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OT: Housesitting / Dogsitting expectations

Some good friends of ours are going out of town for a week and they have asked my husband and I to house-sit and dog-sit their two dogs. What do you think are reasonable expections of how much time we should spend at their house?

Fri. Jan 5, 11:28am

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are the dogs members of the family? or do they just live in the yard? minimum requirements would be to bring in the mail, water the plants, feed and water the dogs twice a day. if the dogs live indoors then let them out early in the morning and just before bed, plus once or twice during the day (unless they have a doggie door and it's not an issue). if they are high energy breeds then play with them / walk them 30 minutes once or twice a day so that they don't go batty and destroy the house.

Friday, January 05, 2007, 11:34 AM

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if i was in your position, i would ask my good friends what expectations they had. then there is no question that you are doing what they have in mind.

Friday, January 05, 2007, 11:41 AM

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All of these suggestions seem reasonable. Find out the types of dogs they have...some dogs don't need to leave the house, and some dogs need a few hours of walking and play...and some just need to be walked around the block! Find out what you're in for before you agree!

Friday, January 05, 2007, 12:36 PM

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i would think that house-sitting includes sleeping over, thus deterring any would-be thieves who are aware of the owner's absence. that is part of the reason people usually want a house-sitter. as far as the dogs, if you are not an experienced dog care-giver, make sure to talk with your friends about how to properly handle the dogs. for instance, when walking them, which collar-choke or regular?-which lease-the 4' or the 6'? things like that. and remember to pick up any doggie waste when walking them, too. get clear instructions on how and exactly when to feed them-portion control is important to prevent any "accidents" from messing the house. find out about all of the things, in detail, that your friends expect you to take care of. have them write down everything you might have a question about. it won't be a hassle for them-it will enable you to provide the best care possible.

Friday, January 05, 2007, 12:45 PM

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OP here: First, thanks for your thoughts!

I have talked with them a bit about their expectaions. Basically they want us to stay there all day and all night. I'm a stay-at-home mom so I'm available durning the day and my friends have kids so their house is set up for kids already. I was just wondering if this might be considered a bit excessive to ask as a favor, but it sounds like this might be a reasonable expectation. Besides, what are good friends if you can't ask slightly excessive favors! :)


Friday, January 05, 2007, 1:01 PM

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question for the OP

who will be watching your house while you are house-sitting for your friends?

Friday, January 05, 2007, 1:08 PM

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Besides the things others have mentioned, you should have vet contact information and either have, or know where to find, a summary of significant medical information; and you need to know about the behavior habits of the dogs in all kinds of situations, even if no one expects those situations to happen. Some dogs have problematic fear or hostility in specific situations. Some are counter-surfers, or will shred the mail, or soil the carpet if they're ignored for too long, or have bicycle phobia, or destroy food or trash containers to get at what might be inside, or whatever. Few dogs are well-behaved in every situation.
A week is a long time for the first time dog-sitting, unless you're very dog-experienced and they're really good friends. What if the dog decides to hide under the bed 24x7? You'll own the problem.
BTW, it would be good for every pet owner to put together this information before you need it. You can make a page of information (feeding, vet, medical, behavior) and put it on the refrigerator door, or give it to a neighbor, or whatever makes most sense, and then if you have a sudden, unexpected situation where someone else HAS to attend to the dog for you, they can easily find out whatever they need to know.

Friday, January 05, 2007, 2:24 PM

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to the OP -

I think it is a huge favor to ask of someone. Pet sitting at your residence would be one thing. Are you being compensated?

Friday, January 05, 2007, 2:57 PM

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friends don't usually require compensation for favors...at least not in my circle. a friend in need is a friend indeed!

Friday, January 05, 2007, 3:02 PM

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Me and my hubby house sit for some friends of ours and they ask us to stay there till they get back. Of course we buy our own food and clean up after ourselves. I would just come out and aske them to what extent they need u to be there.

Friday, January 12, 2007, 1:13 AM

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I have 2 fur-babies. My basic expectations would be someone to come over let them out before work, either during the day or immediately after work, and then a final time later at night. Obviously at each let out make sure their water bowl is full and once a day give them their dinner.

My ideal would be someone who does all of the above then takes a little time to love them and pay them some attention.

Friday, January 12, 2007, 7:54 AM

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I doggie/ house sit all the time for people. I guess you could say it's like a second job for me. I would recommend that you go talk to them about the routine they have with their dogs and try and follow that as much as possible. I usually sleep over when I doggie sit and it seems to make the animals happier, but ask your friends if that is something that they want you to do. I always get contact numbers (vet., nearest relative, neighbor, etc.). Having the number of a trusted friend/relative is convenient in case something happens and you nor your husband can get back to let them out/ feed them. don't forget to ask if their dogs are on any type of medication, and if they are, when they get it and how to give it as well. (I might also suggest that they leave a little money in case there is an emergency vet run - you never know!)
good luck!

Friday, January 12, 2007, 10:23 AM

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if these friends have never left their dogs with anyone while they were away before, i would recommend to them that they seek advice from their vet on exactly what kind of information you should have. i'll just bet the vet can give some great tips!! (in addition to the many great, smart suggestions already listed here.)

Friday, January 12, 2007, 11:01 AM

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