Vacation Time – Instructions for Your Dog Sitter
Whenever you have to leave your dogs with anyone that doesn’t know them intimately you should always have a set of instructions ready for your dog sitter or kennel manager for that matter. The more information you can provide the more they will be able to stick with your routine and you will be less nervous leaving your pet home. We always suggest a dry run never leave your dogs (or cats) alone with someone that is a stranger to them especially if this is the first time that you have to leave them behind. Invite your dog sitter over for a meet and greet or ask if you can meet them at the doggy park or out on the street during a walk. Only you know your own animals reaction to someone they perceive as a stranger and you will want to make introductions somewhere that will be the least upsetting for your dogs. Your dog doesn’t need to make an instant new best friend but they should not be upset in any fashion by the dog sitter.
Once you know everyone is going to get along with each other it is almost vacation time. Which means time to create instructions for your dog sitter. You probably went through a lot of this during the initial meeting but if you forgot something or they were more focused on making friends with your dogs then the intimate details of their daily routine. If it is something you want them to know write it out. Try and keep it all on one sheet that includes a picture of each of your dogs (and or cats). Leave your cell phone number at the very top of the sheet and any hotel number or home number if you are staying with family or friend. Next should be your vets number and address. (You can call your vet and have them write down your credit card number in case of emergency with instructions on at what point they would need to be in direct contact with you before continuing to place charges on your card.)
The Instructions for your dog sitter should then include your dog(s) walking schedule. Can they be walked together or must they be walked separately. Is there anything your dog sitter should look out for because even though it might be unusual behavior it is something your dog does on a regular basis. Then comes your dogs feeding schedule do they walk before or after eating? Do they get dry only or dry with wet or do you need to mix in some water? Do they like to sleep in or get up bright and early? Are they allowed on the furniture for cuddle time? What about sleeping arrangements? Will the sitter be sleeping over? If not should your dogs stay in their crate or be confined to a specific room? Is there a room in the house that they are never allowed in and the door should be closed at all times be it for their safety or because there is white carpet on the floor or a specific piece of furniture they are not allowed on.
In your instructions to your dog sitter either on the same page or a separate page let them know where you will be in case of emergency Will you be just 30 minutes away but the party is getting out too late for you to drive home in the dark or will you be in Maine at your grandparent’s house. Is there a neighbor that you know is staying home that your dogs love to visit that could help out with a small issue your sitter might encounter or that they can call if your dog exhibits the unusual behavior you described above that knows if it is something to worry about or is just what the behavior looks like. If another service provider will be coming by make sure to leave that information in the Instructions for your dog sitter. Does the maid come twice a month and it happens to be while you are away or maybe you live in the south and the pool guy will be there to take care of the pool or the water delivery man will be dropping off a delivery. Remember the more detailed your instructions the happier everyone will be while you are away.
Do you have any other suggestions that should be included in Instructions for your dog sitter?