How To Dog Sit

Now, there isn’t exactly a ‘how to dog sit’ in that there are no cast in stone rules.

This is especially so because dogs are different and the difference could be a result of breed, level of training, age, health status and even personality.

How To Dog Sit
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However, there are some generalities that can be made which are the things we will be discussing in this article. 

5 Dog Sitting Tips

  • Before you are left alone with the dog you are going to sit, be sure that you know what their medical needs are, what they eat and what their general schedule is.
  • Be sure you also know where everything is.
  • Play with the dog.
  • Clean up after the dog.
  • And be sure that the dog is safe.

Now, let’s explain:

Be Informed

This is especially important if you are not a dog owner. It is important that you find out what you can about dogs; what they should and shouldn’t eat, what is considered normal behavior and all such things.

However, because of how different dogs are, you’ll be getting more precise knowledge about the dog you’ll be sitting from the dog owner you’ll be sitting for. Now, here are the things you want to know:

What They Eat

Of course, by ‘they’ here we mean the dog you’ll be sitting. So, one of the most important things the dog owner will be telling you is what their dog is allergic to, if anything.

They should also let you know the specifics about what they feed their dog, right down to the specific brand.

Their dogs favorite treat and/or meal is also something you’ll want to note as that can be used as a reward some time.

That said, gaining general knowledge helps you to avoid things like cheese, chocolates and nuts. 

Medical Needs

This one is very important. You must find out whether or not the dog you are sitting has any medical condition. 

If they do, find out if they are on any special kind of diet or on an exercise regimen. You also need to find out if they are on any medications.

Knowing all of that isn’t enough, though. You also need to find out when any of those things are to be taken or administered.

Exercise Schedule

The dog owner you are to sit for should tell you what their dog’s exercise schedule is like; what they do for exercise and how often they do what they do.

They should also tell you what they do with their dog for fun and the kinds of games that their dog enjoys.

The idea is to make the transition from their parent to their sitter as smooth as possible; doing the same things they enjoy doing with their parents will help a lot.


Another important one. Are there any things that the dog has learnt to do already? Is there anything that the dog parent is working on with their dog? Is the dog potty trained?

All these questions should be answered before you decide to take up a sitting job as one of the answers might be a deal breaker for you.

Additionally, it will help you be prepared for any eventuality and inform what you can or cannot do with the dog you are sitting.

Know Where Everything Is

Before the dog parent you’ll be sitting for jets off to wherever they are going to, it is important that you find out where everything is kept.

And by everything we mean food, feeding bowls, clothes, medications and clean up supplies.

Also, if there are some rooms that the dog parent has declared off limits, you must be sure that none of the supplies you need are in those rooms. If they are, they will need to be relocated to be more accessible.


Please, bear in mind that you are not just there because nobody isn’t or to watch the dog. You ought to play with them and care for them.

So, it is certainly not enough to just see to their feeding, exercise and medical needs. You have to engage them, talk with them and give them a rub down when necessary.

Clean Up

It is your responsibility to clean up after the dog you’ll be sitting so, be sure you know where the cleaning supplies. You’ll especially be cleaning up after they have eaten because dogs aren’t particularly fond of table manners.


Finally, for the time period that you will be sitting, you are responsible for keeping the dog safe. So, be sure that they are always within your line of site. 

Now, if the yard is fenced, it should be OK to allow them to roam free. However, you might need to get the go ahead from the dog owner.

If, on the other hand, the yard isn’t fenced, you’ll have to be extra careful. And if you’ll be going out at anytime, be sure that they are safe indoors and probably in a crate.

Check out these other articles:

How To Dog Sit — FAQs

What Sorts Of Activities Will A Dog Enjoy On A Stay With You?

Toys are a good place to start if a dog will be staying with you for a period of time. You don’t need to buy new toys seeing as the dog probably has its own toys at home.

Other things you could do (depending on the dog’s level of training) is to play a game of catch or taking a walk in the park where they can meet with other dogs. And sometimes dogs love their own company.

How Do You Dog Sit When You Have A Dog?

If you’ll be sitting a dog when you have a dog of your own, it is important that both dogs meet and get comfortable with each other before they have to live together. And this is something that will take days to happen.

When you eventually bring them both in, don’t force them tobe chums or pals. Allow them have seperate beds and feeding bowls. In fact, put the visiting dog’s feeding bowl in a place where the resident dog can’t get to it because the latter could get territorial.

Also, make sure that you aren’t neglecting either of the dogs. Split your time as evenly as possible between dogs.

How Much Should You Pay A Friend To Dog Sit?

Since we are talking about your friend here, it is a good idea to ask your friend what they want to charge and pay that if you think it is reasonable.

However, to determine whether or not the price is reasonable, consider factors like whether they’ll be coming to your house or your dog will be going to theirs, whether they’ll be staying the full day or just dropping in if you want them to go to your house, and also whether or not your dog has a medical condtion.

That said, some friends might decide to do it for free.

Is It Customary To Tip A Dog Sitter?

Tipping a dog sitter isn’t exactly customary or common place. However, it is sure a way to show that you appreciate that the service provided (in this case dog sitting) was done well.

How Much Should I Tip My Dog Sitter?

Most people that have been tipped for dog sitting said that they recieved between 10 and 15% as tip. So, a 10 to 15% tip is a good way to go.

Do Dog Sitters Get Paid Before Or After?

Whether you pay your dog sitter before or after depends on the company your sitter is with. However, most companys will ask for an upfront payment if you want someone to sit for more than one day but will allow you pay at the end of the sitting if it is just one day.

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