How to Prepare to Leave Your Dog Alone With A Sitter or Walker

How to Prepare to Leave Your Dog Alone With A Sitter or Walker - Vetster

While most dog owners wish they could bring their canine companions everywhere they go, oftentimes it’s just not possible. With all of the options for dog sitting and dog walking on the market today, it’s easy to find a situation that works for you and your dog. But what should you keep in mind when you’re selecting a caregiver for your dog? Keep reading to find out.

Do you need a sitter, walker, or doggy daycare?

There are three main types of services for dog owners who need someone to care for their dogs while they’re away. Which one is right for you depends on how much exercise your dog needs, their personality and disposition toward strangers and other dogs, any special needs -such as food or medication- and the total amount of supervised time they need each day. You can choose whether you would like someone to come to your home or if you prefer to drop your dog off at another location and pick them up. Choose the type of service that works best for you.

Four Tips For Success

When someone else is caring for your dog, it may seem like a rocky road to success, especially if your dog has gotten used to having you around all the time. Here are four tips to help the process go smoothly and minimize stress for both you and your dog:

1. Teach your dog basic obedience commands

Understanding basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come will help keep your dog safe and make the sitter’s job easier. If your dog gets off its leash or out of its harness, listening to basic commands can help a sitter or walker regain control of the situation and keep your dog out of danger. In addition to safety concerns, many modern dog walking apps have a review system where both the customer and dog walker or sitter can be rated. Taking the time to give your dog basic training can get them a top score and ensure you never have a problem finding someone to walk them.

2. Explore your options

Although it may seem difficult to find the right walker or sitter for you and your dog, there may be more options than you think for pet care. For example, your workplace may be pet-friendly or may offer reimbursement for dog walking or sitting services. You may have a responsible neighbor or family member who would love to spend time with your dog while you’re away. In addition to commercial dog sitting and boarding facilities, there are also apps you can explore that allow you to book a sitter or walker to come to your home or to take your dog in at their own home. Depending on your dog's needs and personality, some options may work better than others.

3. Make a plan for emergencies

Keep the details of your dog’s vet, emergency vet, and an emergency contact available for anyone in your home, and give a copy to the sitter, walker, or service that cares for your dog. Have a contingency plan in case the walker is unable to contact you directly. Keep your dog's ID tag and rabies tags attached to their harness or collar in case they get lost. Make sure your dog’s collar and harness fit properly so there’s no chance of escape.  Likewise, don’t leave a partially chewed through or threadbare leash as the only option available to your walker.  If you’re ever on vacation or in a new place with your dog, it’s a good idea to make an additional ID tag with the details of your accommodations. You can even make a canine first aid kit to keep in your home for any issues that may arise. Having a good emergency plan can help to give you peace of mind when someone else is caring for your dog.

4. Try to do a practice run - with both your dog and the sitter or walker.

Try to introduce your dog to anyone they’ll be spending time with in advance. Having a familiar person around can make your dog feel safer and therefore more likely to cooperate. Dogs can be territorial in their homes when strangers come in unannounced. Some dogs may behave aggressively or refuse to allow someone they don’t know to handle them when you’re not around. In addition, doing a practice run with the sitter or walker can help them get familiar with the specific methods you use to work with your dog. Some harness and leash systems may not be straightforward to use or assemble and can be easier to operate if they are demonstrated in person. Although many apps and services allow you to select a dog walker or sitter remotely, if your dog requires special equipment, medication, or other needs, it may be best to go through the routine one time in person rather than simply leaving it in a note.

What to do if your dog doesn’t like your dog sitter

If you’re having problems with your dog sitter or walker, there are several tips you can try. You may try switching the type of service you are using. For example, some dogs may be uncomfortable with someone unfamiliar coming into their home or territory but may be perfectly fine when dropped off in a neutral location, such as a daycare service. If your dog is being walked with several other dogs, consider having them go on a solo walk or having a sitter take them out to exercise in a fenced-in area instead. If your dog is anxious or aggressive toward a sitter or walker, it may be a training issue or they may have an underlying health issue that is affecting their mood.

Consulting a veterinarian can help to determine what the best caregiving situation for your dog may look like. Vetster appointments can be booked from your phone, tablet, or computer whenever you have a question about your pet. Book an online virtual care appointment that fits into your schedule to get advice on setting your dog up for success while you’re away.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.

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