Dog sitting for the first time is a great experience if you are an animal lover and you love being on your own with them. You can see yourself in this scenario? If so, then dog sitting is more than just earning some extra money, it’s also a dream job. All over the world pet owners are desperate to find adequate help. Just in the States, pet owners spend around $5.41 billion on pet services, including pet sitting and grooming.
Dog Sitting For The First Time
Dog sitting, especially dog sitting for the first time is not something that you should take for granted. It’s a big responsibility and you should enter it knowing what duties are included in the dog sitting service. There are probably several questions that you have and you are not sure if you should ask them or not. Moreover, you are not sure if you are going to be a good dog sitter or not.
To make dog sitting for the first time less stressful and more enjoyable we have gathered all the steps that you should take into consideration before you say – yes, to the pet owner. Moreover, you will also learn about the steps once you start your dog-sitting duty.
Therefore, read on and check these pointers for first-time dog sitters, and don’t forget to no matter what happens you stay calm – after all, dogs (adult and the puppies) can sense when you’re stressed out!
Should You Dog Sit?
If you are a huge dog lover, but you never had a dog on your own, the chances are that you will start screaming ‘YES’ as soon as the first friend asks you to watch for her or his dog.
If you jump ahead and say ‘yes’ then it might be that you had some type of responsibility for tiny humans or that you spend enough time with your pet owner friends to have an idea of what type of responsibility having a dog is, right? If not, you will have more difficulties with distinguishing the I’m-hungry-bark and I-will-pee-on-your-bed-if-you-don’t-take-me-outside-now bark. Luckily, we made the ultimate dog sitting for the first time guide just for people that are found in your same situation.
Talk With The Dog Owner
Before you start your dog sitting for the first time you should know that every dog is unique and each dog owner has its way of dealing with their dog. Therefore, you should talk with the dog owner and hear first handed about the dog’s schedule and your responsibility.
When you are taking care of a dog it’s crucial to provide him the same schedule and structure that he has with his owner. This way he won’t be anxious (or he will be less anxious) because his owner is not around. Moreover, dogs love routine and they will behave better if you respect his schedule and his needs.
Also, do you have pets of your own? If yes, you know that you can’t neglect them, but again you can’t be at two places in the same. After all, what to do if your dog and the other dog go out at the same time? You can’t be at two places at once.
Therefore, you simply have to find the golden middle. Consequently, you will probably have to sit dog in your home. Also, if you don’t have a dog of your own, are you fine with the dog sitting in your home? Are you fine with a ‘dog smell’ and a dog’s hair here and there? Read to explore the point that you should be aware of.
How Dog-Proof Is Your House?
If you don’t have a dog of your own, it’s easy to forget that dogs needs to be safe inside the home as well. Therefore, there are some dog requirements that you have to think about if you want to provide a safe dog environment. Why? Well, if you are taking care about a 8 years old Basenji, you don’t have to think about the same things as you would for a 14-week old Papillon.
That being said, it’s important to think if it’s safe for a puppy to jump on the bed and jump off without being hurt, can an adult dog swipe off everything from the table with a single tail wag. Think also about the bottle of chemicals and food that dogs shouldn’t eat – how easy it is for the dog to reach it.
Are You A Clean Master?
Thinking ahead is the best thing that you can do to protect your home and expect unexpected. This is especially important if you are dog sitting in your home and you don’t have pets of your own.
Dogs are known for being territorial, this means that they just love to show that they are the bosses of their part of territory. That’s just how they work, so if you are a clean freak you should know that dogs may (just may!) mark your home. Dogs mark home by urinating. In most cases, dogs mark by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces, while raising a leg. However, this is not ‘a must’ but might happen.
Some dogs never mark in their own homes, but they will ‘mark’ in other homes. Why dogs ‘mark‘? Dogs love, as mentioned earlier, to have their piece of territory and it’s likely that they would mark when visiting a home if another dog previously marked in that home. It’s their way of saying, -I’m the dog-boss now in this house.
So, make sure that you keep an eye on the dog, especially if he keeps roaming around in your home. Once the dog is back to his owner, double-check your home urine marks.
Good to know: Male dogs are more prone to marking than females. They will mark the place if they are not neuter and in the presence of rival males or females.
What About A Dog Smell?
If you are welcoming a dog to your home without pets, you should bear in mind that you will have a new smell in your home. Dogs are clean, especially when they are regularly groomed, but they will have forever the ‘dog smell’.
Their body works differently than ours, therefore there glands are specific, and their scent together with fur leaves the unique scent mark behind. Some breeds smell less and some more. However, once the dog is back to his loving owner and you clean the place your home will be reset to its neutral and dog-free smell. However, if you have major issues with dog smell, you shouldn’t think twice if dog sitting is of you.
On the other hand, if you are well-aware of the dog smell, but you would love to minimize it as possible do the following:
- Have a dog blanket for him.
- Cover the couch end sofa with special blankets where he can chill.
- Open window from time to time.
- Have frequent walks.
Learn The Dog’s Schedule
Once you sign for this massive responsibility of dog sitting you need to understand that from that moment on you are on dog’s schedule.
Remember, you are taking care of someone’s family member. That being said, you need to take that responsibility seriously and dedicate your time and energy to make sure the dog is as happy as healthy as can be.
Make sure that you check with dog owner the following:
- What dog likes and what he dislikes.
- What is dog’s behavior in general.
- Can he be left alone.
- Have his feeding habits written.
- Does he have a favorite toy or a blanket? If yes he should have it with him while you are dog sitting him.
- If he has been properly vaccinated, especially if you have pets around.
- Is he friendly toward other animals.
- How often do you need to groom the dog, and which brushes you should use.
- What commands he understands.
All in all, these answers will help you to prepare better and assist you in managing the dog in the following days.
Ask the pet owner as many questions as possible and ask him to write some things down for you, including the emergency list. After all, the more information you have, the better you will feel.
This list should be emergency and health-oriented. You can even keep it in this order:
- Pet owner’s name and contact information
- Vet’s name and contact information
- The contact of the pet’s owners hotel in case they aren’t available
- Allergies and symptoms
- Medication and how to to apply it
- The nearest emergency veterinary hospital
- Any type of current or past health concerns or issues
Notes On Dog’s Behavior
Ask the pet owner to provide any note on behavioral or body language cues or tips that could be useful, along with directions of what you should do if they occur.
Dogs may cough after their meal. Don’t freak out. He isn’t choking! Just let him cough and you will notice his tail wiggling in no time.
It can’t hurt if you check about any emotional triggers. This will help you address the stressful situation properly.
You might be tempted to give your temporary doggo a few snacks, but unless you are told so, don’t do it. Even the smallest bite can hurt. Also, you may not know how the dog can react and you may spend your day cleaning behind the dog and going to the nearest veterinary hospital.
So, now that you know what to expect from your temporary doggo and what you should know before he comes to your home or you go to his residence, you should know what to do when you meet for the first time. Also, take a look at foods you shouldn’t share with your the dog, as some human foods can be toxic or even fatal to canines.
How To Meet A New Dog For The First Time
With dogs, one thing is crucial and that’s that they communicate using their body language. They can’t communicate with words, so you will have to rely on their body language signs combined with their vocal sounds in order to understand how they are feeling.
Learn more about proper dog and human communication here.
Not only, but dogs understand our feelings through our body language. They can understand so much from your posture, the way you move, your facial expression and the tone of your voice.
Therefore, when you are meeting a dog for the very first time, remember these three things:
- no talking
- no touching
- no eye contact
Furthermore, don’t bend over him. Dogs see standing over them as a dominant posture. So, you should let him come to you and say – hi. Your body language should say all the time that you are not a threat for him and that there is no need for him to feel threatened.
Turn on your side while you are approaching the dog and squat before you get to him. Allow him to close the gap to come and sniff you. This is especially important when you are meeting a rescue dog. Rescue dogs can be particularly nervous and may need time to get to know you. Make sure that they get enough space.
Time To Go Out
Physically and mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog, so you should know that you will spend a significant amount of time outdoors. Learn the dog’s bathroom schedule and stick to it. Moreover, go to the dog’s park and socialize with other dogs and pet owners.
Dog sitting is not only about taking the dog out to do his business, but it’s also about raising a healthy and happy dog. Next to regular walks, plan playtime and keep the dog happy.
If you give the dog plenty of time to run around and play, he will most likely be much calmer when he’s home and he will generally be more satisfied.
Dog Sitting For The First Time – The Takeaway
There is much more when it comes to dog sitting than just feeding and keeping the dog entertained. The best thing that you can do before you start your first dog sitting job is to do your research. Taking care of a dog is a learning experience that is both fun and rewarding.
Truth being told, it may be sometimes frustrating as well, but it will get better. Of course, if you are not sure about something during your sit or if something concerns you, contact the veterinarian. In the meantime, have fun!