Pet sitter. The two words that bring joy to the hearts of dogs and dog trainers across the country. A relationship with a pet sitter is one of the most important relationships a dog owner will ever have.
What is a pet sitter?
Pet sitters are professional animal care providers who take care of your pets when you're not home. I'm not referring to the neighbor who occasionally lets your dog out or the teenager with a part-time dog walking service. I'm talking about professional pet sitters, whose full-time business is taking care of their customers' pets.
Why should I hire a pet sitter?
A pet sitter is the one resource you can always count on. Whether you have an emergency, are going on vacation, or want to schedule daily visits for your pet, a pet sitter is always available. Of equal importance, they provide for your pet, the same, exceptional care that you would.
From a behavioral standpoint, there are several benefits to hiring a pet sitter. If you're leaving town for vacation, boarding facilities are fine, but pets tend to be less stressed at home in their own environment. When you ask family, neighbors or your own kids to watch your dogs, there are some risks. While these folks are always willing to help, they typically don't have the training, education or experience required to handle an emergency or deal with dramatic pet behavior. A dog's behavior does change when their "parents" are not present. When Fluffy bolts out the front door, is your teenager going to know what to do? Will he even notice? Did he leave the door open on purpose? Pet sitters are experienced dog handlers. They expect the unexpected and know exactly how to handle it.
Dogs home alone all day suffer from a lack of physical and mental stimulation. This manifests itself in destructive or obsessive behaviors, which include excessive barking, licking, tail chasing and running in circles. Unlike cats, dogs are not solitary creatures. They are bred as companion pets and have an innate need to be with people. Lacking this, they become bored and frustrated and act out with poor behaviors. For the pets that are home alone all day, hiring a pet sitter to visit every day substantially impacts the pet's well-being which directly affects their behavior.
The last, yet equally important reason to have a daily pet sitter is simply this...can you hold it for 10 hours?
If you're out of the house all day, you can't expect your pet not to have an accident. In fact, many of the calls we get relative to housebreaking problems aren't really housebreaking problems at all. Rather, it's that the dogs are given no other choice. Like humans, pets cannot hold their bladders or bowels for long periods of time.
What services do they offer and what is the cost?
Services and fees vary, so be sure to ask these questions when you are interviewing pet sitters. The two services our dog trainers recommend the most are potty-breaks, to allow the pet to relieve himself, and long walks which provide physical and mental stimulation to break up the monotony of the pet's day. From a behavioral standpoint, and for the pet's emotional well-being, pet sitters are worth their weight in gold.