Hiring Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Employees

Pup Culture is going through some exciting changes at the moment.  We’re steadily growing, and to continue to provide excellent pet sitting and dog walking services for clients, we’ve hired some new employees.

hiring dog walking pet sitting employees

Our dog walker Angela took this great photo of Kana.

Unlike many pet sitting companies, Pup Culture hires employees rather than using independent contractors.  By hiring employees, we have more control over who we hire and how they perform their duties.  We can train employees and require them to operate according to Pup Culture’s standards.

I was asked recently by a potential client what my process is for hiring employees, so I thought I would share how I hire employees.  I’m so impressed by my employees that I think it’s important for you to know why I choose them.

First, all pet sitting candidates must apply with a cover letter and resume.  An animal-related background is not necessary, but some experience with animals is a must.

I adopted both of my fur babies Ellie (my cat) and June (my dog) from shelters, so they are what you might call “high maintenance” pets.  June is initially very timid in new situations, she barks quite a bit, and has a lot of energy.  Ellie can be very sweet, but if you give her one too many pets, she’ll turn on you.  Because of these quirks, I would not hire just anyone to take care of my pets when I’m gone.  When I’m interviewing potential pet sitting employees, I always think to myself, “Would I give this person keys to my house and let them take care of June and Ellie?”  I think this is the most critical test that a pet sitting candidate must pass.

We also check all of our pet sitting candidates’ references.  We make sure they are reliable and honest.  I want all of my employees to have integrity, and checking references helps me determine this.

All of our employees are also background checked.  We are bonded and insured, but we want to know that we’re sending trustworthy people into your homes.

Once employees pass background checks, they go through training.  I train all of my employees.  We cover company policies and procedures.  Employees also shadow me on dog walks before taking over pet sitting and dog walking visits for themselves.

Finally, all of my employees are monitored through a program called Leash Time.  Employees must check-in to visits on Leash Time through their smart phones.  Leash Time tracks their GPS location and times they arrive and leave clients’ houses.  I can then log in to Leash Time and track employees’ visits.

I am so grateful to have found some amazing employees.  I am continually impressed by the love they show for our animal clients.  They are reliable, trustworthy, and conscientious animal lovers–exactly the people I would want taking care of my June and Ellie.

Secrets of a Dog Walker and Pet Sitter

secrets of a dog walker and pet sitter

Our dog walker Angela added a crown to a picture of Jingles. Because “Jings is King”

As a professional dog walker and pet sitter, I appreciate the faith our clients have in us when they hand over the keys to their homes and the leashes to their most prized possessions.  Being a dog walker and pet sitter is not a role I take lightly.

When I first meet clients, I will answer any questions they may have for me.  But there are certain aspects of being a dog walker and pet sitter that I’m probably not going to immediately divulge at an initial consultation with a new client.  Instead I will share with you here some of the secrets we dog walkers and pet sitters may not tell you in person:

1.  My phone is full of pictures of your pets.  Yes, I may even have a few selfies with your animals.  I can’t help it; your pet is adorable and I’m going to try to get a good photo.

secrets of a dog walker and pet sitter

Sometimes I take selfies with clients.

2.  I have nicknames for your pet.  Maddy is “Maddy Cakes.”  Leo is “Handsome Guy”.  Hurley is “Hurl Girl”.

3.  I know your dog’s bffs and enemies in the neighborhood.  We might avoid walking past certain houses because I know that yellow lab in the window is going to bark at us.  Or we might walk past a certain house because I know Daisy likes checking to see if the neighbor dogs are in the backyard.

4.  I’m a little obsessed with your dog’s safety.  I check and recheck that harnesses are on and clipped correctly.  I make sure collars are tight enough.  I’ve yet to have a dog escape from me, and I (knock on wood) hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon.  I look both ways many times before crossing streets.  Neighbors who walk their dogs probably think I’m antisocial because I try to avoid other dogs and people on walks.  We just can’t risk how other dogs will react.

5.  I sing to your dogs.  My current dog clients probably know all the words to “Uptown Funk.”  Many of your pets are probably now a little familiar with show tunes.  When I brush cats, I just can’t help but sing “Brusha Brusha Brusha” from Grease.  And it’s not just that I sing to my animal clients.  Sometimes we do bits.  If I have a dog client named Lucy, of course I’m going to talk to her in my best Ricky Ricardo accent.

6.  We know your dogs’ bathroom habits all too well.  If William doesn’t pee and poop right when we go out, we’re walking just a little bit longer until he does.

7.  When I slip on the ice or snow while I’m walking dogs, your dog is always very concerned.  I think it’s mostly because I probably jerk the leash, but every dog always glances back whenever I slip.  You’re raising concerned citizens–that’s good.

secrets of a dog walker and pet sitter

Ava always waits patiently for kisses before I leave.

8.  Dogs get kisses when I leave.  No, not on the mouth.  I’m not a fan of full-on mouth kisses with animals.  But almost all of my dog clients get kisses on the top of their heads before I leave.  I don’t know why I do this.  But many of the dogs wait patiently until I do kiss them goodbye.

9.  I talk to your dogs constantly.  I ask my furry clients about their weekend, what they’re going to do that evening, how puppy class was, whatever it may be.  I try to tone it down when I’m actually walking your dog because I don’t want to get a crazy dog lady reputation, but it might already be too late for that…

New Dog Walker in Maple Grove!

We’re pleased to announce that Pup Culture has hired a new dog walker and pet sitter in Maple Grove!  Kirstin comes to us with a lot of experience in the pet care industry.  We’re excited to have her join our team!  You can read more about her here:


charlieHi, my name is Kirstin. I live in New Hope with my husband Joe and our English Shepherd, Marta.  Currently, Marta is our only pet (unless you count Kevin, our favorite squirrel) but I’ve had a few cats along the way and horses have been a huge part of my life as well.  I graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield with a degree in religion, and began a job in health insurance immediately after.  It wasn’t a bad job, but it was all I could do not to sneak Marta in my cubicle with me every morning and after work, I rushed to the barn every night to see my horse Kola. I realized working with animals would be much more fun than working in cubicles so I decided to give professional pet care a try and I’ve been doing it now since 2008. I feel so grateful to be able to spend my days walking dogs and breathing in the fresh Minnesota air (even when it’s cold.) I know how hard it is to be away from your pets all day, so I aim to take care of the pets in my care just as I would want someone to take care of Marta- with lots of love, fun and attention to detail.


You can check out the rest of our awesome dog walkers and pet sitters here.

We Hired a Dog Walker for Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Hopkins!

I’m so pleased to welcome Brittany, our newest employee, to Pup Culture!  Brittany will be walking dogs and pet sitting in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Hopkins.  Read more about her in her own words:

dog walker minneapolisHello! My name is Brittany. I live in South Minneapolis with my adorable Blue Heeler pup, Ivy, and fiancé, Blake (who is also adorable)! I attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and graduated with a degree in English and a double minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies. In my off hours with PupCulture, I am a staff member with the YMCA’s after school program, where children teach me to only look at the positive aspects of life. In my spare time I enjoy training Ivy, both at home and in a class setting (she’s a two program pup graduate!), running, and losing myself in literature. As a pet owner myself, I know how important it is to have someone trustworthy and reliable watch over your four-legged family members, and I am passionate about providing your animal with just as much love, care, and belly rubs as I would want for Ivy.


You can find out more about our awesome team here!

Pup Culture Has Hired an Overnight Pet Sitter!

Please welcome Kate to the Pup Culture team!  She will be doing overnight pet sitting in clients’ homes.   She is more than ready to snuggle up with your pets!  You can read more about her in her own words:

Would You Be a Good Dog Walker?

good dog walker twin cities

Would you be a good dog walker?

When I tell people that I’m a dog walker and pet sitter, I often hear exclamations like “Oh, that would be so fun!” or “I would love to spend all day with dogs!”  I can’t really argue with these sentiments most of the time.  But there is more that goes into being a daily dog walker or pet sitter than one might think.

To determine whether you too could “play with dogs all day,” I’ve developed a highly scientific quiz to determine whether you could make it as a dog walker in the Twin Cities.  So grab a piece of paper and number 1-10 (wow, memories of my old teaching days are surfacing), and answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions:

1.  Can you deal with poop?  I mean loads of poop.   Not only do I pick up at least five piles of poop a day, but I talk about poop a lot.  I leave notes to clients about poop.  I notice changes in dogs’ poop consistency and inform clients.  Poop consumes a large portion of my day.

2.  Can you walk for at least five hours a day?  I actually love this part of the job.  I’ve enjoyed fall leaves and gorgeous summer days.  But when I first started walking five big dogs who want to walk fast, it took me a few days to adjust to the added exercise.

dog walker twin cities

These are the types of daily walks I do.

3.  Do you enjoy all types of weather?  And being outside in all types of weather?  For the most part, the dogs don’t mind the weather, so neither should you.  Let’s not forget, we live in Minnesota, so you must be comfortable with winter.

4.  Do you like driving?  I know it seems weird to include this in a dog walking quiz, but I do almost as much driving as I do walking.  Pup Culture offers individual walks for clients, so we drive from house to house.

5.  Do you LOVE dogs?  As a dog walker, you’re going to hang out with a lot of dogs, so you better love them.

6.  Do you know a bit about dog behaviors?  Do you know what it means when a dog’s ears are back?  Can you tell when a dog is happy?  How about when a dog is about to attack?  Knowing basic dog behaviors is a must for a dog walker.

7.  Are you reliable?  Daily dog walkers are expected to show up everyday around the same time.  Your furry clients depend on it.

8.  Do you like being treated like a celebrity when you walk into a room?  I’m guessing at your current job, most people don’t jump up and down, yell, scream, and rush over to you when you enter the room.  The dogs learn to expect you every day and most absolutely lose it when their dog walker walks in the door.  It’s a pretty great feeling.

9.  Do you enjoy working independently?  Most of the time it’s just me and the dogs.  I might go a whole work day without talking to a human.  I personally don’t mind this, but I know a lot of people who would.

10.  Can you think on your feet?  Accidents happen, emergencies arise, a dog gets loose on a leash.  Can you keep a cool head when things go astray?

If you answered “yes” to seven or more of these questions, then you might make it as a dog walker.  Lucky for you, Pup Culture is hiring! Head on over to our Employment Page to find out more information.  You too can make everyone jealous when you tell them what you do.



Plymouth Pet Expo

Pup Culture Dog Walking and Pet Sitting will be participating in the Plymouth Pet Expo on Saturday, October 25th!  We will have a booth, so stop on by.  The expo is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Plymouth Fieldhouse.  It is $3 per person and proceeds benefit the Plymouth Dog Park.

plymouth mn pet expo

Plymouth Pet Expo Flyer

Some of the fun events and activities include:

  • Plymouth K9 Unit Demonstration
  • MN Companion Bird Show
  • Reading Education Assistance Dogs
  • Skyhoundz Disc Dog Tournament
  • Inflatables for the kids

There will also be booths featuring pet rescues and other vendors.  If you would like more information, you can visit Plymouth’s events page.  We’re excited to be a part of the event.  It should be a lot of fun, and it benefits an important part of the Plymouth community.  Hope to see you there!

Pup Culture Reviews and Feedback

Pup Culture offers surveys to all of our dog walking and pet sitting clients. Below are the reviews and feedback that I have received so far from clients.  We value what our clients have to say about Pup Culture’s services.  We strive to provide you with the best service possible.  These reviews and feedback from actual clients lets us know that we’re doing well.  (Click on the photos for a close-up.)Pup Culture MN Dog Walking Pet SittingPup Culture MN Dog Walking Pet Sitting Review Pup Culture MN Reviews FeedbackPup Culture MN Dog Walking Pet Sitting Reviewspup culture dog walking pet sitting reviews

Why Hire a Pet Sitter?

As I reflect back on the summer and all the animals that I was fortunate to spend some time with, I am reminded of the importance of having a plan in place for your pets when life gets crazy.  A pet sitter should be part of that plan.  You have a vet if your dog is ill, you may have a groomer if your dog needs a haircut, and you should have a pet sitter on hand if you face an emergency.

hire pet sitter

Dade’s parents had twins, so Pup Culture stepped in to pet sit.

In June I had a client who initially hired me to cat sit while she went on vacation.  We had a free consultation, I met her cat, she gave me directions and a set of keys.  The following week she called me because her mother was sick and my client was going to have to fly out of the country immediately to be with her mom.  Luckily I had keys and I knew her cat.  I started the cat sitting job immediately.  My client didn’t have to worry about inconveniencing friends, scheduling a consultation, or dropping off keys so I could access her apartment.  She was able to focus on her travel plans and her mom rather than running around making plans for her cat.

hire pet sitter

Lola was taken care of while her mother dealt with a family emergency.

This summer another client was pregnant with twins.  I worked with her and her husband to have a plan ready for their dog when she had to go to the hospital.  When the day finally came, all they had to do was send me a quick text and I was able to take care of their dog so they could focus on much more important matters.

Even if you’re not planning a vacation in the near future, it is a good idea to have a pet sitter on hand in case an emergency arises and you can’t rely on family, friends, or your next door neighbor.  A pet sitter will be happy to step in and care for your pets.

To get started, contact a pet sitter today.  Set up a time to meet and you can discuss your pets, instructions for care, and provide your pet sitters with two sets of keys so they can access your house while you are away.  Pup Culture can be reached at 651-236-7312 or by email at pupculturemn@gmail.com  We would love to discuss emergency plans with you, so you can feel prepared should a crisis arise.

Introducing Dogs and Cats

Last week I finally introduced June to Ellie.  If you recall, June is the dog I adopted from the Humane Society in Golden Valley on July 2nd.  I adopted Ellie, my cat, a year ago from the Animal Ark in Hastings.  I kept Junie upstairs and Ellie downstairs because June had kennel cough, and I had a feeling that neither of them would be excited about meeting the other.  I was correct.  Before I introduced them, I did some research and talked to my vets about the best way to introduce cats and dogs.  I followed these steps, but it will continue to be a long process:

1.  Keep pets separated for at least 3-4 days.  I kept Ellie and June separate for almost two weeks.  June had kennel cough and was so timid as it was, that I didn’t want to make her even more scared.  The goal of separation is to allow animals to get used to each other’s presence in the home.

2.  While the pets are still separate, begin to feed them on opposite sides of a closed door.  This teaches them to associate the presence of the other pet with pleasant things like food.  You should continue this process until each pet can eat calmly right next to the door.  This was not a problem for Ellie and June because they both love food.  Maybe someday they’ll be able to bond over their mutual love for food… hey, I can dream, can’t I?

pet sitter crystal mn

On the other side of that door Ellie is eating her dinner too.

3.  Teach your dog basic obedience commands like “sit” and “down”.  When the dog does finally meet your cat, she will be more likely to follow your directions.  June has no problem following these cues when there are no distractions, but we continue to work on these commands with added distractions.

4.  When the pets can eat their food calmly near the door, begin face-to-face meetings.  The meetings should be short and calm.  Keep your dog on a leash, and let your cat come and go as she pleases.  Reward positive behavior with treats.  Ellie and June got to this stage, but have yet to show positive behavior around each other.

5.  Repeat face-to-face sessions daily.  If the cat attempts to leave the room, allow her to do so, and don’t let your dog chase her.  Try to end each session before either pet shows stress or aggression.  Unfortunately both June and Ellie have shown aggressive behavior, so we are stepping back to feedings at the door.

dog walker crystal, mn

Ellie is showing some aggression here, so it’s back to the early introduction stages for these two.

6.  When both animals seem to be getting along, allow them loose in the room together.  If stress or aggression occurs between them, go back to earlier introduction steps.  Make sure the cat has a sanctuary from a dog at all times.  Luckily Ellie has the entire basement to herself.  For Ellie and June, this will be a very long process, but although I do not expect them to ever BFFs, I hope they can be in the same room without showing aggression. Here’s a video of June and Ellie interacting.  This actually isn’t too bad–Ellie hisses once, but that’s it.  Now June has started barking at Ellie, so I’m going back to earlier steps of the introduction process.

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