Here are the questions we're asked most often, along with the answers. If you'd like to know the answer to something that's not included here please email us.
How do I sign up for your dog walking and pet sitting services?
Please complete the Client Booking Form if you're ready to go, or send us an email if you have a question that's not answered here. We will be happy to discuss your dog walking, pet sitting or small animal care needs. We'll arrange your complimentary welcome consultation, and this first meeting will help familiarize us with you and your dog or other pet, and give you an opportunity to go over their routine and any special dietary and exercise needs.
How do I know that it's safe to give you my key?
For your complete peace of mind we background check every Houndjog team member. Many casual dog walkers and pet sitters do not or cannot provide you with proof that they have no prior criminal convictions. Casual dog walkers can be cheaper to employ, but what price do you put on the security of your home?
When should I give the key to my dog walker or pet sitter?
Most clients give a key to their dog walker or pet sitter at the initial interview, after agreeing to go ahead with the booking. If you are not able to do this, we charge a $15 key pick-up fee. We can keep your key at our office if you travel often, or we can leave it in your home at the end of the booking period, whichever you prefer. Please ask about our SafeKey Program when you contact us.
Should I call or email you when I need to get in touch?
Emailing or Skype-ing are equally good ways of contacting us, as we check both mailbox and voicemail very often. If you need to speak to us right away please do call us and we will be happy to talk to you about how we can help with your dog walking or pet sitting needs.
If I do call or email you, what sort of information should I leave?
We check our messages often so if you get the voicemail don't worry, we will return your call as soon as we can. Although you will be asked to fill in a detailed booking form, please leave a message with your dates of travel, or let us know which days you need our dog walking service. Please also let us know the town you live in and any other important information we might need to better assist you when we call you back. If you have a cell phone or number you can be reached at directly this will help us contact you more quickly. We do return all calls even if we are not able to help you with your specific request. Alternatively you can complete and submit the Client Booking Form on this site right now to let us know what your needs are.
What are the payment arrangements?
For payment details please visit our How It Works page.
Where do I send my payment?
Please make checks payable to Claire Mendelsohn, and mail to:
Claire Mendelsohn, 1065 Wolcott Avenue, Beacon, New York, 12508
What is your cancellation policy for bookings?
The 40% deposit payable in advance for all pet sitting or day visit bookings is non-refundable. Thereafter we have a 48-hour cancellation policy for dog walking and a 7-day cancellation policy for pet sitting and day visits. Please call us as soon as possible if you need to cancel or you will be charged. Cancellations made less than 7 days before a pet sitting booking are subject to a 50% cancellation fee of the balance. Cancellations made less than 3 days before a booking are subject to a 100% cancellation fee of the balance unless we are able to fill the spot that you had previously booked.
Is the information I give to my sitter kept private?
Yes. We are committed to keeping all information we receive from our clients and staff confidential, and we will not disclose any of your personal information including your mailing address. We will only use your information as a means to take good care of your companion animal and home while you are away.
Can I keep the same sitter each time I go away?
We much prefer to have the continuity of the same sitter with the same animal, and know you do too. We will do everything we can to make that happen for new trip requests. If your previous sitter is not available then a substitute sitter will be, and we will set up a meeting so you and your dog, cat or other animals get to know the new sitter before you have to leave.
Can I hire my sitter directly without going through you?
No. Please do not place our sitters in an awkward position by offering them pet sitting or dog walking employment outside of our service. You are sometimes given the private cell phone of your sitter as a means to reach them in an emergency while you are away. We respectfully ask that you do not contact them to set up future jobs when you return. Our sitters are prohibited from soliciting or accepting employment directly from clients, and have signed a legally binding contract to this effect, as do you when you use our services. Thank you for honoring this policy.
Can you give my animal medication while I'm away?
Yes. As long as your animal does not pose a threat to the carer, we are happy to administer medication to them.
I have to go away at very short notice and have no time to meet the sitter. Can I still book your service?
No. Unless we have already met you and your dog, cat or other animal we cannot take care of them without a prior meeting. This is for the safety of both you and our sitter, who will be coming to your home while you are away. We are sometimes available for last-minute sits and if we have space available and time to set up the required initial interview we will be happy to help you.
Do you board dogs in your own homes?
I've never used a pet sitter before. What exactly happens?
After we have received your information and requirements we will match you with the sitter we feel is best for you and your pet’s needs. If you work full-time we will provide a pet sitter who will be arriving after work and departing again in the morning for work, just like you would normally. If your pet needs a sitter who will be around a lot, we will set up a meeting during which you will get to know a sitter who has a flexible schedule. Our fees vary upon the amount of dogs or pets involved and the amount of time you would like the sitter to be at your home. Please call us to discuss your needs and dates. All of our sitters have gone through extensive reference and history checks and are committed to providing the best care for your pet and home while you are away, as well as leaving your home neat and tidy when you return. Please visit our Pet Sitting Services page to get a more in-depth look at what we provide.
I'm going to be away for two months. Can you provide longer-term overnight sitting?
Sometimes. We have sitters who specialize in long-term sitting and who are available for overnight sitting in your home. We do offer discounts if you will be traveling for an extended period of time.
Are there a minimum number of days required for a regular weekly dog walking service?
Yes. We provide dog walking services Monday through Friday (and sometimes at weekends), and we require a minimum booking of 2 days a week. For example, some clients use our dog walking services on Tuesdays and Thursdays, others prefer us to walk their dogs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. All we ask is you arrange set days with us so that your dog and their walker can have a regular weekly schedule. We are not often asked to provide walks for clients who only need a few days here and there, but please do email and ask if we can be of help if this is all you require.
I think my dog would enjoy group walking. How many dogs do your carers walk at any one time?
Our dog walkers take a maximum of three small or two medium/large dogs at any one time. We try our best to match up dogs that live in the same area, and that have a similar temperament and energy level. Dogs are pack animals and thrive on interaction with other dogs, especially if they are an “only child.” By having your dog group-walked several times a week you are giving them the gift of a pack brother or sister that they see regularly. We can also arrange solo walks for dogs that are not good around other dogs, for which there is an additional fee. Please email us to discuss your dogs specific walking needs.
Can I arrange for my dog to be walked off-leash?
If your dog responds well to voice commands and we have your permission, we will allow them to run free on designated dog approved paths or trails. If you agree that you want your dog to be off-leash we will ask you to sign a contract stating that we are not responsible for your dog should he or she run off. Dogs get the maximum amount of exercise when they are allowed to run free and we do encourage this if your dog is responsive to voice commands.
Am I allowed to give my dog walker or sitter a tip for great service?
Absolutely! You can give gratuities directly to your walker or sitter, or you can mail them to us to pass on. 100% of gratuities received go directly to your HoundJog carer.
Do you charge a holiday fee?
Yes, we do charge a small additional fee over the major national holidays. We will let you know this at the time you book our service. This is a way for us to reward the our team who are giving of their holiday time to take care of your dog. You can see full details of our Holiday Schedule here.
How do I get a job as a dog walker or pet sitter with you?
We are sometimes looking for reliable, committed dog walkers and pet sitters. If you are interested in working with us as a dog walker or pet sitter, please send us an email. If you are an existing client of ours and you're considering a job working with dogs, we'd be especially delighted to talk with you. Many of our wonderful team members were initially clients who are now thrilled to have a part-time job working with dogs (and we are thrilled to have them!). We have a top-notch team and delight in working with those who have the same high quality standards.