Why as A Dog Sitter I Won't Hire One for My Own
As a dog sitter, during summer, my main job is taking care of various pups that have been left behind by their owners. During summer, vacations and beaches becomes the priority and often, having a pet wouldn't be feasible. Flights which accommodate pets are usually expensive plus traveling with a huge family while including pets can be stressful.
As a college student, being a dog sitter gives the income needed to support the so-called "student life" as it usually pays up to 150$ per dog each day. During summer, a dog sitter can take up to 7-8 dogs per sitting and shuffling around schedules for food, veterinarians, medication, outdoor time and other extremities. It's definitely a great summer income that pays for college as well as a healthy lifestyle especially in the U.S. However, as a dog sitter, I realized I would never hire a dog sitter to care for my dog.
It may sound biased and irrational, however, there are a few reasons that inspired me towards my decision. Dogs, unlike other animals, are extremely instinctual. They rely on their senses and their surroundings, hence, if there's a change in situations, you can expect a dog to throw tantrums. Just like humans, their instinct reacts as a defense mechanism when faced with changes. Therefore, leaving them with a dog sitter could be psychologically straining for dogs.
One of the incidents that changed my mind was my first dog sitting with a German Shepherd. When it's family left him with me and the other dogs, this particular dog fell into major depression. Constantly waiting at the edge of the door and howling all day long, waiting for its family wasn't only painful to watch but was stressful to other dogs too. Eventually, after a week of not eating, I decided to take it to the vet who then diagnosed it with separation anxieties. That night I hugged my dog and vowed to never let it go.
However, instincts don't only play a huge part in traumas and depression; it also plays a huge part in communication between the dog and the sitter or among the other dogs. Being territorial, dogs often find it hard to share. Therefore, sharing their compassion and love with a sitter can take a long time. This usually leads to stubbornness and unnecessary throwing off tantrums.
If you're a fan of the show "Dog Whisperer", you might have noticed that dogs are capable of throwing tantrum by destroying items. Hence, being a human, you can't help but often get angry at the situation. Especially for those who aren't familiar with the antics of dogs, it might be even harder to handle.
Often it gets worse especially when other dogs enjoy playing with each other; the territorial instinct makes them overly protective towards their things especially their toys and food. In many cases, these incidents lead to one party getting hurt. Traumas such as this could leave a long-term impact on your dog's psychological health.
Some may not acknowledge it but as a dog sitter and a Psychology student, I've noticed the changes that happen after a dog becomes violent for the first time. It creates a chain of psychological impacts which leads to many more aggressions and changes a once peaceful dog to a violent and rather a defensive one.
While many owners are aware of these consequences, they don't seem to take the extent of this situation seriously. They firmly believe in their ideals that their furry friend will never turn against them. As a dog sitter, I've witnessed many of these incidents, often times it's hard to make these dogs comfortable. This situation is best explained in the point of view of a human. We humans run with our own routine, lifestyle and surroundings however once placed in a different scenario, it confuses us and takes us time to adapt.
Therefore, for dogs it becomes several times harder as they lack in understanding or grasping of quick changes and often, they get confused when they're left alone for too long. Feeling abandoned and alone, they tend to adopt that mentality. However, this doesn't apply to all dogs; most times, it applies to older dogs, bigger dogs or dogs which are more a part of the family instead of a pet.
Hence, after being a dog sitter for almost 2 years, I have decided to never let my dog at a dog sitter because in my point of view, my pet's psych has a bigger importance than penny pinching.
As an advice from a dog sitter, I would suggest the same to all families. If you're having a dog, try not looking at it as a pet, instead look at it as a part of your family and I can guarantee that it would make a huge difference.