Dogs can be a great addition to a family, and many dog lovers often assume that everyone loves man’s best friend as much as they do, however that’s often not the case. When you have a nanny who’s not on board with a new dog it can become a serious problem in the employment relationship. Here are some things to think about before you take the plunge.
Talk with your nanny first. Some nannies are allergic to dogs and can’t have any contact with them. Others simply don’t like dogs and won’t want to help care for a dog in any way. Still others are afraid of dogs and have serious reservations about working in a household with a dog. Find out your nanny’s feelings about dogs before you make a decision to bring one home. Her input may change your mind or impact the age, breed, or sex of the dog you bring home. A hands-off nanny doesn’t mean you can’t get a dog, it means you have to create an alternative pet care plan.
Decide who will be responsible for the day to day care of the dog. Sometimes parents buy a dog as a family pet and are ready to take on the responsibilities that come along with it. However many times parents buy a dog at the insistence of a child who’s convinced he’s ready, willing, and able to take on the daily tasks of caring for one. Nevertheless, despite how ready he may think he is, once the dog is actually in the house the child may realize it’s much more work than he anticipated. Dogs, especially puppies, can take a lot of time and work. Dogs need to be fed, given water, walked, and groomed, not to mention someone has to take charge of everyone’s least favorite part: poop patrol. Children often lose interest in these necessary pet chores after a short while, wanting to spend their time simply playing with the dog. Before you commit to bringing a dog home, make sure your child has the maturity, the time, and the commitment to care for a dog long-term.
Outline the role the nanny will have in dog care. Even if you’re a stay-at-home parent or your child is in charge of the daily care of your dog, at some point your nanny is going to have to provide some level of pet care. Measuring out dog food, filling up the water bowl or letting your pooch in and out during the day may not seem like a big deal to you, but those chores might be a big deal to your nanny. Don’t assume your nanny is willing to help out with the new dog. Instead outline the kind of help you’ll need during the day and ask what she’s willing to do.
Compensate your nanny for any additional duties she takes on. If your nanny takes on extra duties like dog walking, doing extra cleaning to control pet hair, or house training your new puppy, make sure you pay her fairly for her help. She may love your new dog but she’s still going above and beyond.
Be ready to hire outside help. Pet care isn’t part of the typical nanny job description so your nanny may not be willing to take on pet chores. Be ready to invest in hiring someone who can walk your dog during the day if you don’t have a fenced in yard, regularly groom your dog, or train a rambunctious dog. If you want to get a puppy and you’re nanny doesn’t want to be responsible for house training you’ll need to invest in a doggie daycare until the puppy is trained. These expenses can add up quickly so make sure you figure them into your overall dog budget.
Make the accommodations your nanny needs to be comfortable. In many ways, dogs and children naturally go together. However not all nannies are comfortable having dogs, especially nervous or large dogs, around children. Talk with your nanny about her feelings and make any adjustments she needs to maintain a clean and safe environment for your child. She may ask for a baby gate to keep the dog out of the kitchen during mealtime, or a pet attachment for the vacuum to keep pet hair off the carpet in the play room. Your home is her work environment and small things can go a long way.
Be sure you’re ready to be a dog owner. It’s easy for both adults and children to get drawn in by a sweet dog face. Remember having a dog is a long term commitment, generally 12 to 16 years if you get a puppy, and is a lot of work. Dogs are people pets and need lots of attention, daily exercise, grooming, regular training, and socialization. Because they can’t be left alone for long periods of time, they can restrict a busy schedule and require boarding or a pet sitter for trips, even those that are just one night. Think through how a dog will impact your family now and as your children get older and participate in more and more activities outside the home. Make sure you carefully consider all the pros and cons before you bring a dog home.