Are you (looking for) a dog sitter? Take time to read this.

Author picture Pawshake

With the holidays just around the corner, many pet owners have been booking a pet sitter. We have hundreds of passionate pet sitters at your service. Being a dog sitter is the most fun and rewarding occupation there is, of course! But we also have to be aware that it's not just a fun way of earning some money: It's a big responsibility! That's why it's important to consider the implications for the dog before taking him into your care. How do you make the dogs time with you as pleasant as possible? 4 important tips for dog owners and sitters:

A thorough Meet & Greet
Always arrange a meeting BEFORE the booking commences. It's important for the dog and the sitter to familiarise themselves with one another. Will the dog be staying in the dog sitter's home? If so, then let the meeting take place in the home of the dog sitter. This way, the dog can get to know the new environment. Your furry friend can also get to know the dog sitter and her family as well as other family members and resident pets for that extra peace of mind.

Go for a walk together
The best way to get to know a dog is by taking a walk together with the dog and the owner. The pooch can get to know your neighbourhood and you learn something about him: How does he react to strangers, other dogs and noises? During the walk, the owner can tell you all about his four-legged friend and his habits at home. Dog owners, take note! A good dog sitter asks a lot of questions: What is the dog used to? How much exercise does he get? What games does he like? What is he afraid of? How does he react to other dogs? A dog sitter worth his salt will leave you dizzy with so many questions! There is no such thing as too much information.

A warm and calm welcome
When the owner drops off the dog at the pet sitter's place for his stay, it's good to have a calm atmosphere. The dog owner shouldn't be saying a dramatic and emotional goodbye to the dog and both humans should go about it as if it were no big deal for the dog to be left at someone else's house without their owner! Though for most dogs, it really is a big deal. Make sure the dog doesn't get overstimulated on top of the stress of the separation. No screaming children or loud music. Let him do his thing, and let him chose how and when to approach you instead of the other way around. Dogs are always looking to have calm and relaxed relationships with others and want to avoid stress. That's why it is important to get to know the calming signals of dogs, such as yawning and turning their heads away, as well as stress signals like panting and showing the whites of their eyes. Those signals are often subtle, but they are essential to understanding dogs. With calming signals, the dog is telling you: I want to avoid this stressful situation, I don't want to do any harm!

The dog is dependent on the dog sitter
As a dog sitter, you are temporarily responsible for your new big (or little) friend! He depends entirely on you! This means that you shouldn't plan too many activities during his stay. Staying in an unfamiliar environment is already quite a strain on him, so don't drag him along everywhere you go and don't leave him home alone if it can be helped at all. Take into account that the dog may behave differently when his owner is gone. He can exhibit separation anxiety, whine at night and become very stressed. Never punish the dog, just be there for him. Being a calm and friendly presence for the dog makes it much more likely that he will feel at home soon. It doesn't work right away? Be patient. The dog needs a little time to adjust. Chances are, so do you!

For the dog owners: Only book a dog sitter if you feel completely comfortable with them. Having checked their profile, reviews and having met them in person, you can book in good faith. During the stay, the dog sitter can share photos of your your furry friend via the Pawshake app. This way you can see that he's having a good time with the pet sitter and you can relax on holiday!

We are of course curious about your dog sitting adventures. Don't forget to share photos of your (Pawshake) dog on our Facebook-page or on Instagram!