1. What is a "K9 Nanny"?
I love this question! I get it aahhhllll the time! A "K9 Nanny" is a person who cares for dogs, similar to a traditional Nanny except for dogs. In other words, a K9 Nanny ensures they are fed properly; both quantity and timely, they are following the house rules set by their human owners, i.e. not on the furniture and/or playing with their own toys.....they are seriously just like kids! A K9 Nanny is a walker, a drop-in check up on-er, a nurse, a sitter, a trainer, but most importantly, a K9 Nanny is a surrogate parent. A K9 Nanny ensures that the dogs are receiving as much love and attention (usually more) then their human owners give them. In addition, a K9 Nanny can also help with behavioral issues such as; inappropriate barking, potty training, chewing on things that aren't intended to be chewed, and social or separation anxiety. This is usually done by reinforcing training you, as the human owner, are already working on or by suggesting new methods of training.
2. What is the difference between hiring a professional K9 nanny and putting my dog in day care boarding or a kennel?
The biggest difference is the stress the dog will experience. There is no way to eliminate stress entirely since they will be missing their human parents. Some dogs do very well in social day care environments, some don't. Other dogs are perfectly fine staying in a kennel, others aren't. It really depends on the dog. Hiring a professional sitter means your dog doesn't have to leave his comfort zone, in fact he doesn't have to stop doing anything he would normally do, or be forced to do anything he's not comfortable with in a new environment. So for him/her it's business as usual and that means LESS STRESS!
3. What do I need to look for in a Professional K9 Nanny?
Most importantly, look for somebody you feel comfortable with. This means, somebody who you feel is going to take a high level approach to the care of your pet. Consider things like, "How would this person respond in an emergency?" Also remember, your opening your home up to this person. Consider things like, "Is this person a professional or just somebody looking to make a couple extra bucks?" A true professional will be compassionate about animals and have a high level of respect for you, your pet, your home, and your house rules.
4. What should I expect from a Professional K9 Nanny?
First, and most importantly, you should expect your pet sitter to respect your personal home and belongings. They will have access to your kitchen, bathroom, laundry, wifi, tv, etc. and they should treat your home and it's contents with the utmost level of respect. If you have ever hired a house sitter, this concept and experience will be very familiar. If you haven't, an easy way to conceptualize the experience is to remember, this person will live at your house in your absence. You should expect to return to a home that has been "lived-in" while you've been away. They will use toilet paper, paper towels, open and close windows, move chairs, etc. But if they are professional and respectful, they will clean up after themselves and return the house in the same or better state. Every household/pet sitter relationship is different so I highly suggest to discuss the details with your pet sitter ahead of time to establish expectations, avoid any confusion, and eliminate any disappointments.
5. What are Professional Dog Mom - the K9 Nannies standards or certifications and what do they mean?
There are no current industry standards, as of today (2017). To date, the entire Pet Service Industry has very little regulations and standards. This makes finding a suitable sitter difficult, considering anyone can claim to be a pet sitter and post a classified on craigslist. There are several organizations out there that offer certifications, some are pay-for certifications, others require a completed course and exam.
I, Tonda Benge, have completed the Professional Pet Sitter Course through NAPPS - National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and have received my certification. I've also completed a course in dog/cat CPR/First Aid conducted by Pet Tech and have received my certification. I'm also a member of PSI - Pet Sitters International.