Getting a puppy can be a wonderful addition to your family. Your children cans many benefits when having a dog in the home like higher self-esteem and more compassion.
Before you head down to the local animal shelter and adopt a pup (or older dog for that matter), there are some considerations if you also employ a nanny to work in your home and care for your children.
While we focus on the challenges of having a puppy in the home, untrained older dogs can also present difficulties to a nanny caring for your children.
Hiring a nanny and already have a dog
If you are in the hiring process and have a dog in the home, you should be clear with this information with potential nanny candidates. You may even want to advertise for a pet-friendly nanny. “Must love dogs” is not just for singles seeking romance. It can apply to a different type of matchmaking – nannies and families.
This would help you skip nannies who may have aversions to dogs or could be allergic to them. Believe it or not, some people may not like dogs! They may think your job is wonderful but a dog in the home would be a deal-breaker. It is better to find this out early in the hiring process so you can move on to other applicants.
When you have a nanny candidate in your home to meet your children, see how they interact with your pet. Sometimes a friendly but large dog can seem intimidating. How does your nanny take to your dog? Do they seem comfortable? Share some particulars about your dog like breed, behaviors, and history.
Once you have made a hire – with a nanny at ease having a dog in the home – include information about your pet – in your nanny contract or work agreement. Provide details about any dog-related duties like taking it out for walks, to vet appointments or the dog park. Stipulate any additional compensation for responsibilities related to your dog. Review the nanny contract and make sure your nanny is on board.
Hiring a nanny and plan to get a dog
While you may not have a dog in your home at the time you hire a nanny, many in-home caregivers are with families for five years or longer. Often nannies care for children from the infant stage to the time they are in school full-time. Even then, some nannies remain with their families for after-school care. In other words, if you have found the right nanny, you can expect a long-term relationship.
Sometimes it is hard to know what tomorrow will bring but if there is any inkling that you may add a puppy to your family in the next few years, talk to your potential hires about their feelings toward pets. Do they have allergies? Did they grow up with pets? Do they have a pet now? Do they have a fear of dogs? Would they be comfortable caring for a puppy as well as young children? Do they know how to train a puppy or what would be involved? Would they expect a pay increase for the added responsibilities? Talk to your nanny candidates about their expectations if a puppy joins the family and make sure they align with your plans.
You certainly do not need your nanny’s permission to get a pet but being a good employer means showing respect and discussing potential changes to their workplace and job description.
Employing a nanny and getting a dog
So what happens now? You have a nanny. Now you have a puppy.
Adding an untrained dog to your home creates more work for your nanny. And that is ok if your nanny is on board with the additional responsibilities. Remember your nanny is a professional who chose a career in childcare not looking after pets. Having to tend to a puppy that needs near-constant supervision may take away from their ability to care for your children. Puppies need to be let out to go to the bathroom every couple of hours, get exercise if they are active, and may like to chew on cords, furniture, shoes, or clothing.
Your nanny will also help your children become responsible and loving dog owners. They will reinforce positive behavior around your pet while discouraging bad and possibly dangerous behavior like roughhousing.
Your nanny may not ask for extra compensation, but it is appropriate to boost their pay to cover the extra duties much like you would do whenever you add responsibilities to their job description. It can be just a temporary pay raise until the puppy is potty trained and then may just need to be let out into a fenced-in yard once or twice a day. You could expect to pay $2-3/hour more while your puppy needs training.
Employing a dog walker/sitter or doggy daycare
An alternative to paying your nanny a higher rate to care for a puppy is to hire a dog sitter/walker to tend to your pet’s needs. This will relieve your nanny of most pet-related duties but will cost more.
Another option is to send the puppy to a doggy daycare facility until it is potty trained and then can be in the home with minimal supervision.