Meet and Greets with the Owner's pet/s will help you know whether pets are likely to be suitable.
1. Energy Levels
Research the breed's behavioural characteristics and tendencies. Are they a low energy lap dog? or a high-energy racing dog or guard dog with hunting or high protection tendencies?
If you live in an apartment or townhouse when the dog needs a big backyard to run around in, don't take the dog on. The same goes if you don’t have much energy to take the dog on rigorous daily walks, don’t take on a high-energy breed of dog.
Do they listen to you when you call their name and come when they’re called?
If you think the owner has never spent time in training the dog, this may impact on your ability to control them if a situation in public requires it. If you are willing to be patient, then take the pet on, otherwise, pass on the opportunity.
Have they been socialised from a very young age to be around other dogs?
If not, they may act snappy around other pets, this may result in a fight breaking out and you getting injuries seen to by a Vet. It may require being resourceful and figuring out how to separate them. Are you willing to take this on?
4. Owner Expectations
Ask the Owner about their usual care routine. Are their expectations reasonable? Can you meet all of them? Does the Owner seem likeable?
If you don’t feel you can meet a Pet Owners expectations, don’t take on their pet.
5. Anxiety Levels
Does the Pet suffer from separation anxiety and what are their habits? Do they dig to escape? Are they a fence-jumper? Is your fence high enough? Is it escape-proof and hole-free? Can the dog cope with the early signs of a storm such as thunder?
If the dog has a history of escaping and digging or fence jumping to escape, don’t take them on if you don’t think you will be home enough to monitor them.
6. Time you can devote to the Pet
What is your schedule like? Do you have a full time job? Will the hours be compatible to caring for the pet or will they try to run away while you're at work because they are used to having company and they get anxious being left by themselves. Do they need someone home 24/7?
If you have to work during the day or night, tell this to the pet owner and don’t take on an anxious pet that needs you to be home a lot if you aren’t.
7. Compatibility with other pets
Do your own pets get along with the pet? What about other pets booked with you that are coming to stay on the same weekend? Does your home have areas where pets can be sectioned off from each other if one of the pets becomes territorial?
If at the Meet & Greet, the pet doesn’t get along with other pets, this is unlikely to change. Don’t take them on.
8. Young children & noise
If you have young children, do your young children get along with the pet? Or are they a Senior pet that is used to living in peace and quiet? We recommend that Senior pets are NOT placed in Sitters homes who have young children.
We recommend that Senior pets are NOT placed in Sitters homes who have young children.
9. Medical High Needs
Does the pet have diabetes or epilepsy? Are they blind or disabled? Will the right carer be required to give injections or medication? If so, do you have experience or training in doing this?
Don’t take on a pet with medical needs if you have no veterinary experience.
Upon checking over the dog or cat - do they look like they’ve been cared for by the Owner? Or are they covered in fleas and would require your home to be treated with insecticide by the end of the stay?
You will need to decide if you are up for the challenge of knocking the fleas on the head straight away, otherwise they will infest your home.
11. Strength & Handling required
What is your personal strength like? Trial walking them at the Meet & Greet. Do they pull on the lead? Are they too big and strong for you or can you manage? Is the breed typically a working dog used for hunting, cattle herding or sheep herding?
If you aren’t physically strong enough to handle them if they decide to pull to chase after or attack another dog from across the road, don’t take them on.
12. Aggression Level
Is the pet aggressive? Do they bark or growl?
If the dog or cat is dangerous in their behaviour, don’t take the pet on.
13. Toilet training
Is the pet toilet trained and compatible with your home's toileting options? ie if you live in an apartment and you have potty grass or puppy toilet pads, will they use them, or will they end up staining the carpet and causing you to lose your bond (if you rent)?
Don’t take on a dog that is used to toileting outside and expect them to learn to go on potty grass or pads in the weekend they stay with you – its not enough time for them to learn and they will end up staining your carpet (if you have carpet).
14. Your proximity to neighbours and the dog's noise tendency
If the pet starts to bark, howl, or whine, have you purchased or the owner dropped off enrichment toys, meaty bones etc to distract the pet? Do you live in close proximity to other neighbours? Are you able to leave home to go to the grocery store without them doing this? Or will you be required to be home 24/7?
Don’t take on a dog if they bark or howl and you live close to your neighbours.
15. Are they used to being inside or outside?
Are they an inside dog? Would prefer to care for pets that stay only?
If you don’t want a dog being inside with you, is the dog and owner ok with this? You need to be upfront and honest with them.
16. Your household’s allergies
Does anyone in your household have pet fur or hair allergies? Does the pet's coat shed a lot of hair or fur? Will it annoy other members of the house?
Don’t take on a pet likely to set off allergies, unless other household members are willing to take an anti-histamine.