House Sitters America

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Dog walking tips for your next pet sitting adventure

Feature photo: Dog walking tips for your next pet sitting adventure

Both dog owners and pet sitters understand that their canine friends need regular walking. Walking a dog can be a fun outing for both the dog and their human carer.

As a pet sitter, you need to know how to walk dogs in a way that gives each of them the right amount of exercise in a positive environment. Every dog you look after will have different exercise needs. So how much is enough, when should you do it and what else do you need to know when walking someone else’s dog? Here are a few points to help you on your next dog sitting adventure.

four medium sized dogs on leads with a house sitter's hand holding the leads

When pet sitting, how do you know how long to walk the dog in your care?

Many factors will affect how often and how long you need to walk a dog, such as age, breed, size and level of health. As a pet sitter, you will be expected to take on the walking duties for the dog/s you are looking after. The most important thing to do first is to ask the owner to write down their dog’s regular walking routine. Once you know that, you can then stick to that schedule as closely as possible. This will ensure the dog in your care can floor their daily routine and be stress free. 

When applying for a pet sitting job, make sure you are upfront with homeowners about how much time you will spend at the house and how often you will be able to go walking. Some larger dogs will require longer, perhaps twice daily walks, whereas smaller dogs might only need one short walk.

Make sure you choose the pet sitting job that fits in with your work/life schedule so you can give each dog the exercise and attention they need.

small white Maltese dog running on a field of grass with its mouth open

How do you ensure a positive walking experience for both yourself and your canine friend?

Chat to the owner and find out their dog’s favourite places to walk. If you take a dog in your care to their familiar places, they will feel comfortable and most likely behave well for you. There are other physical activities that are beneficial for a dog – for example playing games with them or running around in the backyard if you have one. Again it is important to ask the pet owner to tell you their dog’s usual types of exercise. They might have a favourite ball to catch in the park, or a preferred path to walk along.

In general, a vet can help determine the walking needs of a dog, depending on their breed – but usually, all dogs need at least one walk a day, during which they are allowed to stop for a sniff and to go to the toilet. If you have any exercise concerns about the dog you’re caring for and you can’t contact the owner, you can call their local veterinary clinic for more information. Make sure you get the name and number of the family vet when you pet sit so if an emergency arises you can call them.

small dark brown dog on a lead standing in front of a pet sitter's legs with a happy expression on its face with its tongue hanging out

Daily dog walking on a house sit is a win for for everyone

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, walking is important for both the physical health and mental well-being of a dog. “Walking helps preserve your pet’s muscle tone and joint movement. If your pet is overweight or obese, walking can be a great way to shed those extra pounds.” In other words, regular walking helps your dog (as well as you!) stay healthy and fit, and contributes to a longer lifespan. Walking a dog is fundamental for both their physical and mental health. It provides mental stimulation, physical exercise, and a chance to socialise with other dogs. 

As a pet sitter it can also really help to strengthen the bond between you and the dog in your care.

Most dogs love a good walk or a run in the park and a daily dog walk is not only beneficial for them, it is a great daily activity in a healthy lifestyle. Not only do you get the exercise and fresh air from a brisk walk outside, but you also get to share the in pure delight a dog feels when they get to walk and run and sniff every last bush. It’s truly impossible not to be filled with pure delight yourself. Happy walking!

Since subscribing to your site, I have had a steady summer house/pet sitting job with a local family. It has provided me with experience, references and new friends. Thank you Sherry

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