By Grace Park
Published: 12/11/2020, edited: 10/26/2022
Dog sitting with kiddos is a lot of fun, but it can be taxing, too. These tips will help control the chaos and keep you sane during your dog sitting adventures.
When dog sitting with kiddos, the number one rule is to make sure it’s okay with the pet’s parents first, especially if you’re dog sitting in their home. Asking ahead of time will prevent frustration and problems for you in the long run.
Knowing the pet’s temperament and triggers is crucial before agreeing to have them around your children. Safety for both kids and fur-babies is of the utmost importance, and the last thing you want is for someone to get hurt. It’s helpful to ask the owners of any known triggers. Is Fido scared of loud noises, vacuums, car rides? Knowing the pet’s triggers is the first step to avoiding them and preventing an outburst or a traumatized dog.
Speaking of temperament and triggers, request a meet-and-greet to get a feel for any new furry clients. Spend an hour or two playing with the dog and talking with the pet’s parents. This will allow you to see how they act around strangers. You may also want to have your child tag along to see how the dog responds to them.
Let your kids know it’s not okay to kiss dogs in the face, play rough, climb on them, or pull their tails. Kids, often innocently playing, commonly hurt dogs unintentionally. A hurt dog may snap or bite out of pain or fear, and that’s the last thing you want. Teach your kids that if they respect animals, the animals will respect them too. Ask your kids not to talk loudly while a new dog in the house since it can cause fear in timid dogs.
Avoid dangerous situations by not allowing unsupervised play. Anything can go wrong while playing with unfamiliar dogs, from the child being knocked over to being bitten. Even older kids may be rougher than they should on accident. Keep your furry client in a kid-free area of the home when you can’t supervise them directly — baby gates are fantastic for this purpose.
A kennel is a great tool when dog sitting. You shouldn’t leave a dog in a crate all day, but they are fantastic for when you need to run to the store or for short periods when you cannot devote your complete attention to them, like while you're cooking.
Fetch is the perfect game for kids to play with a new dog — plus, it’s an excellent way to burn some of that seemingly endless energy. Teach your child not to take the fetch toy out of the dog's mouth or chase the dogs to get the toys. Long walks are another great way for dogs and kids to interact safely; just make sure you’re the one holding the leash.
Any busy mom or dad knows that having meals at the ready is so important. Freezer meals are terrific for hectic dog sitting days. Have healthy snacks already prepared in the fridge so you won’t have to jump up every time your kiddo screams they’re hungry.
What’s a puppy playdate without some fun toys? If you’re going to someone else’s house to dog-sit, make sure you bring some toys along to keep your child occupied. Coloring books, tablets with games, and books are all great for this purpose. You may also want to bring along some tennis balls and bones if the pet parents allow their dog to have them.
Staying on the same schedule will make dog-sitting instantly better and infinitely easier. Kids and dogs both thrive with structure. Throwing their schedules out of wack will only make everyone cranky. Have your child adhere to their normal routine, even if you’re staying in a strange house. This means bathtime, storytime, teeth brushing, lights out — or whatever order you go by at home.
Ask the pet owner’s about Fido’s agenda. Do they always pee at 6 pm on the dot? Do they pass out by 9 pm on the dot? Knowing what to expect will not only simplify things but also help Fido feel more comfortable.
Dog sitting with kiddos doesn’t have to be crazy, but it does require some preparation. With a little prep work and some ground rules, your dog sitting experience will be a breeze.
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