Pet sitters face a number of challenges during their career. Some are bitten or scratched by pets, while others have to occasionally chase after a pet that has absconded. If you are caring for a particularly challenging dog, it can be tempting to call it a day. But is this the best course of action? Should you continue to care for challenging dogs?
Make Some Practical Adjustments
It is often possible to manage a challenging dog by making some simple, needed adjustments. Start off by identifying exactly what is “challenging” and then see if you can overcome the problem. If the dog in question is only aggressive towards other dogs, rather than with people, this can be managed by finding alternative walking routes or by adjusting the time of walks when there are not likely to be many other dogs around.
However, if this is still causing problems, shorten walks and always have an “escape plan” in case you need to quickly get home following a confrontation with another dog. This way, the dog still gets to go out, but the trigger which sets him off is taken away.
Consider the Dog’s Welfare
Dogs behave in a challenging manner for a reason. There is no such thing as a purely “bad” dog. Even unruly, challenging dogs can be helped to improve in some way that will contribute to a higher quality of life for the animal and an easier management strategy for owners and pet sitters.
Before you decide to move on, consider the dog’s welfare. If you leave, will the owners be able to easily manage? Can they replace you with another pet sitter? Or will the dog’s needs suffer? Even a challenging dog can form a very close bond and attachment to his pet sitter, which can leave a void should you decide to leave.
Is the Dog a Danger to You or to Others?
Sometimes the best course of action is to walk away from caring for a particularly difficult dog. As hard as it may be to give up on a challenging dog, sometimes this is the only option left. If the dog has put you or others in danger, you should not feel guilty about relinquishing responsibility.
Pet sitters are often faced with difficult situations. They must decide if they are capable and willing to continue caring for a challenging dog. Some challenging dogs can be managed after some practical adjustments have been made, while others are a danger and pose a serious risk to the public.
More from this contributor:
Dog Walkers: Should You Let Dogs Off the Lead?
Dog Walkers: When Should You Cut Your Walk Short?
Pet Sitters: How to Move on from a Traumatic Work Experience