Getting a puppy is definitely an exciting time but what will you do when you can’t be around for them? Are you wondering if you should get a puppy sitter? Perhaps your working life has changed recently, and you’ve found yourself with a pandemic puppy that you now need to leave alone.

Over the last two years, the world has worked from home. It was a great time to get a puppy, but all of a sudden, you’re back at work full time, or at least one or two days a week and your puppy or young dog is now home alone. Sound familiar? Yeah, we thought so.

The pet care industry has exploded in the last ten years and being a puppy sitter is an actual job, I know! It’s not a bad gig, is it? Loving and kissing puppies all day long. But of course, it’s not quite as easy as that and the best puppy sitters are professional pet carers with all the responsibilities that looking after your precious puppy entails.

Read on to find out all about

  • What do puppy sitters do?
  • Reasons why you should consider getting a puppy sitter
  • What to look out for when you’re choosing a puppy sitter
  • Things you should ask a puppy sitter when you’re thinking of using one
  • Where you can look for a puppy sitter

We have a personalised training plan ready for you and your puppy in our Zigzag puppy training app, including teaching your puppy to be happy at home alone. If you’re thinking of getting a puppy sitter, it can be worth asking our team of Puppy Coaches for advice on who to choose.

Puppy sleeping in arms
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

What do puppy sitters do?

Puppy sitters do exactly that, they sit with your puppy, they are there to look after your puppy when you’re away, have to go out for appointments, or when you have to go to work.

Puppy sitters are especially useful if you’re trying to suspend absences (i.e. not leave your puppy home alone) because you’re working through a puppy separation anxiety training programme.

Puppy sitters will often offer services such as:

  • Puppy pop-ins – in these short visits, the puppy sitter comes to let your puppy out for the toilet, maybe play with them a little and give them a meal
  • Puppy walks – the puppy sitter will take your puppy for a short walk outside
  • Puppy day trainer – puppy sitters who also do puppy training come in and train your puppy while you’re out
  • Puppy day sitting – the puppy sitter will come and look after your puppy all day.

Why should I get a puppy sitter?

If you’re wondering whether you should get a puppy sitter, then you’ve probably come up with some of the reasons below. Puppies really do need company. They can get very miserable if left alone for too long. The peace of mind that puppy sitters bring can be well worth it.

You have to leave your puppy for longer than they are used to

Perhaps your puppy has got used to you being around and needs the company now you’re going back out to work? To reduce the chance of separation problems developing, getting a puppy sitter to come by is a good idea. That way, your puppy isn’t left alone at home for long periods when they’re not used to it.

Your puppy needs the toilet often

When puppies are small, they can’t hold their bladders for very long. It’s a good idea to get someone to pop in and let them out to the toilet to avoid accidents and setting back your toilet training.

You worry about what your puppy gets up to you when you’re not there

Maybe you’ve started leaving your puppy out of their crate, and you’re worried about what they might be getting up to without it? Of course, you can always use a camera system, but sometimes having someone pop by will give you peace of mind that your home isn’t getting destroyed. 

You would prefer your puppy to be looked after in their own home.

Young puppies can find the outside world a little overwhelming. Having someone spend time with them in their own surroundings can be less scary. Plus, of course, your home is safe.

You have got a puppy who has not had all of their vaccinations yet.

If you have a very young puppy, they’re probably not vaccinated enough to go to a day-care or be out on walks with a dog walker. Getting a puppy sitter in at these times is an excellent idea.

You’re worried about sending your puppy to a puppy day-care

Day-cares can be great, but they can also be a bit much for puppies. They potentially won’t get enough sleep and can end up really overtired and overwhelmed.

Your puppy has medical needs.

If your puppy is on regular medications or needs a bit more care and attention than other puppies, then having a puppy sitter come by can be an excellent idea.

puppy sticking out tongue
Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

What to look out for in a puppy sitter

When choosing a professional puppy sitter, there are a few things to look out for.

A puppy sitter MUST love puppies!

It kinda goes without saying, doesn’t it? If your prospective pet sitter does not go gaga over your puppy, do you want them to look after your bundle of fluff? Hard no here!

Your puppy sitter should have insurance.

I know it’s boring, but you’re probably going to give your puppy sitter keys to your house, so they must have key insurance in case they’re lost. Your puppy sitter should also have public liability as a precaution too.

They have a flexible schedule that will work with what you need.

Some puppy sitters do this as a second job and only work evenings and weekends, which is no good if you want them during the day as you have to go out to work. Of course, if all you need a puppy sitter for is when you want to go out socially, it might work totally fine!

Do they seem reliable?

Honestly, there’s nothing worse than being let down at the last minute. It’s usually the benefit of employing a professional compared to relying on friends who ‘love dogs’.

Would they know what to do in an emergency?

Many puppy sitters have completed pet first aid courses. This is useful to have, and if you find a puppy sitter who hasn’t done one, but you really like them, it can be wise to suggest that they do one, maybe you can do one too!

Do they use positive methods with the puppies they look after?

Puppies should be trained with positive reinforcement, using rewards to teach them when they’re doing the right thing. Avoid anyone who talks about using punishments or dominance-based methods.

Go with your gut.

Another point to remember when choosing a puppy sitter is that gut feeling. This person will be part of you and your puppy’s life, so you must trust them.

What questions to ask a puppy sitter?

Have a list of questions prepared in advance so that when you meet your potential puppy sitter, you won’t forget to ask important things.

Here are some suggestions of questions you might want to ask a puppy sitter:

  • How long have you been working with dogs?
  • Do you work on your own or will other people come by to look after my puppy?
  • What training methods would you use with my puppy?
  • What would you do if you saw my puppy peeing on the floor?
  • Do you look after other puppies? Will you be bringing them to my home?
  • Will you take my puppy out for walks? How often?
  • Are you insured if you lose my keys?
  • Do you have references or reviews from previous clients?
  • Are you a member of any professional organisations?
  • Do you have any questions for me? (This one is always interesting!)
puppy on a rocky beach
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

Where to find a puppy sitter

When looking for a puppy sitter, there is no better referral source than recommendations from friends.

But what if you don’t know anyone local who has used a puppy sitter to get that word-of-mouth recommendation. In that case, you can get referrals for puppy sitters from the following sources.

  • Call and ask your local veterinarian who they refer to
  • Check with your local pet shop and dog groomer
  • Check local dog groups on Facebook
  • Google for local pet sitters and check their reviews.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and that it’s answered some of your questions as to whether you should get a puppy sitter, how to find a puppy sitter and questions you’ll want to ask a puppy sitter.

Don’t forget our puppy training experts are always on hand to answer your questions about finding a puppy sitter or any other puppy-related question you might have. Download your trial of Zigzag today and get started on your puppy training journey. Next, check out our puppy socialisation tips that will help you raise an adorable, well-behaved pup.