Dog-Sitting Tips

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Dog sitting is a great way to make some extra money in addition to being a wonderful favor for dog-owning friends. Though sitting for someone else's dog is fun, becoming accustomed to the habits and needs of an unfamiliar dog is challenging at first. Gaining the dog's trust is vital for having a good dog sitting experience.

Tip #1 - Meet the dog before you sit for it. Dogs often suffer from separation anxiety and may be fearful without their owners. Consequently, it's important that the dog knows you before you are caring for it. This increases the likelihood that the dog will trust and obey you.

Tip #2 - Expect some bad behavior. Dogs are pack animals who become anxious when their owner --- a member of their pack --- is gone. This can lead to chewing, accidents in the house and other destructive behavior. This is completely normal and not a sign that the dog is bad or that you are a bad dog sitter. It is, however, important to provide a dog with extra supervision when its owner is away. This decreases the likelihood that the dog will have a chance to destroy the house or get into trouble.


Tip #3 - Give the dog a treat when you first enter the house. Dogs are often shocked when someone other than their owner walks in the door. In rare cases, this can lead to aggression. Treats calm dogs and help people gain their trust.

Tip #4 - Take the dog for walks. Dogs who receive ample exercise are typically too tired to misbehave. Further, exercise helps to eliminate nervous energy, so walks decrease the likelihood that the dog is uncomfortable with your presence. Make sure the leash is completely secured to the dog's collar. If you don't know the dog well, be careful when walking near children or other dogs. Many dogs are reactive on the leash around unfamiliar people and animals.


Tip #5 - Secure the dog in the house when you leave. Some dogs are excellent escape artists, so make sure that gates, crates and other restraint devices the owner uses are fully latched. This also helps lessen the likelihood that the dog will react with fear-based aggression when you return to the house.

By Brenna Davis



"The Other End of the Leash"; Patricia McConnell; 2003 "The Culture Clash"; Jean Donaldson; 1996
"The Power of Positive Dog Training"; Pat Miller; 2008

About the Author
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.