I am a Rover sitter (occasional). That said just screen them for experience. Also check out your local Vet Clinics and see if they recommend anyone. I’d look for things like certifications in first aid and make sure they are insured and have references.
This one is a hot topic in the petsitting industry. I am a member of two groups with owners of professional pet sitters that are located around the USA and Europe.
I agree with Kirsten above and believe it or not there are many pros and cons to tech companies like Rover or Wags. Another whole topic in itself. Some will say there are professionals and hobbiest. Researching and asking some good questions will weed out the hobbiest or should I say the kid next door. Many things can go wrong in the wrong hands and someone without experience.
I personally would lean towards a professional that has things like Kirsten mentions. I would even go one step further and get an idea of how they manage dogs or what they will do in certain situations.
Example: what would you do if my dog does something right?
What would you do if my dog does something wrong?
You be surprised if the answers you might get.
Any safety protocols they have in place eg...
Big topic lol for what seems like an easy question. We also board dogs and do occasional walks
Yes. There are lots of things to consider. I signed up with Rover because I didn’t want to run a business again as I only do it for a few people that are old training clients. That said. I also petsit through a professional dog training friend of mine and am covered under her business should something go wrong. I also only sit for difficult dogs as one of the benefits of using me is 30 years professional experience.
Also consider if you need your dog walker or just potty breaks and attention at your house. Dog walking off your property can be a whole different ball game than someone coming to your house and playing with your dog on your property because taking a dog off property adds a heap of extra variables the dog walker can’t control (off leash dogs, people, kids, bikes, skateboards, etc), and that’s where knowledge of handling dogs in potentially difficult situations comes into play.
I walk Sadie myself and enjoy it, so I'm not at all interested in a dog walker. Sadie has a doggy door that goes into our large fenced in yard. I wouldn't want someone to take her off the premises at all! Sadie doesn't run for the door in order to escape nor is she digger who tries to crawl underneath the fence. She has plenty of toys and loves playing, but she really needs company for a couple of hours more than anything else. Sadie is friendly, easy going, and up-to-date on all of her shots. Does she really need a professional instead of an adult from my neighborhood that can get here easily?
I think it's totally up to you whether you hire a professional or just get someone from your neighborhood to come play with Sadie. Do you have someone you can trust in your area with your house key? Unless I knew the person really well, I'd be wary of giving my key to anyone.
When I was growing up, my sister and I cat-sat for a neighbor we didn't know too well. But things were different back then. It seems like we have to be so much more cautious these days, in my opinion.