Dog-sitting is always an adventure.
Depending on the dog, it can either be fun or a complete nightmare.
One day the dog is wagging her tail and licking your face and the next they pee all over the hardwood floor and whine all night for their family to come back (true story).
Whether the dog is the best or the worst, here are ways to ensure you are the ultimate dog sitter:
Let the Dog(s) Come to You
Remember the dog does not know you very well, if at all, so do not force a relationship with the dog. You are a new human in their home, so naturally they will feel overprotective of their domain and a little wary towards you at first. Allow them to sniff you and your belongings, if you are staying overnight, so they can become familiar with your scent. Once they realize you are not a predator, they will come to you.
Keep a Routine
The dog’s family should leave a schedule of their routine for mealtimes and walks, but if they have not, reach out to ask for one. If you cannot get a hold of the dog’s family, make a consistent routine of your own for the dog. If you are not staying at the house overnight, keep a steady pattern of coming and going. Remember, the dog’s family is gone and their whole world has shifted, so it is important to keep a routine.
Have Extra Playtime
The dog is missing his or her family, so playing more than one game of fetch, tug-of-war, or even hide-and-seek with the dog will entertain them as well as take their mind off their family. Again, reach out to their family and see which activities the dog frequently enjoys. You can take the dog on a hike or to the dog-park if the dog enjoys those types of activities.
Give Extra Attention
Obviously this should be done only if the dog is comfortable, but giving the dog extra snuggles and belly rubs can help the dog feel loved while their family is gone. Allow the dog to sit at your feet, or lay by you on the couch if they want. If the dog does not seem to feel comfortable with you, you can give the dog extra love and attention by giving them a treat before or after their mealtime.
Call Their Family
Dog’s often feel abandoned when their family leaves for a vacation. If their family has service, facetime or voice call their family so the dog can hear the voices of their family. This will help the dog to realize they have not been fully left behind and they will see their family again.
Dog-sitting brings unexpected challenges. It is difficult to keep your feelings in check while trying to remember the dog’s feelings.
At the end of the day, as long as the dog stays healthy and alive by the time their family has come back, you have achieved the ultimate dog-sitter status.