First time Owner -- SO NERVOUS, help!

Hello everybody!

My name is Erika, and I just posted a listing for a sitter for November to watch my house and my two beloved doggos. Simply put – I am so nervous about leaving them. This will be the longest I have left them, let alone with a stranger! My boyfriend is also nervous about leaving our home and all our valuables with somebody new. Is there any advice, tips, or anything else you can share to help me feel better about leaving my dogs and home in the care of somebody new? Sharing your first experience would be helpful too.
Thank you!


Hello Erika,

This is totally normal. In fact it would be abnormal if you weren’t nervous to leave your beloved doggies behind!

First of all, have a video chat with potential sitters you are interested in. This way you get a feel of them and see if they would be somebody you would trust. Ask them loads of questions and give them loads of info of what you’re expecting (e.g. how long they can be out of the house without the dogs, how often you’d like them to send you a reassuring message,…)

It might be better to go for a sitter that has a few reviews/experience. You might feel more reassured with people who have looked after pets/houses before.

As for your valuables, you can store/lock them in a separate room or cupboard without access for the sitters.

By the way, I am a sitter, do ask away if you have any questions

You’ll be fine, and so will your doggies! :wink:



I agree with Erika, it’s all about who feels right for you. When I apply for a sit I give an explanation to how my typical day will look for caring for the pets & time out exploring alone. As a sitter the pets needs come first, that is why we’re there. So make sure you’re giving enough information on your page to what you’re happy with & you’ll be getting the right people applying. Good luck!


Hi Erika

Its only natural to be nervous, but they will be happy at home with the right sitter. Ask loads of questions from your applicants, and give them as much information as possible about how you want your beloved dogs looked after. You will undoubtedly get a feel for one sitter over another and we suggest you have as many calls/video calls, messages, etc with them until you feel comfortable. Plus asking for updates while you’re away is totally ok. We are sitters and we do everything we can to make the owners feel comfortable so they can trust that we will do everything we can to keep the dogs happy and healthy.
Good luck with finding your first sitter.

1 Like

Hi Akire
It’s normal to feel nervous but we sitters can be trusted because we want to keep sitting and travelling.
Your question has been asked lots of times on the forum so, if you want extra advice and reassurance, I encourage you to do a search

1 Like

The first time we had sitters we were leaving for 6 weeks. We were a lot less nervous leaving our cat knowing she wouldn’t be alone and still be in her surroundings and being cared for as if we were home. It was way more reassuring then our previous trips where we left our house (a bit secluded) with the cats (we had 3 before) to someone visiting just one hour a day. We were then worried about break-ins or water infiltrations in the basement (which we had sometimes in the spring) and mostly about the cats getting depressed. THS has been a revelation for us and I wouldn’t want to travel the old way anymore.


Hi Erika,

Welcome to THS and to this forum! :wave:

The blog has some great articles to help pet owners get as prepared as possible. Here is a good post to get you started:

Good luck, hope you find your perfect pet sitter! :smiley:

Welcome to THS and welcome to the forum. As sitters, we were equally nervous about arriving at our first sit, so remember the feeling goes both ways.

In my opinion, you might want to start out with a sitter who has at least a few sits and good reviews under their belt to put your mind at ease a bit.

Be sure to report back after the sit and let us know how it goes!

Hi Erika,
Think it’s natural to be nervous as a first time home owner. I’m a relatively new sitter and it’s nervous for us as well.
I do this because I love animals and this gives me the chance to spend time with so many different animals. Of course that involves a certain amount of trust. I personally would never touch and go into any cupboards/drawers I don’t need to be in. It’s a respect thing. I’m sure most sitters on here are the same.

I am both an owner and a sitter. I am sorry you are having such nerves but once you find the right sitter you will feel so much better. The sitters I have encountered are very diligent and caring about the animals in our care. In addition to the tips offered already (read profiles, look at reviews, interview via Zoom, etc), I guess I would add that TrustedHousesitters has a rule that sitters who live in the US must go through more intensive background checks than sitters based anywhere else. So, for whatever that is worth, booking a sitter from the US has that added layer of security for you. Good luck.

As a sitter I was always so impressed with the trust that was given to me, a stranger, to let me come into the home of a homeowner and take care of their place and their pets. I would say, most people are humbled by the trust, as I am even now, after three years. A great help for both parties is a video call/chat. Just seeing people face to face really helps, not just the homeowner but the sitter. As a sitter, we don’t know what we are getting into. What kind of home is it, clean or cluttered etc. If at all possible, meet them personally. I have read many articles here and I would say, majority have been very positive experiences. I trust the vetting of the sitters made by Trusted Housesitters and this should help for you too that the people are checked out with references. Good luck and enjoy your vacation and enjoy meeting new people

1 Like

Hi Erika,
I suspect that everyone goes through this. I certainly did. The imagination runs wild with thoughts of what may occur but of course everything will be fine. My concerns were immediately quelled when I met the sitters. For me I like to have sitters arrive a day early. This allows me to have a chat and see the cats settled in with them. A conversation over dinner tends to make everyone comfortable and answers any last minute questions. 10 years and countless sitters later this still works for me. I have many sitters who return for another sit and a few who have become friends. Right now I have 4 new confirmed sitters coming over the next 6 months (I like to get away). If you can’t meet beforehand I would suggest at least a phone call or video chat. Remember everyone on this site has been thoroughly vetted and enjoy your time away.


Welcome!! Your first time having a sitter should include a little bit of apprehension… This is major!! I know we were really worried the first time we had a sitter but it was a great experience and now we tell everyone we know about TH!! I trust this community of pet lovers and travelers and have used the service faithfully for at least 10 sits in the past 4-5 years! We have made friends with all our sitters and follow their travels online as they follow ours! We’ve had a few sitters sit for us more than once because they love our babies just as much as we do!
My advice is to definitely do video “interviews” as that’s a great way to get to know the sitter(s). We even had the opportunity to meet 2 of our sitters in person before the sit because they lived close by and offered to meet in person which we loved! We got a chance to see how they interacted with our babies which made it easier to trust them. Always go with your gut when choosing someone. We’ve only interviewed one person that we didn’t get warm and fuzzy feelings from and luckily we had several applicants to choose from.
You can always lock up valuables if necessary and tell the sitter that certain rooms are off limits. The insurance is also a good feature of TH just in case!
Another thing we do is set up a WhatsApp group with the sitter so that we can have a place to keep in touch before and during the sit (pictures daily are awesome)! And we have sitters we still keep in touch with years later thru the WhatsApp group :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
Last piece of advice is to have them come a day early so you can show them around the house and you can share a meal together! That always makes everyone more comfortable in our experience. We usually ask them before hand if they have any dietary restrictions and we get takeout (gotta treat them to good Texas BBQ) so we don’t leave them a dirty kitchen since we have the house professionally cleaned right before any sit.
TH is a great service and you will love it!! :heart:

1 Like

Exactly richten1,
its quite normal for owners to request some areas to be “out of bounds”…we expect it. I also like to have a few contact numbers for neighbours and friends that the owner trusts - just in case you need to confer with them about any issues and can’t contact the owner for some reason…eg. a malfunction in the house or if one of the pets is behaving strangely. Not that it happens very often.

I can certainly understand your concerns. If you read the references for experienced sitters on this site you it may lessen some of your anxiety. Some of us have done the same sit on multiple occasions and those pet owners go away with confidence. Many pet owners ask their sitters for daily updates and photos.

We’ve only had one sitter stay so far, but we were also incredibly nervous. My wife suffers with anxiety, so it was extra important to ensure we were 100% comfortable with who we chose. Luckily, we chose possibly the best candidate we could; she was lovely, and the dates aligned with the short sit.

I’d suggest as a top tip for a first timer sit;’

  • if you can, test run it with a shorter sit. We did this with a 5 day sit in June, and we’re now comfortable enough to branch out to finding someone for a 2.5 week stay later in the year
  • build a rapport with your sitter; have a videocall in advance
  • if possible, have them stay with you the night before - we did this so we could ensure that the cats got on with her and vice versa
  • request daily updates whilst you’re away
  • be meticulous with your guidebook - there’s no such thing as being too thorough! (I’ve even created a series of ‘tutorial videos’ on stuff like setting the house alarm)

Above all, only commit if you’re really comfortable. This person/people will be in your home and thats your sanctuary.


What great advice particularly about having sitters come stay the night before. We like to offer this now, and have a good meal and a chance to get to know them. You can take a walk with the sitter and the dogs and share routines etc.


When I’ve used a sitter in the past, I asked my neighbors/friends on our street to send me quick updates if the sitter showed up (this was for drop in visits, not live-in), how long she stayed and if anything looked amiss. We had two backups in place, in case something went wrong and were generally within a 12 hour drive from home if it was a new sitter. We were extremely fortunate that nothing ever went wrong. But I fully understand the anxiety of leaving your pups in someone’s care. What made me feel better was also to request daily text and photo updates from the dogs. Nothing in depth, I just wanted to make sure they ate and seemed ok. We often got videos of very happy dogs in return, and that took away the guilt of being on vacation without them. Good luck to you!!!

1 Like

Hi Akire,

Being nervous sounds perfectly reasonable.

We are new to sitting but in terms of building up trust and confidence, having a chat or a video call is really helpful for everyone.

We’ve experienced two video interviews so far which went really well (although we didn’t get one of the sits as it was there first sit and they wanted someone with more experience. They gave us honest feedback too which was really appreciated.

We were also lucky with our first sit as we were invited to stay the night before and join them for dinner. It was a really nice start to the experience and helped to put everyone at ease.

For our last sit we didn’t even meet the HO which was slightly strange, but I did have a good chat with them beforehand and it all felt good.

Hopefully you have a good first experience too.

As a sitter, I would recommend (if at all possible) meeting the sitter in advance. I have done this with every sit I’ve had (and several others that were sadly cancelled when the pandemic hit). I think it’s reassuring for both parties to sit down, have a natter and get to know one another. It also means you can see how they interact with your animals, show them round the house and garden and get a general feel for whether they would be a good fit. I would recommend doing this well in advance of the sit, so it doesn’t add to your stresses to meet them the evening before for the first time.

I know this isn’t always possible, and you’d likely have to find someone fairly local, but it may the best way to quell your anxieties and feel comfortable enough leaving your home and pets in the care of someone new. Perhaps you could request someone close by for your first sit? I know from my own visits that home owners have felt relieved having met prior to the sit. Personally, I wouldn’t sign up to a sit if I hadn’t met the owners beforehand and we were mutually comfortable! Good luck!