Hosting the best doggy vacay doesn’t begin after you’ve booked a reservation. Although the actual dog sitting is an integral part of the process, the beginning stages are just as important, as they allow you to maximize the experience and establish ground rules. This manual will tell you everything you need to know about hosting the best doggy vacay, from the meet-n-greet stage to the vacation itself.
First things first, you need to love dogs. Loving dogs makes it easier for you to watch them and makes for a smooth experience. If you’re happy watching dogs, then you’ll be eager to give them the most fun and exciting experience.
Setting up Your Profile
Before booking a reservation, know your limits and be clear about your rules and limitations on your profile. If you have a small apartment, don’t accept big dogs. If you have expensive carpet, avoid territorial male dogs who like to mark. If you have noise-sensitive neighbors, stay away from dogs who bark a lot. Be honest with yourself about what you can handle and evaluate each potential dogs profile before committing to watching them.
- During the first Meet-n-Greet, we strongly recommend that you go for a walk with the client and their dog as well as resident dog(s) if there are any. This fosters bonding and trust and allows the guest dog to get used to you.
- Use treats to create positive associations to the new environment. Remember, you are a stranger to the dog in the beginning, so you need to do what you can to build trust and comfort.
- Keep all dogs on a leash when first entering the house. It’s important to keep the guest dog on a leash when introducing him to a new environment as this establishes control. After a few minutes, let the guest dog off the leash and observe his behavior.
- If the dog is being dropped off, don’t let the owner make a big deal about saying bye. Instead, distract the guest dog with treats and play while the owner leaves quietly.
Guest Dog and Resident Dogs
- If the guest dog becomes aggressive when playing with resident dog(s), separate the dogs and calmly establish authority with a calm, assertive voice. If the behavior continues, a timeout followed by a walk or another activity can help diffuse the aggression. When you reintroduce them, keep a close eye on them and distract them by playing fetch or involving them in another activity.
- Separate the dogs feeding unless they’re used to eating together. Shy dogs may not eat on the first day, but they’ll eat on the second day or after a long walk.
- Dogs become territorial at bedtime. Establish designated areas for each dog.
- Dogs may fight about food, beds, and toys. Only use unscented toys.
- Dogs can bolt out of open doors when they’re in a new environment, so keep them at a distanc when you’re entering and leaving the home.
- Use a spray bottle with water to stop excessive barking.
- Teach the guest dog to walk by correcting pulling.
- Take the dogs for a walk on a regular basis. You can walk or run with the dogs in the morning and afternoon and also take a mid-day or nighttime walk.
- Keep track of medicine and special instructions, and try to stick to the dogs normal schedule.
- Be cautious when allowing dogs near children. If the dog growls or seems to get aggressive, separate them.
- Send photo updates of the guest dog to the owner.
That’s it! If you have any questions, please e-mail us or call us at 1-855-DOG-VACAY (364-8222)