If you are like me, you have an established relationship with a veterinarian, a pet sitter, and maybe other pet professionals. My pet sitter holds a very special place in my life – no one is more trusted. After all, this person is coming into your home and taking care of your best friend. But what happens when you feel that you can no longer trust them, or are no longer satisfied with their performance? Do you speak to them, or do you just switch to someone else without saying anything?

I used the same pet sitter for many years, and she even came to my dog training classes when she purchased a puppy (over the Internet, much to my extreme displeasure). She had some training issues with the dog as an adult and she sought out my advice which I gladly gave free of charge (as I do to all of my clients once I have worked with them). The issue: This person is a screamer. And there was nothing I could do to stop her. All of my advice fell on deaf ears. Consequently, her new puppy became aggressive as he grew into an adult, as did all of her previous dogs. I instructed her on counter-conditioning techniques and tried to explain to her that the screaming causes fear and negative associations but I could not get through to her.

Was she screaming at my dog as she did hers? And then a couple other events occurred which concerned me. When I arrived home early from an extended vacation, it appeared that my dog had not been visited yet that day – it was 2:00pm.  I decided that I needed to express some of my concerns to her. Coincidentally, a stray cat appeared on my doorstep around the same time. That gave me a reason to call her and ask if I could borrow one of her cat carriers to try to catch the kitty. I left her a message and she never returned my call. Case closed.  Time to move on. I’m sure she’s wondering why I haven’t called her recently to watch my dog.  If she had called me back, she would know.

As a pet professional myself, I know that it really hurts when someone does not continue to work with me. But what hurts even more is silence. I’d rather know about a problem so that I can address it and work on the issue so that it does not happen again.  Maybe not with that person, but with someone else in the future. After all, there’s always room for improvement.

Have you needed to change pet professionals for any reason? How did you handle it?