So, your mate is going out of town for the weekend and they’ve asked you to watch their dog. Scary, right? Well, it shouldn’t be. While it is a great responsibility, taking care of another person’s beloved pet, it’s quite easy and loads of fun when you know what to do. All you need to do is keep a couple of things in mind and you’ll be golden.
Can You Do It?
Although it’s hard to turn down a friend when they come to you for a favour, it’s important that you keep in mind that caring for a dog, although fun and rewarding, can be quite tasking. If you work 60 hours a week and have little time to spare, then adding onto your plate might be overwhelming.
If a friend asks you to dog-sit their pet for a while, first ensure that you have the time and space in your life to actually do it. Now that that’s out of the way, follow these tips to become a great dog sitter:
- Get acquainted with the dog. Getting separated with their owner can leave dogs feeling anxious and afraid, which could make them hard to handle. It’s, therefore, important that you get acquainted with the dog you’ll be caring for while the owner is still around. This way there’ll be a high likelihood of the dog obeying and trusting you. Be sure to get important information about the dog from the owner such as medicine they could be taking or any special care they might need. Be sure to get the vet’s number too just in case of an emergency. Remember to enquire about any behavioural issues that you should know.
- Prepare your place. If you’ll be staying with the dog at your place, it would be wise to dog-proof your home before your furry roommate gets there. Store any harmful chemicals in closed cupboards and lock-up your shoes. Also, remove any items that could easily be toppled and broken. Get some supplies for the dog from your friend. This should include a feeding and drinking bowl, toys, blanket and a crate. Put these items in one corner – a designated space for the dog.
- Maintain the normal routine. Dogs work well with routines and schedules. Once you’re alone with the dog, make sure to follow his normal structure and schedule to avoid any mishaps. Follow the set feeding schedule, take the dog out to relieve himself at the regularly-scheduled time and exercise them the usual times they’re accustomed to.
- Exercise the dog. A dog gets anxious and stressed out when they’re away from their owner; a common cause for bad behaviour. Providing the dog with adequate exercise helps them eliminate nervousness, making them easier to handle. Being tired also ensures that they’re less of a handful and less uncomfortable in your presence. Make sure the dog’s leash is secure when you take them out, and be careful when walking the dog near children and other dogs if you’re not sure how they’ll behave. It’s common for many dogs to react on the leash when around unfamiliar animals or people.
- Lock-up properly when going out.The last thing you want is to lose your friend’s pet or get stuff damaged when you’re not home. So be sure the house is properly secure when you’re going out. Ensure that crates, gates and other restraint devices used by the owner are properly latched and secure. This will also help reduce the chances of the dog acting with fearful aggression when you get back to the house.
To avoid any unpleasantness when an unfamiliar face walks into the house, keep some treats in your bag or car that you can offer the dog when you enter the door to keep them calm.
Keep these five things in mind when you’re caring for your friends’ dog and you’ll be sure to have a good and easy time when looking after your temporary pet.