There’s a growing trend in the housekeeper world of families asking their nannies or housekeepers to be involved with the family pet - or to be more specific, walking the dog.

Whilst it sounds lovely and relaxing, in fact this new trend is causing issues regarding several areas of the nanny or housekeeper’s work within the home.

It goes without saying that when someone works within a family home, they accept that everyone within the home comes as a package - and many times this will include a dog. Whilst this is great if you are hiring a dog lover - what if your nanny or housekeeper isn’t so keen on your furry friend?

In this blog, we investigate the reasons behind the rise in nannies and housekeepers helping with family pets – and take a look at the different solutions that can make the situation work for everyone involved.

The nanny versus the dog

Of course, from your perspective, it all sounds so simple. In fact, having a nanny who also helps out with your pets is the ideal scenario. – But it’s important to bear in mind that for many nannies or housekeepers looking after a pet isn’t something they ever saw as part of the role.

Not only that, but some nannies or housekeepers have no experience of dogs and although they appreciate they are in the home and are part of the family, they didn’t ever expect to have to care for the dog themselves.

From the family’s point of view, they have hired a housekeeper to work within the family home and therefore they must accept that the role includes dog walking.

This is all very well and good if it was discussed and agreed upon during the recruitment process. However, many of our candidates are reporting that this is something that is being put on them once they have started a role and they are no longer happy.

What are the issues regarding pet care and housekeeping?

1. Time restraints

Without a doubt, the biggest issue surrounding housekeepers and pet care seems to be how much time is needed to walk the dog during what is an already busy day.

Nannies or housekeepers typically have an intensive work schedule with tasks spread across many areas of the house. They are often already under a lot of pressure to get everything done.

Basically, the nanny or housekeeper may not have that much time to give to a dog when there are already so many other things they need to do, which creates additional stress within the day.

2. The age of the dog

Dog age is another factor. In recent times, we have had many calls from our staff unhappy that they have been told the family are getting a puppy and that the puppy training and clearing up after the puppy is now their responsibility too.

Young dogs are very often full of energy and need extra attention and time running in a large open space to burn this off – time which your nanny or housekeeper might not have to spare.

3. A lack of confidence

Just because the family are dog lovers, it doesn’t mean that everyone is – and it’s important to consider the possibility that your nanny or housekeeper isn’t as confident with dogs as you are.

Some will find it very stressful especially if they have no previous experience of working with dogs.

For example, there is the issue of on or off the lead – if you are not confident with dogs, then letting one run off the lead is stressful if you don’t have the experience, making it a very much unwanted job within an already busy day.

4. Dog size

Finally, the size of the dog is also an important thing to consider. Yes, you might consider your dog to be a soppy, gentle old thing – however, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is comfortable around larger dogs.

There is also a big difference between taking a small dog out who just needs a small trot around the block - which is something that most nannies or housekeepers wouldn’t have a problem with as it’s a much more manageable task – and taking a large energetic dog out for a long walk.

Communication is key

At the end of the day, the fact is that some nannies and housekeepers are dog confident and will be very happy to take on caring for and walking the dog as part of their role. However, for those who don’t wish to be involved and have no experience, it can be problematic - especially if there was no prior discussion.

Essentially, it all comes down to communication. If walking the dog is going to be an important part of your nanny or housekeeper’s role, it’s important to be open and honest right from the initial interview and ensure that the agency is aware that any potential candidates need to be dog confident.

Alternatively, if you can’t find a nanny or housekeeper who is happy to take the dog on as part of the role, you could instead explore hiring a professional dog walker who can leave your housekeeper to get on with their tasks.

Either way, communication is key and it’s important to ensure that everyone is happy with the set up before making dog care part of their job.

How we can help

If you need help finding the right housekeeper for your home and family, look no further than expert nanny housekeeper agency Hummingbird Home Staff. With over 25 years of experience in pairing the perfect household staff to each of our families, you can always count on us to find the right household help for your home.

In fact, as a specialist nanny housekeeper agency, we will always carry out a home visit as part of our hiring process to discuss your requirements so we can make sure we find the right match – whether you’re simply searching for a nanny, a nanny housekeeper, or are looking to hire someone who will help with your four-legged friends too.

For more information about our bespoke hiring process or to learn more about how we can help, get in touch with our team today.

It's me or the dog!