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Do you need a pet sitter for your dog? The need for a pet sitter can arise whether you’ve just adopted a new puppy and want someone to stay with him while you’re at work, you’re going on vacation or want a pet sitter/dog walker to come to your home to give your dog exercise while you’re at work.
No matter the reason for hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, you need to introduce your dog to the sitter in a way that cements a great relationship with that person from the get-go.
The first week of March is Professional Pet Sitters week and we wanted to offer tips for pet parents to make pet sitting visits enjoyable for your dog (and the sitter!)
1. Plan several meetings between your dog and the pet sitter before you turn over the key to the house to the sitter. You need to be there to moderate those first few meetings. If your dog sees you are relaxed in the presence of the pet sitter, he will pick up on your body language and will be more welcoming to the sitter. A professional pet sitter would require pre-sitting meetings between you and your dog before he or she would become your sitter.
2. Share “insider” information with the pet sitter about your dog. If she prefers to walk in one area of the yard instead of another, let the sitter know that. If your dog receives a treat at a specific time of the day make sure the sitter knows. Explain some of your dog’s unique body language and cues to the sitter. Perhaps your dog doesn’t bark to go outside, but instead sits and stares at you. If the sitter doesn’t know this, your dog may have an accident in the house. The more information you supply the pet sitter, the better the relationship will be – believe me, sitters are accustomed to receiving pages-long lists of instructions about the pets they will be with! If you have unique words or hand signals for commands such as: sit, stay, lay, heel or more, let the sitter know.
3. Give the pet sitter one of your dog’s favorite treats to feed him when she comes to the house. Let your dog approach the pet sitter on his terms – don’t force interaction. A professional pet sitter will also let you know how to make the introduction go smoothly. You may want to ask the pet sitter to leave something with his or her scent at your house so your dog gets accustomed to the scent (a bandana, t-shirt, etc.)
Before you leave town and leave your dog with the sitter, make certain the pet sitter comes to your home while you are still in the area to walk or spend time with your dog. You don’t want to be hundreds of miles away only to find out that your dog is being protective of the home and won’t let the pet sitter in!
Also, don’t forget to let the pet sitter know who your family veterinarian is. Contact your veterinarian and let him or her know your dog will be left with a pet sitter and if there are any emergencies, this person can act on your behalf in case you can’t be reached. Leave all emergency contact information, your veterinarian’s phone number and a copy of your dog’s health insurance policy. The more prepared your pet sitter is for caring for your dog the more peace of mind you will have when you entrust your beloved dog to a pet sitter.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!