The dog sitting part of house sitting has provided me with some of the most cherished moments and connections I have been fortunate to develop. When I start a house sit where I am caring for a dog I know I’m going to have a new best friend, protector, trail buddy and companion. Typically, as almost all dogs require regular walks (usually morning and night) I also know I will be stepping up my exercise routine seeing a sharp rise in my daily step count!
Dogs need exercise for a variety of reasons. From the practical ‘taking care of business’, to the obvious health and behavioural benefits. These are all good reasons to give a dog a good regular run about. When I dog sit I am 100% guided by the owner, but I do initially anticipate I will be doing dog walks at least twice daily. Perhaps this might just be a walk around the block for aged or injured dogs, or it could be an hour plus morning and night for more active and large dogs.
Before accepting a dog sit I am sure to check and clarify these points:
Exercise expectations and frequency
Access to places and spaces to exercise the dog/s
Unique behavioural traits
On or off leash?
Dog sitters should be prepared to be very active. For people that like running, walks and hiking dog sitting is a perfect compliment to that lifestyle. Sitters should consider this point carefully, especially when taking on medium or long term sits where the commitment might be weeks or months, and not days.
The responsibility does not entirely sit with the sitter. The dog owner must be very clear in their expectations but also allow for some flexibility to account for weather, illness or unforeseen circumstances. They should also be prepared with a backup option for dog exercise if the unforeseen does happen. It is very important that the dog owner does not overstate what level of exercise the dog is going to be comfortable with and capable of.
Quite simply, the dog sitter should come in and provide an extension of the care the animal is used to and would typically receive. In return for an active, stimulated and exercised dog, the sitter will be rewarded with good behaviour, a healthy appetite and lots of fun memories.
If you are a pet owner, or need a house sitter for just your garden and home let me know! To find out if I can assist you contact me using this form, and if you are a fellow sitter follow my blog for more articles.