Let’s say someone has asked you to watch a dog in the dog’s home. Remember that this is a job. No matter how nice the home, it’s not a vacation for you. Be respectful of the homeowner’s property and privacy. Understand why you’re going to the dog and the dog isn’t staying with you. (Maybe a dog has territorial issues or needs special attention.) And when you leave, the home should be in the same shape—or better—than when you arrived. Here’s a summary of our tips.
What you should do
- Discuss what is included and not included in your services. Do you check in on the dog multiple times a day? Do you spend the night with the dog? Have a frank conversation with the dog owner about expectations.
- Let the pet parents know if you have any previous engagements that might mean the pets are left alone.
- Ask for written instructions about food medicine, emergency contacts and anything else you need to know about the home (security codes, other service personnel who will visit the home while you’re there).
- Get the dog’s typical schedule and walking routes. Also ask where to dispose of poop bags.
- Communicate politely with the pet parents while they are away. Texts can often be misunderstood, so be clear and considerate. Photos of the dog are great, too.
- Check the home before leaving. Inspect toilets and faucets to make sure there is no running water. Adjust heating/air conditioning to be sure the home is a comfortable temperature for pets. Double check for any hazards that pets may get into.
What you shouldn’t do
- Don’t eat everything in the home. Only consume specified snacks/drinks that have been discussed the homeowner.
- Don’t invite any visitors to the home unless it has been agreed to beforehand.
- Don’t throw away poop bags in private trash cans. This might upset neighbors.
- Don’t leave pets in a kennel or crate unless pet owner requests this.
- Don’t take pets anywhere that has not been discussed and approved with the homeowner.
More in: A Field Guide to Pet Sitting
So you’re interested in pet sitting? Or maybe you want to be an even better sitter. Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled the collective knowledge of our Rover sitters and staffers to create this helpful guide. From great introductions to bad behavior, this guide is packed with answers to some common questions—and few you probably wouldn’t have even thought to ask.
Chapter 4: Sitting in other people’s homes