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What Makes A Great Dog Sitter

What Makes A Great Dog Sitter?


In just the same way as you want your dog to have their vaccinations from someone who knows exactly what they are doing, you want to leave your pooch in the hands of a dog sitter who you can rely on when called upon.


Whether it’s taking care of your four-legged friend during a weekend away, on a regular basis or something in between, securing the right person can sometimes be tricky. Before the search starts, you need to consider some of the skills and characteristics that you want to see from a dog sitter that are essential to you.

If you are struggling to find a sitter, you can use the ‘Find a Local NAPPS Pet Sitter’ tool by using this link: 


What makes a good dog sitter? We’ve covered some of the most important traits for you here:



Any decent pet sitter worth their salt will be able to identify the needs of your dog and manage them. Look out for a sitter who deals with your companion with affection, understanding and someone who never resorts to force or physical reprimands; even behaviour such as dragging on your dog's lead while walking is unacceptable.



Having complete trust in your sitter is vital, given the fact that you’ll probably be entrusting your new pet sitter with access to your home, and at the very least, taking care of your fur baby. 


It’s a good idea to check references from people who have used their services before and consider running a background check if you are being extra cautious. Don’t be swayed into hiring someone if you aren’t comfortable with it; your decision is final and any professional dog sitter will understand that.


A Connection with Rover

Establishing that your dog and your sitter have a connection is a big element towards hiring someone and not choosing them. Your sitter will most likely request a meet and greet with the new client and then possibly an additional meeting beforehand, which can all form part of the interviewing process for all parties. 


You don’t have to see an instant connection, but do keep a close eye out for signs that your pooch isn’t overly comfortable or that there are handling issues you don’t approve of. Using your observation to spot things between pet and dog sitter is a wonderful way to determine if the person genuinely has what is required to work on a one-to-one basis with your best friend. It could be something as simple as them having their own dog ball thrower at the ready to play with!



When you live with a dog, you will know that things can happen that are out of your control and are unplanned at times. When something comes up that needs addressing, a pet sitter should have the ability to remain calm and patient - especially when your pooch doesn't behave as normal – as this will avoid them getting anxious.



This is a point that might not apply to everyone because dog sitters have to start somewhere. However, if you have a dog with a medical condition or they are nervous in certain situations, for example, then it’s best to have an experienced sitter with them who can deal with whatever comes their way.



If you have trained your four-legged friend to do certain things in the house, or stay off items of furniture, perhaps, then your sitter must stick to the rules you have set and be consistent with them.


Undoing your training by being slack on the rules is not good for you or the pup, so even if your dog has the most convincing facial expression in the world, they must be firm and not give in to persuasive puppy-dog-eyes!



Pet sitters should be available to help make your life easier and more stress-free. If you are worried about them not turning up to take care of your pet, then you should not be hiring them.


Being dependable and instilling you with confidence is part of what it’s all about for dog sitters, so be sure you can rely on them. to avoid any hiccups, set clear arrangements that your sitter can abide by when it comes to schedules and rules.


Additional Advice

When the sitter meets you and your dog, are they taking notes? Do they put some questions to you about what you want from them and what the dog’s needs are, such as their eating habits, dispositions and characteristics? These are all positive signs that they are professional and dedicated to getting to know your pet.


What’s more, does your potential new dog sitter own a license and insurance that demonstrates they are qualified and take their role seriously? Their insurance will protect you and the sitter in the event of something unexpected happening to your dog, so you should check this is in place.

The ‘Find a Pro’ section of the NAPPS website will provide information on an individual's insurance and certifications. 


Additionally, all pet sitters (NAPPS members) will provide a contract/service agreement which will help to avoid issues further down the line.