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Hosting a Successful Meet & Greet

AMcManamna
Rover employee
0 0 117

When and Where to Meet

Meet & Greets go a long way toward building trust with dog owners—after all, you’re caring for a precious member of their family. We recommend arranging a Meet & Greet for every new client—so if you’re ready to move forward with booking a stay or walk, offer to arrange a Meet & Greet. This way, you can get to know the dog and owner before booking—and the dog and owner can get to know you too. Requesting a Meet & Greet right away is one of the best ways to show your enthusiasm and ultimately win the client.

Meet & Greets usually take place at the home where the booking will occur. However, you’re welcome to arrange the first meeting in a public place like a coffee shop or dog park if that makes you more comfortable.

No matter where you decide to arrange the Meet & Greet, you should feel comfortable being the one to suggest a time and place. Taking initiative to schedule it will also show your client that you’re motivated and excited to meet their dog.

How to Prepare

Greeting Etiquette

When you meet, first introduce yourself to the person, then introduce yourself to their dog. Make sure to tailor your greeting to each dog--approach a confident friendly dog differently than you would an anxious dog. Like people, every dog is different!

Have Treats Ready

A little bribery can make a shy dog more comfortable around you. But make sure to ask the owner about allergies before offering a treat to their dog.

Practice Giving Cues

Every pet parent wants to show off their dog’s skills. Ask to see their dog’s tricks and cues so you can learn how the owner rewards and corrects their dog’s behavior. See how an owner gets a dog to come, use the bathroom, and drop or leave objects. Then, practice giving those cues in front of the owner. Make sure you reward and correct the dog the same way their owner does: this will ensure a better time for everyone.

Practice Walking the Dog

Go on a walk around the block where you hold the leash. Learn if you have the physical strength to handle their dog, whether their dog likes to pick up things on the ground, has particular surfaces they’re used to going potty on, and how they react to other dogs and people.

Evaluate the Dog’s Level of Separation Anxiety

Have the owner leave the room for a few minutes, leaving the dog with you. This can help you understand the level of separation anxiety the dog has. Some level of separation anxiety is normal, but the earlier you anticipate it, the better you can prepare for it.

For Meet & Greets in Your Home

Clean and Dog-Proof

Make sure your home is spotless and safe for a dog. Have paper towels and an enzyme spray like Nature’s Miracle on hand in case of any accidents.

Be Ready on Time

Inspire confidence by being ready to greet the pet parents and the pet. You should be the one to open the door, and you should stay for the whole Meet & Greet. If anyone else will be caring for the dog, it’s a good idea for them to be there too.

Get Your Dog Ready

If you have your own dog, keep them in a crate or separate room when the new dog first comes to your home. Introduce the dogs outdoors on neutral territory (like the sidewalk outside your home) instead of letting them greet in the doorway. Then you can decide if you’re comfortable letting them both off-leash inside your home.

Give a Tour

Show the owner where the dog will sleep (if they’re staying overnight), where they’ll stay if you leave the house, and any play areas the dog can use.

Confirm If the Dog Will Be Around Other Rover Dogs

If you are planning on having another Rover dog—or several— during a stay or walk, let the owner know and make sure it’s okay with them. Be careful to never take on more dogs than you can handle comfortably (or more dogs than you advertise on your Rover profile).

Make Sure the Owner Knows If You Have Pets

If you’re bringing someone’s dog into your home, make sure the owner knows if you have other pets—even if it’s stated in your profile. If you have a cat or other small animal, ask the owner how their dog gets along with cats, or if they chase squirrels. If they do like to chase smaller animals, we recommend telling the dog owner to contact Rover to find another sitter.

For Meet & Greets in the Pet Owner’s Home

Arrive on Time

It may seem obvious, but this is a huge key to getting the booking. If anyone else will be caring for the dog, it’s a good idea to ask the owner if they can come too—and if so, then bring them along.

Ask for a Tour

Now is the time to learn where they store their food, where the dog’s favorite toys are kept, and if they have a pet first aid kit. It’s also a good time to ask about where you might sleep or how you would care for the home if you’ll be spending the night.

Confirm If the Dog Will Be Around Other Rover Dogs

If you plan on balancing multiple drop-in visits—or walking for one dog and overnights for another—let the owner know and make sure it’s okay with them. Be careful to never take on more dogs than you can handle comfortably (or more dogs than you advertise on your Rover profile).

For Meet & Greets in a Public Place

Choose Somewhere Dog Friendly

If you’re meeting at a park, check to make sure they allow dogs. If you’re meeting indoors, it’s best to check the website or call ahead to make sure dogs are okay.

Arrive on Time

It may seem obvious, but this is a huge key to getting the booking. If anyone else will be caring for the dog, it’s a good idea to ask the owner if they can come too—and if so, then bring them along.

Ask the Dog Owner if They Would Like to Meet Again Before the Booking Begins

If you decide to arrange the Meet & Greet in a public place and you then accept the booking, you may want to arrange another meeting with the dog and owner before the official stay. This is up to you and the dog owner.

What to Ask

Use the Meet & Greet to ask everything you need to know. Are you hosting other dogs and need to be sure everyone gets along? Do you take dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered? Keep in mind: you should have already asked your “deal breaker” questions before the Meet & Greet, so tell the owners that it’s safe to discuss any issues or unique care the dog might need. Stress that the point of the conversation is just to make sure their dog gets the best possible care.

What Comes Next

We hope that the Meet & Greet marks the beginning of a great friendship between you and the dog owner—and of course, their dog. By the end of the Meet & Greet, hopefully you have a good idea of whether or not it’s a good fit. If you decide you want to watch or walk their dog, make sure you ask the owner if they have any questions for you.

If You Feel Compatible, Tell the Pet Parent You’d Love to Watch Their Dog

Letting the dog owner know you think it’s a good fit will increase your chances of booking the stay or walk. Tell the owner you think you and their dog are a great match. Let them know they can go to their inbox on the Rover site or app and select “Book It Now” right from your conversation thread. Make sure to accept that request as soon as you can. It’ll let the owner know that you’re reliable and enthusiastic about caring for their dog.

If You Don’t Feel Compatible, Let the Owner Know

We encourage you to let the dog owner know if you don’t think it’s a good fit. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you and offer kind words about their dog. Tell them it’s important to you that every dog have the best possible experience while their family is away. If the owner presses for reasons why, simply say that your experience has helped you develop a sense of whether it’s a good fit. Showing that you’re reliable and honest could encourage dog owners to refer their friends to you

If You Change Your Mind

If you end up deciding later that it’s not a good fit, make sure to communicate that to the dog owner as quickly as possible so they can find another sitter or dog walker. Of course, the earlier you can let them know, the better. (See section 4.4 of Rover’s Terms of Service for more info about sitter and pet parent cancellation policies.)

The Big Picture

Whether you’ve watched 3 or 103 dogs, you know that every client is different. Taking the time to set up a Meet & Greet, asking the questions you need, and communicating with the pet parent will only help you succeed on Rover. Throughout the process, remember: we’re here to support you as you build and grow your business.