Can I turn down a sitter even when no other options?

I am new to THS but not new to house swapping. I have advertised two dates and have had very little response for either, but I think we should have our summer dates sorted now. (fingers crossed!)

Regarding the other dates, I have had a few applications but all have been unsuitable. Either they want to bring a dog (I have stated quite clearly in the listing that my dog wouldn’t cope with another dog in the house) or they have no references, or reviews and only an email check, and to be honest, they just didn’t feel right to me (very limited english/no personalised message in the application, or reference to me or my pets/ or their partners and family were not in the photo and no details about them even though they wanted to come as a group.

So I think my question is, is it OK to turn people down just based on a bad feeling and not liking what I see in the profile? If I still keep the listing live, won’t it look odd? How do you explain to people that you are turning them down but keeping the dates open to applicants? I don’t want to be mean and I want to be open minded, but also, I really want to be careful about who is in our house looking after our precious pets and belongings.

Any help gratefully received!


Trust those feelings.
You only owe no one nothing.


Hi @devonhazel and welcome.
Absolutely it is OK to decline an application from a sitter who you do not feel is suitable. This has happened to us on occasion with no accompanying message and we do not take it personally.
You need to be totally comfortable with your decision at the end of the day. There are some great sitters out there so trust your ‘gut’.
Best Wishes


I agree with the others. We get turned down from time to time, and it’s no big deal.

In the case of people asking to bring a dog when you’ve clearly stated that it’s a no-go, feel free to tell them that’s why. If you feel they’re not experienced enough, no reason not to say that as well.

The gut feeling “I’m just not comfortable with them” might need a bit more vague reply just to be polite, but I strongly feel that it’s important for both sitters and owners to go with their gut and you absolutely can say no to anyone you want to.


It is your house and you make the rules.

Yes, it is your precious pets and belongings!

I have been turned down before and it’s no big deal and I don’t take it to heart but i always make sure that I read an advertisement carefully before applying to ensure I match the requirements. I applied for a sit recently and the owner’s place was family friendly but he didn’t think that one of the dogs would do well with my 10 month old baby but I appreciated the honesty, despite being experienced with dogs. He obviously thought about the dog but also wellbeing of my baby.

I am wondering why people ask to bring their own pet when it is not mentioned. I would imagine the owner would write that in their advertisement themselves if they allowed it.
I wouldn’t apply for a sit if they didn’t indicate that it was family friendly!


Absolutely! I am a firm believer in gut feelings.

For the applicants who want to bring their own dog when you clearly state in your listing that this is not acceptable, I would quickly decline and send a message why and be very up front.

Same for those with that “did not feel right” to you. A quick decline, with a short note, not the right fit explanation. I would even point out that they did not include a personalized message, nor reference you or the pets. People have to learn, and polite, honest feedback is important.

Mind you, for those that couldn’t even bother to write a personalized application, I’d be tempted to simply decline with no explanation. But two wrongs do not make a right, as the saying goes.

If you’ve ever sold something on Facebook Marketplace, it is the epitome of lazy, no personalized messages, simply people hitting the provided message button and the advertiser then having to respond, even though the answers to the questions are in the advertisement.

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Something I keep in mind with all our applications.

Declining applicants will keep your listing “live”, but reduce the number of applicants showing.


@devonhazel It is absolutely ok to turn down any application regardless of whether or not you have other applications and I firmly believe in going with your gut!:+1:


No need to explain. A no thanks is enough.

Thanks everyone. I think Im trying to be too polite and I worry about offending people by saying no and keeping the listing up! Which is crazy as I’m considering giving someone complete control of all my belongings and pets!! …so I realise I need to make sure its the right person.


Hi @devonhazel you’ve asked for any help, so I’ll focus on trying to get you more appropriate applicants. I’d suggest you embed your listing in your forum username, for two reasons. Someone on the forum may be available, but also forum members will give constructive feedback on how you might tweak your listing to attract more suitable sitters. I’ll add a link to the instructions below:

Add a link to your listing to your forum username

If you’d rather not do that, perhaps share your location (city/country) and date range and then forum members will be able to locate your listing.


Thanks I have done that now so hopefully you can see the listing. I’ve tried to take on board all the tips I’ve read on here, but still only one current application from someone who isn’t really suitable. I’m now looking into local dog boarders as I will be leaving it too late if I wait much longer. It’s a shame!


I favourited your sit for future reference. Sorry we won’t be there in April though.

Hi @devonhazel There are still some options to consider, to promote your listing. If you have a standard or premium membership, you can boost your listing once, which will bring it to the start of the listings again. The other option is to ask @Angela-CommunityManager to promote it on social media. You would need to direct message her, as she needs your approval.

I don’t know how anyone could resist your listing as your home is lovely and Woody looks so huggable. I wish I wasn’t so far away. :slightly_frowning_face:

Of course you can. I put myself in the place of the pet and home owner. It’s your pet and your home. If you feel the need to respond I see no problem with saying that I am looking for someone with experience through THS and to the other applicants that you don’t want to worry about your pet getting along with someone else’s. There are always courteous ways to turn people down. I’ve done more pet sits through THS than anyone else in my State the last time that I checked. Once in great while I still never hear from people and or get turned down. One never knows what someone is looking for. Someone older. Someone younger. Someone more local.

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As a sitter, myself, with a service dog who’s a wonderful and experienced sitter with excellent references of his own, I often apply to sits that look like they could be a good fit to me. I always mention and describe my dog if he would be accompanying me. I always ask politely if that would be something that they would like to consider. Some people are delighted, and several owners with young dogs have said my dogs has been an excellent role model for theirs. Some people are unsure but would like to talk or, where osdibke, meet in advance. Some people do not want to have another dog in their home, and that’s fine. Still, I appreciate it when they send a nice note back thanking me for applying vs a surly note or radio silence. But I suppose, to each his own.

If I see that a listing mentions either that their dog does not do well with other dogs, or that they do not wish to have other animals on the sit, then we don’t apply.

I do think people should read the listing info and respond accordingly and personally and if they don’t, then I wouldn’t feel compelled to write back.

As to finding a sitter: did you know that you can be proactive in searching for sitters and reach out directly to those whose profiles interest you? I’ve had some owners message and invite me proactively and I always respond to them and if I’m available and it sounds like a good fit, I’m happy to do it.

Best wishes on your search.


What a lovely sit. We are working on getting passports for our girls, but I favorited your location in case we are ever across the pond when you have a future need.

I hope you find your perfect sitter soon.


Hi yes I have invited more than 20 sitters, but no response. Also I have boosted the dates once then deleted and relisted as I thought there might be a problem. Still nothing apart from one who then pulled out 24 hrs later.

Sorry to hear. I have come across owners who didn’t understand they could reach out to sitters so though that might be helpful to know but maybe it’s not as helpful to do that as I had imagined. Wish you all the best.

You have the right to turn down any application, for any reason. This is a site based on trust and you should “trust” your gut when reading applications, or even going as far as a video chat. There are many things that can cause you to feel uncomfortable. For me, it includes applying and asking if okay to bring pet/child, clearly after profile states not suitable. That tells me they don’t read the info so how can you trust they will follow your directions once in your home. Also, if you like a clean and tidy home and find on a video chat that the background in their home is cluttered, you may feel they won’t take care of your home the same way you would. First impressions, either verbally, written or in person, can go a long way!

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This work both ways. When I am looking at home owners I some time gat the feeling that some of them would not do it for us. Even a picture put me off once. Some time it is what they say about them selves, the neighborhood or how they want us to treat the pets, like an over medium sized dog sleeping in the bed with you is out of the picture for me.

Many times I don’t get any respond. I can see that HO reads my post but they don’t reply. I seek for 3 or 4 for the same period. If I get one of them I just cancel the others. It is nothing personal.

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