We ask our members on a regular basis ‘what makes a good dog sitter?’ We really think it is important to stay in tune with our pet owner members, and what they and their pets need. Here are some insights offered by our members about what it takes to be a great dog sitter.
What to look for in a Dog sitter application, or an assignment?
Free dog sitters
Ask about the dogs if you apply as a dog sitter
KemKem (Dog owner) – The first thing I look for is what they say in their application in response to my advert. A lot of dog sitters tell me about their lives and go on and on about themselves. I trash those applications. I only look through the ones that ask about my pets.
This person is about to be my dog minder. They will be responsible for my dog. It makes me feel that they care about the exchange and they are not just looking for a place to stay.
I like to see how the dog sitter is with my pets before I leave
Susan (Dog owner) – Patience for me is absolutely one of the most important. I have four rescue dogs and these need a lot more understanding. After a year and a half, Perle my most recently adopted rescue dog still has many issues to deal with. But I think patience is paramount in any dog sitter.
Pet sitting friends
Tim and Lou (Petsitters) – We look for dogs that are a good fit. We do a behavioural assessment to understand a bit of the dog’s history and demeanour. We love helping with young, energetic dogs, but sometimes an older calm dog is the perfect companion.
Housesitter check list for a dog sit
To new sitters we suggest – maybe start sitting in and around your own town/city/country, build up your references and then head out to the international stage.
Consider the details before applying as a Dog sitter
Be careful when assessing what is required in a housesit. Don’t fix on your ‘dream’ sit, if there are things about it that you have to compromise on (this is where the sit won’t fit you and your experience with dogs for example, you may end up with a bad experience).
Reflect your passion for pets and experience in your application
We often tell friends who are starting out, begin within your comfort zone and you will build your confidence and experience. It will show in your application.
What kind of attitude or approach does a Dog sitter need?
Kemkem (Dog owner) – The second most important thing is attitude. I am pretty easy going and prefer the same type of people. A Skype session is a good way to get a feel for the sitter’s personality and what they will be like.
Mal & Marie (Dog owners & Petsitters) – We prefer for our dog sitter to have an honest approach.
We appreciate when the pet sitters can see the agreement as an equal exchange, no party has the best value.
In some sitters’ groups I’ve joined recently, it amazed me to read that many sitters see themselves as giving the ultimate service (giving) and HOs having all the advantages (receiving). We disagree with that, as housesitters ourselves as well as pet owners, we see it as an agreement for mutual benefit.
Primary dog sitter qualities
For us the Primary qualities in a dog sitter would be: Selfless attitude, loving, respectful, considerate, responsible; honouring the commitment of care with integrity is top priority.
Important considerations in a dog sit
When we are petsitting for others, we always put ourselves in the HOs position and handover properties and pets well looked after with attention to details. (e.g. if we shuffle things around during our stay, we make sure to put it back as given to us; if something gets damaged, we fix it or replace it. If we use say spices, we replace them).
Common sense for mutual respect prevails. As HOs, we hope the same consideration is consistently given.
Live in dog sitter
House sitting jobs abroad
Pet sitting friend
Should the Dog sitter be respectful of routines you have specified?
We always respect the documented pet routines
Dianne & Mike (Petsitters) – As housesitters and petsitters we are respectful of the daily routines for dogs, as we described in our blog about dog sitting for an Akita he was a large mature dog and needed his regular three walks a day.
It depends on the routine and how the pet is faring in the absence of the owner
Tim and Lou (Petsitters) – Honestly, the answer is yes and no. We follow all exercise routines but sometimes give a bit more. Their diet is “set in stone” and we follow that to the letter. The ‘no’ part means that occasionally we ask a dog to avoid certain behaviour like jumping up, putting his teeth on us, or dragging us down the road on the lead.
In house pet sitting
Do you look for dog sitter experience in caring for sick pets?
Experience in sick pet care not necessary – one pet owner
Kemkem (Dog owner) – Not really. If they have experience with sick dogs, l wouldn’t necessarily pick them over others.
I have two Beagles and one dog has occasional seizures, and it has not proven difficult to brief the sitters. However, if it’s a dog that needs shots for instance, l would definitely choose someone with experience. I hate needles myself and while doing the sit would not be the best time to initiate someone.
Good dog sitter experience with dog care is important – pet sitters’ opinion
Dianne and Mike (Petsitters) – It is not only important to have experience with dogs, but I would add you need to be confident with the dogs, especially if there is more than one young dog. Otherwise they’ll “own” you!
Dog house sitter
Do you like to keep in contact during the housesit?
No need to stay in touch – one pet owner
Kemkem (Dog owner) – No..no..no! I hate helicopter hosts who insist on hearing daily news and pics. I trust the dog sitter to be able to handle things. If it’s something that l need to be aware of, fine..but don’t let me know every little thing. Trust on both sides.
Yes absolutely, we love to hear the news and see photos – another pet owner
Mal&Marie (Dog owners & Petsitters) – Yes, we do. We ask for them to be in touch once a week… we tend to travel for longish periods so this is especially important for us. As HOs, we are always within reach for any problems or concerns that may arise.
Your pet sitter friend
Does a Dog sitter need to be a dog lover?
KemKem (Dog owner) – it is important for the sitter to like dogs. We have beagles and I don’t mind if they have experience with just one breed.
I would only want someone who has taken care of dogs and likes doing that, not just cats, if that makes sense. We prefer an experienced dog sitter to care for our dogs.
Trusted pet sitters
Susan (Dog owner) – Another important attribute is the sitter needs to have a sincere love of animals and of course to be attentive to behavioural signs and knowing how to interpret them correctly.
I wouldn’t say this is a “must” but it is definitely important and an added plus to a dog sitter. Start your housesitting adventure or to find your house and petsitting solution register with HouseSitMatch:
FURTHER READING ABOUT THE DOG SITTER FOR PET OWNERS
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