The (often overlooked) questions you need to know about and why they are so important.
Welcome! If you found this blog, chances are you are one of many dog parents that have no idea how to find the right pet sitter for your fur baby! Don't fret, this is a common problem. And we won't lie, there is no magical warehouse where perfect pet sitters are just waiting to rescue you (darn you Marvel movies). But remember, you know your fur baby better than anyone else in this world! Now to give you some tools....
Leaving a furry member of the family under the care of someone else is not an easy thing to do. You always want to make sure you have the right person for the job. How does one accomplish that? By asking the RIGHT questions. Here are the Top 10 Questions You Need to Ask When Interviewing a Pet Sitter:
1. Do you have experience with my dog's personality type?
For reasons I truly believe are obvious, this question is critical if your dog is prone to being anxious, fear aggressive, or nervous in new situations. You never want to find out after-the-fact that they didn't have the experience you expected.
2. Are you Pet CPR certified?
To some this might seem a little overboard but trust me it is not. You always want to be prepared for things you hope never happen.
3. How will you contact me in case of emergencies?
Their communication style and yours has to be in sync. You don't want to be receiving emails if you are frantically trying to get them on the phone. Be clear from the beginning on your preferred method of communication.
4. How often will I receive updates?
Decide early on if you need one daily update or want to stay in the loop throughout their daily activities. Be reasonable with your request but don't compromise your comfort level either.
5. Why did you start dog sitting?
This might seem a little out of left field but trust us it has its purpose. If you are looking for someone to care for your dog the way you do, this might be the most important question you ask! You don't want someone that only sees money as their motivation, you want someone that has a genuine love and desire to care for them.
6. What do you do to help a new dog relax under your care?
For some dogs, leaving them with a stranger can be stressful. You need to be sure your pet sitter has the tools they need to deescalate high-stress situations. If this is something you are still working on yourself come up with a plan together; one that works for you, your dog sitter, and your fur baby.
7. Do you think dogs should be in open spaces or crate-trained?
Many will argue this is more of a lifestyle choice and they wouldn't be wrong. But wouldn't you want your dog's time away from you be a relaxing one? I thought so. Depending on the lifestyle you are accustomed to, open space vs. crating can be a huge deal breaker when interviewing a pet sitter. Ask the question. The worst that can happen is that you looked out for your dog and found another sitter that better "fits" their lifestyle.
8. Will my dog be around unfamiliar dogs/other people?
Understanding (and accepting) your dog's personality is important. You should know ahead of time if they will have to interact with other dogs or other people during their time away from you. This will save you a whole lot of heartache and time when you are interviewing sitters and looking for an ideal environment.
9. What is an example of you daily pet care schedule?
Does your dog run the show (and your home) or are they more of an easy-going spirit? Depending on your answer, you can usually identify their optimal daily schedule. While some dogs adopt easily to routine changes, others can be very stubborn. Find a pet sitter who uses a schedule that parallels with what your dog is already used to or can enjoy.
10. If applicable, do you know how to administer pet medication?
This might not apply to everyone but if your dog is currently on medication this is key! Do not surprise your dog sitter the day of service by springing this on them. If they know how to administer medication, you should provide clear instructions before any scheduled bookings. If they do not have the experience you need, keep looking. Do not settle on this one. Trust me, it's not worth it.
The benefits you get out of this line of questioning are far-reaching. Most importantly, you get deeper conversations and a clearer understanding of a pet sitter's work style that goes beyond their availability and pricing. It's OK if an answer is not what you are looking for and you have to keep searching. This doesn't mean that that specific pet sitter was not qualified, you are just looking for something a little different. It's the journey, not the finish line, that's important here.
You got this Dog Parent!
Did you find the perfect pet sitter?! Tell us your journey in our comments!
Armed and ready with your questions? Book your Meet & Great with Talk the Bark today!