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What do you do when a clients dog damages something?

asked 2016-04-09 22:21:01 -0500

I am doing my very first rover stay at my own home. I've been a rover sitter for a year and have always gone to other people's homes. My boyfriend and I just bought a home and he agreed to try hosting a dog. She's been great and really gets along with our dog. The owner said she can be left alone for 5 hours tops. We left for 3 hours and she ate our comforter. Is there any protection for sitters when it comes to damage? Do you tell the client when their dog ruins something? Do you expect payment for the ruined items? It's just so unfortunate because I was really excited to host dogs and I'm afraid my partner will just not allow it after this occurance.

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Karen S.'s profile image Karen S.  ( 2020-01-22 15:04:25 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2016-04-10 08:45:05 -0500

What Deb said. However, you can make adjustments to your boarding policy to reduce or prevent damages. I've seen that many sitters only take crate-trained dogs. You could do any variation of that - dogs who have a crate, dogs who don't mind being contained (my older dog isn't technically crate trained, but he couldn't care less about being kept in one). Of course there is never any guarantee, but at least that way if you're gone, they can't get at all your stuff.

I always mention destruction to the owners for many reasons. First, it really does increase the likelihood you'll get a tip. Many owners feel bad, even though there was nothing they could have done to prevent it since they weren't there. Second, even if they don't tip you, they will probably appreciate you more and be more likely to leave you a positive review. Third, mentioning it now means they're aware of a behavior that may legitimately not happen in their home. Finally, as Deb mentioned, they can watch for any signs of illness.

I'm always pretty light-hearted when I tell an owner about destruction because it's really not their fault. This may be more than you're looking for, but here's an example (aka the last time I had to tell an owner their dog destroyed some stuff): "Well for Morty's update, he had a rather eventful night (see pic)! We've crated him at night to keep him out of trouble, but it turns out he's quite the escape artist. This is the second night he escaped - the other night I could hear him wiggle out in the morning. Fortunately most of the mess is an old slipper I wasn't using. My husband will need a couple new pairs of shoes. I have to laugh because he didn't do anything dangerous like eat a bunch of chocolate or chew on electrical wires or anything. No damage aside from a couple lost shoes. :) I don't think he ate anything bad - he's been a very happy pup all day, zooming around." Then I went on to discuss our hiking adventures that morning, ending on a more positive note.

Hope this helps. My husband and I rent a house and do nothing but dog boarding and daycare in our home. We are very fortunate since most of the floors are tile. Carpet is by far the worst to have because it can get caught in nails and pulled up or it can get peed on. Aside from a large rug that got unraveled and peed on one too many times (by our OWN puppy, not our guests), we've had very little damage, and none of it to permanent fixtures like furniture or doors. Prevention really is best for reducing damage - put some cheap, durable rugs on top of your carpet (especially outdoor rugs, which often look very nice ... (more)

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Thanks so much! I did mention it to the owner, and kept it light hearted. A comforter is not the end of the world, plus it was in the spare bedroom so it was already one we didn't care about. The owner did offer to pay for it, which was nice. Yes, only taking crate trained dogs is a great idea!

Alyssa B.'s profile image Alyssa B.  ( 2016-04-10 09:03:03 -0500 ) edit

My biggest concern is that my boyfriend won't want to try again! I just love being a sitter and hope we can find some dogs who are good fits for us. My dog is having the time of her life this weekend!

Alyssa B.'s profile image Alyssa B.  ( 2016-04-10 09:04:47 -0500 ) edit

I also recommend trying to get dog earlier than when they "officially " scheduled to leave. That way can help work out kinks. I've had dogs who were supposed to be crate trained howl all night. Its better to find those things out quickly rather than when owner hundreds of miles away

Serina R.'s profile image Serina R.  ( 2016-08-12 12:45:41 -0500 ) edit

I like what Serina says, like suggest taking a dog on a night early for free so if there are any behavior problems they should show up then. It'd be really distressing to be stuck with a dog that howls all night, is destructive etc....

Brooke F.'s profile image Brooke F.  ( 2019-09-26 19:37:48 -0500 ) edit

i have recently boarded a dog- she destroyed everything around her in 30 mins! kept cheeing stuff overnight.. howling, barking.. when i brought danaged items to the owner and asled to refund at least my partner’s jacket sge staryed blackmailing me with bad reviews!

Paulina S.'s profile image Paulina S.  ( 2019-10-04 12:20:21 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2016-04-10 00:45:30 -0500

This topic has been discussed many times. Basically, it's a cost of business you can write off, but the damage is not covered by insurance and the client is not obligated to reimburse you. You might try to let the client know in a nice way in case the dog ends up needing medical attention and then let Rover know. Even if it wasn't ingested, it may be good to mention that it's still mostly intact, so luckily the dog should be okay. It sounds like this dog may have separation anxiety, which is not unusual after being left in a new place with strangers who then left, which the owner may want to know but I'd suggest be careful how you approach/communicate this. Here's a recent link. https://www.rover.com/community/quest.... If you search damage, I'm certain you"ll see more.

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Thank you for your help! I tried searching for damage and I couldn't find anything, maybe my phone was acting up. I did end up mentioning it to the owner and she was really great about it. I definitely don't blame the dog, I was just being overly optimist that this wouldn't come up!

Alyssa B.'s profile image Alyssa B.  ( 2016-04-10 09:06:33 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2016-07-23 18:31:29 -0500

Any damage the dog does is just part of the territory. You will soon learn that all dogs, no matter how "housebroken" will need to be comfortably crated any time you are not there to supervise them, including sleeping overnight. I just had a single dog destroy two doorknobs, a comforter, a towel, a dog bed, my outside glass door, his crate, AND bite me. In the end, you just learn what is safe to let dogs have access to, and how to keep things out of reach. Safety always comes first, even if it means the dog won't be as comfortable. I felt really bad that this dog had to sleep in a cold, hard crate, but he tried to eat anything we left in with him. At the end of the day, I would rather him have an uncomfortable crate than need to make an emergency trip to the vet because he ingested something.

I do not ever ask clients to reimburse damage caused by the dog, because I feel that I should have been more vigilant or able to prevent it from happening. I would only mention it if I thought he had eaten something and was in danger.

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I agree with this.

Jennifer D.'s profile image Jennifer D.  ( 2018-06-15 20:55:47 -0500 ) edit

I agree with this to an extent, If the dog has a history of this behavior the owner needs to be upfront, it is one of the questions that should be asked before boarding an animal. if the owner does not tell you, AND the dog does have a history, then I'd ask for reimbursement.

Brooke F.'s profile image Brooke F.  ( 2019-09-26 19:42:03 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2019-07-06 20:27:56 -0500

So I recently (still sitting this dog) Had one of the dogs take my phone off the counter and break it. I am only allowed to leave at certain hours and this did not occur during those certain hours, so I could not update or anything. So I opened my laptop and let the owner know that her dog did chew my phone and break it and I can not send regular updates with photos as I normally do. She then responded that she was sorry that this dog was being difficult and she said she would pay for a replacement phone. I said thank you and yes since it is a phone (a 900 dollar phone my replacement) I do not want to ask for full replacement I am just asking for 200 (amount to pay off old phone) i think that is okay?

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answered 2019-09-05 19:20:15 -0500

When I do a meet and greet I ask all the questions that would let me know what I am in for, I believe. If a dog is destructive that should come out then. I had one chew on my wooden shutters on my front window. Yes, I expected the client to pay for this, it was beyond normal behavior for a 2 year old and it could have been prevented if they were forthcoming about her separation anxeity . With a puppy, all bets are off. Most clients are looking to us on how to manage puppy behavior and that is a lot of chewing and destruction. I crate when I'm not there which is short periods of time and run them out at the park. Give them lots of toys and make sure they know the difference between that and the comforter. If it is a large ticket item, Rover should cover anything over $250 with the Rover insurance.

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sorry, misspoke. Rover won't cover it, looks like. My own pet sitter insurance will.

Miriam P.'s profile image Miriam P.  ( 2019-09-05 19:43:30 -0500 ) edit

Miriam, have you been successful getting owners to pay for damage?

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2019-09-05 21:51:12 -0500 ) edit

I have requested and they have agreed. Will let you know when it happens...lol

Miriam P.'s profile image Miriam P.  ( 2019-09-06 04:09:36 -0500 ) edit

The one time I mentioned to a very regular client that her dog destroyed something, she kind of looked at me like a deer in headlights, not having a clue that maybe she should offer to pay for it or something similar.

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2019-09-06 05:09:59 -0500 ) edit

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