If you’ve arranged for a pet minder to come into your home, or a dog minder to board them in their home whilst you’re away on holidays, you’ll want to make this as stress free as possible for everyone involved.
To help ensure everyone is happy, make sure you take the time to have a ‘meet and greet’ with the minder.
It will allow you and the sitter to make sure the fit is right, help your pets to be comfortable and happy with their new carer and any potential issues to be identified and addressed, particularly if the dog is going into a minder’s home where other dogs may also live.
Sitters are the first point of call for a pet owner, so it is the responsibility of the pet sitter to ask the right questions.
Where to meet
If you’re hiring a pet sitter to stay at your home with your dog or cat (or to drop in to feed your cat and other smaller animals for a short weekend away) it is always best to organize the sitter to come meet the animals and familiarise themselves with both your pets and your house. Dogs that are going to be boarding at a minder’s home are best suited to a short meet up at the property prior to booking. This way your dog can enjoy getting to know the new place while their person is still around, and also meet any of the pet sitter’s animals, children and other members of the household whilst they’re at it. It’s the easiest way to know if your pet will be comfortable in the house and get along with all residents.
A great way to introduce new dogs that will be staying together is to take them for a social walk around the area together.
When to meet
Allow yourself as much time as possible before going away to introduce your pets and their sitter so just in case the fit is not quite right, you have plenty of time to organise another sitter. It also means if you have an anxious dog (or you may be the anxious one!), you can arrange to have a few visits before you go away.
Before dinner is a great time to meet – you can bring a handful of healthy treats to ensure your pup is on their best behaviour for their new human pal!
It also gives sitters a chance to see how much food to give, where it is stored, and all those important details.
If you have a cat, mealtime is also a chance for sitters to dish out dinner – I’ve never met a cat who wouldn’t come out to say hello when there is food involved, and kitty will love their new sitter for it!
Hands on ‘Hello’
Pet owners – give your pet sitter a chance to have a get-to-know you pat and play session while you step quietly into the background. Remember, you know your pet best!
If you have an outgoing Labrador, this will probably be very smooth, but a nervous terrier might need a little encouragement. If your fur baby is a tad anxious then contact a sitter with a lot of animal experience and some solid reviews.
Inspect the holiday home for safety
If your dog is boarding away from home, it’s a good idea to check out the place they will be staying to be sure there is adequate space, shelter and security for your individual dog’s needs.
Dog minders should do a check around first to make sure there is nothing potentially dangerous left lying about (such as anything a dog could swallow, break or anything that is poisonous) and that any holes or escape opportunities through fences or gates are repaired or made escape-proof. Pools and spas should also be fenced.
Dog owners – if your dog is an escape artist are the walls and fences high enough or have appropriate protection so that your dog can’t escape over or under them?
Try before you buy
A trial pet-sit is a great idea if both parties want to be sure the sitter and dog is the right fit – after all, we know dogs might behave differently when away from their owners!
Jess is a Community Manager for pet sitting website pawshake.com.au.