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Old 05-09-2019, 10:34 AM   #1
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Default Dealing with Homeowner Pets on The Job



If you work residential jobs, there will inevitably come a time where you need to deal with a homeownerís pets. Whether itís an unsecured dog who thinks youíre in his territory, a cat who is demanding affection while you fix the toilet or a lizard who lives in the bathroom because of the extra humidity, dealing with companion animals can sometimes be a delicate situation.

While pets live in the home and you donít, you have every expectation to be able to do your job without interference or hazards - even if your only concern is for the safety of the homeownerís animals while you do your job! At the same time, itís a matter that requires a certain amount of couth, to avoid offending your clients.

Adopt a Standard

Adopt a standard of expectations to include either in your contract or in negotiations, before arrival. Make it clear to the homeowners that all pets are to be secured away from your work area - no exceptions. It does not matter if Fido is the friendliest dog ever, animals are still animals and can still act in unexpected ways.

Explain that itís not just for your safety, but the safety of their pets as well. Plumbing jobs have innumerable hazards for companion animals, from sewer gasses that could cause illnesses in birds to bonding compounds that you definitely donít want Fluffy licking out of curiosity. Your eye for safety entails not just yourself and the other human occupants of the home, but the animals that reside there as well. Make it a selling point.

Block Off Your Workspace

Itís good practice to get into the habit of blocking off your workspace as much as is feasible before starting the job. While an adult human might reasonably see you working and steer clear, creating a clear and visible barrier around the space gives an added visual reminder that youíre doing your job. Itíll also help ward off small children and some pets.

Whether you close the door, put up a removable tension-mounted baby gate at the doorway or erect an ad-hoc barrier out of your toolbox and any furniture near your work area, blocking off your space gives you the opportunity to safely get to a point and stop before removing any pets that may have gotten free from their confines or were left out and wandered over to you.

Be Polite, But Firm

Some homeowners canít understand how their pet would possibly be a hazard as you work, and thus ignore directives to crate, confine or keep them out of your way. When dealing with homeowners who are adamant about their pets being free to roam into your workspace, be polite yet firm. Some people view their pets as they would children - in that vein, remind them that itís a safety hazard for their beloved pets and youíd be sick to your stomach if anything happened that could have been prevented.

If the homeowner is still reluctant to comply, try to find a solution thatís workable for all that still allows you to get the job done. For example, if youíre working on a water line issue that requires your workspace to span multiple rooms, agree to work on the room where the pet is confined last so that the owner can move the animal to a room thatís already been completed.

For highly intensive repairs, renos and installations, you may even point out that having strangers in the home can be stressful for pets and suggest boarding the pet nearby or taking them to a pet daycare during the times youíll be working.

Dealing with Homeowner Pets

Homeowner pets are adorable, but they arenít so cute when theyíre in your workspace. Make it clear that you need pets to be out of the way and safely confined while you work, and be accommodating if the homeowner needs a little help figuring out a solution to do that during more involved jobs. Emphasize that itís not just for your safety and comfort, but for the petsí safety and comfort, as well.

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Old 05-09-2019, 07:54 PM   #2
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I usually dont mind pets, I have always had big dogs so they dont bother me, but several times customers had viscous dogs that were met with a 2ft wrench when they tried to bite..
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShtRnsdownhill View Post
I usually dont mind pets, I have always had big dogs so they dont bother me, but several times customers had viscous dogs that were met with a 2ft wrench when they tried to bite..

I tangled with a large german sheppard one time that had me cornered with a jagged piece of flu pipe..... spit his nose wide open from top to bottom...he bled like a stuffed pig... and he recoiled in pain for a few moments which it gave me time to get then hell out the door........

the owner thought the dog had mauled me from all the blood on the tile floor by the front door.....

I normally like to have a claw hammer with the business end ready to part their scalps if things get nasty........




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Old 05-09-2019, 10:48 PM   #4
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So far have never had a bad encounter with a homeowner's pet. Usually end up like this.

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Old 05-09-2019, 11:50 PM   #5
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When I knock on the door and the customer answers and says just a minute let me put my dog away, I always say “as long as he’s not a biter you don’t have to I like dogs”. I haven’t had a bad experience yet with a customers dog.

Added bonus is you don’t have to listen to the whimpering and barking of a confined dog while you work. That’ll drive you crazy.
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:32 AM   #6
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Got bit by a Chihuahua multiple times the other day. After the dog jumped and bit me for about the third time the owner finally grabbed it. Didnt get through my uniform pants but the little sucker was doing his best. The little dogs love to bite. Of course the response from the home owner is always "He likes you and just doesn't want you to leave".
My dog likes me too but doesn't try to keep a piece of me as a memento when i go to work.
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Old 05-10-2019, 10:22 AM   #7
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My dad went to unclog a kitchen sink once and asked the HO if there were any dogs in the back yard to which she replied no.

He went around the house through a gate and was looking for the vent from the back of the house to see if it would be better to clean from the roof.

As he’s looking up, wham! Out of nowhere this pit clamps down right on his a*s and he wouldn’t let go. My dads trying to punch him the best he could until the lady comes out screaming and the dog finally lets go.

The husband comes out yelling at her because he let the dog out not knowing the plumber would need to get in the back yard.

Just a misunderstanding.

Blood was everywhere and I think he got about 20 stitches or so. I remember the guys at the shop gave him a new nickname but I don’t recall what it was? I’ll have to ask him🤣
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:28 PM   #8
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I have had a couple close calls with large dogs tring to bite me. And no, I don't mean they were just getting really close to scare me away, they were legitimately trying to bite me.



One instance, went to work on a sewage pump, customer at work. I need to shut the power off, enter mandoor to garage, don't see a panel, hear furnace kick on behind next door. I knock loudly on door, announce myself as opening, out of the shadow of the crack an all reddish, large, german shepard slowly creeps at me with fire in its eyes. I back up to the first door as dog starts growling and showing teeth. I reach for the knob as it starts lunging and biting, I barely make it out while it gets its paws and face partially stuck in the closing door. I about pooed my pants. The owner shows up apologizing, first not believing me until he opens the door and the dog is growling. Admits dog was from shelter having been taken from abusive owner. Says the dog has always been great but that this was the first time someone came to the house when they weren't home and that he always wondered how it would act in that situation. WTF, Why do I have to be the guinea pig?????


Another time, frequent stop, about every 2 months. Faculty apartment. First time I went owner was home with very large short hair tan dog with darker face. I pet the dog and he was pretty friendly. Second time dog was locked in bedroom as security let me in. Third time I was given a key, I asked if security could come since dog was there with no owner, he laughed saying the dog is a lush and kisses him all the time. I insist. Security walks in first as dog comes out of bedroom, he goes to pet, the dog ran past him and came after me who, this only being a month after the german shepard was waiting by the door. I heard the dog slam against the door I just closed. Security locked the dog in the bedroom and apologized profusely.


People usually ask if I am okay with dogs, I say as long as they are okay with me. All animals come in a spectrum just like people. Some are awesome, some suck. I don't usually worry about the little ones, smaller than like 30 lbs, I can easily punt those. I have thought about bringing milk bones with me but ultimately your dogs behavior is not my responsibility. If you have a dog you shouldn't be leaving it home alone all day anyway, they are not cats. Also, I like dogs, but I HATE dog schit. If I accidentally step in your dogs schit(which I watch out for like a hawk) because you didn't pick it up and I track it in your house, I am NOT cleaning it up off the floor but I will clean it thoroughly from my boot on your time.







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Old 05-10-2019, 09:38 PM   #9
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I want to point out that those sorts of incidents are extremely rare and most pets of any kind are great. I like the company of a dog or cat watching me work. I had a 5 month old kitten crawling all over my tools while I rebuilt some faucets one day.


Tuesday I think I was soldering under the sink of a water cottage when I felt the floor move from weight behind me, I jumped almost hitting my head and burning myself as I turned around to see this golden retriever who just roams around these cottages and always comes to play with the tradesmen. I usually have a ball or two in my work bag. I save tennis, baseball, lacrosse, squash, and field hockey balls I find in drains or roofs or elsewhere on the private school campuses.






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Old 05-10-2019, 10:12 PM   #10
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I learned as a 7-yr. old kid that if you turn your back on a barking vicious dog, they will bite. Stand your ground, face them and act aggressive {usually, this may not work with an aggressive attack dog} and they are less likely to attack.

Behave like a prey animal;{ ie: turn and run, act scared, act confused} you'll get treated like a prey animal. Act like a dominant predator, and they may just back down.


When I was {7} I was delivering newspapers house to house, when a med. sized-dog accosted me growling. I was afraid and turned my back on it and then he bit me in the back of my calf. Since then I've smacked dogs in the face and acted aggressive when dogs have come up to me in a menacing manner and it seems that they know that I'm not a marshmello.

I'm not saying I'm big and bad, just be determined not to be a dog's chew toy.
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