loader image
How to house sit with your own pet

How to house sit with your own pet

If you’re keen to get back on the travel trail but don’t want to leave your best mate behind, here, find out exactly how to house sit with your own pet! Nicky and her husband Andy travel full time in their campervan around the UK and Europe, and their beautiful Spanish rescue dog, Gus, tags along for the ride.

They now apply for house and pet sits with their dog, which for some pet sitters, feels really complicated. But, if you’re keen to give it a go, take heed of Nicky’s invaluable advice on how they – in the first place – score sits with Gus; and also, the benefits he brings the dogs they are sitting for!
 

Nicky’s top tips on how to house sit with your own pet

As an avid house and pet sitter who has experienced opportunities across the UK and Europe, Nicky advises anyone coming into the business to really have a good think about what type of sits you want. She also says, start now – start in your own city. This advice echoes what past guests, Kate and Dave, shared as their top tips. Have a read here.
 

Rescuing a dog on the road

While sitting in Spain, Nicky came across an animal shelter that – of course – had a dog waiting for his new furever home. As it turns out, they met Gus, “the perfect dog” for them. He was two and had been born in the shelter. A black dog, he had struggled to be discovered for a new home. This happens frequently for both cats and dogs in Europe, unfortunately due to a very old superstition around black animals being unlucky.  

Gus has proven to be quite the opposite: he’s their four pawed travelling best friend.

Nicky took her time introducing Gus to the lifestyle though, so he’d be comfortable. It’s an important lesson for all of us, especially anyone rescuing a dog – give them time and the proper space to understand and feel comfortable in their new environment.
 

House and pet sitting with your dog

Once settled, this trio picked up travelling and house sitting again.

Nicky said one of her best pieces of advice is to ensure your profile on house and pet sitting sites makes it very very clear – front and centre – that you’re travelling with your fur baby.

“The top of our profile clearly says, Nicky, Andy and Gus 🐾”, and in her applications she reinforces, “thank you for considering all of us”.

Another great idea – she’s encouraged the homeowners writing a review to please include a reference to Gus in the review, once again, to reinforce the benefits he’s brought to the sit, and how easy it was for him to be included. This tip was also mentioned by Laura who doesn’t travel and house sit with a dog, but her family of four :) Find out more about house and pet sitting as a family.
 

Finding the right sit for you and your dog

Nicky says that she does do a lot more work now to choose house sits that are right for both she and Andy, and especially Gus. It’s obviously worthwhile in order to score those perfect sits though.

If a profile states that a dog doesn’t get on with other dogs, then of course she will not apply. She says, prioritise your pet when applying for sits – set your boundaries. Some homeowners are so keen to have you as a sitter, that they’ll say “Yes, come along!”, when, the match for Gus and the dogs on the ground, wasn’t right. Be selective in location and situation in terms of other animals there.

Despite the bit extra work around sifting through available house sits and applying for those that match their bigger picture, Nicky reports that they’re in demand! They’re booked 12 months in advance! In fact, they get plenty of repeat business from families whose pets loved the sits with Gus.
 

Travel and house sitting

“Travel is the ability to see other places and immerse yourself in a new culture”, says Nicky. But she stresses that in an application for a sit, they’ll highlight that the pets come first. Importantly, that they plan to be present, and love the pets as if they are their own.

The beautiful thing about pairing ‘travel’ and ‘house sitting’ is that you can live like a local. You can see places you might never have visited had it not been for the house sit! And, you’re constantly reminded of the good in people. That is, inherent kindness despite what we may see on the news.

It’s also wonderful to have the chance to see what the Universe presents and to go with the flow. “It’s wonderful how things inevitably align,” marvels Nicky. We agree.

 

🐕Click here to subscribe on your favourite podcast service

Freedom and Four Paws

Join us on our podcasting adventures as we hear inspiring stories from amazing people travelling the world. They’re living their best life, often with their pets in tow!

In this episode of Freedom and Four Paws, discover how being a dog owner yourself, can add value to applying for gigs as a house sitter where there are other dogs. Nicky is brimming with excellent advice for house and pet sitting with your own dog.

Listen for additional tips on travelling in Europe and being mindful of what visas and health certificates you may need. 

Watch the episode for their complete story and advice. Or listen on your favourite podcast service, search ‘Freedom and Four Paws’.

Find our guest, Nicky, on Facebook and Instagram, @retired.and.inspired2020

~

👉🏻Subscribe now and never miss an episode featuring excellent tips on how to slow travel, successfully work remotely or as a digital nomad, and house + pet sit. We’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts or your favourite podcasting app. Search ‘Freedom and Four Paws’

Freedom and Four Paws is brought to you by Travel Live Learn.com.

As a valued audience member, enjoy 10% OFF at our affiliate partner Cloudy – relieve stress throughout the day straight to a soothing sleep at night, visit trycloudy.com and use the code FREEDOM10.

And if you’re a fellow traveller and pet lover who is keen to share your story and inspire the world, visit exhalemediagroup.com and mention FREEDOM20 for 20% OFF any purchased service including personalised storytelling coaching.

WATCH: Find out more about house sitting while you travel, view the playlist on YouTube

SIGN UP: TO TRUSTED HOUSE SITTERS HERE AND ENJOY 25% OFF! It’s on our VIP mailing list, including other freebies.

SUBSCRIBE: on YouTube for more adventures youtube.com/travellivelearn


 

 

Family house sitting

Family house sitting

From homeless to world wide travel, world schooling and family house sitting. Meet Laura and her family from ‘Forever Family Forever Free’. They’ve been travelling, house and pet sitting as a family of four for six years. This inspiring family has also published a book on their experience called Creatively Homeless. Their story is incredible and while they did initially find they were a little ‘judged’ by family and friends for dropping the 9-to-5, they’re now the envy of all they meet. 

Family house sitting: how to

Laura shares how you don’t have to be a millionaire to take on a life of travel and freedom. They’ve dug their way out of a life of debt, to a life of adventure and free thinking. Laura wants everyone to take away from this conversation that you don’t have to wait for things to be ‘perfect’ before pursuing your dreams – go for it now!

Find our guest, Laura, online at foreverfamilyforeverfree.com and follow on Instagram 

 

 

🐕Click here to subscribe on your favourite podcast service

Freedom and Four Paws

Join us on our podcasting adventures as we hear inspiring stories from amazing people travelling the world. They’re living their best life, often with their pets in tow!

👉🏻Subscribe now and never miss an episode featuring excellent tips on how to slow travel, successfully work remotely or as a digital nomad, and house + pet sit. We’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts or your favourite podcasting app. Search ‘Freedom and Four Paws’

As a valued audience member, enjoy 10% OFF at our affiliate partner Cloudy – relieve stress throughout the day straight to a soothing sleep at night, visit trycloudy.com and use the code FREEDOM10.

And if you’re a fellow traveller and pet lover who is keen to share your story and inspire the world, visit exhalemediagroup.com and mention FREEDOM20 for 20% OFF any purchased service including personalised storytelling coaching.

WATCH: Find out more about house sitting while you travel, view the playlist on YouTube

SIGN UP: TO TRUSTED HOUSE SITTERS HERE AND ENJOY 25% OFF! It’s on our VIP mailing list, including other freebies.

SUBSCRIBE: on YouTube for more adventures youtube.com/travellivelearn


 

 

13 things house and pet sitters must know

13 things house and pet sitters must know

We have had the chance to house and pet sit in the UK and Europe, for over 20 dogs, two horses and a cat! We’ve learnt a few good things on our travels. Here, we want to share 13 things that you must know if you’re house sitting and pet sitting. Especially important if you’re planning long term travel in this way.

 

Among our 13 things house and pet sitters MUST know:

👉Communication with home and pet owners

👉House rules

👉Action plan if you or your pet are unwell (especially if you are house and pet sitting overseas)

👉Emergency plan for if you get locked out – are all contacts and information stored on your phone… can you access it?

👉Commit to what you’ve agreed to: can you invite friends over; how long should you leave your pets alone for?

👉What to do if you break something, and the best approach to house care

👉Find out about special care measures for anxious, older and rescue dogs

👉The best way to discover the people and place around you.

🐕Click here to subscribe on your favourite podcast service

 

 

Freedom and Four Paws

Join us on our podcasting adventures as we hear inspiring stories from amazing people travelling the world and living their best life, often with their pets in tow.

👉🏻Subscribe now and never miss an episode featuring excellent tips on how to slow travel, successfully work remotely or as a digital nomad, and house + pet sit. We’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts or your favourite podcasting app. Search ‘Freedom and Four Paws’

As a valued audience member, enjoy 10% OFF at our affiliate partner Cloudy – relieve stress throughout the day straight to a soothing sleep at night, visit trycloudy.com and use the code FREEDOM10.

And if you’re a fellow traveller and pet lover who is keen to share your story and inspire the world, visit exhalemediagroup.com and mention FREEDOM20 for 20% OFF any purchased service including personalised storytelling coaching.

WATCH: Find out more about house sitting while you travel, view the playlist on YouTube

SIGN UP: TO TRUSTED HOUSE SITTERS HERE AND ENJOY 25% OFF! It’s on our VIP mailing list, including other freebies.

SUBSCRIBE: on YouTube for more adventures youtube.com/travellivelearn


 

 

Lessons on how to rehome a dog

Lessons on how to rehome a dog

Before Cooper and I set off on this house and pet sitting adventure, our intention was to be surrounded by dogs. Humbled by our experiences along the way, we have learnt eye-opening facts on how to properly rehome a dog. Our biggest lessons came in Malta, and we want to share with you here.

 

A family of rehomed dogs

In Malta we cared for nine dogs on our house sit. Geoff and Theresa initiated us into their family as Cooper and I each took hold of our own set of pooches. We got to understand their routines and personalities, and a highlight of each day was, of course, walk time!

Each morning in a flurry of excitement, fur babies of all shapes and sizes danced around the kitchen. Collars and leads were attached, although I can’t say patience is a strength of these cheeky dogs.

I took 12 year old Smudge – food lover, Dalmatian cross, big personality. In my other hand I had little Spike, the dog with nine lives, and old soul Eliza, mum to the fox terriers Cooper was handling, Christa and Giselle.

Geoff and Theresa showed us the ropes before they went away. Fearful giant Zula went with Geoff. We likened her to the lion who had lost courage. He also had ‘the Queen’, Amy, a type of woolly Sicilian sheep dog.

Our ‘dog whisperer’ Theresa, would wait behind and bring her two special rescued dogs. Rusty is just a pup, simply terrified; and Percy, a Dachshund mix, won’t look at anyone but Theresa.

We’d need to get to understand their characters before tackling these walks on our own. I’m pleased to say we did master it.

Smudge and Sarah on our Malta house sit

 

Navigating ‘Cat Alley’

Geoff and Theresa led the charge on the first few days we were all together. Determined to learn, we followed their instructions. Each day our dogs would go to the field behind their home, to play together and with other rehomed dogs.

Getting to the field meant navigating Cat Alley. Now that’s an adventure.

 

We’d all leave the house, one set of pups at a time, keeping an eye out for cars coming past the front door on the narrow road outside.

Spike doesn’t like motorbikes – he tries to attack them.

 

 

I had to learn quickly:

  • That a dog on a lead chasing motorbikes means all dogs I am holding onto will get tangled up!
  • If you’ve got a strong pup you need to be careful they don’t get away and run in front of a car. Use your good arm 👍
  • I also learned the hard way that my finger kept slipping on the ‘release’ button on the lead. This meant my leads would extend at exactly the time I didn’t want my dogs running away from me! Rookie errors.

👉Read: 6 lessons learnt as pet sitters, and things YOU need to know

 

Out the door: under 20 seconds ’til we’d turn the corner.

The Malta sun blazed upon us, even at this early hour. I’d see Cooper and Geoff ahead, core strength at work as they held onto their sets for dear life.

Welcome to Cat Alley, where the dogs go crazy. Christa and Giselle especially, their little frames finding tiger-like strength each day, as they dragged forth, onward towards their nemesis.

Cats on car tops glaring down, or scaling trees, scoffing at our spectacle. Then we’d spot them on the road ahead, taunting the dogs! Cat Alley. A dog’s worst nightmare? Or dog owner’s?

 

The strategy for getting through here was to be quick and strong. As a team, we’d managing our yelping, excited pack, quietly hoping a lead wouldn’t snap, and doing our utmost to prevent the dogs from tangling and running into each other.

Old Smudge would always stop at the most inconvenient time to do his business here too. Honestly if he wasn’t so damn cute… !

Sarah Blinco and Cooper Dawson on house sit with 9 dogs in Malta

 

Field of dreams

After undoubtedly the most active four minutes of the day, our double-gate entry to the field is in sight!

There’s two gates here for a special reason. Many of the dogs are anxious or hyper-sensitive. So, we bring them into a holding area and shut the outside gate so no-one disappears down Cat Alley and onto the street. Second gate opens, and our group flies into their freedom field.

Theresa, Geoff, Cooper and I put down our leads, fill up water bowls and lead the dogs around the field to play.

A friend of the field, Caroline, gave us a tip:

Always keep walking, don’t let a group of dogs congregate while owners chat and gossip – it can lead to ‘too much excitement’ (or a brawl).

 

The field, rented by Theresa and Geoff, is an important space that helps dogs socialise and get into a happier frame of mind.

Sicily is about two hours’ ferry ride from Malta, and there’s a terrible homeless dog problem there.

Sarah and my family of pups in Malta

 

Rescue dogs and their families

Cooper and I have met many beautiful rescue pups over the past year. Their families shared with us meticulous details on any anxiety or behaviour to care for in their rehomed dogs. It’s a privilege to have been able to get to know so many beautiful personalities. In Malta, we were followed around, up and down stairs; The dogs snuggled with us in the lounge at TV time, demanded cheese at meal time, and lapped up love at bedtime. We love them!



 

Parents of all of the rescue dogs we’ve met care deeply about their fur family, and have been matched with their furever pups. But there are heartbreaking stories of terribly high ‘return’ rates to shelters that we have heard of too.

 

How to rehome a dog – things we can learn

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a dog person and/or you are looking to rehome a dog too. All dogs, like people, have unique personalities. To effectively place a dog in its furever home, a proper match needs to be made.

Theresa and Geoff explained more about this to us when we spent time with them, and in the video above ☝

The dogs they’ve rescued have been through TRAUMA: neglect, serious abuse, abandonment.

It’s why some of our babies on the house sit were reticent to be too near to us.

Theresa and Geoff have a really low ‘return’ rate. They put in the time to match families and dogs though, as you’ll see in the video above.



Adoption and rehoming tips

Details we garnered to help you find your perfect pooch:

  1. See what you can find out about the dog’s personality and background. Does he/she need to run around, are they best with a family, or a couple/single?
  2. Will the breed/personality be right for your circumstances – do you have young kids?
  3. How active is your dog going to need to be, and can you cater for this?
  4. Have you considered an older dog, not just a puppy? There are so many benefits to rehoming older dogs who have just been down on their luck. Puppies are NOT right for everyone.
  5. Are you willing to socialise your dog – take them to a dog park and to learn to play with others?
  6. A dog deserves love for life, and you should be able to pay for vet bills if required.

 

Theresa and Geoff are always on the lookout for good homes for dogs they rescue. Show your support and get in contact via their Facebook page, Adopt a Sicilian Stray.

 

 

House sitting Australia guide

House sitting Australia guide

In response to readers’ questions we’ve produced a house sitting Australia guide. While Cooper and I have our sitting experience in the UK and Europe (so far), we are Australian, and happy to offer insight into an incredible destination.

If you dream of spending time Down Under, house sitting in Australia is a great option. Here we’ll share with you options on what sites to use, and where to go in Australia as a house sitter.

Meet our Aussie animals while house sitting

 

What is house sitting?

House sitting is where you take care of someone else’s house – and often, pets – in exchange for free accommodation. Some people do get paid to house sit, but many do not. You can house and pet sit anywhere in the world, and it’s a great way to see new places and supplement accommodation costs.

You do need to take the ‘job’ seriously, especially if you’re taking care of pets. We always leave a property as we’ve found it, if not in better shape! Discover how we got started, and house sitting tips.

Sign up for our e-news for an exclusive FREE guide

You might end up in Melbourne while you're house sitting in Australia

 

Why house sitting in Australia?

House sitting Australia wide gives you a real chance to see our beautiful country. If you’ve ever tried to plan a trip to Aus, you’ll quickly have discovered how vast the country is. Also, for most people Australia is a long way to go – so you want to have a bit of time to stay and travel, if possible. With all that travel as an expense, house and pet sitting in Australia can save you money on accommodation. An added bonus is that you might end up discovering an amazing place that you wouldn’t have if you’d not been assigned a house sit there.

We find it’s a good idea to not get too attached to a particular outcome when applying for house sits. Don’t just aim for Sydney, for example. Search for what’s on offer in the State of New South Wales, and then you can travel to Sydney around your house sit.

Similarly, see what’s available in some of our other gorgeous big cities like Brisbane (such a GREAT place these days), and the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Travel visas to Australia can be granted for up to a year, and house sitting in Australia allows you to ‘go slow’ – take your time in a place, immerse yourself in the Aussie lifestyle. There’s no better travel experience than this, and house sitting gives you an economical way to do it.

House sitting is particularly great for not just retirees, but also for those who work for themselves, freelancers and digital nomads.

House sitting Australia guide

 

House sitting Australia – considerations

If you want to travel this way in Australia, a few important things you should consider:

Transport:

As mentioned, Australia is huge. Our cities can be spread out, and the space between towns and cities can be vast. How do you plan to get around when travelling in Australia? Will you be taking the bus or train long or short distances? Will you hire a car, or buy a cheap one? Access to your own transport options will determine where you go. It’s very hot here, sometimes you simply can’t hike for hours to get from one place to another. Plan your travel – and your house sitting commitments in Australia – accordingly.

Budget:

How much money do you want to spend while travelling in Australia? There are very expensive destination here, like Sydney. But if you head to lesser known towns or cities, you’ll find cheaper cost of living and travel options. Determine how long you’ll be here, where you want to go, and consider ways you can save or spend money.

When you’re on the ground in Australia, there are plenty of tour operators who advise those with a lower budget on bus or train deals for getting around. Smaller towns or cities like Cairns also offer visitors on a budget more deals for entertainment and excursions that won’t break the bank. Get on Aussie forums or ask questions of other Australians for advice and local tips before you travel.



Trip type:

We’ve got everything in Australia, from the city to beach, Outback, rainforest and desert. What would you like to see? Do your research and aim for house sits in destinations where your wanderlust can be quenched.

Remember – Australia is huge – so you’re best to place yourself in an area that’s in your heart to see. That said, there’s something to be said for being open to new experiences and surprises. I’ll leave that one with you.

House sitting Australia guide - do kangaroos really jump down the street

 

About Australia

There are six states in Australia:

  1. New South Wales
  2. Queensland
  3. South Australia
  4. Tasmania
  5. Victoria
  6. Western Australia

and two territories:

  1. Northern Territory
  2. Australian Capital Territory

 



At a glance

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is where our national capital, Canberra, is located, and it is the centre of government. New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s most populated state, and our oldest. This is where Australia was originally settled by the British, as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where Sydney now thrives as the country’s largest city. Our home state, Queensland (QLD) is Australia’s second-largest (in size). Here you’ll find the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, unique rainforests and extraordinary islands. You’ll love Queensland – and our capital Brisbane – if you enjoy warm weather, outdoor and water activities.

On the other side of the country from Queensland is Western Australia (WA), Australia’s largest state. Here you can explore vast deserts and secluded, sublime coastlines – miles and miles of untouched serenity. The state’s capital is Perth, a popular destination for travellers from all over the world.

Victoria (VIC) is the smallest of the mainland states in size but is home to Australia’s second most populated (but arguably coolest) city, Melbourne. Fashion, art, coffee and culture – Melbourne has it all, and all visitors love it! This lovely state is full of beautiful coastal and country scenery too.

Wine lovers, head to South Australia (SA) in the southern central part of the country. Adelaide, the capital city, is a foodie paradise, and a great base for exploring surrounding wineries, the Flinders Ranges and wilderness hotspot Kangaroo Island.

At the top of Australia, you’ll find the Northern Territory (NT). Darwin, on the northern coast and Alice Springs further inland, are the most well-known destinations up here. You will have heard of the famous rock, Uluru too – it’s here, at almost Australia’s geographical centre.

From the top to the bottom of Australia – discover beautiful Tasmania (TAS) which is separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait. Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, and is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney.

 

👉Find out more about Australia’s states and territories.

House sitting Australia guide - the real experience

 

Top sites to try if house sitting Australia is on your travel bucket list

There’s a number of options you can try if you’re looking for house sitting jobs in Australia (or if you’re looking for house sitters), but the top sites we know of are:

  1. TrustedHousesitters is who we book our house sits through.
  2. Mindahome
  3. Aussie housesitters
  4. Housesitters.com.au
  5. Happy housesitters
  6. Mad Paws

 

👉Find out more in our video guides

 

Our advice on what to look for in house sitting sites:

We have been house and pet sitting for about six months now, and plan to do more. But we did our research for at least a year before deciding to sign up for a service. In my experience, here’s how I recommend you assess a site before planning your dream trip (to make sure it IS a dream trip).

Professional look and brand feel:

This might be stating the obvious, but there’s no excuse for a lazy website these days. Look for professional design and easy user experience. I believe it shows care and that there’s likely to be a team of professionals behind the brand. I’d also be looking to see how easy it is to find basics like FAQs, details on how your details and security is managed.

Website videos, testimonials and social media:

If you’re ready to take the next step and commit to a house sitting site, whether you want to travel to Australia or elsewhere, delve deeper to see what you can find. Are there videos the brand has produced to show what they do and how far they reach?

Another simple tip is to take a look at how they present on social media – are there recent posts, reviews, a presence, even? This all goes a long way to show the legitimacy of the brand, its offering, and the people using its service.

House sitting Australia guide - stay in Sydney

 

You get what you pay for:

I come across a lot of ‘forum’ looking sites, or ‘shout outs’ on Facebook. If you’re going to negotiate with a stranger online for a free deal, good luck to you. A lot of people have mentioned to us that they were considering putting a call out on Facebook, for example, or applying for jobs they’d seen on there or a free site.

All because they don’t want to pay a subscription fee. In my opinion this is highly risky – you could end up anywhere!

Look at reviews on sitters and house sits:

If you go down the route of paying for a service, which I highly recommend for your own security, take the opportunity to look at reviews. Just like you would on Airbnb or Tripadvisor, you can gain a lot of insight be looking at what people have written about a house sit, or a sitter. If there are gaps, that may be a sign you should take too.

And please don’t forget the old rule: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Subscribe to the service’s e-news:

If you’re interested in house sitting Australia or internationally, and you’ve identified a service to use, sign up for their e-news. This call to action should be easy to find on their website, and their newsletters will give you more insight into how active the brand and its users are!

Paid vs free

I’ve found a few sites that are either totally free or that charge sitters but not home owners. This doesn’t sit so well with me. House sitters should have the same protection as home owners, and in my opinion I think if both parties are willing to pay for a service then that for the most part legitimises those services.

Paid services usually mean more security checks too, on home owners and house sitters. Nothing’s ever perfect, but you can set yourself up for the best chance at an awesome experience. Invest the time and a little money into this – we believe it’s worth it.

 

If you have other views or questions, do let us know in the comments. Or better yet, join our dedicated house sitting group on Facebook – join here

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world- subscribe right here for our free info series

 

 

 

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

It’s been over six months since we set off on our house sitting UK adventure. We’ve explored terrific destinations in the UK through house sitting, including London, Northampton, the Cotswolds, Bedfordshire and soon Devon and the Sussex coast.

We’ve loved house sitting in the UK, and we’ve also been to Malta, France and Ireland.

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt

Leave the toilet seat down!

You hear stories about dogs drinking out of the toilet, right? One night we were sound asleep but awoken at 1am.

“Can you hear a noise, is that an intruder?” I asked panicked (but still tucked into bed)

“I’m not sure… do you think I should check?” asks Cooper, as we hear again… what is that?

“Slurp, slurp, slurp…” 😆

Our beautiful shepherd, Luna, couldn’t be bothered going downstairs to her bowl. Our lesson? Close the toilet lid! It’s true – dogs DO drink from the toilet.

Luna in Northampton on our dog sit where we learnt a house and pet sitting lesson...

Never forget poo bags

We find poo bags in all or pockets now. It’s pretty funny. The bags always come in handy, of course. But what about the one occasion you forget to take them?

In Northampton we had simply popped out to the corner store. When I was inside gathering supplies, Cooper was walking Luna (pictured above) around the block and having a little play with her. You guessed it – she chose this very time to do her business.

And it was no small matter!

Cooper scrounged around to find cardboard and resources to clean up after Luna, but it wasn’t pretty, oh no.

Hence, poo bags in every pocket since that time.



 

Watch what your dog eats

I’m sorry, this seems to have turned into a post about toilets and dogs’ business. You see, we took care of another gorgeous pup, Teal. A Springer Spaniel – about the best behaved and most affectionate creature you’d ever meet. But Teal has a secret.

Teal eats poo. In the depths of fields around the Cotswolds, this innocent pooch will grab a ‘snack’ the second you turn away. At first I thought Cooper was exaggerating because he spotted this, er, behaviour first. I didn’t believe him. Not our lovely Teal.

However, when I turned around after being engaged in conversation with a fellow dog walker, I saw it. Oh Teal. Perhaps he needed some nutrients that are in there?

Whatever the case, we were reminded that dogs are like kids. Keep an eye on them at all times 🐶

 

👉Find out how we got started pet sitting in London



Be mindful of how you’re using treats

We took care of a precious little old man called Monty. He was such a beautiful old soul. A 15 year old Jack Russell, for the most part he was super easy to look after. Except he suffered major senior separation anxiety.

When we arrived he seemed ok, but once his parents left he wouldn’t leave his bed or hid under theirs. It broke our hearts. We kept an eye on him over the 12 hours to come, and we even called TrustedHousesitters pet line for guidance to make sure we were doing all the right things, which we were.

For anxiety, we’ve discovered we need to give dogs in this scenario their space. It’s beneficial for them to be in their own home. If they are not sleeping or eating, then you should contact a vet. One thing we had going for us was that Monty liked his food. We used this to try and coax him to love us 💖 We even got him downstairs by laying out a cheese trail – his favourite treat.

After a while though, we realised we were using treats in the wrong way – we were reinforcing his behaviour to stay in his bed or hide from us. We’d give him treats for it! Instead, we switched it around – gave him treats for coming to us and we got him outside on walks which cheered him right up. Our lesson: consider what kind of behaviour you’re rewarding with treats, or are you giving them to make you feel better?

We’ve shared more on this in our video guides 👇

 

Close doors and check where your pets can go

House sitting in the UK brought many lessons our way. When we took care of Blue, a senior Lurcher doggie in London, we’d been told where in the house he could go. It was pretty much everywhere except the bedrooms. What we didn’t realise is that’s exactly where he’d try to go. Some of the door handles weren’t shut properly and we discovered this after he went missing twice. Blue managed to break into the rooms, have a nap on his siblings’ beds but then got locked in, bless him!




Our Luna in Northampton was known to break into the fridge and eat all the meat, so we had to lock the door to the kitchen if we went out. Luna’s also actually unlocked the front door to go in search of her family 💕 So, we needed to deadbolt it for her own safety from the busy street outside.

A special mention must go to Harley in Dublin who knew how to follow you into the toilet, jump up on the sink and drink water while you wash your hands. His mum said that is entirely his father’s fault for teaching him 🤣

 

Learn to share your personal space

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Travel | Blog | Vlog (@cooperdawson1) on

Polly and Darcy ☝ haven’t been the only babies to want in on our private space. Pretty much all dogs and cats, once they get to know you, will want to be with you – or on top of you, in bed with you…

But you know what – that’s the bit we love the most. If you don’t, then this gig probably isn’t for you.

 

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world: subscribe to our newsletter for a FREE guide on how you can travel the world house and pet sitting. 

And of course – questions/comments are appreciated below 😸