Dog / Puppy Sitting Affected By Size, Demeanor, & Training…
My neighbor was going away for a few days and asked if my daughter (really meaning me) would watch her dog, Mimi. Of course, without a second thought, I said, “Sure she will!” The dog we watched was sweet but never again. It’s a lot of work taking care of someone else’s dog!
I think the major issues we experienced were due to different training and the size difference, which kind of go hand-in-hand. Having a larger dog requires that we train her very well. Otherwise, Speckles would knock people down, pull us all over the place, destroy things, etc. With little dogs, they pretty much can do anything and it’s not really an issue for most owners. That was the case for us.
We found out that, aside from ‘sit’, Mimi didn’t seem to know any other commands despite her being about two years old. This made so many things more difficult. Eat, drink, water, stay, down, drop, come, fetch, pee, no, lie down, no jumping, etc. were foreign to her. As the owner is a single, older woman, Mimi also didn’t know how to play and hid all the time. In two days, we taught her new tricks, how to heal, and gave her confidence to play like the puppy she is.
When taking her for a walk, Mimi went any which way she pleased. “Heel” was not in her vocabulary as she pulled as much as she could, walking at an angle most of the time. We let her off-leash to run on the grassy area and that little white puffball took off down the pathway. Hearing her name or saying ‘come’ didn’t phase her in the slightest. I was freaking out that she’d completely run away or get hit – a sitter’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, she stopped at the building’s front gate and stayed there. Needless to say, we didn’t let her off-leash after that.
It was also important for us to set guidelines from the get-go. Mimi had to understand where she could and could not go, not to jump on the furniture, and to not lick our faces (that just grosses us out). With a little patience, she did very well.
It also complicated things because Speckles is so dominant and the cattle dog in her was really coming out. She kept bonking Mimi with her head and Mimi usually went in her crate or was laying under something so Speckles couldn’t pounce on her. Yes, that meant we had to do some extra training with Speckles as well and to teach her to leave poor Mimi alone. Plus, Speckles is a clumsy, oversized oaf and Mimi often got trampled underfoot unintentionally.
Having another dog also set off our normal routine and family dynamic. We had double the poop-scooping, feeding, belly-rubbing, whining for attention, and fur bit floating around. Kudos to those that do this for a living. No wonder they charge and upwards of $30 for a day and $60 for overnight boarding! As for us? I think we’ll have to end our doggy sitting days unless we know the dog we’re watching well, it’s very well-trained, and can’t be terrorized by our over-bearing 57-lb lap dog.