Canadian newbie looking for honest profile feedback/advice

We are active home exchangers on different platforms and one guest suggested we check out THS as well. So we are new here, but not new to hosting sitters/hospitality. I am trying to find a rather last minute sitter for Ottawa, Canada (the capital) for one low energy senior dog and one crested gecko, and would appreciate any constructive feedback on our profile/photos/description.

I have only received one application so far and it was from someone who wants to come in 2024, so I am getting a bit nervous since we leave in 10 days. I reached out to a few of the people who favorited the listing but they are not available for our dates. It doesn’t seem like we can reverse search for people who want to come to our city or province - any tips?

What am I doing wrong? Is it the dog, the gecko, the house, the location, the late notice? We live in a very central; walkable, safe/upscale area in the capital of Canada and we have availability during the best weekend of the year to be in town - Canada Day national celebrations - so I am surprised by the lack of interest but maybe there is some huge red flag in my profile that I’m not even aware of. I can’t find a way to link it but I am the only one with a gecko in Ottawa I think. The gecko eats prepared jello so you don’t even have to feed him live bugs. I have mentioned that our cleaner will continue to come on schedule and we will leave bikes (cars not needed or even recommended in our area).

Thanks for your help.

Welcome @CGecko to THS and this forum.

I would suggest that you could shorten the description of responsibilities-this section needs to be more concise - at first glance it looks like there is a lot to do because you have 6 paragraphs. On close reading the tasks are not too time consuming or onerous .
A more concise description could probably fit into 1 or 2 shorter paragraphs ( one for each pet maybe ? )

Cut out the first paragraph (background information about Betty ) - move this into the meet the pet section.

The information about the sleeping arrangements should be in the home section - a photo appears to show a day bed made into a bigger bed is this the king the sitter will sleep in ? It needs to be clearer maybe add a caption to the photo.

You say Betty can be left- move this up in your description and add the time that she can be left for xx hours .

You have included a lot of useful information about the area which is good .

FYI In your introduction you say if you have any questions- just ask - unfortunately on THS there is no way for potential sitters to contact you to ask a question - the only way to contact you is to apply .


You really want the sitter to take your doggie shopping?

You really want the sitter to handle the Gecko just to weight him?

Consider dropping these overly fussy tasks. Maybe taking your gecko to a friend or neighbour to simplify the sitter’s responsibilities to only your senior doggie may bring more applicants?

Good luck.


Thank you so much, this is incredibly helpful. I am working on updating per your comments. I didn’t realize sitters weren’t able to contact to ask any preliminary questions, thanks for your patience…

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Yes, the gecko needs to be weighed once a week, it is important to monitor. If this is an issue for a sitter then they wouldn’t be a good fit.

I certainly don’t expect sitters to take the dog out shopping, but we live in a walkable, dog-friendly neighborhood with many dog friendly businesses, it was just an example. I can remove that language if it’s a red flag.

Many sitters would like to be able to contact HOs before applying to ask questions but it’s not an option currently available .

Your sit looks lovely! Maybe we’ll explore your part of Canada one day and if I see your dates pop up I might well apply!
I can see you’ve already taken the advice of others to make your Responsibilities section more compact and the tasks do not seem onerous.
But walking Betty morning, evening & lunchtime plus a couple of potty breaks does not really fit with being able to leave her 5/6 hours!?!
I love that you offer bikes! We just finished a sit in France where we had use of the hosts fancy electric bikes! First time we’d ever used E bikes and we were instant converts! But I’d also be happy to be offered use of any kind of decent bikes on a sit.
I would also be very interested to know more about the bed. It looks like some kind of pull out sofa bed? Is the mattress good?
I see you have one applicant- I hope they are a match! Good luck!

Looks like a great sit! Betty is adorable and how often do you get to handle a gecko? Too cool! Plus your house looks really nice and is in a great location.

I don’t think there are any huge red flags on your listing, I have seen a lot of other sits in Ottawa without applications, I think it may just not be the most popular area for THS.

You mention that Betty is friendly, maybe one thing you could do might be consider allowing people to bring their own dog? That might make it more attractive for local or local-ish folk. For example, I live in Ontario (just a couple hours from you in Prince Edward County) but I usually only housesit in Europe. I get asked a lot to do local sits but I have my own dog here, so if I am going to accept a local sit, I’ll likely want to bring my own dog. Not sure if that’s something you’re open to, just spitballing! Best of luck, I hope you find someone great soon!

I would have loved to do this sit! I love reptiles (your gecko is beautiful!) and they are so hard to find on TH. Unfortunately, I already have a booking that overlaps. Feel free to contact me for future sits!

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The responsibilities would probably put me off too, as it contains so much detail. I agree with a previous post about making it shorter and then discussing details once people apply.

A different take as a sitter is that we like lots of details in the listing, as we can then evaluate if the sit will be a good match for us. We have got as far as video calls and then some information is disclosed that is an integral part of the sit and we have had to decline, if we had known from the listing then we would not have applied. But it would be an excellent fit for someone else!
We would be happy to learn how to weigh your Gecko and add that to our skill set, but it might not be for everyone and as you mentioned they might not be the sitters for you :slight_smile:


@CGecko , I’m not sure how early you posted the sit, but it’s best to post your dates as early as possible, many sitters book up (especially during summer) so you will increase your chances of finding a sitter by posting the dates early.

You might also try reaching out to sitters and inviting them to the sit.

You don’t need so many photos of the dog. A few more inside the house (sitter’s bedroom) and one of the outside of the house and garden. It is a lot to read … maybe fewer paras selling the neighbourhood and tourist attractions. Also, that bed is strange, I’d feel like I was sleeping in a cage, and there are no bedside tables or lamps. Lastly, owners are not supposed to allow access to a third party, so its up to the sitter whether the cleaner can still come. Just my personal opinion as a sitter.

A regular cleaner is allowed to come during the sit, as long as the sitter knows about the cleaner coming before confirming the sit. The sitter of course has every right not to apply/agree to a sit when they know there would be a cleaner coming regularly.

For the detailed instruction - as you’ve noticed, @CGecko, it’s about preferences. I’m a HO, and think detailed (yours is not over the top!) instructions are great :+1:

@CGecko your listing shows that you have 1 applicant .
If this is the sitter who is not suitable this time because they want to come 2024 - you will need to decline them . You can add a personal message when you do so and you will still be able to contact them about future dates .
This will ensure that up to 5 more can apply before your listing is automatically paused .

Perhaps you could say if the gecko is OK with being handled? Easy or difficult to catch? etc