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Dog fanatic

Client Dealbreakers

What makes a client a good fit for you? How do YOU know a client (human or dog) isn't a good fit for you as a sitter?

15 Replies

Re: Client Dealbreakers

The dog is the reflection of the owner.  So I evaluate everything I see. Here is a list of the things that I see during meets and greets.

-the car the owners are driving, how is the car inside ( if the dog broke the interior of the car, if the car is clean,etc)

how the owner talks and behaves (I evaluate how the owner tells me everything about their dog)

how the dog behaves when I introduce my dog and when I'm around.

I evaluate how many time it takes for the dog to come when called.

I evaluate how the dog behaves next to my dog.

I pay attention to the things the dog do inside of my house (like smelling or jumping,  smelling the counter, etc)

I evaluate the behaviour of the dog when my husband and my son takes part in the meet and greet. I always ask to my husband/baby to join the meet and greet.  I want to see how the dog responds to surprise visitors and being around a child.

If the owners don't talk , or the dogs start making a mess during meets and greets, tha's a big no no for me.

But , I'd like to add that is a feeling you are going to start developing with time.  there is some people that I do not accept even when the dogs behave. if I don't have a good feeling about the owner, I do not accept the dog.  Until now, I do not regret it. 



Dog person

Re: Client Dealbreakers

It seems like you've been doing this awhile and are really good at it, Viviana! I love all of your suggestions. My only caution is that if you have dogs already staying at your house when you're doing a meet and greet, introducing the dogs in front of the owners can sometimes be a liability in a confined space. The new dog will often be possessive of his or her owner in a new space with new dogs, and this can lead to aggressive behavior that wouldn't otherwise occur. Often a dog who would otherwise get along great with others in a neutral situation where they aren't protecting territory acts aggressive in the more uncertain situation of having their owner there. Marking, cowering, and staying too close to their owner during the meet and greet instead of exploring the new place are all good signs of a potentially nervous (and therefore potentially aggressive) dog. 


Re: Client Dealbreakers

 I have to say those are some great answers :-) it’s always great to look for the interaction between the owner and their dogs and other dogs that you may be sitting. The type of dog owner that I always double and triple think about are the extremely over protective new mommies. Because hands-down if I’m going to have a problem with a stay  it will be from a new owner that’s very inexperienced with dogs  and super overprotective that won’t their dog to drink out of the water bowl because they have to have special filtered water or bottled water is a major red flag for me. 

Re: Client Dealbreakers

As far as meet and greets go when you have other dogs you are currently boarding.. I crate or block off the current dogs you have at the time.  The meet and greet is obviously not booked yet, if an altercation occurred.. insurance is compromised.  When I introduce my own dogs for meet and greets, it's always outdoors on neutral territory at first.. then we all come inside as one pack!

Top dog

Re: Client Dealbreakers

Interesting discussion. My perspective seems almost entirely dog focused with one exception.

  • The client's/guest dog gets along nicely with mine (which means will also get along w/ his small friends). They don't have to be inseperable, but must walk nicely and behave nicely at home. No snapping, snarling, biting, or other aggression, including leash aggression and resource aggression.
  • The client's/guest dog usually needs to be used to eliminating while leashed on walks. If a dog uses a doggy door to go in/out or pee pads at home, usually it will not adapt well at our home where the dogs get many walks daily. Marking indoors is not acceptable. 
  • The client's/guest dog must be spayed/neutered, core vaccinated, on flea/worm preventative, and have recent fecal sample done to rule out parasites. I will not expose myself or my dog unnecessarily.
  • The pet parent's top motivation, like mine,  is to find a good match. If a pet parent tries to negotiate the price, especially before a meet & greet, usually it's not going to work out.




Re: Client Dealbreakers

That's a good point.   During meet and greets I always keep my guests dogs in a separate room.  So I don't have any behavior issues and I can focus in my potential client. 

Dog fanatic

Re: Client Dealbreakers

We do the samething, we only have our dogs at a meet and greet. All other dogs are keep separated and do not participate in the meet and greet.

Dog fanatic

Re: Client Dealbreakers

This is a very good point. I never schedule meet & greets on weekends (unless it happens to be an unusually slow weekend) since I tend to have multiple dogs in the house. I accomplish this by setting my sitter profile to "repeat clients only" on Wednesday or Thursday of each week. This prevents me from receiving new client requests for which meet & greets would be required over the weekend.

Having too many dogs in the house during a meet & greet makes it difficult. Even if you have the dogs put away in kennels/bedrooms, they are going to bark and cause commotion. Too much noise in the house can make new dogs nervous (as if they aren't already!), and make new clients feel uneasy. I always want a client's first impression to be that things are under control in my home (and hopefully they are!).

If it's not possible to schedule a meet & greet without other dogs being present, I do not introduce other clients' dogs to the new dog UNLESS they are going to be staying together. Occasionally, I will introduce a dog to a new dog during a meet & greet if I know the dog extremely well (they've stayed with my 20-30 times), and I want to see how the new dog responds to being in a multi-dog environment.

I also introduce all dogs in my backyard. I bring one dog out at a time. In my experience, trying to introduce dogs in a confined space (the house), or trying to introduce too many dogs at once can cause problems.

Dogs that cower and stay close to their owners do often have aggressive tendencies, and that is one thing to watch for. I pay closer attention to this behavior in large breed dogs, as small breed dogs with agressive tendencies are much easier to separate from the pack if a problem arises during a visit. They are also less likely to cause injuries.


Dog fanatic

Re: Client Dealbreakers

First, when a potential client contacts me, I thank them for their interest and send out a list of questions to help me get to know the new prospective dog.  After hundreds of meet and greets and many hundreds of booked stays, I have an idea of what questions to ask, that are specific to my home, my dogs, and personal preferences.  Surprisingly, some people don't respond to the questions at all and instead just say, "can you take him/her or not?"  I thank that person for their interest again, but let them know that I can't care for every dog and need to find out more about their dog before moving forward.  If they are interested, they answer my questions, if they aren't I very kindly thank them again and encourage them to continue looking for another sitter that will be the perfect match for them and their dog.  Some people are happy to take every request, but that doesn't work for.  I ALWAYS let them know that rover has so many awesome sitters, and another one is sure to be the right one for their dog.  If they answer my questions, it helps me know if we should move forward with a meet and greet.  And then final decisions are made from that experience.  So number one deal breaker for me would be, not showing a willingness to be transparent about their dog and interested in describing their dog to be in an open and honest way.  But even if I don't end up moving forward with that dog or client, I always thank them for their interest and time and encourage them to query another sitter or 2 or 3 and find one that is the best match or have a few they like in case one is busy.  Lots of reenforcement that Rover is awesome and has lots of great sitters, and that they will find the perfect one for them.