Tips on Caring for Your Senior Dog
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You know exactly what makes your dog special. Don’t you want a pet-sitter who feels the same way you do about each tail wag and wet-nosed snuggle?
Fortunately, there are some wonderful ways to connect with dog-loving sitters in your area. Rover.com is one such treasure trove. Sitters fill out profiles with personal information and experience, complete with rates and availability. For your peace of mind, each sitter has reviews from pet owners who have worked with them.
With a site like Rover, it’s hard to go wrong. Still, there are a few ways to ensure a perfect fit and create the best possible experience for your pup.
Explore the site and get familiar with your options. What kinds of personalities are you drawn to? Who has experience caring for dogs like yours? Do you notice people you’d get along with as friends?
If you’re not sure what to look for, reading numerous profiles will help you get a better sense of what you want in a sitter.
Send friendly, succinct messages that tell a bit about yourself and your pet. (Be sure you’ve filled out your profile, too!) Arrange meet-and-greets with anyone who’s available and interested.
There’s only so much you can learn from readingtext and seeing photos. In person, you can observe how the potential sitter interacts with your dog. Some pets can take time to bond, but you should be able to get a sense for whether they’re comfortable with the sitter and beginning to warm up to them. Many people arrange meet-and-greets on neutral ground, like at a local park.
Ask questions about the sitter’s past experience working with dogs, dog-sitting for other owners, and caring for dogs like yours in terms of age, breed, and temperament. Does your dog have special care requirements, and can the sitter accommodate accordingly?
Pay attention to the questions that the sitter asks, too. Do they seem curious about your pet, and eager to get to know them better? Do they enjoy the activities and places that your pup loves most? Provide as much information as you can—and remember that you can always provide written reminders when the stay begins.
If you have a younger dog, you could encourage the sitter to play with the pup and engage in some simple training exercises during the meet-and-greet. For an older dog, perhaps going on a walk around the block as a group will give you the best chance to observe the dynamic between pet and sitter.
What if their demeanor doesn’t seem quite right for your dog? Don’t feel obligated to hire a sitter who doesn’t click with your canine. Treat the meet-and-greet like a job interview: Look for someone who’s patient enough to bring out the best in your pup.
Try not to get your hopes up too much based on the profile and messages—the meet-and-greet will tell you what you need to know! Much like a first date, it reveals the chemistry that determines whether you’ve found the right person. You should feel 100% comfortable with the sitter before the stay begins.