Time to Pet
Client communication, scheduling, and invoicing is almost entirely done through the Time to Pet management system, administrated by Dog Adventures Northwest. Please download the Time to Pet App, available in the Apple iTunes store and the Google Play store for iPhones and Androids. You will receive a weekly schedule report and a daily schedule report for all upcoming services automatically through Time to Pet. You are responsible for starting the timer when you pick up a dog, taking photos while out and about, ending the timer when you drop the dog off, and filling out the report card and attaching photos after completing each service.
Meet and Greets
Meet-and-Greets are approximately 30 minutes in length, and are free for potential new clients (contractors earn $25 per meet-and-greet). They provide a forum for everyone to meet one another and for you to assess that the dog is appropriate for adventures. There is no obligation for a client to book, but assuming they do want to do so, meet-and-greets are also the time to go over home entry instructions.
At present, Kerry is the only one who can make changes to the calendar in the Time to Pet system. Because invoicing is automated through the calendar, it is essential that the calendar is accurate. If any changes need to be made to the calendar, please notify Kerry via email or text.
Communicate with Clients
Most client communication should be done through Time to Pet, which makes changes/additions/thoughts/concerns much easier to track. This being said, however, it is absolutely fine for you to communicate with clients via text for minor logistics. (For example: many clients like a text when a contractor picks their dog up, for peace-of-mind; clients who are home during pick-up like a heads-up, if possible, with an ETA.)
Be sure to take pictures of dogs having fun, and include them in the end-of-session report through Time to Pet. When a client gets to see photos of their dog having a blast while they are in their office, it makes them incredibly happy and goes a long way toward alleviating their guilt at leaving their dog home while they are at work.
Post Pictures Online
All DANW contractors are listed as "editors" on the public Dog Adventures Northwest Facebook page. Please post high-quality photos on the site as often as possible. Word-of-mouth is our best form of advertising, so the more our clients share our pictures on their own pages, the better. Important: do not post photos that easily identify the dog's location, and do not tag your location in any posts.
Carry the Right Supplies
Be sure to bring high-value treats, poo bags, a leash for every dog, towels, a cell phone, and fresh water when water is not readily available or is unsafe for the dogs to drink. You may also want to consider a tag for every client with the words "call this number first" and your phone number, in the unlikely event that a dog wanders off. Other optional items include citronella spray to stop dog fights and first aid supplies.
Most pup scuffles happen when the dogs are idle. Be sure to keep the dogs moving, and to get out of dodge quickly if you sense any trouble from a stranger dog.
Towel-Dry and Clean Paws
Dogs who are out swimming and hiking are expected to get wet and dirty, and we do not promise to return fully bathed dogs. We do, however, commit to towel-dried coats and clean paws. Be sure to carry towels and a way to clean paws (lots of dry towels and a trashbag with a couple of wet towels recommended; creative solutions include portable pressure washers and portable dog paw cleaners). You may also want to ask clients if they have an accessible spigot/hose at their home that you can use for exceptionally dirty pups.
Stay Up-to-Date on Animal First Aid
All Dog Adventures Northwest contractors are required to be current on animal first aid certification. Both VCA Northwest Animal Specialists and Dove Lewis have free classes that are offered periodically. Because they are free and attendance is limited, they fill up quickly. Be sure to get on their mailing lists and check websites frequently if you need to re-up your certification.
E-Training for Dogs and PetTech also have classes, though they both have a $100 fee.
The American Red Cross no longer offers animal first aid classes, but they do have a free app that could prove helpful while out on the trail.
Communicate with Other Trainers
Use our private Dog Adventures Northwest Trainers Facebook page. It's is a good place to ask for subs if you need them, communicate about clients, share best practices, vent, get advice, etc.
Be on Your Best Behavior
Many clients have nanny-cams to keep an eye on their dogs while they are at work. Assume that you are on camera whenever you are in someone's home. When out on the trail, be a good steward. Be sure to pick up all poop and manage any undesirable behavior.
If you are petsitting, the insured contractor is the only person allowed in the home. Significant others, friends, etc, are absolutely not allowed on the premises. Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use are also entirely prohibited. When you depart a home at the end of your stay, please put bedsheets and towels in the wash, sweep and mop if necessary, wipe down all counters, put away dishes, and generally tidy up. Extra points if you can get the sheets all the way through the wash cycle and remake the bed.
Take Care of Yourself
Be sure to take care of yourselves. Burn-out is a real thing. Do your best to only take on as many clients as you can handle and still maintain your sanity. Do your best to also combine clients in similar locations for adventures, which will lessen your time on the road. When out on the trail, be sure that you always carry a cell phone, water, layers for cold/rain, and sunscreen for sunny days. If you are going anywhere remote, be sure that at least one other person knows where you are going to be, and check in with that person when you return. (Kerry is happy to be that person!)
Reach Out for Help
Kerry is here for you! She will always help you trouble-shoot any issues you are having, and will liaise with a client if need-be. Never feel guilty about asking for help! Kerry often can't pick up the phone, so texting/email is her preferred mode of communication. In an emergency, call Kerry TWICE IN A ROW, so she knows that she needs to pick up. (She will pick up the phone on the first ring when she is able.)