Professional Trainers are known for having very strong opinions about certain topics and a lack of reserve about sharing those preferences. The amount of tongue biting we do in public to conceal our opinions in an effort to not be obnoxious is surpassed only by the ferocity with which we devour educational materials to further our justification for those opinions. Well, true for modern trainers anyway.

I ventured out of town this past week to celebrate my Grandmother who turned 100 years old! That lady is still sharp as a tack. So that I could relax and enjoy time with my centurion matriarch, I left my critters at home in the care of my long time trusted pet sitters.

It is with this in mind I give you the straight dirt on how to secure the best care for your pet should you need to be away from home. This includes how to find a quality dog walker or pet sitter. Not included here is how to find a solid boarding facility. I may get a few pieces of hate mail on this one, but I have not yet seen a boarding facility run well. This is coming from a woman who spent a summer working at a very high end, top reviewed, well respected, yadda, yadda, yadda dog and cat boarding and daycare operation. It’s not for lack of trying that boarding facilities fall short. It’s next to impossible to do it right and survive as a business. Happy to elaborate. Ask in the Comments.

As a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) this topic is beyond important to me, as dogs who suffer with Separation Anxiety (SA) must have quality care from a person who takes their responsibilities seriously. Having stepped two of my dogs with mild to severe separation anxiety through a desensitization program, I can tell you that the time they spent in the care of qualified professional walkers and sitters made the difference between successful rehabilitation and painful regressions from which we needed to recover.

K, here it ’tis, people! The List. Do not take any item as less important than the next. Do not merely give it a cursory scan, this list, Do not think I am being too particular or neurotic. Follow the List. In doubt? Ask me in the Comments why I included any item in the list. Again, I have strong opinions for a reason.

  1. How many years have they been doing this as a profession?
    • Not a side job or a temp gig while looking for work otherwise.
  2. Are they Insured and bonded?
  3. Will the person you are meeting be the one taking care of your pets or someone else from the business?
    • Be sure to meet anyone else who will be caring for your pet.
    • Do they arrange for a “meet and greet” to get to know your pet before the departure date?
  4. Will they be providing daily reports via text or email of how your pets are doing; health, emotional state, activities for the day, any extra info.
    • Don’t know about you, but I eat it up when I hear a text alert come in and I see new photos of my fur-kids enjoying a walk or play time with my pet sitters. See my brag photos sent by my sitters below!
  5. Is there a Service Agreement they want you to review and sign?
  6. Is there an Intake or Pet Info Questionnaire of some sort they want you to complete?
    • Does it ask you to include all details about daily care, emergency vet contact info, vaccination verification, which training cues your pet knows so they can keep things consistent in communication, what the pets are and are not allowed to do, couch or bed time, greet other dogs on leash, etc.
    • An agreement and a client questionnaire  are a huge plus! They tell you the caretaker is serious about what they do and they care enough to
  7. Have they asked for a dedicated copy of the home entrance key and told you how it is secured?
  8. Do they have experience administering medications or supplements.
  9. Are they flexible about visit times and customize their visits or stays to your pet’s needs.
  10. Will the sitters stay at your place or will your fur-kid have a sleep-over at camp?
    • Let them know what the “house rules” are if they’ll be at your place.
    • If Fido is going away to camp, take a tour of their home to make sure it is a safe environment.

Search official pet care associations to find and interview potential caregivers in your area. Avoid sites like, Rover.com, DogVacay.com, Care.com, etc. Though possible to find a good walker or sitter on one of these sites, most of the providers there are not professionals and they may not have credentials of any sort (i.e., Pet CPR Certified).

Pet Sitter Associations

  • National Association of Professional Pet Sitters – http://www.petsitters.org
  • Pet Sitters International – https://www.petsit.com
  • Pet Sitters Association – http://www.petsitllc.com

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This