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Pet Sitting - It's Not Always a Vacation

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/25/2006 | Pets and Animals
In order to be a pet sitter, you really need to have a good understanding of what types of situations you can handle regarding the care of someone else's pet, and those that you cannot.

There are a variety of ways that pet sitters will care for someone else's pet. Sometimes they will visit a few times a day, staying about 30 minutes while they care for the pets basic needs. Other pet sitters will stay overnight.

Regardless of how the pets are cared for, it's important to be aware that pet sitting does not always go as well as planned.

Most people may think it's easy to be a pet sitter. After all, the only thing you have to do is make sure the dog or cat or other pets have fresh water and receive their daily food allotment and if needed take them outside to relieve themselves a few times during the day.

Yes, it's true, the life of the pet sitter does seem rather easy. Yet, there are situations that a pet sitter needs to be aware of that could actually become very dangerous.

Sometimes having to care for dogs, especially outside dogs, can become very dangerous because outside dogs can be very territorial. Most owners know their dogs well enough to know whether there is any danger for the person who may need to come into their home to take care of their pets when there away.

This is not where the problem is. The real problem comes in when the pet sitter is required to take care of the dogs by entering their yard to provide them with food and water. This is where the pet sitter needs to have extra caution. Before accepting a job where you must deal with outside dogs, you need to make sure they are well behaved and well socialized.

If there is more than one dog, and you enter their yard, the situation could become very dangerous. If you become fearful and the dogs sense that you don't belong there, they could see you as a threat and even decide to attack.

Trying to cope with a nervous dog, or worse, several nervous dogs can become a pretty scary situation.

Always stress to the owners that it is important for them to be honest with you and tell you how well socialized their dogs are. You may want to ask if any of their dogs have any tendency to be aggressive. Do they jump up on people? Do they get nervous when someone enters the yard? Do they have any problem with strangers coming into their territory?

With some of the larger breeds, you may want to have a test run when the owner is hidden away from the house, yet close enough to help out if needed. You can test to see how the dogs will react when you enter their territory while they think the owner is away.

Before you enter the yard, you need to take note of how the dogs behave. Do they seem nervous or anxious? Or are they thrilled to have a visitor? If your gut tells you it's not safe, you should not to accept that job.

It's better to be safe than sorry. Pet sitters really need to understand that it's not always a good idea to take every job. Before taking on any pet sitting job, make sure you meet with both the pets and the owners. Ask questions about how well the dogs behave, what types of problems the owner may have or have had in the past.

This is not only the time for the pet owners to interview you, it's your time to interview them as well. Never accept a pet sitting job if you do not feel comfortable with the pets or the owners.

Most times pet sitting is truly a great job to have. Just remember that all jobs are not for all pet sitters. Sometimes it's best to say no.
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