I’m curious what you think of “nanny cams” for watching pet sitters and dog walkers.

Have you ever set up a camera to watch your dog walker? Were you surprised by anything?

If you’re a dog walker like me, have you ever taken care of a dog when you knew there was a camera? How did that make you feel?

I do have a camera set up to watch my cats when I’m away for more than 24 hours. This is not to spy on our friend who sometimes checks on them. It’s so we can make sure our cats are doing OK while they’re alone. So, I get where people are coming with “nanny cams” for pets.

As far as I know, none of my pet sitting and dog walking clients use cameras (that I’m aware of), but I’ve always just assumed there could be cameras whenever I’m at someone’s house.

I treat my clients’ homes with respect, obviously, and I always arrive on time and walk, run or spend time with the dog for the full half-hour or hour, regardless of whether there are cameras.

But I wanted to bring up the issue of “nanny cams,” because trust is a real issue as far as pet care. If people don’t trust a dog walker, then that dog walker is not going to have a very good business.

I do believe my clients trust me 100 percent, and therefore have no reason to use a camera and no reason to doubt me.

Here are some ways I try to build that trust:

  • By being polite. For example, I ask if the client would like me to take my shoes off during the initial meet and greet.
  • If the owner is not home when I take the dog for his first walk, I send a text when I arrive and sometimes again right after my visit.
  • I also send a text with a pic to some clients after every visit, depending on the client. Some would prefer an email every now and then or a written note.
  • If there is bad weather such as a blizzard or a lightning storm, I keep the client updated so they know the house is OK and that I made it there.
  • I provide references for any potential new clients that want them. I also set up a testimonials page on my web site.
  • I use a GPS watch (love my Garmin!) to track distances. The Map My Run app also works well. Some clients are really interested in how far I go and where we walk. Others don’t really care.
  • I don’t open the client’s fridge, cupboards or anything else unless they specifically encouraged it.
  • I don’t use the client’s bathroom unless I’m doing overnight pet sitting and staying at the house.

Is it OK to ask about cameras?

I don’t ask my clients about cameras, because it seems to be a non-issue for me. (I just assume they have them.)

But, I do know a professional pet sitter in my area who won’t care for pets if there are cameras, and that seems reasonable to me too.

This woman is an established pet sitter and has all the business she needs. She and I meet for coffee every now and then to share ideas, and she said she’d just rather not deal with cameras. I can see her point.

Pet sitting is built on trust. This goes both ways. The client needs to be able to trust the pet sitter, and the pet sitter needs to feel trusted in return.

Whether you’re a dog walker or someone who has hired a dog walker, I’m curious what your thoughts are on this topic and if you have any examples to share.

Have you ever used a nanny cam to check in on your pet sitter?

I also wrote a post about the new ICPooch for video chatting with your pets.