The following post is written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.
Even the most wonderful, loving owners have to leave their pets behind from time to time–whether it’s an eight-hour workday or a month-long world adventure. Dogs need exercise, social stimulation, and ongoing care, so hiring pet-sitters is a central aspect of dog ownership.
Rover.com is a dynamic community of dog lovers. The site connects owners with dedicated, experienced caregivers who provide a range of services, like pet-sitting and dog-walking.
Rover gives you a way to expand the borders of your family. Busy owners who need a trusted source of support and experienced pet-sitters with a lot of love to give can both find exactly what they need.
How The Site Works
When you sign up, you can set up a profile as a dog owner, pet sitter, or both. Owners use the search tools to find local care providers for dog boarding, house sitting, dog walking, doggy day care, or drop-in visits. Owners then browse profiles, contact a sitter, and set up a Meet & Greet prior to the initial stay. Then, after the stay is completed, the sitter receives payment in full.
Rover itself provides access to 24/7 support, including vet assistance. It also handles automatic, secure payments; covers premium insurance for both parties; and walks owners and sitters through every step of the process.
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Finding a Great Pet-Sitter
Rover’s specialists are meticulous in determining who can become a pet sitter on the site, so everyone you pull up in your search results has proven potential. The key is finding the right person for your pup, though.
Consider what your pet needs and enjoys, and what factors have made separation easier or more challenging in the past. Is your pet anxious? Do they have specific medical needs? Are they hyper-active and in need of constant supervision, or could a more relaxed sitter be a good fit?
With all of that in mind, hone in on well-reviewed sitters who are available for the dates you have in mind. Read through their profiles, and see who stands out. Maybe you have something in common, or they’ve spent a lot of time with dogs of the same breed as yours. Or their volunteer experience in pet shelters is unparalleled.
Whatever it is, there are likely to be people you’re immediately interested in meeting. Compare what they have to offer with the parameters you’ve already determined. Need more details? Reach out and include a couple of questions in your first message. Be friendly and positive–you want them to want to work for you, too!
Pretty quickly, you should be able to figure out whether it’s worth meeting the sitters you’ve reached out to. Do they respond quickly and communicate well? Are they able to answer your questions satisfactorily, and maybe include a few of their own? Suggest a time and place to meet, so they can get to know your pup and you can lay out the details of your offer, whether it’s a one-time gig or an ongoing arrangement.
If all goes well, you can move forward–and if not, you can go back to the drawing board. It may take a couple of stays to be sure whether you’ve found “the one,” but if personalities mesh well and your dog is happy, leave a great review and hire the sitter back as often as you need them.
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Becoming a Great Pet-Sitter
Dog owners already have a clear sense of what makes a pet sitter reliable and trustworthy. Becoming that person shouldn’t be too hard, if you truly love pets and want to make them happy! Your first priority when you sign up will be listening closely to an owner’s requests and taking careful notes. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to pet care, after all.
With that said, you should also veer toward gigs that work well for you. Don’t stretch yourself thin by taking on too many pups at once, or make promises you can’t see through. Sitters need to know their limits, communicate clearly, and be sure that they enjoy their work. You’ll never be a great sitter if you begrudge a dog who needs a walk!
Active play is one of the most important dog-sitting skills, and you should emphasize it in your profile and make it a key part of each stay (unless you’re working with a particularly chill or elderly dog–personalize as needed!).
You can also let owners know about your relevant skills and experience, and any strong preferences you have. Stay positive: don’t say what traits you hate, or definitely define what you won’t do. Owners want to know that you’re flexible and true to yourself. It’s best to emphasize your strengths, and keep learning more with each pet-sit.
As part of the Rover community, you’ll be surrounded by people who care for dogs as passionately as you do. Whether you’re an owner, sitter, or both, there’s a lot of love to go around.
To sign up to become part of the Rover.com community and find pet sitter gigs, click here.