Being a caregiver is a different line of work. It is a decision to give care to others; human or animal, caregivers are a different bunch. Whether you are looking for a dog or human caregiver; it can be a huge challenge to find the right one. I have been interviewing and interviewing and interviewing to find good pet sitters who I feel comfortable leaving my dogs with. My amazing sitter who has been watching my pack for years has finally retired at the age of 80. I will miss her and her caregiving desperately. It is a great feeling being able to go away and not worry about your furkids.
The unfortunate thing is that when a sitter is really good; they get booked up very quickly. Trying to get a weekend or a week of their free time can be nearly impossible. But, finding that great sitter can also be a huge challenge. Many sitters become pet sitters because they love dogs and cats. Those are the sitters that you need to find; the few mixed in amongst the ones in it for a buck.
Get a gut feel. I read people; I've written about my people reading before but when I interview a prospective sitter, the reading level goes up. I try to get a feel, a sense of who they really are; if that is indeed who is before me or someone that they are trying to be.
Watch them with your dog/s. This is huge. How do they pet your dog? How do they react when they initially enter your home? What do they do when your dog dives on the couch and is face to face with them? Licking, how do they react? It is all very, very important.
What do they offer as far care? Do you like their business practices? I interviewed one sitter who demanded 1/2 the price of a booking if you cancelled, at any point in time. If you cancelled two weeks out from your trip; you had to pay the whole sitting fee. Life happens and sometimes things change; getting nailed for a hefty sitting fee when you don't go anywhere is not right. Obviously she did not get booked. I have talked to fabulous sitters who don't worry about cancellations because they know someone else will book them.
Pet sitting is a business; BUT, it is a caregiving business which is very different than other businesses. It has to be different and if a caregiver looks at caregiving as simply a business then it is probably not where they should be, career wise.
If a sitter thinks that you are over the top in your request for the care level of your dog, move on. Their job is to care for your dog; but to also make it possible for you to go away and feel comfortable knowing that your dog is being cared for properly. If you think for a second that someone is not caring for your dog properly; you are not going to enjoy or focus on your time away.
Sometimes I ignore that little voice inside; I think that maybe I'm just over analyzing. But, I am almost always proven right in my initial gut feeling. Listen to that voice inside when looking for a person to care for your dogs. When you are not there for them; you need to know that someone else has their heart in the job.