Tips For Pet Sitting A Cautious Dog

Airn

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#1
I'm going to be watching one of my bosses' dogs for a few days. He's asked me to come over this week to get introduced to her as well as his other dog. (Which will be kenneled because she's apparently a little hellion. Plus his dogs don't get along well and have to be separated.)

The dog I will be watching is Josie, a Sheltie. I think she's about 6. He's described her as the best dog he's ever had. He LOVES Shelties. But she's very wary of strangers. (Not sure if this is a breed thing or more of a Josie thing?)

I don't expect us to be BFF's but I want to make her feel as comfortable with as possible. I'm used to shy dogs, as Gwen is extremely cautious. So I've learned a lot from my interactions with her and what I've read on Chaz.

Anyone have any tips for being introduced to a cautious dog? As well as advice on when it will be just her and I? Would treats endear her to me or is that sending the wrong message?

Thanks in advance!:)
 

BostonBanker

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The cautious dogs I've house-sat for have usually done best with me mostly ignoring them until they are ready to interact. Obviously care for them, but don't push for interaction. Go about your day as you normally would, maybe drop a treat when you walk by, and wait for them to decide they want to interact. Staring at them constantly, trying to call them over, forcing them to take treats from your hand - all just seem to make them more worried.

Obviously all dogs are different, but that's sort of my go-to plan until I find a dog needs something else from me.
 

Fran101

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#3
Gotta agree with above. I've house-sat and taken in really shy dogs... and they seem to work with just ignoring them and starting a routine. Obviously be open and occasionally offer treats/pets but overall, let them approach first.

Having a safe place with all their things where nobody interacts with them or reaches in (crate etc...) also seems to really help build confidence
 

JacksonsMom

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The cautious dogs I've house-sat for have usually done best with me mostly ignoring them until they are ready to interact. Obviously care for them, but don't push for interaction. Go about your day as you normally would, maybe drop a treat when you walk by, and wait for them to decide they want to interact. Staring at them constantly, trying to call them over, forcing them to take treats from your hand - all just seem to make them more worried.

Obviously all dogs are different, but that's sort of my go-to plan until I find a dog needs something else from me.
This would be Jackson. He's cautious if you don't know him and if I ever had to leave him with someone else, he wouldn't want to be touched or picked up at first. Food food food though is the way to his heart.
 

JessLough

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#5
Yep, I'd ignore.

Jessie's chihuahuas are fairly cautious -- with Emma being the most (well, of the 5. I haven't met Zara). Basically I go in, I give a treat to each dog, and ignore them while they bark and convince me they're very dangerous and vicious. Usually, within an hour or two, all but Emma are climbing on me and asking for pets. With Emma, I would say it takes until the next day, when she realises I control the food. ;)
 

*blackrose

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#6
As everyone else has said, I ignore. That seems to work with the shy dogs, and also the dogs who aren't entirely sure you are supposed to be in their house. Ignore, use calming body language, and just let them go about doing what they want. If you are forced to interact (say, they have to be leashed to go outside), make it as unobtrusive of an interaction as possible. For example, use a slip lead instead of having to grab, lean over, and clip a leash onto them.

And, of course, bribery never hurt anyone. I once watched dog who would run away and hide at the sight of me (luckily she had access to outdoors so I didn't have to interact with her), and once she realized I spontaneously dropped nommy treats and wasn't scaring her, she loved me. Lol
 

Airn

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#7
Thanks for the suggestions.

She was pretty excited when I got there as they had just gotten their carpets cleaned. She barked at me and I ignored her. Once she calmed down, I tossed a couple treats near her. Once she realized they weren't bombs, she happily munched on them. I ignored her for the most part. I just let her smell me and get a bit more comfortable with me. We even got to a point where she would sit on command and take the treats off my palm. She's a very beautiful, sweet dog. She's a lot like Gwen.

Apparently she's had issues going outside with strangers, so my boss was concerned she would hold it as long as she could. I went outside, called her name and said "Outside! Potty!" and she streaked outside, did her business and walked back inside.

I'm very happy that she doesn't seem stressed out with me around. By the time I was leaving, she was sleeping by boss' feet.

I think we'll do just fine. Now she knows I'm the treat lady. :popcorn:
 

Laurelin

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#8
Sounds like you're off to a good start, With Mia the best thing to do is ignore and feed her some treats but don't be real direct/hovery over her and also don't try to pet. The biggest thing is respecting her if she moves away and DON'T chase after her trying to pet her. If she brings a toy then do play with her.
 

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