As you could probably tell in our review of the best dog products, we absolutely love and spoil our Weimaraner dog. So much so that we welcomed another one into our family about 10 months ago. Even with just one dog, walking and boarding can be one of the biggest challenges (and expenses!) when you have a dog.
We used to board our dog at dog care facilities, but we ultimately hated it. He always had extreme separation anxiety; we felt he wasn’t getting the attention he needed; and we spent tons of money. Once our second pup joined us, we knew we needed a better option.
Luckily, we found Rover—a web-based and app service that lets us find local walkers and sitters to walk our dogs or to stay in our home with them when we are away. Our dogs don’t get separation anxiety anymore while we are gone; they are much happier staying in their own home and getting personal attention; and it’s surprisingly cheaper than dog boarding facilities!
POST PERKS!If you’re ready to give the service a try, use our Rover referral code to get $20 off your first booking (and we’ll get $20 off, too!) If you’re not sure about it, read on to learn more about what we love about Rover’s service.
Rover Services and Costs
Rover offers a number of different services to meet our needs:
- House sitting, when we want someone to stay in our home overnight.
- Dog boarding, for those who want their pups to stay overnight in other homes.
- Dog walking, for when we need someone to drop by to walk the dogs when we’re working or out and about for the entire day
- Day care in someone else’s home
- And Rover Now, for when we didn’t plan ahead and need a walker ASAP—a life saver when those last-minute, late-night meetings pop up at work. With Rover Now, the app picks the walker and sends them to your home asap (think Uber). We haven’t used this service yet, but it seems really convenient.
The costs of Rover vary by service and walker/sitter. In our experience, we’ve always been able to find an affordable option. We’ve found:
- dog sitting for $30-$50/night;
- dog walking between $15-$25/walk;
- and doggy daycare for $25-$40/day.
Comparing Rover’s prices to other facilities our pups have stayed at, the prices are great. For example, it costs around $90/night for our two dogs to stay at a Petsmart PetsHotel, where they are put in a kennel overnight and get to run around (and pee and poop…yuck) in a 30X30 room during the day. On Rover, we get to book with a sitter we love for $70/night (we pay $35 each dog per night), and our dogs stay in their home with lots of walks and love throughout the day. It’s a no-brainer for us.
Picking our Rover Dog Sitter or Walker
Picking a sitter or walker through Rover is simple. After entering some basic info about our dogs and home address, the type of service we are looking for, and the date, tons of potential sitters and walkers pop up. We live in Los Angeles, and there are always lots of options—even on short notice. We’ve also used the service while on road trips in other states, and similarly found plenty of options.
The Rover app lets us filter sitters by price, credentials (like dog first-aid certified), and level of background check, so we can narrow the options down a bit. We also find reviews to be super helpful. We can read about other people’s firsthand experience with that sitter or walker and even look through pictures of other people’s pups with that particular person.
As a side note: While the Rover iPhone app meets our needs, the full web version of Rover has even more search options and filtering available, such as “Fenced Yard,” “House,” “Dogs Allowed on Bed” (a must for our pups).
After finding a sitter we’re interested in, we can set up a time to meet the sitter before committing to a booking. That way, we can make sure we like the person, introduce our dogs, and talk about our preferences and routine.
One question we often get from others is whether Rover is safe because the reality is that a random person is staying in our home or walking our dogs. It’s a fair concern and something people thought about every time they hop in an Uber in the early days. Rover made us feel better about this in a few ways.
First, Rover has multiple levels of background checks and training experience for its sitters and walkers. We can pick someone who has a higher background check or training experience if that makes us more comfortable.
Second, the sitter’s reviews help us confirm that the person isn’t crazy. We can see firsthand experiences with that person and pictures to back them up. Rover also shows you how many repeat clients a sitter has had, which is one of the best indicators of a good sitter.
And, third, Rover offers insurance. If someone harms our pet or property in a negligent or purposeful way, we at least have some reassurance that we won’t be left picking up the entire tab. They also offer training so your sitter feels ready to tackle emergencies and you can filter to find sitters who have taken the initiative to complete the training.
For anyone who still isn’t quite convinced Rover is safe, we also have a smart camera doorbell and Nest indoor security camera downstairs, so we can always check in to make sure our dogs are getting the walks and attention they’re supposed to. If you do try Rover, we highly recommend the Ring doorbell and Nest indoor camera for peace of mind.
What We’ve Loved Most about Rover
Lots of TLC for our dogs. In many daycare or boarding facilities, the real goal (if we’re being honest) is just to keep the dogs alive. The caretakers are there to make sure dogs don’t get into fights and to clean up their messes, but they aren’t there to provide love and attention to our pups. With Rover, we know our dogs are getting undivided love and attention. The texts we’ve received from our sitters makes it clear they really know our pups and they describe their personalities perfectly.
Pictures galore! We get daily updates and pictures of our dogs while we’re away. That way, we know our dogs are happy and well taken care of. We can also look back at a collage of pictures from our many Rover adventures (check out ours below!).
Comfort in our own home. We choose Rover‘s house sitting because we know are dogs are less stressed getting to stay in their own home. They get to play with their toys, sleep in their own beds, and keep up with their normal routine.
Personalized training. Our Rover sitters have all been very willing to keep up with our training preferences. At other dog boarding facilities, the staff don’t have the time to personalize their attention to the dogs. After a long trip, we’d end up spending many days getting our dogs to pay attention to our rules and training.
Flexible cancellation policies. Life happens and plans change. Similar to Airbnb, Rover walkers and sitters can pick their own cancellation policy. It can range from strict (cancel at least a week in advance), moderate (cancel by noon the day before), and flexible (cancel before the start of the booking).
Little extras. We’ve found that Rover walkers and sitters are happy to help little odds and ends when we ask them. If we ask them to check the mail, water a plant, or bring in a package, they’re always happy to. We also feel much better knowing that someone is staying in our home while we’re away!
Rover Promo Code Freebie!
We’ve loved using Rover. Not only is it more affordable than many dog boarding and walking services, we love that our dogs are so much more comfortable when they get to stay in their own home. Try out the service and let us know what you think! Here’s a $20 off coupon for your first Rover booking (and we’ll get $20, too!).