boarding.

1. How to become a dog sitter – Match your skills and experience

dog licks his dog sitter
Find a dogsitter who will play and entertain your pets

One of the best dog sitting tips is to start with a local dogsit near home so you can get to know the pet. If it has been a while since you had a dog yourself this experience can be a great refresher. Do some research so you know a little about the dog and the dog breed.

  • Dog sit – How to prepare – Some dogs have particular habits so it is worth asking the pet owner if you can meet them and go for a dog walk together. Ask about the favourite local dog walks and parks.
  • Reference – At the end of the petsit, ask the pet owner if they will write you a reference after the dog sit is completed. Then you could consider joining a pet sitting and house sitting website to find a new dog sit opportunity, perhaps a little further away.
  • Large dog sitter – If you are comfortable caring for large dogs then let it be known on your profile. Sitters who are happy caring for large or strong dogs are much in demand.

2. Find the right dog sit – Make it an enjoyable assignment

Once you have a little experience under your belt you can start looking for your next dogsit. However, one of the key dog sitting tips to note is – Be realistic. Think about the type and number of dogs you would be happy dog minding. Size and number do count.

Some large dogs take a lot of handling, so you may need to be strong and experienced in order to consider some dog sitting opportunities.

you need a dog
Look for the right dog sitting assignment to start as a dog sitter

3. Dog sitters prepare for the dog sitting

Every dogsitting assignment will have different demands. Preparation is one of the vital dog sitting tips to remember.

  • Research to get the job done well – Make sure you talk to the pet owner before you accept the dog sitting assignment. Find out what is expected of the pet sitter so you know what is involved in the pet sitting assignment.
  • Puppy sitters – If you have experience as a puppy sitter then you have a specialist skill that will be in demand. This is especially true in the holidays.

Pet care preparation

If at all possible try to meet the dog first, or at least get to see it on a ZOOM or Virtual meeting so that you understand the size and temperament of the animal.  If the pet owners have used pet sitting services before look at their reviews to see what other sitters have written.

Ask about the dog you will be minding.  What kind of dog nutrition is required, do the owners allow dog treats. What are the routines, ask them to write them down for you.

4. Dog walkers routines

Dogs are intelligent creatures and most are also very physical and need exercise. You will need to learn the dog walking routines for each of your canine charges. What do they wear on their walk, does it include a harness, a collar and a muzzle or any of the above?

Do they stay on the lead while they are out of the home property? Or can they be allowed to run free in a park and if so whereabouts? And most importantly do they come back on recall? All these issues are important to understand before starting your dog sitting.

Learn a little about the local area, and the local dog walks. Ask the dog owner if they or the dogs have any favourite routes that might be of interest. And equally are there walks to avoid.

5. Dog behaviour – How are they with people and other dogs?

This is essential for you to learn, preferably before taking your first assignment. Can the dogs be allowed to walk freely, and how are they with other dogs? If the dog you are minding is female then what are the rules around mixing? And do you need to worry about the dog in the company of people the dog does not know?

As a dog sitter you offer a great alternative service to kennels and dog boarding.

Some dogs are highly intelligent and need stimulation. Make sure you create time to play with your pet charge.

6. Come to a pet sitting agreement – Document your agreement

Dog house sitting

It is always best to document what you have been asked to do and the information you’ve been given. So understanding the brief and documenting he details is one of the top dog sitting tips. It is especially important if a dog or more than one dog is involved in the housesitting requirements. This is best for you and the pets and of course the owner! In particular document the following:

  • Where is the local vet and ask for their contact details
  • Pet insurance information
  • Pet passports if they exist with details of age and inoculation, for your reference in the owner’s absence
  • Feeding routines
  • Medication required – what it is, for which pet and how often it is administered
  • Favourite walks
  • Agreement on anything else you need to do for the dogs

7. Find more dog sitting opportunities

At the end of the dog sitting assignment you can start to look for other dog sits that appeal to you. Once you have some experience you may also want to take your dogsitting further afield. You can join a petsitting and house sitting website to start gathering your petsitter reviews online. That way you have a profile that reflects your experience for other dog owners to see.

  • Free dog sitting – If you are happy to exchange your pet care and home care services for free then join a housesitting website.  By exchanging your skills and services you can travel far and wide.
  • Someone to look after my dog in their home – Increasingly pet owners are searching on line for someone to look after my dog in their home. And if you are that  way inclined that’s where joining a housesitting and petsitting network will help you.
  • A final thought dog sitting tips to prepare for a dogsit – A love of dogs will take you quite far in a dog sitting assignment. However, all kinds of things could happen to the dog, to you while dogsitting. So it is best to prepare as far as possible.

Enjoy your dog sitting adventures and remember our dog sitting tips!


Further reading about dogs and dogsitting with Housesitmatch

At Housesit we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dog sitters about dogsitting.

What is dog sitting with Housesitmatch?

Dog sitters near me – Is that what you need?

Dog sitters’ tips – Dog’s body language and how to read it

What is House Sitting: Everything You Need to Know

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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