You’ve just been given the best news! A friend of yours is going away for a week, and they’re leaving their adorable little pup with you! This is a genuine cause for celebration, but before you get to daydreaming, it’s definitely worth thinking about how you’re going to prepare for this coming week.
Pet-sitting is a huge responsibility, but when it comes to dogs in particular, there are of course responsibilities that may involve you leaving your house with your new puppy friend, as well as interacting with other unknown people and animals.
For this reason and more, it’s essential that you plan meticulously for your week as a doggy guardian. Use the tips outlined below to help you put together your checklist for dog-sitting.
1. Outline your emergency plan
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Pet owners know that not every veterinary clinic is open 24/7. In fact, it’s only emergency vet clinics that offer round-the-clock services, including appointment times on public holidays.
In the event that your pup is in need of emergency vet care, you’ll need to make sure you’re aware of the closest emergency vet clinic in your area. It’s also worthwhile equipping yourself with some knowledge of the most common warning signs that your dog may be in distress. Sometimes registering signs of distress early may mean the difference between life and death.
2. Prepare a space for your furry guest
Now that the heavy stuff is out of the way, you should turn your attention to making sure that there is a space in your home that’s just for your new companion.
Despite having a strong sense of their own position within their pack, dogs still need a space that they know is theirs and theirs alone. This demonstrates to them that they are a respected member of your family and your home. Having their own space can also be a form of comfort and security for your dog, especially if they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment.
You can prepare a private space for your doggy friend by placing their personal bed, bowls, and other belongings in a cosy corner of your home, and by giving your dog their meals in this space. If your dog also uses a crate, be sure to organise the space in accordance with their home set-up. For instance, if they eat in their crate at home, they’ll have to eat in their crate as they stay at your home too. Whatever normalcy you can retain in their routine, is likely to be of a great benefit here.
3. Dog proof your home
Of course, it’s not enough to just dog proof your dog’s personal space in your home. Puppies can oftentimes get up to quite mischievous behaviour, and the last thing that you want is your friend’s dog ingesting anything they shouldn’t be under your watch.
You can dog proof your home by simply making sure that no tiny foreign objects litter the floors of all the interior spaces in your home. When it comes to kitchen, bathroom, and laundry spaces in particular, you want to make sure that there are no foods or cleaning chemicals within your dog’s reach or in any area that’s accessible to your dog. Taking the time to ensure that all hazards are removed will allow you to feel at ease whenever you leave your new companion at home.
4. Learn your ‘petiquette’
There is a certain way dogs and their owners are supposed to interact with one another when they’re out on walkies. Simply put, these expectations are called ‘petiquette’. Practicing petiquette generally consists of being mutually respectful and considerate of fellow dogs and owners in public spaces, and picking up on social cues that other dogs may be irritated or uncomfortable with any play activity.
If you’re new to doggy guardianship, you can book a little lesson with your local dog trainer, or take some time practicing taking your pup out on a walk with its owner, so that you can learn the ropes and practice petiquette under the eye of somebody who’s well-versed in that pup’s everyday behaviour.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re not totally comfortable that a dog isn’t following your commands, be sure not to let them off-leash outside of enclosed areas when out on walks. This isn’t just for that dog’s safety, but also for the safety of any other people or pups out for a stroll.
5. Be present and passionate
Finally, don’t forget to really enjoy spending all of this one-on-one time with your favourite pup! They’ll be away from their parent or parents, and you’ll be their largest pillar of support during this time of uncertainty.
Do your best to be a kind, present, and comforting guardian to them during this time. Give them adequate love and attention, and pick up their toys for a little playtime here and there too. Demonstrating that you’re happy to have them around will ensure that your puppy friend feels equally joyful and excited to be spending this time with you, rather than anxious that their owners aren’t around.
When crafting your dog-sitting checklist, be sure to make note of these five little tips, just to ensure that both you and your new puppy friend are feeling ready and comfortable with the week ahead.