That is my experience, always:
3-4, or 2, or 4-5 hours away is stated as OK.
This is what I’ve seen for most dogs, but I have also seen rare exceptions, so…
I may ask, if, for a longer Sit, I need a day or two to be a bit more flexy. I would always make sure the dogs are happy, and I may even be able to take them along for the day, in some cases.
Fun! (…for me). I always, + I mean always have my dog by my side, so it would not be a big change for me, personally, to care for another dog or more than one other dog. I do not have a great need to be away from the home.
It is a bigger world of potentials, that are still mutually beneficial, than we sometimes think to share in our listings, initially. I am thinking of you, Manette, and happy for you, a new adventure awaits.
May it go peacefully, smoothly and with ease, every step of the way.
So I just did my second walk with the two dogs, the first one was with the owner by my side and the second one by myself. I had a decent time both times with the dogs.
The owner didn’t correct me on anything, so I assumed it was all well.
I didn’t think to ask at the time, but online guides on walking dogs suggest to have the dogs be either beside you or behind you so that you are the leader of the pack. Including “Be the first one out and first one in.” However, these dogs were in front of me most of the time but hardly pulled with any force. They did pull with some excitement and joy but nothing I couldn’t handle easily and they both stopped when I stopped and turned when I turned. They seem to see me as the leader at the home in general.
Does it matter if they are ahead, behind, or beside me on the walks?
Walking in “heel” isn’t a constant recommendation. How was the owner walking them? That’s what you should follow.
I’m glad they’re not pulling you! If you want even calmer walks you can repeat the same road/path you just walked. Their excitement dies down the more they’ve been to that area. Think about it like visiting Disney World/The Bahamas/Eating your favorite food for the first time. If you do/eat that same thing every day it will eventually become less exciting.
“Rather than planning to reach a particular place in a set time while on a sniff walk, pick a safe, peaceful spot and allow your dog to take the lead and explore at their own pace.“
The whole page expands on that quote from a dog trainer, but that quote is really all you need to read when busy.
All that matters is that you are comfortable, Manette,
They have leaders in their owners, and you are an Aunty, so if they are not pulling, and the leash is not tight, that can be fine.
It is optimal to have a dog heel/stay on the left next to your knee, is my experience, but it sounds like you are doing well. It is fine to have a dog on a loose lead to do their happy-sniffing, and relaxing.
Maybe some training is a good balance, if you want to try the heel command.
If you are there less than two weeks, I would suggest doing whatever you feel good doing, and that is all.
Sounds like you are having a success! Glad to help.
Update: The sit overall went very well! The dogs were easy to get along with and are adorable. And the owners are both very understanding, supportive, and easygoing people for me, which I also very much value on a sit.
And thank you, everyone, for chiming in to wish me luck and giving such helpful feedback!