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If I was going through an agency, I'd want to know that the agency had insurance and had done a background check on their employees. Pet first aid and CPR would be a plus.

I'd like a clear written communication of policies and procedures: like, what do they do if the dog or cat shows illness or gets injured? What will or won't they do at the house like watering plants, turning on and off lights etc? Will the dog be allowed to or be able to interact with other dogs and who might those dogs be?

Are walks included? Where would the dog sitter walk the dog? Would the sitter be walking any other dogs at the same time or using a dog park at any time?

Is the dog sitting in the dog owner's home or in the home of the sitter?
If in the owner's home, what are the ground rules about using the house? (Such as, is it okay to use the WiFi, the tv, the stove, okay to do laundry etc?) Who cleans up the yard? What else needs to be done around the home and agree on compensation for that.
If it is in the home of the sitter, what other people will have access to the house and dog? How will the dog be confined? If the dog damages something, who is liable?

If it was just someone I knew personally, my main concerns would be having a backup plan in case the individual fell ill or had an emergency (in an agency, they'd just use a different employee) and that the sitter would be scrupulous in following my instructions for care and feeding. I'd ask those same kind of questions as asked of an agency about procedures but wouldn't expect a background check since my direct knowledge of the dog sitter would take its place.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hadn't thought about pet CPR.

Also hadn't thought about an agency...pretty sure there isn't one in this area (hmmm...maybe I need to BE an agency?) but will check that out. Probably just be a situation where I advertise in the classifieds. If people don't want to take the risk, they don't have to hire me.

Those are all good things to think about. *keeping notes* :)

shallbe
 

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Hadn't thought about pet CPR.

Also hadn't thought about an agency...pretty sure there isn't one in this area (hmmm...maybe I need to BE an agency?) but will check that out. Probably just be a situation where I advertise in the classifieds. If people don't want to take the risk, they don't have to hire me.

Those are all good things to think about. *keeping notes* :)

shallbe
The advantage of insurance through an agency isn't just for the dog owner but for the sitter too. What if the dog you're sitting hurts someone, even by accident like a trip and fall? Or bites another dog while out on a walk? What if the dog gets hurt and the owners accuse you of negligence and demand you pay the vet bills?

If I'm dog sitting a friend's dog as a favor, my homeowners liability covers any injury or damage that dog might cause to another person but I doubt it would cover me if I was caring for a dog in exchange for payment.

I haven't used them in any way so I can't say how good of a service it is, but DogVacay hosts (sitter/walkers) are covered under their insurance. Yes, they take a cut of your fees of course :)

There are probably other similar dog care companies.
 
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