My wife and I have a friend who has asked us to babysit their pitbull/lab mix for a long weekend here at the end of the month, and I'm leary as to whether or not we should do it.  Olive is 5mths old, and I believe the pit is 3yrs old.  They say she's sweet and shy, but pits can be an unpredictable breed.  I read Jen and Ace's post, but it didn't do much to waylay any fears.  None of us, including Olive, have met the other dog, but there's a possible plan to this weekend.  Tips on what to do to get them ok with each other?  Signs we should look for that would make us say "so sorry!"?  Any other additional help would be appreciated! 

 

Side note:  Olive is well socialized and has only had a problem with an annoying dachshund... but they made up last time.  We took her to Fleet Peeples park (a local dog park) the other day after a dog art festival and she seemed timid of the bigger dogs, esp two pits that were there.  She mostly stayed on her older sisters hip and learned that she's an excellent first time swimmer!  She's an incredibly gregarious puppy who loves to play, and I'm wondering how she'd react if the other dog didn't want too, and also how the other dog would show it...

 

do we sound concerned enough?  lol...  thanks in advance!

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If i was in your situation, I would say "no" for now because none of the family members have met the pitbull/lab mix before. Don't get me wrong, I grew up with 2 dobies and 2 rotties, so the breed is not my main concern. My biggest concern is safety, I want to make sure that all the human in the household are capable and comfortable with handling the pit/lab mix first. Then possibly introduce Olive in a neutral territory under everyone's supervision, then decide from there.

When I foster dogs, I meet with the new dog and their family in a neutral place. Before meeting the new dog, I walk my pack a good 45 minute before arrival, during the initial "meeting", no sniff and greet, get everyone to walk side by side for a good 30-45 mins, after the water break, supervise the meet and greet.

When the new dog arrive your home with your dogs, take them where you want them to go potty and allow them to do their business. Proceed to leash the new dog and introduce him to every room in the house, let him sniff, correct him when 1st sign of leg lifts, once the tour is over, have him off leash and monitor, watch / follow him closely. It is best for the new dog to repeat this experience before the first day of dog sitting.

Never feed them in the same area, feed them separately - a place where they will not be bothered by each other. Safety is your number one concern. Have your friend leave you crucial records and vet info, phone numbers.
The only thing I would add is to make sure the OTHER dog has a good long walk before meeting and walking together. Energy on both sides should be drained off by a long walk.

I'll keep dogs for friends but only if we've met and I have an idea what the dog is like. It's certainly workable but structuring the meeting is crucial and even more important is being familiar enough to be comfortable as a handler.
I agree with Sam. Pet sitting any dog that you have never met is not something I would do. It really isn't fair to the dog that is going to be pet sat. Put yourself in that dog's place. One day you are happily hanging out at home then you are whisked away to a home you don't know with people you don't know and other dogs you don't know. On top of that, your family leaves you with these strangers! This is just setting up that dog to be stressed and fearful. Meeting in a neutral place and introductions to everyone the dog is going to be in contact with would be the best before hand. If things go well and you feel comfortable then agree.

Be sure to ask lots of questions like if the dog is more comfortable with certain genders, kids or other animals. Is it food or toy aggressive? Is it fearful of things like thunderstorms or certain noises that you need to know about? Any special diet or medications? Is the dog sensitive to being handled in anyway. For example, one of my dogs hates his feet being touched. Knowing this anyone who pet sits for me knows to not play with his feet since it stresses him out. Take away many of those variables and you are setting up the dog and yourself for a successful weekend visit.

In the end, the situation needs to be one that everyone involved is comfortable in.
We're planning on meeting at a local park to do the walk and then going to our house afterwards for dinner and such. We're not scheduled to watch Bailey until the end of the month, so we have time to execute all the pre-stay things we need to do. This information is all awesome, I appreciate all the feedback so far!

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