How to Find a Great Pet Sitter You and Your Pet Will Love: Foolproof Interview Questions
The perfect pet sitter is worth his or her weight in gold—even if you can’t afford to pay with bags of expensive coins. Sadly, many people who call themselves pet sitters have no special affinity for animals. They’re just in it for the money, and that means that when things get rough, they might mistreat your pet—or just not show up at all. Good pet sitters recognize your pets for the special people they are and try to offer the same love, training, and companionship you do.
Pet Sitter Interview Questions
When you’re ready to interview a pet sitter, ask the following questions to ensure you’ve found a winner.
• How do you manage behavioral problems? What if my pet behaves aggressively or snaps at you?
• Are you insured or bonded?
Note: A sitter who has no insurance may not take their job seriously since some risk is inherent to pet sitting.
• What is your training philosophy? How do you get pets to behave?
• Are you knowledgeable about pet health and behavior? Do you know the signs of an emergency?
• What would you do if my pets got into a fight?
• Can I see a list of references?
• What types of animals have you worked with before?
• What specific duties will you fulfill, and how much will it cost?
• Can I have your permission to run a background check?
• Why did you choose this career?
• Have you ever been accused of animal cruelty?
• What will you do in the event of an emergency?
• What if I am out of town and you run out of supplies for my pet?
• Do you have a working relationship with any other animal professionals, such as dog trainers or veterinarians?
• Do you have any formal or informal training in animal care or behavior?
• How long have you been doing this?
• Is this a temporary gig for you, or a career?
• What do I need to do to ensure I’ve booked a slot?
• Can you meet with my pets and me in advance?
• Do you use contracts? Can I see the contract?
Note: A pet-sitter who does not use contracts is usually not a professional.
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How to Make a Good Choice
Of course, interview questions can only tell you so much. The best judge of your pet sitter’s character is your pet. Be sure to introduce the two before leaving them alone together, and watch the sitter’s behavior. Is she warm and friendly, or standoffish and fearful? How does your pet react? Pets often sense things humans don’t, so if your pet seems not to trust the pet sitter, take this seriously. Conversely, if your pet instantly falls in love with the sitter, you’ve found a clear winner.
When you’re ready to give this whole pet sitting thing a try, start slowly. Try leaving your pet in the pet sitter’s care for a brief errand, or ask the pet sitter to walk your dog while you’re at work. If all goes well, then you’re ready to graduate to a longer pet sitting adventure. But if the pet sitter is unreachable, doesn’t show, or your pet seems unhappy, then the search must continue.
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