Finding a Good Dog Sitter - An Epic Quest

Every year for the last 4 years I have day dreamed about finding that perfect dog sitter. One I can trust, whom my dogs adore and who treats animals with the same respect that I do. Someone who gets that my poodles aren't 'just dogs', but rather family. A few weeks ago I had occasion where finding this dream dog sitter morphed from dream world into reality. Here are a few things I learned as I scoped out potential pet sitting businesses for one that met my, I'll admit, rather high standards.

  1. Even if just mentally, make a list of what is important to you. Is it that the dog sitter lives close by, or exercises your dog, or practices positive training techniques? What's important to you?
  2. Don't give up! Explore recommendations from friends, as well as browsing the web. I spent quite a while reviewing the near-by pet sitting businesses on the web. The one I eventually went with didn't come up in the first couple of Google pages, but I kept digging!
  3. Expect an opportunity for a meet and greet before the pet sitter is needed. That way you can observe how he/she acts around your dogs and whether both parties are comfortable with each other. If this is in-home pet sitting, then meet and greet at home.
  4. Talk about dogs. Does this person speak about pups in a way that reflects your own priorities? 
  5. Observe what questions they ask you. If you are entrusting your pups with someone while you are away, they should ask questions regarding your pets health, habits, local and emergency vet, dietary needs, training goals, etc. If they don't prompt you for this information, consider whether they are really equipped to deal with the things that may arise while you are away.



Hopefully you already have someone you trust to care for your pups in the case where you are away. If not, plan ahead! You never know when you may need to call on that someone! I can now go away knowing that my boys are being cared for in the best way possible by someone that I trust. What a relief!






Comments

  1. Thanks so much for friending us!! Signing up to follow your blog! www.dakotasden.net

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  2. This is such a great list. I have two trips planned for this summer and I'm pretty excited about it. We're not sure if we'll need a pet sitter or not, but I'm definitely going to get a reference from you.

    One thing that was important to me was seeing how they interact with our dogs. We have four active dogs and we needed someone who could keep them inline with a strong, confidence energy. We had that in our last pet sitter - I even paid her 3x her fee, because she was THAT good. She moved away.

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  3. Great list! I would have to either KNOW the person or meet them in person and see how they reacted with my pets. I am so paranoid about mine. I think most pet owners can tell a real pet person when they see reactions with their pets.

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  4. Smart tips! A professional pet sitter is always best, family members always give in to Matilda's begging!

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  5. Since we have two deaf dogs, finding a pet sitter for our annual trip to Paris used to be a high-stress process. We needed someone comfortable with living with 2 large deaf dog for two weeks who also was willing AND able to learn some basic hand signs. Then we found Kevin, who is deaf. Now we travel stress free! The tisp you shred here would have been so helpful to us back then!

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  6. I haven't gone away for this reason. So worried about who will take care of the dog and cats. Who could possibly give them the care they need, understand their wants and trust enough to give one of them the meds they need? I admit, I'm a worrier and really need to trust someone, but I do like the tips you shared about what "they ask you".

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  7. This is a really great post and wonderful food for thought! Having a dog walker is different from having a pet sitter. Pet parents know what every look from their dog/cat means - and of course your pet sitter won't, but how emotionally available and professionally capable will they be is very important! Also make sure you have a line of credit set up at your vets, etc., so that your pet sitter doesn't have any concerns if the need to take your pet to the vet emerges. Totally great post!

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  8. Finding a person or facility you can full trust is quite the task!

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  9. These are some great tips! Thanks so much for sharing! Finding someone to trust with your dog is definitely a quest :)

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  10. I am scared to leave Layla with anyone although a close friend who loves her and she knows well has offered if necessary would leave her there

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  11. Finding a reliable pet sitter isn't easy! It took me a while, but I finally found someone who always goes above and beyond when taking care of my cats when I have to go out of town. It makes leaving your fur babies at home so much easier when you know they are being cared for so well.

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  12. This is something I struggle with. I haven't gone on vacation in years because I'm too nervous to leave my pets with anyone. It doesn't help that I have a senior rabbit who needs meds everyday and a dog that is afraid of strangers. We're trying to plan a vacation for this summer, but are going to stick to places where we can just bring the pets (at least some of them) with us.

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  13. Mr. N only stays with friends! They know his quirks and have dog friends for him to play with so I worry a little less.

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  14. This is a great list. I am a pet sitter and definitely agree with everything you said. I have a checklist of questions that I always ask potential clients about their pets. I think it is very important to know everything you possibly can about the pets you will be caring for.

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  15. Great tips! We are currently for a back up pet sitter as our current person isn't always available.

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  16. I've never used a pet sitter, I'm so leary about a stranger taking care of my dogs. It's so important to know who is taking care of your pets!

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  17. I have found an awesome cat sitter (a boarding facility) who knows everything about cats. My dog stays with my ex (we broke up but the dogs didn't). I haven't been able to find a sitter or Walker for him because he won't let anyone in the house when I'm not there. Schnoodle guard dog.

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  18. I have found an awesome cat sitter (a boarding facility) who knows everything about cats. My dog stays with my ex (we broke up but the dogs didn't). I haven't been able to find a sitter or Walker for him because he won't let anyone in the house when I'm not there. Schnoodle guard dog.

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  19. Great tips. I just interviewed a pet sitter a couple of weeks ago as a back up when my mom can't check on the girls.

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  20. Luckily we have extended family and friends who move in and look after Kilo the Pug. He does not do well with strangers or change plus he can be risky on a walk or if you get between him and something he values (he gets better every day but would hate to put him or anyone at risk). We make sure the few people that look after him know the rules and his triggers. Good reminders to review.

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  21. We are lucky to have family and friends that have always been able to come stay at our home with our dogs! 90% of the time we do plan our travels with them, but every so often we need a dog sitter! We are very lucky.

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  22. Excellent tips, I'm glad you found the perfect sitter!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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