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Are you looking for a pet sitter for your dog or cat? The need for a pet sitter can arise for many reasons: conflicts with work, going away on vacation, or even simply long periods of time when your pets are at home alone. 

No matter the reason for hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, you need to introduce your pet to the sitter in a way that cements a great relationship with that person from the get-go.

The first week of March is Professional Pet Sitters week and we wanted to offer tips for pet parents to make pet sitting visits enjoyable for your dog (and the sitter!). Keep reading as we discuss how to best introduce your pup to their potential pet sitter.  

Step One: Plan Meetings

Plan several meetings between your dog and the pet sitter before you turn over the key to the house to the sitter.

You need to be there to moderate those first few meetings. If your dog sees you are relaxed in the presence of the pet sitter, he will pick up on your body language and will be more welcoming to the sitter. A professional pet sitter would require pre-sitting meetings between you and your dog before he or she would become your sitter.

Step Two: Communicate 

Share “insider” information with the pet sitter about your dog. If she prefers to walk in one area of the yard instead of another, let the sitter know that. If your dog receives a treat at a specific time of the day make sure the sitter knows. Explain some of your dog’s unique behaviors to the sitter. Perhaps your dog doesn’t bark to go outside, but instead sits and stares at you. If the sitter doesn’t know what your furry friend expects, your dog may not know how to act and could even have an accident in the house.

The more information you supply the pet sitter, the better the relationship will be – believe me, sitters are accustomed to receiving pages-long lists of instructions about the pets they will be with! If you have unique words or hand signals for commands such as: sit, stay, lay, heel or more, let the sitter know.

Step Three: Take The Introduction Slowly 

Give the pet sitter one of your dog’s favorite treats to feed him when she comes to the house. Let your dog approach the pet sitter on his terms – don’t force interaction. A professional pet sitter will also let you know how to make the introduction go smoothly.

You may want to ask the pet sitter to leave something with his or her scent at your house so your dog gets accustomed to the scent (a bandana, t-shirt, etc.)

Before you leave town and leave your dog with the sitter, make certain the pet sitter comes to your home while you are still in the area to walk or spend time with your dog. You don’t want to be hundreds of miles away only to find out that your dog is being protective of the home and won’t let the pet sitter in!

Step Four: Provide Important Contact Information 

It is important that you let your pet sitter know who your family veterinarian is. Contact your veterinarian and let him or her know your dog will be left with a pet sitter and if there are any emergencies, this person can act on your behalf in case you can’t be reached.

Leave your sitter all emergency contact information, your veterinarian’s phone number, and any additional information that your sitter or vet may need while you are away. The more prepared your pet sitter is for caring for your dog the more peace of mind you will have when you entrust your beloved dog to a pet sitter.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.