We know you’re really excited for long walks, exciting games of fetch, and cuddle time on the couch, but before you have your first Rover stay it’s important to make sure you’re prepared in all aspects of dog safety. Check out this important safety information so you can make sure your stays are as safe and fun as possible.
Leash and Harness Safety
We see that wagging tail and excited stance, but before you go on a walk with your new friend, make sure you keep the following in mind:
- Always use a harness if provided and always hook on the “D” ring.
- If the dog wears a harness, have the pet owner show you how to put it on correctly and to ensure it fits properly.
- Before a walk, check the leash, collar, and harness thoroughly for wear and tear. If the equipment is compromised be sure to contact the owner before leaving the property. This is also a good time to assess if the dog has an ID tag on and that it is up to date.
- Even if an owner says their dog is good off leash or has good recall, we recommend keeping the dog on leash as you are a new caretaker and the dog may behave differently with you.
- If you are caring for multiple dogs, try and take them on a walk alone before walking them with other dogs to insure adequate control at all times
- Until you are sure of a dogs temperament, avoid all pedestrians and other dogs on walks to ensure proper control. Note it may be best to avoid all third party people and animals on a walk to ensure no incident. Even if the rover dog is good with others, you can’t anticipate how other dogs may behave.
- Keep the leash short and the dog close to you at all times to maintain control and avoid using retractable leashes which may cause injury to dog or handler.
Introducing Dogs and People
Everyone loves meeting new dogs, but it’s important to get to know your canine client before bringing them around a lot of new people. Here are some tips for safe introductions.
- Always conduct a Meet & Greet with the dog before the booking to ensure the dog gets along with you and the members of your household — including all resident dogs.
- Check with the owner if their dog is anxious or nervous around new people and how they recommend handling introductions.
- Avoiding new people on walks until you are sure how the dog reacts around new people. We recommend avoiding all strangers and people when on a walk to prevent an incident.
- If boarding, let everyone in the household know that a dog is staying there and to give the dog some space until they adjust to the new location.
- Introducing new people one at a time, each time waiting until the dog is comfortable, and slowing down or stopping if the dog is uncomfortable. Utilize treats to help a dog warm up to a new person or situation.
- Always supervise children with dogs, and always be sure that the dog in question is child friendly. Ensure children are coached on dog behavior and know to go slow around the new dog. If children are not willing to respect the dog’s space, keep them separate from the dog for everyone’s safety.
- Take a non threatening stance around the dog: get low to the ground, don’t face the dog head on but rather to the side, and let the dog come to you. If the dog is shy do not pressure them to interact.
Secure The Entrances and Exits
A dog in a new environment does not behave like a dog in their own home, be sure to keep a close eye on any boarders and use the following tips to keep them contained.
- Speak with the owners before the stay to see if their dog is a flight risk and has ever tried to get out before. If the dog has tried to escape before, be sure to ask the owners what the dog did and what the circumstances were so you can prevent them.
- Utilize baby gates or x-pens or any other barrier to keep the entryway clear of dogs. If people are coming in and out of the house use other rooms to keep the dogs away from doors to the outside.
- Always supervising dogs around open windows, even if they have a screen, until you know the dogs temperament and typical behavior.
- Be mindful when entering or exiting a dog to the home to be sure no pets will escape. Put a sign on the outside of the door to inform guests and other housemates that there is a dog present and to open the door carefully.
- Notify all guests and household members that there are dogs in the house and to be mindful when opening and closing doors
- Make sure your yard is 100% secure before letting pets into the space. Look for gaps, holes, gate latches, height of the fence, and areas a dog can squeeze through. Do not leave dogs unsupervised in the yard.
- Walk the dog out on leash in the yard before letting it off leash.
Dogs are great at getting into things they’re not supposed to. Use the following tips to keep them from ingesting something:
- Ask the owners if the dog has a tendency to get into things, and how they prevent it. Ask the owner if the dogs are known to get onto counters or in cupboards.
- Make sure all edible dog items are stored away from where the dog can get them, preferably behind a closed door. Example: treats, food, toys, bones, etc.
- Remember that dogs can get items pushed back on the counter so make sure they are out of a dogs physical reach even if the dog were to try and get an item by jumping, climbing, or pushing its way into or onto something.
- Do a scan of the home before the dog arrives to be sure all edible items are tucked away where the dog can’t access them. Common items dogs have been known to get into can include (but are not limited to): all human food, garbage cans both kitchen and bathroom, cleaning/household supplies, feminine products and tissues, clothing, bags, etc.
- Ask the owner what is normal behavior and what the dogs normal bowel movements are like when they are in a new location. This will help you assess if a pet accidentally got into something it shouldn’t have.
Multiple Dog Safety
Looking after multiple dogs can be challenging. Be prepared with these tips:
- Ask the owners how the dog gets along with other dogs, both big and small, male and female, fixed or not fixed, old or young, etc. And remember, each dog is an individual.
- When introducing a new dog to a current dog, meet in a neutral location, and not at a dog park. Example: a good place to meet is the the front yard with both dogs on leashes.
- Try to keep small and large dogs separated to prevent incidents from occurring
- Do not feed the dogs together, always do in separate rooms or areas. You can also use baby gates or other barriers to separate dogs.
- Don’t introduce a new resource to a dog until you know how it will react with that resource around other dogs. Example: do not give a dog a toy, bone, or treat with other dogs present.
- Do not leave dogs alone together unsupervised.
By using these tips you can help ensure that the dogs in your care will remain safe. Always be sure to discuss the dog’s behavior with the owner before the stay, and ask tons of questions. The more you know the better prepared you will be for each individual dog.