Dog Sitter Tips And Tricks
Is dog sitting right for you? I am and I LOVE it but it may not be for everyone. I want to be completely honest with you about what it’s like to be a pet sitter, what mistakes to avoid, and my tips and tricks to be a success.
Is Being A Pet Sitter The Right Side Hustle For You?
What are your intentions? When my hound mix Fonda was young, she got chased out of a park TWICE by two mean 60 lb bullies. On top of that, two other mean canine bullies that lived near me attacked Fonda and my terrier mix Charlie. Needless to say, Charlie and Fonda needed positive socialization. So I became a pet sitter for my them. I wasn’t even thinking about earning money but now I earn a pretty stable side hustle income because I’ve built up a clientele.
Your Home Tips & Tricks
You can pet sit in your home and do overnight pet boarding. Your home needs to be easy to clean. So think minimal decor that you can clean before your clients come over and before they pick up their pet. Nothing too precious on your coffee table or within reach.
Keep treats right by your front door. My clients know they get treats right when they return from a walk. I’ve never had a client run away from me. Repeat clients will walk into my home and sit right in front of the treats!
When you’re feeding clients, keep your pets and your clients separated. I feed all the fur babies at the same time but they don’t eat right next to each other. I usually stand in between my girls and guest so there’s no food aggression. I also add a tiny bit of each food to each bowl. Of course, you need to check for allergies first. this cuts back on curiosity and makes feeding easier.
Make sure you have lids for your trash cans. Keep the client’s food above their reach. Toys should be easily accessible.
A carpet cleaner is essential if you board in your home unless you have hardwood floors. I’ve had the same Bissell carpet cleaner for 3 years. It’s never let me down.
Pet sitting at your home is great if you travel for work. It’s also great for clients who aren’t very social towards other canines but love humans. You can offer doggie daycare which is perfect if you work from home.
Puppies usually sleep in their crates and you should always ask for owners to bring one. It reminds them of home. The doors stay open to the crates at my home. Fonda and Charlie aren’t possessive of their “bedrooms” but that’s not always the case. Just make sure you ask the owner what is best for them.
Most guests will be sad for the first few hours at your home. Hygge is the art of relaxing at home. Just plan on some hygge time with your new guest. Don’t plan on going out a lot when your client is there. They miss their mom and dad so it’s important that you comfort them. Being a pet sitter is part preparation and part spending time at home being a pack leader. I usually don’t leave my clients for more than 2 hours at a time.
Summer and major holidays are busy. It’s June 6th and I’m booked through July. This is normal. I have clients inside my home and outside my home. Holidays will usually fill up a month or two in advance. Your own fur babies will need a break (I only accept reservations from my clientele and don’t accept new clients) so make sure you block off some time for them to unwind during the busy season. My first summer with Rover was so busy! I ended up being booked the entire month of August! Fonda and Charlie were so tired and I realized my mistake. I quickly changed my availability to repeat clients only.
Pet Sitting At Your Client’s House
Pet sitters usually get paid per visit. I book visits for 30 minutes and stay longer if I can because it may not be enough time. You’ll know when they give you sad puppy eyes! Giving them a treat before you go helps sometimes. If you come by 3 times a day, you can stay little longer at least one visit. They might need more time with you. They will LOVE you if you stay as long as they need you. You’ll be surprised how a dog will remember you years later after pet sitting them in their own home. Here’s a good tip. Ask your client for any nicknames. It took me 6 months to realize one of my client’s nicknames was Buddy. I just called him by “Buddy” and he looked at me like I said his real name! Ask about their favorite walking routines and who they like and dislike in the neighborhood.
How To Get Started
The best way to get started is with a licensed and bonded pet sitting company. You can use a local pet sitting company. I signed up with Rover. You will rank higher in Rover searches when you pass your background check and take some quick courses on safety. Rover receives 15% of your earnings however part of those fees covers pet insurance for your client. When I was accepting new clients, I bought pet insurance for my own pets as well. Now that I only have regulars, I simply use Rover to insure my clients to give their owners piece of mind.
Here’s a tip and trick. You might want to consider not using a company but my advice is just don’t do it. Always use a licensed and bonded company. Remember those mean dogs that lived near me? They attacked my girls again when I had a client staying with me. Nothing happened but the client would have been covered if he was got injured.
I was walking a client by his home and a rescue came rushing up to him. He had broken free from his owners. I had to protect my client and luckily nothing happened. What a relief it was that no one was hurt and it would have been covered. Rover would have covered any treatment that would have been necessary.
The lesson to be learned is that there are few bad owners out there that cannot control their canines. You get the insurance for them. It’s totally worth it.
If you travel a lot and want to house sit while pet sitting, try Trusted House Sitters. It’s new to the U.S. and you might be able to find a home to sit with a pet. There is a monthly fee (around $10) and I haven’t joined. I would consider joining if I was going on vacation. Why do Airbnb when you can get paid to house sit and have a pet to visit while traveling? Then again AirBnb is perfect if you have housebroken pets.
Well hope you enjoyed this guide. It’s a little hard work and then hygge once you’re in your home or you’re in their homes. I promoted my Rover profile on Nextdoor. I never did Craigslist. It’s a good job and it’s a great way to meet people in your neighborhood.