Arriving after owners have left

I am new and have a question for experienced sitters. If you arrive for a sit after the homeowners have left, how do the dogs react to a stranger coming into their home? Any tips on how to do this smoothly?

Just let them sniff you a bit. Dogs can figure out if your friend or foe. Don’t make a great fuss unless they show willing to being petted.

1 Like

I won’t arrive for a sit, especially with dogs, after the owners have left…I don’t think it’s right. What if you had an accident en route and the dogs were left alone?

5 Likes

I agree. I think it’s important for the animals to see an interaction between their owners & the sitters, so they can feel reassured and kinda feel their new ‘friends’ are approved of.

5 Likes

I’ve done it a few times with dogs, cats. My first time I was concerned - I was arriving about 3 hours after the HOs left. Two dogs - I walked in, they looked up from the ends of the couch (which was allowed) they were sleeping on then went back to sleep. We had a great week together.
Most recent, the dog barked a bit, the curled up next to me when I sat down.
I think it will depend on the dog(s) and the HOs know them best.

6 Likes

Very helpful- thank you!

ask the HOs how they generally introduce people to their dogs and if the dogs have any triggers. but i personally wouldn’t want to do it with dogs. I’ve done it once with a cat. i never met the HO at all for that sit, which was weird.

3 Likes

This happed on me very early on in my THS journey. I met the owners at the airport having overnighted myself on the way in inroder get there early and we met just before they went through security to fly out and hand over keys.

I asked for them to give me a soft toy of the dog so that on arrival at the hom the dog could smell me and also smell and see something familar.

It worked a treat :slight_smile:

8 Likes

We have done it without any problems at all. But I have heard of instances where a dog attacked a sitter arriving after HOs leaving (even though they had spent time with them earlier) and instances where a dog became so defensive of their space as to make it very uncomfortable. So I would ask a lot of questions regarding dog’s behaviour first

2 Likes

@SoloTraveler If your arrival absolutely has to be done after the HO leaves, be sure to know the dog’s name and say it through the closed door to them first, and have a (pre-approved) treat for them on arrival! Best to do pet and house hand-offs in person though for sure.

4 Likes

It depends the dogs, so this will have to be discussed before the sit is agreed on.
We’ve had a few similar situations where we arrived after the owners have already left. The dogs barked a bit ,but then a after a few treats quickly calmed down and warmed up to us.
We also had a sit where we spent several hours with the owners and the dogs, but the dogs never warmed up to us. They were nice and playful when we were in the house, but acted very aggressively if we left and came back in the house. We had to give them treats anytime we entered the house.

Yesterday on the cbs.news they talked about a poor girl in Texas who really got attacked as soon as she entered the house. So we really have to be careful, ask a lot of questions and take precautions.

2 Likes

As a homeowner, I wouldn’t dream of expecting a sitter to let themselves into my house after we’d left, and my dog is a pushover! There’s some good advice in the replies but if you haven’t already committed I’d give it a miss. What else might they be expecting you to deal with on the sit with no forewarning?

4 Likes

We arrived to our very first sit after the HO had left. This was a specific request of the HO as they were not wanting us to be there as they were getting ready to leave. We had chatted virtually, but never met the HO or pets in person.

Thankfully there was no issue. One of the dogs was a little standoffish for a day or so, but soon warmed up to us.

Definitely not our preference as we would prefer an in person handover or at least a meet and greet beforehand.

Only other time we arrived after the HO had left was a repeat sit. When we arrived, the dogs looked up at us as if to say “oh, it’s you again” and went back to sleep.

4 Likes

I was doing a sit in Victoria, BC, for friends of a couple I’d done multiple sits for. The original friends had been away on a 2-week vacation, and had left their dog with family that time. The day after they returned, we arranged to meet up at a cafe. When the dog saw me, she backed away, rather than her normal friendly greeting. We quickly figured it out. She turned to her owner and gave her standard stare that she gave when she wasn’t amused. We read that as ‘really, you’re leaving again, already?’ :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :rofl: :paw_prints:

2 Likes

Ideally, the sitter and HO meet before the sit, especially for a dog sit. That is not always possible, though I think I would hesitate going forward.

There is a horrific story in the news right now. A young woman in Texas had met the dogs ahead of time with the homeowners, but they had left when she arrived to start the sit. The HO had texted that they were not crated after all (they were supposed to be). The moment she opened the door, the two newer dogs (pit bull mix and GS mix) attacked. She has suffered utterly horrific injuries.

3 Likes

That is so very sad.

2 Likes

Yes I saw that. Terrible. She lost her ears, nose and lips….doesn’t bear thinking about. So, I’m definitely sticking to my guns of not going to a housesit with dogs after the owners have left for their holidays!

3 Likes

Hi all, having also read the news story about the sad event in Texas, I want to thank everyone on this thread for discussing this very important subject. Although the incident in the news was is no way connected to TrustedHousesitters, we are obviously all saddened by the news and send our thoughts and well wishes to the victim.

As a dog owner myself, I am aware that even the friendliest of dogs can react out of character in unfamiliar situations when they are nervous or feel threatened in anyway. Our advice to members has always been to conduct a thorough handover and ideally for owners to always be at the home when your sitter arrives to minimise the stress on the pets. If there are any timing issues that conflict with this best practice, it is essential to communicate with one another to arrange and agree a safe handover.

Owners, you know your pet better than anyone, so please always be proactive in reporting any behavioural concerns you may have about any pet, no matter how small. And sitters, please do not shy away from asking questions about a pet’s temperament, socialisation and routine, and always agree a handover that will minimise any stress placed on the pets.

Please be assured that the safety and well-being of our community is now and always has been our priority and should any member need any help or advice please contact our Membership Services Team.

11 Likes

Thank you for this Paul. You’re right, it’s a very important issue. I turned down a sit, very early in my housesitting ‘career’ because the owners wanted me to arrive after they’d left for the airport and before they got back home. From past reviews it looked like they’d done that before and I was quite shocked. I had met them and the animals in person but the arrangements for my arriving and leaving did not sit well with me and I turned them down. I also contacted TH at the time to request you discuss this with them but not sure that happened. There were other issues too. They’ve had sitters since. It made me feel like a servant, as occasionally we sitters can feel.
Those experiences are useful and a part of the learning curve.

3 Likes

A friend sent me this article this morning.

1 Like