We really encourage all of you to always have a meet and greet before booking - after all, this is the very thing that ensures it's a great match! You have the power to choose your own sitter knowing exactly who will be walking, playing with and feeding your fur baby. Wouldn’t you want to get to know that person properly and make an informed decision?
It is also mandatory - if you're booking with a sitter for the first time - in order to be covered by our Pawshake Guarantee.
Depending on the service required, the meet & greet should take place at the sitter's home, for dog boarding and doggy daycare - or at the owner's home for home visits, dog walking, and house sitting. You can also meet online or in a public place for the first time, to increase safety.
They will guide you when it comes to giving your sitter instructions and information about your pet. If you're not sure yet whether you would like to hire this particular sitter, you can also fill in the form later. You can either print it and fill it in on paper, or fill it in on a laptop or tablet.
Here are a few things to talk about when meeting and greeting to ensure your pet has a happy and safe holiday experience:
For pet owners - think about the following:
1. What is your pet like? Describe your pet/s in detail.
- Active, easy-going or maybe a bit demanding?
- Does your pet have any behavioural problems? Lead-pulling, barking, chewing, scratching furniture etc.
- Is your dog/cat neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed? Preventive tick treatments?
- Does your pet have a cage/terrarium, which needs to be cleaned? How often and where are the supplies?
- Does your pet have any special needs? Special medication, feeding or a specific schedule?
- Make sure to describe your pet in detail to the sitter, so no surprises will surface during the booking.
2. What is the sitter like? Ask and think about the following (if the sitter hasn't already included this information in their profile):
- Why have you decided to become a pet sitter?
- Do you have pets of your own? If so, how many and what kind? What are they like?
- What is your experience with pets, and have you done pet sitting before?
- Have you participated in any classes or workshops about pet care or first aid?
- What would you do in case of an emergency?
- Do you have a car? If not, how will the pet/s be transported in case of emergency?
- How can you reach each other? Do you both have an emergency contact, such as a friend or family member, that can step in to help out if necessary?
- Will the sitter keep you updated every day via the Pawshake app?
3. Home Boarding & Daycare
- What does a regular day look like for the sitter? Make sure this matches well with your dog's needs. Does the sitter have a full-time job or hobbies which take up time?
- What is the sitter planning on doing with your pet/s? Playing, cuddling, brushing?
- How long, where and when will dog walks occur?
- What does the sitter's home look like? Is it appropriately pet-proof? Secure fences and gates?
- Is the garden big enough? Are there any quiet areas where your pet can sleep calmly?
- What about the surrounding areas - are there nice places to visit during a dog walk?
- What items should you bring for your dog? Favourite toys, food, basket, blanket?
- Watch how your pet behaves at the sitter's home during the meet and greet. Did your dog walk together go well? If your dog is sniffing around happily, this means they are relaxed and calm.
4. House sitting & House Visits
- What does a regular day look like for the sitter? Make sure this matches well with your pet's needs. Does the sitter have a full-time job or hobbies which take up time?
- How long is each visit? What is included in them? Think about emptying the letterbox, watering the plants and taking out the bins, etc.
5. Dog Walking - it's a good idea to have a trial dog walk during the meet and greet.
- What is the dog sitter like around your dog? Does your dog feel comfortable when the sitter takes the leash?
- Is the sitter familiar with dog training techniques? What techniques does she/he use?
- Is the sitter familiar with dog behaviour and body language?
- Is training or playing included in the walks?
- How long are the walks (distance or time)?
- What will the sitter do if it rains or is too hot during the walk?
- Remember to discuss practical matters too - keep a towel near your front door in case of muddy pawprints and provide plenty of doggy poo bags!
In all cases: clear arrangements upfront prevent confusion and disappointment later on. Write down your agreements, prepare instructions for the pet sitter so that both of you are super clear what needs to happen.
If the chemistry isn’t quite right or expectations aren’t landing on the same page, no one need feel uncomfortable saying ‘thanks, but no thanks’! A meet and greet is always obligation-free.