Leighann H.'s profile

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2018-03-07 14:12:17 -0500 marked best answer Boarders: Occupancy Rate?

What's your average monthly occupancy rate? Meaning, how many nights out of how many available nights are you booked?

2017-10-26 22:07:28 -0500 marked best answer What's your script for...?

There's been quite a bit of discussion lately around Pick Up/Drop Off times, and clients who disrespect our time and their previously stated arrival time.

I'm going to start sending my new clients a Welcome Letter before they drop off for their first stay. It'll cover some tips and unofficial policies to ensure they (and I!) have a pleasant experience. Would anyone be willing to share their script for communicating the need for punctuality when Dropping Off/Picking Up? I'm thinking something along these lines:

A text when you're on your way to Drop-Off/Pick-Up is greatly appreciated! I love offering extremely flexible hours for my clients, and am happy to schedule my other appointments around your needs. Please respect the time I have scheduled for you, and be as prompt as possible. If you're running behind of or ahead of schedule, just let me know!

Just a rough draft...other ideas and critique appreciated!

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2017-04-14 16:03:43 -0500 answered a question What do I charge for a second dog from the same client?

I discount the second dog by around $3.00. No discount for multiple puppies or adolescents though!

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2016-10-26 21:19:22 -0500 answered a question If you have 2 dogs coming to stay that are both puppies, do you charge the puppy rate for both?

Absolutely yes. I am just like you: tendency to feel guilty about money things. I just took care of two eight week old puppies for four days and I felt completely justified charging what I did. I actually would have felt comfortable charging even more.

2016-10-26 21:13:20 -0500 answered a question I want to be able to request vaccine history, does anyone else do this?

I require Rabies, DHPP, and Bordatella for any dog that stays at my home. We discuss this at the Meet and Greet, and I mention it again when sending the information packet. I do keep copies on file so that I don't have to ask them for it the next time.
The vet's office is welcome to email it directly to me, but sometimes they don't like doing that. The biggest struggle I have is in getting the actual Rabies certificate. I've had several clients show up with just their shot records, which isn't the end of the world, but I really prefer to have the certificate since that's what is legally required to prove the vaccination.

2016-10-26 21:06:31 -0500 answered a question A dog I am sitting has FLEAS!?

I don't do daycare, but when I found a flea on a multi-night guest, I talked with the owners and we decided to give a Capstar. It's a pill that will get rid of the fleas in 30 minutes. I think we also gave him a bath in flea shampoo. Do you require a Meet and Greet prior to day care?

2016-10-26 21:04:11 -0500 answered a question Difficult Owner AND dog?

That's such a tough situation! I would feel frustrated with consistently short notice, too. And I'm currently facing that emotional struggle of believing one thing to be best for a client's dog, and the client not agreeing.

To the client's credit, he is consistently seeking care for his aging dog even though it's often last minute. When you decline, is he able to find someone else? If it were me and I was willing to take the last minute requests, I would charge extra for it. Last minute stuff feels like a huge disruption to my schedule and is more work so I would want to be compensated for that.

2016-08-30 07:42:59 -0500 marked best answer Booking: How Far in Advance?

Hello, fellow Rovers! How far in advance do you allow clients to book? I prefer to take one household at a time, and the increasing number of requests I receive means telling more people no. Is it fair to allow bookings months and months ahead of time? I suppose I could clearly state my policy and then recommend booking as soon as possible. For example, I've got a new client who knows her travel dates for the entire 2015 year and wants to book now. Aside from the fair--not--fair thing, I'm hesitant to book that far out because it limits my "freedom" to be involved in last minute activities (and by last minute I mean several weeks or months out). Furthermore, I'd hate to book someone and then have something else come up that I need to participate in but prevents my sitting (thus creating a cancellation).
So far, I've told clients I will tentatively put them down and then confirm, a) within the same calendar year, and b) no more than three months out. Thoughts?

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2016-06-21 17:56:42 -0500 answered a question How do other sitters keep their home flea free with so many dogs coming in and out?

I require up to date flea and tick prevention for boarders; my intake paperwork has a spot for the brand of flea/tick prevention and date of last dose.
I do not accept flea/tick collars as an adequate form of prevention. I worked at a spay/neuter clinic for four and a half years, and if I saw one on a dog, I could almost guarantee you the dog had fleas. I found a flea on a boarder several years ago, and immediately contacted the owner (a friend). I was able to dose him with a Capstar from work, and we also did a flea bath.

2016-06-21 17:52:34 -0500 answered a question How do you deal with pup parents that are not very honest about their dog?

So sorry you've been experiencing difficult stays! That can be really exhausting and discouraging.
We've had our share of difficulties, but I've never really felt deceived by an owner. For me, the point of my Meet and Greets is to figure out what kind of lifestyle the dog is used to, so that we can know how to prepare for a smooth transition into our lifestyle. I ask the owner questions, but I also read the dog for myself. One of the roughest stays I've done was for a client who brought her two dogs for a Meet and Greet about 6 months before she wound up traveling. One of her dogs went from a puppy to an adolescent in the interim, and ended up having a hard time in our environment. Could I have picked that up during a Meet and Greet? Maybe, but not one 6 months out. I'm also a HUGE believer in supervision. Most of the dogs are limited to the doggy area of our home; no one gets free roam. If I think they're going to have housetraining/manners issues, supervision is tightened.

2016-06-21 17:42:45 -0500 answered a question Owners with limited profile information?

When boarding was a hobby, I never did Meet and Greets. Now that it's my business, I absolutely require them and it usually rules out last minute requests from new clients. It's totally worth it though! Don't give yourself a headache by accepting a dog you would have referred out had you met it first.

2016-06-21 17:39:48 -0500 answered a question I would like to take a Canine CPR and first aide course for my own peace of mind. Anyone have experience with this?

I took a local course 2 years ago? LOTS of information. The course also included information on disaster preparedness. I'll probably look for just First Aid/CPR next time. Praise God I haven' t had to use any of that training!

2016-06-21 17:37:15 -0500 answered a question Tips on house training a newly adopted adult dog?

Congratulations on the adoption! I would implement a maximum security supervision system. She should be in either one of four places at all times: 1) Tethered to an adult 2) In the backyard to toilet 3) Crated 4) In a mid-size dog proof area

Tethering only works if she's somewhat familiar with the leash. If she freaks out and thrashes around with leash pressure, you can't tether. Crating only works if she won't toilet in her crate. I'd also use a timer and take her out every 30 minutes.

2016-05-11 14:34:21 -0500 commented answer How do you handle dog owners that are not prompt about their pick up/drop off time?

I don't struggle too much with late clients, but if I did, I might actually take a different approach: intentionally plan something shortly after drop off/pick up, so I can tell them I have limited time.

2016-05-11 14:31:04 -0500 answered a question How do I get my dog to stop eating bird seed?

Would it be possible to erect a barrier around the bird feeder? Something like the plastic decorative fencing you can find at Home Depot, etc. ? I think I also saw something about adding red pepper to the feed to keep squirrels away. Might have the same effect on your dog too. I'm not sure how good it is for the birds, though, and I'd rather manage the situation than apply a punishment.

2016-05-05 12:42:02 -0500 commented answer Is your income limited based on a timeframe?

Great idea!

2016-05-05 12:39:58 -0500 answered a question Overwhelmed with two giant dogs?

Do you have any food dispensing toys? Mental stimulation will do more to wear them out than physical exercise...especially since their so large.

2016-05-05 12:37:06 -0500 answered a question I have myself marked unavailable but owners can still contact about those dates?

I get this ALOT. It is frustrating, but I have to decline their request. Sometimes I might say, "As indicated on my availability calendar, I'm booked..." so they don't feel that I'm available, but declining because of a 'problem' with their dog/situation.

2016-05-05 12:33:45 -0500 answered a question Choosing Jobs (multiple booking requests)?

This happened to me over Christmas, and is happening again for June dates this year. I usually schedule a M&G with the first request, and let the other client(s) know someone has requested the same dates. I won't schedule a M&G with the additional clients unless the first one falls through. I'm really busy, so I don't want to lock myself into an appointment that I don't need to.

2016-04-16 18:06:47 -0500 commented answer What is the ratio of problem dogs you have had?

If they have really poor housetraining or are persistently marking, they are restricted to the doggy area and tethered to me. Crate if I'm busy. I haven't had to do this very often. A variation is for them to drag a leash around the doggy area (also good for dogs that like to play Keep Away).

2016-04-16 18:05:22 -0500 commented answer What is the ratio of problem dogs you have had?

Dogs that show signs of chewing or poor housetraining, are restricted to the doggy area and are never left alone, except for maybe a few seconds (I run to the garage for something, etc.). If I can't watch them, they're crated.

2016-04-16 18:01:14 -0500 commented answer What is the ratio of problem dogs you have had?

We already have our doggy area baby gated, and the dogs spend most of their time there with us. Their house manners dictate the level of supervision and freedom within that area, and if they have any extra privileges like going upstairs to my bedroom.

2016-04-14 14:32:58 -0500 answered a question HOW MUCH OF MY HOUSE DO I NEED TO SHOW A CLIENT?

I show them our 'dog area' which is also our downstairs living/kitchen/entry way. We spend most of our time down there. They're also welcome to check out the backyard. I've never had anyone ask to see more, and most people don't do more than glance around as you would at any other place you visit. My first 'unknown' client really looked and peered. It was kind of unsettling. Some people act like they don't even care about coming to check out the place their dog will be staying!

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2016-04-08 14:24:03 -0500 answered a question What is the ratio of problem dogs you have had?

8/10 does seem high. I've been boarding for over ten years (although it was more of a hobby until 2014), and I haven't had that too many. I firmly believe in total management to prevent problems, and I know that has contributed to a lot of the success I've had. That and I've just been blessed with really good dogs!
We've had two sets of blinds destroyed, and some housetraining accidents, but that's pretty much it. When boarding was a hobby, I never did Meet and Greets. Now that I've branched out, I absolutely require them. They're shorter than a lot of folks...only about 20 minutes. If I see signs of any behavior problems, I'm prepared when the dog arrives for the stay. At the first sign of housetraining problems during the stay, I immediately tighten supervision and revoke freedoms. I've only had one dog that persisted in marking. You might consider rephrasing some of your Meet and Greet questions? I'm not very good at this tactic, but instead of asking a general question about housetraining, I ask, "how many times a day do you take your dog out to toilet?"

2016-04-08 14:09:04 -0500 answered a question rates for medication administration?

I don't charge anything for injections. I haven't had to do any yet, but I do kind of feel like it should be part of the nightly charge. If you wind up doing a lot of them, you might consider just raising your nightly/visit rate a dollar or two. You'll be compensated, but the owner will view the injections as free. Part of the psychological game.

2016-03-05 15:36:06 -0500 commented answer What's the etiquette on asking pet owners for materials if you're puppy sitting?

Most clients are pretty good about bringing a reasonable amount of things for their dog, but I do have one that brings a whole bunch of extra treats and human food that I never use. I might go back and edit the list for those kinds of things.

2016-03-05 15:33:59 -0500 commented answer What's the etiquette on asking pet owners for materials if you're puppy sitting?

The only thing on there right now is Rawhides (both pressed and rolled)! I used to ask them to also leave behind extra-large plush beds, but then we got rid of all the carpet in our doggy area, so it's nice for the dogs to have something soft to lay on.

2016-03-04 19:06:00 -0500 answered a question What's the etiquette on asking pet owners for materials if you're puppy sitting?

I send a To Bring list the week prior to the scheduled stay. The items are divided into three groups: Required, Recommended, and "Please Leave These At Home".

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