As a sitter, you’re excited to start watching and walking dogs, and we’re excited for you to join the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. We thought we’d take this opportunity to to shed some light on some common questions people have when they’re building their business.
What services can I offer?
First things first—here’s our full list of services you can offer:
- Dog boarding: Your client’s dogs come to your home and stay overnight.
- House sitting: You go to your client’s home and stay overnight–taking care of their dogs and home.
- Drop-in visits: You stop by your client’s home while they’re away a few times a day for 30 minutes each time to feed and play with their dogs.
- Dog walking: You pick up your client’s dogs at their home and provide a 30-minute walk.
- Doggy day care: Your client’s dogs come to your home during the day, dropping off around 7–9am, and picking up around 4–6pm.
What services match my schedule?
This question is a good starting point. Are you:
- A full-time or part-time student?
- A stay-at-home parent?
- Someone who works from home?
- Someone who works full time in a dog-friendly office?
Even if you don’t fit into one of the above scenarios, we think you get the picture. Bottom line: Tailor your services to fit your schedule.
What’s my dog-size preference?
You can choose what size dogs you care for. Here at Rover, we divide up dog sizes into four categories:
- small (0-15 lbs)
- medium (16 – 40 lbs)
- large (41 – 100 lbs)
- giant (100+ lbs.).
Consider aspects like:
- Physical strength: If Sparky the Great Dane sees a squirrel, can you maintain control of his leash?
- Services offered: In-home sitting in your studio apartment might not accommodate dogs over 100 lbs.
- Dogs/animals in your home: Does your dog only get along with larger dogs? If so, keep your dog-size preferences on the larger side.
How many dogs can I handle at once?
There are several facets to this question, so we’ll divide this up into two separate (but equally likely) situations.
- The owner has 2 or more dogs: In this case, consider their dog sizes and look at your past experience. If you’ve never watched more than one dog at once, start slow: Try only accepting 1-2 dogs at a time, especially if you already have dogs or other animals in your home.
- You have two owners who would like to book during the same days:
- Openly communicate with the owners so that all sides are aware you’ll have several dogs in your care at the same time.
- Schedule a Meet & Greet before you book so you can get a good idea of whether or not the dogs will get along.
- Assess your home, and make sure you have enough space to separate each of the dogs if need be.
Do I have a preference for neutered/spayed dogs vs. not neutered/not spayed?
At Rover, we don’t discriminate when it comes to dogs who are fixed vs. those who aren’t. However, consider the list below to see if taking unfixed dogs would be the right choice for you.
- Do you have any dogs in your home that aren’t spayed or neutered?
You probably see where we’re going with this. If your dog isn’t fixed, it’s best to only accept dogs who are fixed.
- Are you prepared for an unspayed female in heat?
This would be mean having dog diapers or an enclosed area to keep the dog while she is in heat. Unspayed females experience their menstrual cycle only two times per year, but always ask the owner if their dog will be in heat during the stay or walk just in case.
- Most unneutered dogs mark their territory, especially if that territory has already been marked by another dog. Have you had another dog mark his territory in your home? Are you prepared to keep the dog in an isolated area or provide pee pads just in case?
Am I prepared to provide puppy care?
Puppies tend to be high-maintenance, but those puppy-dog eyes definitely make up for it. Check out some of our recommendations below to see if you should provide puppy care.
- Be prepared for frequent potty breaks and occasional accidents. Ask the owner detailed questions about where their dog is in potty-training so that you can help their puppy move forward with its training—and keep your floors clean (Nature’s Miracle is, well…a miracle).
- Other aspects of training might also be incomplete. Puppies are excited little creatures, and they may react to new friends with jumping and barking. If you have small children, puppies might not be the best for you.
- Keep your shoes off the ground. Puppies could be in their teething phase, which means they will want to chew everything. Ask the owner to bring a few good chew toys, and make sure your valuables are out of reach.
Am I prepared to provide care for special needs or elderly dogs?
Interested in caring for dogs with special needs, or dogs that have seen younger days? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Depending on the breed and how they age, you may be required to administer medication. This is also applicable to special-needs dogs. You may be asked to administer both pills and injections. Injections may also range in intensity—some dogs require intravenous injections, while others might need a routine insulin shot. As always, be vocal with the owner about your concerns or questions when it comes to any medication.
- Many older dogs experience incontinence and arthritis. Depending on the dog, you might have to use dog diapers and/or pee pads, which you can ask the owner to provide. In addition, some dogs experience crippling arthritis that causes legs to give out. Think about how much the dogs weigh, and how much weight you are comfortable lifting.
The more comfortable you are as a sitter or dog walker, the better your services will be. Trust your past experiences, be realistic, and know your personal limits. Whether you want to walk dogs on the weekends or are looking for a full-time gig caring for pets, trust your gut and only offer what you’re comfortable providing.