Parents, picture this scenario:
Your nanny walks in on Monday morning and your kids excitedly run up to her to inform her that over the weekend your family adopted a new puppy. You are getting ready to leave and you inform the nanny that you will text her instructions as soon as you get to work. The nanny is now left to care for two children and a new puppy that is not house trained and has no schedule or routine. On top of new additional duties that were dropped on the nanny without a discussion, she is now doing extra work without the extra pay.
Unfortunately, as dramatic as that scenario may sound, it's an all too common occurrence that happens with nannies. You may think that adding a new puppy (or any other animal) into your home does not require a conversation with the nanny, or that it will not affect the nanny, but unfortunately it does. When you are away at work the nanny will be responsible for feeding, walking, potty training, and assisting with picking up after the new puppy.
It's important to remember that although a majority of nannies love animals, that does not mean that they love caring for animals on top of their already agreed upon nanny duties. Instead of springing a new animal on the nanny, here are some suggestions for parents when it comes to adopting a new fur baby for your family.
Inform your nanny that your family is thinking of adopting a new puppy. Do not wait until a few days before you get a puppy, but instead have the discussion when you are thinking that you may want to bring a new puppy into the home.
Ask the nanny if she would be comfortable helping care for the new puppy. Do not inform the nanny that she has to care for the new puppy, because it was not originally in her job description when she was hired.
Inform the nanny that during the first few months when the puppy is new and is still being trained or learning new rules, that you will give a temporary raise. $2 an hour is a good starting point, but if the puppy is extra rambunctious (lots of accidents, chewing toys and shoes, eating the children's food, etc.) then we would suggest $3-$4 per hour until the puppy becomes older and more well behaved.
Create a working agreement for the temporary time that the nanny will be responsible for the new puppy. This should include all duties expected, the start and end time, as well as the pay increase.
When it is time to bring home the new addition, inform the nanny so that she does not walk into a house on Monday morning to be greeted by a new addition.
If the nanny says that she is not comfortable with caring for a new puppy, then it is up to you to search for different options while you are at work. Puppy daycare, a dog walker/trainer, etc.
For nannies who have an employer who is bringing home a new addition, do not be afraid to ask for a temporary pay raise. Here are some things you could do when it comes to a new puppy (or any animal for that matter).
During your initial interview, ask the parents if they plan on adopting a dog or another animal in the future. If they say yes, ask what their expectations of you as a nanny will be.
In your working agreement with the family, put a clause that includes that if in the future a new pet will be added to your responsibilities that a temporary raise will be discussed.
If the family expects you to care for the puppy for the remainder of your employment, then you should ask for a temporary raise of $2-$4 an hour depending on the circumstances with a reevaluation as the dog gets older.
Remember, communication is key! Employers and nannies must have an open and honest line of communication to ensure that their working relationship continues to stay in good standing.