Tag Archive | #homeisbetterthanboarding

Bathing…Or Grooming?

To Bathe, or to Groom?

I have been asked by some readers and clients whether grooming or bathing at home is best for your pet.  The tried and true answer here is that it depends on the dog in question.  Some dogs require more grooming in order to maintain the proper cut style for a particular breed.  Find a list of those particular breeds here.   However, you may still need to do a wash between grooming, so here are some helpful tidbits. 

My Opinion

Personally I prefer to bathe short haired dogs at home, they do not require much in the way of cuts, therefore bathing at home is perfectly fine.  If you can make it fun, it can be an enjoyable time for you and your dog.  It also creates a perfect time for bonding with your pet.  Dogs do not care if they are clean, and actually prefer to be dirty and stinky, and if they think that they can get out of bath time by acting a fool, then they most certainly will act a fool to avoid that particular case.  Cesar Milan has great pointers on how to make bath time more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

How to Bathe your Dog

bubbles

Choosing the right shampoo

Choosing the right shampoo also depends on the type of dog you have, the type of fur on that dog, the color of the fur on the dog, and the skin type of the dogs your are bathing.  So many things go into selecting the proper shampoo for a dog.  One of my dogs has super short hair, dry skin, and has allergies to certain products.  Therefore I have to be very careful as to what products I use or feed to him.   He is prone to bacterial infections of the skin which then require antibiotics 2 times a day for 3 weeks to get cleared up (we have yet to determine what causes this on him).  I found a list of the top 10 dog shampoos which I am happy to share with you, however, I have never heard of any of them in my 7 plus years of #dogboarding or #petsitting.

Top 10 dog shampoos and conditioners

Should you condition your dog?

Again we can start with my opinion on the matter, I would say that any dog with long hair you should use a conditioner on.  The ones that come to mind the most are Golden Retrievers.  Having the long beautiful coat is a signature of the Golden Retriever and you always want them looking their best.  However, they are also on the list of dogs who require the most grooming, so if you have a GR you may be better off taking them to the groomer.  However, between grooming, if you need to give a bath, conditioner is recommended by this blogger!

soapy dogs

Picture credit: Pinterest.com

Which is your choice?  Do you bathe at home, or take your dog to a groomer?  If you use a groomer, post before and after pics!  I would love to see them!

Blogging…tweeting…posting…oh my!

In today’s world, it seems like everyone has a blog.  Every person who has ever done any type of pet sitting has a blog.  The question is, what are the best practices for having a blog or twitter page?

Pet sitting has gone to the dogs…

Myself, I prefer to work with dogs, they are more receptive to human attention and would prefer to spend more time with humans, rather than sitting for cats or other types of animals, who are more independent and prefer to spend their time by themselves or relaxing in the sun, and do not need human interaction as much as their canine counterparts.   I have watched dogs and cats, and there have been times that I have made sure food and water for the cats is available, the food and water disappear  during my stay, but I never SEE the cat(s).  Therefore, I just refill the food and water, clean the mysteriously dirty litter box, and make sure they have the necessities to live, even if they won’t let me pet them.   Some pet sitters prefer to spend their time caring for other animals, cats, fish, birds, or reptiles these do not offer me much in the way of companionship or fun, so I prefer to spend my time with dogs.

With some reading I have figured out a few best practices to use when utilizing #smm for your #petsitting business. 

Best Practices…

  1.  Post consistently-people need to know that you are an active user on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and by posting consistently, they are always seeing something from you on their timelines, or feeds.
    1. I am certain that I have not been posting near enough stuff, so I will ensure to post more things, include more hashtags, and all around try to get more interaction from those that view my blog, Facebook, or Twitter pages.
  2. Use words and pictures-Use the fun you are having with a clients pets and showcase them in your #sm.  Some people feel that you should ask permission before posting photos of their pets on #sm, if this is the case, include it in your contract, and they will either be able to say yes or no.
    1. All of my clients are ok with me posting pictures of their dogs on my Facebook page, I will also implement it into my new contract in order to ensure that I have explicit permission to use the photos at my leisure.  For the most part everyone always loves to see my fun with their babies so I am sure that there will not be too many issues.
  3. Share trending articles-Its National Bring your pet to work day!  What are you going to do?  Dress up your pup?  Stay at home because your pet is a spaz and is not fit for public viewing?  Share these things with your clients and keep them informed.
    1. This is one thing that I do fairly regularly with my Facebook page, however, I am sure that there is much more that I can do.  I am always trying to share things that I feel are relevant to my dogs and their families.  Each Thanksgiving I always post what is and is not good for dogs to eat during dinner.

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Photo Credit Petsit.com

In my reading I have found that many #petsitters have utilized #sm to boost their reputation as well as to be in touch with their clients.  According to Powell, 2011

“Marketers need to work for both short-term and long-term success. In
the short term, they must help the company make the numbers for this
week, this month and this quarter. In the long term, they must put the
company in a position to make the numbers next quarter and next year.
This can be done only with a valid foundation of marketing ROI- there
is no other method.”

Being a small business, there are not any actual projections or reports to file yet, however, noticeable improvements in the number of dogs I sit and the number of days I watch a particular dog are all noticeable improvements on my ROI.

Noticeable Improvements

I have already seen noticeable improvements on my ROI, I have more people noticing my blog posts, more people being drawn to my Facebook page, and more people following me on Twitter since beginning this class.  I have yet to book any new clients, but i am hopeful that I will very soon.  With the summer holidays right around the corner, I am hoping to be busy this summer. 

Moving on to another subject close to my heart, preventing dog bites is so important especially when it comes to children.  Many children do not know the proper way to approach or play with dogs,  I found the below blog with some helpful information and a great YouTube video.

This week is dog bite prevention week!

Bite Prevention Tips

Also found this video amusing but also very true, and Jimmy the dog has many videos on dog bite safety on YouTube.

Important Summer dog tips!

  1.  NEVER,  NEVER, NEVER!! LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A LOCKED CAR WITH THE WINDOWS UP IN THE SUMMER!
  2. Exercise your pet early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler.
  3. Use doggie boots to protect your pets feet from the hot pavement if you must be out during the heat of the day.
  4. Watch for signs of dehydration- Dogs can’t sweat. They cool off by panting, so an overheated dog will drool excessively. It will become lethargic, its eyes will be bloodshot, and it may appear a little pale. If you lift its skin, it will take longer than usual for the skin to fall back into place.  ALWAYS PROVIDE PLENTY OF FRESH WATER FOR YOUR DOGS.
  5. Find innovative ways to cool your dog…no air conditioning… set up a kiddie pool in the shade of a tree
  6. Dogs cool from the bottom up so be sure that you are cooling the feet and tummy when hosing your dog off if they are overheated
  7. Let your dog dig-this may seem unconventional, however, the dirt is cooler down below than it is on the top and your dog may resort to finding his own way to avoid the heat. Dog in nature dig their dens not out of frustration but to find food, hide, give birth–or keep cool! If it’s possible, locate a shady area where it’s okay for your dog to dig.
  8. Allow your dog to check the weather-one short step out the door and the dogs instincts will kick in and he/she will know they have to shorten their walk or they may just come back inside where its safe.
  9. Swim more…walk less-The best activity you can do in summertime or hot weather is swimming. Instead of walking the dog, take the dog on a swim! If you hold on and allow your dog to take you around the pool, it becomes a powerful bonding experience for the two of you, similar to the walk.

Dog sitting or dog boarding, what is your choice?  Leave me a comment below, or share a picture of your pooch!

 

To Be…or not to be…Social

To be…or not to be…Social

When you are a dog lover, the word social has an entirely different meaning than what most these days consider social.  In today’s society, the word “social” media to me has relatively little “social” aspect and is more about hiding behind a screen pretending to be someone you are not.  When you are dog lover, being social means going to dog parks, meeting other dog lovers, meeting new dogs, and finding new and exciting adventures for you and your canine companion to go on every weekend.  Whether it be a new hiking trail or a new park with a LAKE for them to swim in.  But in today’s society, you have to be on social media in order to be “social” and in order to spread the word that you love dogs and just want to spend all your time with them.

dogs 2

In #dogsitting, as with any industry, utilizing #smm can either be the best, or the worst thing that you do for your company.  There are several risks and challenges associated with #dogsitting that are probably not an issue with many brands. Today I will discuss some of these challenges and risks with either taking the brand social or remaining offline and not becoming social.

Becoming social…

Probably the biggest risk for any business is that something will get posted that you do not want others to see.  This can be really bad for business.  In the #dogsitting business, if people see you being mean (heaven forbid)  to a dog (labeled a #doghater) that you are watching, or even hear something negative, they may take a video of you and/or post something on the internet for others to see.  This could potentially be disastrous for your business.  If you are a very small business like myself, it could mean the end of your business.  If people even perceive that you might even possibly be mean to their dog, they are never going to hire you to watch their dogs.  However, on the flip side, when you meet people at a dog park and are actively playing with the dog you are sitting, people will start a conversation and eventually it will come out that you are just the dog sitter, and they more inclined to want you to watch their dogs.  I always post photos of myself and my clients on my Facebook page, so that 1) their owners know that we are having a good time while they are away, and 2) so that others can see what I am up to while the owners are away.  I will sometimes post live videos of our walks, and if they get too boring, I will make them short.  I may take a video of us at the dog park playing, or just sniffing everything on our walks, or pictures of meeting other pups on our walks.  I also share a lot of dog related things on my Facebook page, some helpful information for everyone who follows me on Facebook, it may be an article i found interesting, or a bunch of cute photos, or even a cartoon that tickled me at the time about dogs.   All of these things show the customers, or potential customers that I am a fun, dog loving, pet sitter!

Another, issue and one that I have experienced personally is that I have created a social presence, but nobody is sharing content, or participating in discussions.   On my Facebook page, I can see some information on how many people that I have reached, I rarely get comments on my photos and never get a share.  Maybe I should encourage those who see and read the posts to share or comment in order to keep my feed in the timeline.  I will try that in the future.

 What are you sharing?

Image result for risks with taking your brand to social media

Photo Credit:Exite Home Security

There are several negative  consequences to social media as well as a negative image, many people have lost their jobs, not gotten jobs, not gotten into the college of their choice, or even been turned down for mortgages due to what they post on their social media profiles.  People sometimes forget, once you put it on the internet, there is NO getting it back.

Image result for risks with taking your brand to social media

photo credit:Pinterest.com

A few articles of bad publicity…

Lost Dog and other Disasters

Vets view on pet sitting

4 horrific pet sitters and how to avoid them

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Check out your pet sitters Facebook profile as well as their business page
  • Like what you see?  Send a private message to some of the people who have left reviews, most people will be more than happy to tell you about a great sitter!
  • Not like what you are finding?  Better keep looking, trust your gut when it comes to your pup.
  • Does the person you are checking out appear to be a genuine dog lover?
  • Is there profile timeline have things with dogs as well as their business page?

Comment, post, share…

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever hired an in home pet sitter?  What were your experiences?  Are you for or against having someone in your home taking care of your pets?

#doublespets #petsittersareawesome #doglover #dogsrbetter #snhusmm

 

Paws-a-itively Drooling over Apps

Meet the Pack…

Above, I would like to introduce you all to my pack, well my pack back in January.  Left to right, Lea is an American Bred Bull Terrier and probably the only full-blooded dog in the pack.  She passed shortly after this picture was taken, but was loved dearly by everyone in our family and has been missed dearly in the last few months(especially since her pictures show up in my #facebookmemories nearly every day).  Cici is a Rhodesian Ridgeback(probably a mix) we rescued from @buddiesforlife at @Petsmart one day.  Cici loves to run and chase a tennis ball.  Athena is next, I call her a Daldog, (Dalmatian/bulldog mix) and is the newest addition to the pack.  She is very energetic and loves chasing basically anything that moves, from the reflection of her collar to the shadow from your foot on the floor.  Boudreaux is the last in line, on this day, we were celebrating his 7th Birthday.  Boudreaux is a Dogue De Bordeaux (or a mix thereof) and is super lazy, relaxed and doesn’t really like to chase anything.  However, recently he has been playing more with Athena.  Below is a picture of him enjoying his #birthdaycookie.  We had him a little #birthdaypawty

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Choosing a sitter…

How on earth can I be expected to choose a #dogsitter for this pack with all these personalities?  Cici and Boudreaux do not trust anyone they first meet #trustissues, so I could not choose based on them, and Athena and Lea LOVE(D) EVERYONE #nofear! With these typse of personalities, I would know that it would be up to me to find someone to care for them should the need arise #allthesechoices.  Choosing a dog sitter can be a daunting experience, and sometimes downright scary.  How are you to choose someone that you can rely on to take care of your babies, make sure they are fed correctly, make sure they get any necessary medications, and trust them to take care of your home as well.  Many people rely on people that they know recommending someone they have used and trust.  There are several apps out there that can narrow down the choices, but ultimately, you have to find someone who you trust with your fur baby (babies) #furbabies and your home…

Dog Sitter Apps for Iphone

I with the help of the internet, have come up with a list of the most popular dog sitting apps for the Iphone.

DogVacay is one such popular app that allows for people to search for dog sitters in the area, read reviews, and even schedule meet and greets with potential dog sitters.  It will as well recommend pet friendly places to visit while you are on vacation.

Rover.com has an app as well that will let you put in certain search criteria and find a dog/pet sitter in your area.  Rover.com charges the pet sitters on their websites to have profiles on their pages and offers peace of mind to clients by offering things like easy payments, and insurance on the dogs in your care.

Pawsmate is another app that is available to help you search for dog sitters, dog walkers, trainers, cleaning services and much more.

Care.com is another website/app that allows the user to sign up and be able to search for pet sitters and also baby sitters and senior or elderly sitters as well.  Care.com has a website where one can sign up and have an easy way to pay and also track any taxes you should be paying as well.

These apps are all very handy and can direct a flow of traffic to your website/blog/Facebook page etc and having more traffic, in essence you should eventually get a larger #customerbase.

More customers=success measured

Reaching more clients, can and will eventually lead to having a larger #customerbase.  By watching the days on your calendar get booked and the growth in income from your dog sitting business, you will be able to measure growth quite easily.  Happy customers will tell their friends, write positive reviews on your pages, and call you again and again when they travel, these things will bring in new clients as well.

Rover.com of Seattle on Thursday announced a $25 million investment, bringing its total funding to more than $50 million. (Charlotte Observer, March, 2015) According to this article, in the pet sitting and dog walking business “Our biggest competitors today are friends and family and the local kennel,” friends and family seem to be our biggest competition as they will watch a friends or neighbors dogs for free, thus cutting the cost of travel for the pet owner.

Pet Sitter Startups the next success?

Who makes good dog sitter?

A few things to look for in a petsitter….

  • Friendly
  • Fun Loving
  • Calm
  • Respectful
  • Trustworthy
  • Sensitive
  • Flexible
  • Consistent
  • Reliable
  • Genuine Dog Lover (trust me you can tell)
  • Make a connection with your dog immediately

How do you measure your ROI on social media?  Comment below…

 

Social Media and Dog Sitting

 What social media tools do I use?

Social media comes in handy in helping to grow your business…so I have heard…however, I have  not had much luck in growing my small business in the 5 or so years that I have been doing this.  I have primarily relied on word of mouth and my Facebook page in order for my business to grow.   I have run promotions where if a guest refers a new client to me then they earn a free night a few times.  However, in my #snhusmm class, I have realized that I may  have to do a bit more than just trust my clients to tell their friends about me.  I have started to utilize Twitter @doublespets and now this blog posting as well.

There really is an app for that!

There are several apps out there that could be used in order to promote my business fully.  One such website/app would be Rover.com. Where you can sign up to be a #petsitter.  There are SO many pet sitters on this page, how would one choose?  Being on Rover.om does offer you and your clients a peace of mind.  They offer secure and automatic payments, insurance on dogs in your care, 24/7 support and a variety of other things.  However, if you read through the fine print, they also take 20% of your earnings in order to provide those things.  So is this a viable option for someone trying to grow a business.  Of course it is!  However, unlike some people, I have already established a trusted relationship with several families and have several 5* reviews on my Facebook page.  I do not offer any insurance for the dogs, but the people who I sit for know that I spend tons of time with just their dog, we play, we eat, we walk, we have treats, and the clients get plenty of photos to prove that while they are away (giving them peace of mind). This is not an option that I am willing to pay someone to provide for me.  When I first started out, I did sign up on Rover.com and I did not really get many hits or new clients from it, therefore, I ended up closing that account.

How do I utilize social media to grow my business?

I am trying to ask myself 2 questions, where do I spend most of my time in social media?  And, Where do my potential clients spend most of their time?  I have heard and read that posting the same thing on all social media platforms is a good idea, but should one really post something different yet still interesting on all platforms?  Maybe just changing a little for each post?  These are questions not so easily answered.  I will have to go with what I am learning in my #snhusmm class and say that posting the same things across multiple platforms would be the best scenario.social-media-unleashed-how-pet-sitters-and-dog-walkers-can-maximize-social-media-6-638

Unfortunately, dog/pet sitting have no tried and true method to generate #moreclients, however, if we are to utilize each social media platform to the best of our ability, we should expect to see more #customergrowth in our future.

Benefits of pet sitting?

Your pet gets:

  • Their regular diet and routine in an environment they are comfortable in
  • Less stress than traveling to and staying in an unfamiliar place  (such as a boarding or a kennel). 
  • Fun and exercise
  • Someone who loves them like their own
  • Attention while you’re away.

You get:

  • Happier friends and neighbors, who aren’t burdened with caring for your pet.
  • The peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional.
  • Someone to bring in your newspaper and mail
  • Someone who will come to your home
  • Other services provided by most pet sitters

What are your suggestions on how to best utilize social media to grow a business?  Have you done this?  Comment below…